I open with a letter written back in October 2009. It was signed by 18 Presidents of various science organizations and addressed to a Senator that unfortunately went unnamed. I found the letter on a Nasa/gov website under their facts page that covers the scientific consensus concerning climate change. This organization put men on the moon and perhaps we should pay attention – they seem to be smarter than us.
As you consider climate change legislation, we, as leaders of scientific organizations, write to state the consensus scientific view.
Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. These conclusions are based on multiple independent lines of evidence, and contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science. Moreover, there is strong evidence that ongoing climate change will have broad impacts on society, including the global economy and on the environment. For the United States, climate change impacts include sea level rise for coastal states, greater threats of extreme weather events, and increased risk of regional water scarcity, urban heat waves, western wildfires, and the disturbance of biological systems throughout the country. The severity of climate change impacts is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades.
If we are to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, emissions of greenhouse gases must be dramatically reduced. In addition, adaptation will be necessary to address those impacts that are already unavoidable. Adaptation efforts include improved infrastructure design, more sustainable management of water and other natural resources, modified agricultural practices, and improved emergency responses to storms, floods, fires and heat waves.
We in the scientific community offer our assistance to inform your deliberations as you seek to address the impacts of climate change.
(This letter of an open request to offer assistance came from the American Association for the Advancement of Science)
Since 2009 science has further defined the parameters of importance. The pre-industrial concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was around 280 ppm (parts per million). As of now, our low-tech civilization has infected the air to 400 ppm. Never in the history of Earth has a spike of this magnitude occurred in such a short period of time. NASA theorizes that the last time Earth contained 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere was 3 million years ago of a completely different world. Our ice cores can reach back 800,000 years and have proven that Earth has remained under 300 ppm during this latest stretch of time. Further calculations predict that the CO2 levels must not go above 450 ppm, or otherwise the ecosystem suffers a 50/50 chance of an irreversible warming effect. Under our current rate of expanding industrialization, we will hit 450 ppm around the year 2034. This leads us to a simple equation: 18 years of continued industrialization in its current form (Electricity, Industry, Agriculture, Transportation, etc.) roughly equals 50 ppm of CO2 added to the atmosphere.
Just so we are extra clear: the way in which we operate civilization is producing 2.4 million pounds per second of CO2. That is nearly 40 billion tons a year. That means our entire industrial foundation must change. And yet, we are still building jet airplanes and weapons like we can use them in the future. Not only are those items unusable in the future as this blog will clearly point out, they are adding CO2 through the electricity and industry that it takes to build them. We are wasting our industrial might on things that will not improve our condition. See our problem?
The math of this insane building looks like this: the year 2106 will equal ~ 650 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere.
The scientists who prefer a conservative approach, go on to detail a safe and manageable level for Earth is 350 ppm. However, since we have reached 400 ppm, the Earth will continue to heat up even as we decrease CO2 levels toward 350 ppm due to cumulative effects. We could turn off all the industrial carbon right now and Earth will still continue to rise in temperature. Earth would not instantly cool down because a 1/4 of CO2 comes from the change in how we use land, of which Earth is able to reabsorb down to a 1/3. Many scientists feel a rollback to 350 ppm will allow Earth to remain a stable human support system that equals the last 800,000 years.
The whole goal is to keep Earth from a 2°C rise in temperature. The scientists that prefer safety do not like the current world goal of limiting CO2 to 450 ppm as an acceptable condition, due to the 50/50 chance of a 2°C rise in temperature and the possibility of irreversible effects. What is the point of living life on the edge of a catastrophe that would contain a decade after decade balancing act? We are dealing with the survival of the human race, and reducing it down to a coin flip is actually quite absurd. So how could anyone not agree with the scientists who prefer a safety cushion? Alarmists? I think not. The idea of playing it safe than sorry, is perfectly prudent for the survival of a working ecosystem that supports human life in a kind fashion.
I argue that humans have already pushed past a 50/50 chance of no return, simply because we did not turn the carbon off yesterday, and then compounded the mistake by not producing a viable plan of action to fully eliminate carbon output during the next few decades. I assume it would take a few decades to remedy the issue with alternative energy, which would grant Earth the time for a bumpy heal after those decades. Through our current inaction, it looks like a given that we can add another 18 years of 50 ppm to the year 2034, which means around the year 2052 we will be at 500 ppm. If the safe level of CO2 is 350 ppm and we are at 400 ppm and rising to 500 ppm, doom and gloom is mathematically secured by 2052, especially if we are still burning carbon midcentury.
For the sake of acknowledging human stupidity, let’s add another 18 years where man refused to fully shut down carbon and relied on the weak attempt of cutting emissions. The year 2070 with slightly less than 550 ppm due to our efforts, but still rising – is like taking a pin hammer and shoving the nail an extra inch into the coffin. At that point, our dirty machine cannot rescue Earth. I believe this to be the reality that scientists are very aware of, since they understand time and how quickly 54 years can fly by.
Sadly, against a structure ingrained to money and materialism, the voice of science is reduced to chatter. That voice should be loud and clear, when 44 scientific groups in 17 countries issue a warning that if greenhouse gas isn’t significantly reduced by 2020, any attempt to limit a global temperature rise of 1.5°C no longer exists. This is exactly why the average American should form a new political party that incorporates the scientific voice as the main dialog. That voice should be screaming, the next 36 years from 2016 to 2052 are highly critical and it’s a much bigger job than we think, when looking at the EPA pie chart a few paragraphs down. Any political diversion away from an aggressive plan to completely eliminate man-made carbon is unforgivable.
Per the above letter, a heated Earth will cause the oceans to rise and flooding on the coasts. How much is a moot point because humans can evacuate and live on the new beachfront property. Rising water is an economic disaster but not the killer of our species. The real killer is when Mother Nature has a problem growing food and keeping fresh water fresh. It’s a place where the natural cycle of weather is unpredictable. The east coast could receive torrential rains that destroy crops, while the west coast becomes barren of water to feed crops, amid horrendous wildfires as painful reminders of what we have sewed. The scientists’ quote in the letter regarding an American impact: the disturbance of biological systems throughout the country – is actually a world disturbance because Earth is one big ecosystem.
The letter also foresees greater threats of extreme weather events; of which I would like to add some possibilities that are not unimaginable. We could be facing unprecedented tornadoes with a biblical like destruction, and perhaps divergent types of weather where storms over land merge with a new and wider version of hurricane to pound our shores. It is not a far stretch to envision that natural disasters would become bigger and carry an extra punch. A place where Earth is lashing out at her destructors. Are the social systems ready for an angry Mother Nature that may collapse our maintenance of food and housing comforts? The 18 science organizations seemed to think not and suggested as the end of their letter, a course of action – improved emergency responses to storms, floods, fires and heat waves. That is a very big statement of what we will experience.
I hope the following graphs will stop us from ignoring the dire conditions of our path.
A graph detailing the tons of carbon humans injected into the atmosphere
Tons of carbon in the air led to an increase of PPM
Higher levels of CO2 led to the hottest year yet
Carbon led to an increase of global temperature and predictable for the future
This is what happens when we destroy nature through deforestation, while building jet airplanes, cars, and coal burning plants for power. All these graphs show a sharp spike that cannot be leveled off or reversed without an aggressive and dramatic change to civilization.
We need to understand exactly how our CO2 emissions are produced. Let’s go straight to the EPA and plagiarize their website. Their accurate breakdown of the economics involved, opens a deeper dive into why this battle is greater than we think.
Global Emissions by Economic Sector
Global greenhouse gas emissions can also be broken down by the economic activities that lead to their production.
- Electricity and Heat Production (25% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions) – The burning of coal, natural gas, and oil for electricity and heat is the largest single source of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Industry (21% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from industry primarily involve fossil fuels burned on-site at facilities for energy. This sector also includes emissions from chemical, metallurgical, and mineral transformation processes not associated with energy consumption and emissions from waste management activities. (Note: Emissions from industrial electricity use are excluded and are instead covered in the Electricity and Heat Production sector.)
- Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use (24% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector come mostly from agriculture (cultivation of crops and livestock) and deforestation. This estimate does not include the CO2 that ecosystems remove from the atmosphere by sequestering carbon in biomass, dead organic matter and soils, which offset approximately 20% of emissions from this sector.
- Transportation (14% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector primarily involve fossil fuels burned for road, rail, air, and marine transportation. Almost all (95%) of the world’s transportation energy comes from petroleum-based fuels, largely gasoline and diesel.
- Buildings (6% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector arise from on-site energy generation and burning fuels for heat in buildings or cooking in homes. (Note: Emissions from electricity use in buildings are excluded and are instead covered in the Electricity and Heat Production sector.)
- Other Energy (10% of 2010 global greenhouse gas emissions) – This source of greenhouse gas emissions refers to all emissions from the energy sector which are not directly associated with electricity or heat production, such as fuel extraction, refining, processing, and transportation.
If we look at the above pie chart, it clearly defines that how we operate civilization is our problem. A serious attempt at cutting CO2 emissions dictates that every system we’ve constructed to support human comforts, must undergo a dramatic change. Cleaning up our dirty transportation system for example, only remedies 14% of the pie. Electricity, Industry, Agriculture and Transportation – the entire process of how we live must change. Unfortunately, I cannot find a general strategy that incorporates every item in the pie chart to a single well-devised plan of action. I can only find band aids to each category which do not fully eliminate its respective carbon output to a future pie chart of 0%. There is no plan that stops the 40 billion tons of man-made CO2 per year. Therefore, our demise to an ugly future is pretty much secure by not moving the four major categories to zero emissions.
Under today’s inaction and our disorganization to a master plan that addresses the four major categories successfully, a very critical stage positions itself around midcentury. The year 2052 with 500 ppm of CO2 in the air, and the almighty effort to limit 2070 to less than 550 ppm, regrettably, every bit of that math equals what could be a completely chaotic planet by the end of the century. 45% of that crap just lingers in the air and would take Earth 30 years to remove just half of that, providing Earth is still healthy enough to do so.
It’s the most important question to ask: How can Earth begin to heal by the end of the century, if between 2052 and 2070 man is still polluting the air through ineffective band aids applied to Electricity, Agriculture, Transportation and Industry? During the time from 2052 to 2070 and afterwards, it will be impossible for band-aid industrialization to address the problems of Earth, simply because our methods are the original problem. To rephrase what I said earlier: a dirty machine cannot fix a dirty atmosphere. The machine needs to be fixed by midcentury for the best possible chance of letting Earth heal herself. There’s the crux of the issue – we really cannot heal her – we can only stop our destructive ways. Which leads us to this bar graph produced by the OECD.
Here’s the scariest graph of them all, because it takes into account the cumulative effects that my math of 18 years equals an increase of 50 ppm, did not calculate. The year 2100 with 750 ppm and a temperature increase of 4.5°C, shatters every goal that the prudent and overly optimistic scientists prefer. There is no recovery from these numbers with a dirty machine.
Humans cannot change the fact that CO2 levels control the temperature of Earth. Band aids to the four major categorizes that run civilization, will never stop a doubling of CO2 or the worst-case scenario of a snowballing mixture (cumulative effects), which cause a triple rise to 900 ppm from the pre-industrial start of 280 ppm. Every ton of carbon matters now. All of it must be eliminated and slowing our output does nothing but delay the inevitable. An irreversible effect means a continued rise in temperature as the bar graph and other studies indicate. How high can it go is a terrifying question?
I quote Stephen Hawking:
“A rise in ocean temperature would melt the ice-caps, and cause a release of large amounts of carbon dioxide from the ocean floor. Both effects could make our climate like that of Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees.”
Perhaps we should really, really pay attention to our modern day Einstein.
Once the Earth heats up to an unacceptable condition. How can we continue to operate Electricity, Agriculture, Transportation and Industry, at full force? Running an air conditioner, flying a plane, trucking food, or burning anything for warmth and electricity becomes additional damage. Eventually – since a low-tech civilization is so destructive to nature – we will reach a point where man is forced to turn off the band-aid industrialization as a last ditch effort to curtail the planet of chaotic weather events that are looking to intensify. What year? Who knows? Perhaps 2100, 2110, 2120, or 2150. But imagine that, civilization as we know it can come to end in roughly a century. Should we be surprised that 50% of wildlife destroyed in the last 40 years would also include humans as a future fallout?
The heart of my message – A Future We Are Ignoring. If governments are forced to shut down most of industrialization at some point due to a complete necessity, this creates a very ugly environment for the humans in major cities. If the corporate food machine cannot run on oil to harvest and deliver produce, urban humans will suffer massive starvation. Humans will scatter to the hills in search of game and water. Without electricity, a drivable car, and too few horses, western civilization will slowly walk back into the stone age. All the modern niceties that made us soft survivors, is not the skillset to survive a world of walking.
The irony, the poorest of humans not involved with technology who still live in remote regions as hunters and gathers, are the humans most likely to survive at higher ratios. They know how to pick up a stick and make an arrow without fouling the air.
The solution to save western civilization and the survival of technology; all nations must come together under a Global Origination of Technology (GOT). Humans as of now, require a global management system of Earth’s resources to save a high ratio of our species. Nations could fund a hi-tech chance of survival by transferring every dime of defense money into a technology fund.
With a GOT platform, every economy involved in the movement would not suffer an economic loss. It’s a simple matter of transferring all the damaging labor that assembles destructive devices for our war machines, into a positive labor force that tackles the four major items of species survival. It would be a boom economy of green products that are installed freely, so we may save Earth from our dirty industrialization. Unemployment could virtually disappear when every human has a job to save Earth. It’s a no nonsense plan and the only one that will work, simply because it will take a world effort to preserve a viable Earth. Imagine that? The dream of world unity is actually the only idea that can save us. Well, it is no longer a pipe dream or a novel concept. It’s purely the most intelligent thing we can do.
Paying attention to the concerns listed by the scientists in the opening letter; first order of business would be to protect and automate all water and food resources. Even now it is not a bad idea to start building indoor farming facilities with controlled environments that grow vertically, which would also start to cut down the 24% bracket of CO2 production from agriculture. Smaller versions should be installed inside the major cities and larger facilities on the outskirts. Engineers could start working the problems of automating electric vehicles as a taxi system. We will also need a train and big rig system that rely on solar charging stations and computerization to deliver food to the inner cities – since food is the only resource that can prevent human anarchy. It’s important that all ground transportation is turned green and shareable (the days of owning a personal vehicle are over, if we are to heal Earth) to move materials around, while we are addressing each problem of carbon elimination. It would be hard to re-engineer our dirty problems showing up in a dirty transportation system. This also means we should eliminate all nonessential air travel that is not producing a green ground grid of transportation that allow humans to still function in the future. A dramatic change dictates the grounding of all air travel that is of an entertainment nature, e.g., vacations, sporting events, and even business. The only business left is the saving of Earth and the installation of a survival grid.
Does one see why we must start now? We are going to burn a lot of carbon to remedy our situation. Human civilization perfectly mirrors three astronauts way out in space and low on fuel, aiming to hit a small window with one burn left to get home – so we better make sure that our last burn is short and accurate. Our window is passing us by through other matters that are no longer important. We are literally wasting time defending the oil fields in the Middle East. Here’s the irony, a world pulling together actually solves many of those divisional problems we suffer in the Middle East.
The dire conditions of the future demand that we play it extra safe. The largest 25% slice of destruction as heat and electricity consumption, whose homes and businesses rely on the burning of coal – should immediately receive free solar panels and a battery storage system from the GOT platform as a preemptive strike against CO2 emissions. In fact, everything the GOT does is a preemptive strike against CO2, with the anticipation of shutting down the harmful sectors of industrialization. Free electricity from the sun must in place and a worldwide phenomenon. Attempting to make money from the process as capitalism dictates, only slows the elimination of CO2.
This actually leads us to the ultimate point that must be conquered. Money is the major dominion over Electricity, Industry, Agriculture and Transportation. If these systems of comfort remain as profit centers first, they will neglect the urgency of protection and automation that can save these systems. It’s time for the powerful leaders in every nation to clearly see, the ruse that is going to stop a GOT like development. It’s called Money! And our blind loyalty to it!
The human species must not let money destroy our way of life and change its nature within capitalism. The concept of making money off the saving of the planet is a deadly idea. It presents the question: Can we arrive at a green world before the dirt of capitalism destroys our ecosystems of food and water? The prime example: Though the intentions are good, Elon Musk and the billionaire club are making a horrible mistake by thinking they can sell everyone an electric vehicle. The carbon footprint of electricity and industry to manufacture all that, destroys the goal of preventing every pound of man-made CO2 into the air. We do not have the time to sell anyone … anything. Money must be disconnected from the green technology that can save the planet, and then given freely and quickly through the GOT platform. Dragging any life-saving endeavor through Wall Street and money, will only slow the process down.
Just look at Beijing and how they live with masks and the days in which they must turn off the industrialization that surrounds them. (It’s an eerie blog, isn’t it?) Beijing requires solar panels with battery systems to move every home and business off their coal burning grid. This is not only good for China; it is also good for the future grandkids of America.
I hate to say this, but, the quicker the collapse of money into a positive nature is actually better for humans’ long-term survival. It will force humans to do the correct things. A prime opportunity we missed in 2008 when the mismanagement of money opened the door for a government takeover. A government takeover of monetary principles contains a better chance of something like a GOT. Wall Street and a world management system of resources are far from the same game plan – they are polar opposites. Wall Street’s money infection is why we have no master plan that will work in all four categories of Electricity, Industry, Agriculture and Transportation. Humans are letting the fake numbers in a computer system as money, dictate our behavior to destruction. It is a grand mistake to think that government is in control. Wall Street and their reluctance to end money streams which are harmful to Earth, will be our shared demise.
I support the Positive Money movement of returning paper to the control of government and democracy. We the people would spend it wisely, directly on green infrastructure and automation that render stability to humans and Earth. Proper American democracy can lead all nations and our collective money supply to the hi-tech solutions that embrace a new Earth of regeneration. At some point, positive money will evolve into a world without money and politics, and begins to mirror the Venus Project. A whole new reality emerges from the brilliant ideas that Jacque Fresco introduced way back in the 70s. One that we are happy in and where Dr. King’s free at last speech rings true.
It’s time we stop ignoring the future. We either build the better Dream, or we migrate to a frustrating survival in a nightmare that looks like this:
There are only two options. One is the hi-tech solution where money does not slow us down and we work our way out of this mess, and the other is to remain low tech and reverse our ways back to the horse and buggy. The blunt message from the math screams as of right now! … we need to start the reconstruction of civilization that grants Mother Nature the time to heal. Otherwise, our grandkids will devolve into small tribes due to an abrupt minus of technology, and they end up throwing feces at each other like our ancestors did. There is not a viable capitalism in between.
6/26/16 Associate Press – The International Society for Reef Studies issued a global warning for Coral Reefs. After the previous two years of bleaching, 2016 was the worst year of mass bleaching to all reefs. Bleaching is a process of hot ocean waters stressing the coral, and combines with other changes that end up killing a reef. The phrase used – coral reefs are being rapidly damaged and a worldwide occurrence.
7/1/16 LA Time Reports – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied suicide deaths in 17 states. Farmers, lumberjacks and fisherman suffer the highest rates of suicide. (I find it alarming that those who work closely with nature can become that unhappy…)