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pipnasty

COP21 - Paris France Sustainable Innovation Forum 2015

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The governments of more than 190 nations gather in Paris in late November to discuss a global agreement on climate change.

 

Scientists have warned that unless greenhouse gas emissions start to fall, we will exceed a temperature rise of 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Above this rise, global warming will become catastrophic and irreversible.

 

However, the UK and other nations with the biggest greenhouse gas emissions are likely to make commitments in Paris that will not be enough to keep the temperature rise within 2 degrees.

 

At 2 degrees of warming (i.e. a global average of 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels), we face severe global water shortages, an increase in extreme weather events, and massively increased migration, as people flee drought, floods and other disasters. 2 degrees is a politically-chosen limit. Scientists have said 1-1.5 was the maximum we should envisage if we are to avoid millions of deaths in vulnerable regions (the regions least responsible for emissions.) In November 2015, we already hit 1 degree, and at current rates will have used up the carbon required to reach 2 degrees in less than 20 years.

 

The CO2 already in the atmosphere - which takes 40+ years to translate to actual temperature changes - guarantees further warming, so 3-4 degrees is currently more likely than 2 degrees, unless the offers made prior to the Paris talks are improved on, significantly, during the negotiations. Those people and countries with high levels of emissions need to take rapid action to reduce these to have the required short-term impact.Elected governments find this very hard to suggest to their populations as there will undoubtedly be some difficult choices, but many of the measures such as insulated houses, more efficient machines and reliable renewable energy would actually make us more comfortable and better off.

 

However, a 4 degrees rise is incompatible with an 'organised global community': it is beyond adaptation, devastating to eco-systems & very unstable, with various 'tipping points' each precipitating sudden, rather than gradual, environmental changes. Once the world is on this path, 6+ degrees of warming may be unstoppable, and those temperatures would be barely survivable.

 

 

What say you?

 

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There was an interesting documentary on radio 4 about this the other night. What I found interesting was the range of scientific opinion on the effects, the feedback mechanisms that we don't yet understand, and the range of scenarios that we might get.

One thing stood out for me which was that there's a reasonable chance that a wealthy person, for example most of us in Europe, will likely get by fine. Not without changes to lifestyle, but basically life will go on. Its the poorer parts of the world that are more than likely f***ed.

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A 4 to 6 degrees rise and everybody will struggle. Bees and the crops they pollinate for example. And an average 4 to 6 degrees means that some parts of the planet will rise quicker and higher than others. And spikes of temperature will be much, much higher. So the recent heatwaves in Europe could see rises of up to 8 to 10 degrees, heatwaves like the one in Iran this year could be higher still.

 

And what happens to the poorer countries? At present, even an agreement on 2 degrees will more than likely see millions of people in poorer countries die through temperature changes and issues with food. Where do these people go? Syria has shown how ill prepared we are for such movement of people. A 2 degree agreement means that we are relatively happy to sacrifice large parts of the world to safeguard our current rates of consumption. And in terms of a carbon budget, the more we consume, the less they can consume - that is the reality of the situation we have put ourselves in.

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A 4 to 6 degrees rise and everybody will struggle. Bees and the crops they pollinate for example. And an average 4 to 6 degrees means that some parts of the planet will rise quicker and higher than others. And spikes of temperature will be much, much higher. So the recent heatwaves in Europe could see rises of up to 8 to 10 degrees, heatwaves like the one in Iran this year could be higher still.

 

And what happens to the poorer countries? At present, even an agreement on 2 degrees will more than likely see millions of people in poorer countries die through temperature changes and issues with food. Where do these people go? Syria has shown how ill prepared we are for such movement of people. A 2 degree agreement means that we are relatively happy to sacrifice large parts of the world to safeguard our current rates of consumption. And in terms of a carbon budget, the more we consume, the less they can consume - that is the reality of the situation we have put ourselves in.

 

Read an article the other day about desertization stating that up to 50m people may have to move by 2020!! Mentioned work being done in Africa to reverse, or at least trying to stop it from worsening.

 

Like 2020 is just round the corner ffs, its happening now not in some distant future :(

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My main worry is that despite all the talk, commitments made will see minimal decreases in CO2 emissions. Our main hope is in science saving the day before it is too late. CO2 storage and even more efficiency in renewables.

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I read something recently about these figures and projections and how, basically, they all under estimate the trend and strength of global warming. There is an inevitable fear of "fear mongering" among the scientific community given that, in order to be in a position to continue their studies, and essentially to be funded, they have to offer hope. Somewhere. The reality though is we are already quite f***ed. It is irreversible at this stage the extent of devastation we will suffer as we have "banked" enough CO2 to take it beyond that line. It was, as you can surmise, a particularly depressing read, though it struck me as believable. And just very depressing.

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I read something recently about these figures and projections and how, basically, they all under estimate the trend and strength of global warming. There is an inevitable fear of "fear mongering" among the scientific community given that, in order to be in a position to continue their studies, and essentially to be funded, they have to offer hope. Somewhere. The reality though is we are already quite f***ed. It is irreversible at this stage the extent of devastation we will suffer as we have "banked" enough CO2 to take it beyond that line. It was, as you can surmise, a particularly depressing read, though it struck me as believable. And just very depressing.

 

Yep, I've been speaking to a couple of eminent climate scientists recently (one lives in the next village to me, which i wasn't aware of until the last few weeks) and they report the same thing. For years, we were fed the lie that scientists were actually overplaying this when the reality is that, for the reasons you have stated, they have actually been underplaying it. The scientist I was speaking to says that, in his opinion, we are already locked into 2.7 degrees of change and that this is irreversible. His own personal opinion is that we are on the way to 4 to 6 degrees by the end of the 21st century because he can't see any meaningful action being taken. But he also believes that there is a very small chance, that is decreasing year by year, that we could stabilise at around 2.7 if action is urgent and by that he means a 10% decrease in fossil fuels every single year. Talking to the scientists was incredible sobering.

 

We've known about climate change since the 60's - at some point we will have to explain to future generations why we chose to ignore the warnings and continued consuming more and more each year.

Edited by Pipnasty

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Are we, as individuals, all waiting for this to happen before we change? Are we waiting for somebody to do it for us? We all have it within our power to change the way we live.

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I think that the world needs to take this and many other environmental issues extremely seriously. Global warming is clearly the biggest issue and there are a number of other issues that need to be addressed.

 

I don't think that the right CBA is being completed on this. I can't see how it is. The current insurance losses alone are enough to make people stand up and take notice, but the world buries their heads in the sand. Even setting morals aside, the cost of massive population centers being wiped out are stunning. Literally history changing. The rise of the sea will cost the world trillions of dollars and millions of lives.

 

It isn't the only issue though. Groundwater pollution, nitrogen pollution in bay waters and that death spiral are horrific. Overfishing and deforestation are also massive problems.

 

There are some really tough decisions that need to be made. Blanket dismissal of nuclear energy is short-sighted IMO. Changing the economics of solar and wind power are absolutely essential. Upgraded septic systems are vital for water protection. The zoning and protection of natural areas are crucial for the safety of the world and that may require denser, urban populations to accommodate population increases.

 

I don't know about the attitudes of most countries on this issue but the US has a ton of really repugnant politicians when it comes to this. The likes of James Inhofe, Paul Broun and Louis Gohmert need to be strung up.

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Blanket dismissal of nuclear energy is short-sighted IMO.

 

Was talking about this at the weekend. Apparently, the UK alone would need to build something like 2500 Sizewell B sized nuclear power stations for it cover 25 % of it's total energy use. And they would need to be built in the next 25-30 years. Solar is where the biggest breakthroughs are being made - but the UK government has all but scrapped any commitment to solar power.

 

And, yes, our politicians have a lot to answer for.

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If this antibiotic apocalypse scenario kicks in then there may be a much lower population to release carbon in future.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34857015

 

Worrying stuff this. Routinely shoving antibiotics into intensive agriculture livestock is madness.

Are we, as individuals, all waiting for this to happen before we change? Are we waiting for somebody to do it for us? We all have it within our power to change the way we live.

 

This is the dilemma. Big business and government have too much invested in the high carbon society to give it up lightly. However, i think the majority of the Western world don't give a f***. They aren't getting out of their cars to get a bus to work in the rain and they sure as hell aren't giving up their iPhones.

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I was thinking about all of this stuff late last night. The planet is a closed system, yet human population is seemingly ever expanding.

Something has to give at some point, so I'm kind of expecting some sort of mass event. I don't know what most scientists would say, but to me it seems fairly innevitable, barring the reaching of a technological singularity, which solves all problems.

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James Lovelock has this all covered

just read his book

or not, I'll summarize:

 

1 if we carry on as we are, the environment, Gaia, will correct things on its own (extreme weather events, crops failing, sea levels rising, unbearable heat in some places etc) - we'll be stone age man again within 50 years, via Mad Max or whatever your imagination can conjur up

2 it may be too late to do anything

3 if it isn't, we need a wholesale retreat from our current consumption of resources or we're completely f***ed

4 it will start with mass migration from the south to Europe - never mind a humanitarian crisis, it will be more like a war to keep people out of Europe, good intentions flying out the window once reality hits

5 the book was written over 10 years ago I think - we've done f*** all since then, so it has to be inferred that we really are completely f***ed now

6 some magic solution might save us but there doesn't appear to be anything in the pipeline - we're talking giant umbrellas to shield us from the sun - level of rocket science

 

so ISIS, the middle east, zero hours contracts....who gives a f***?

let's just hope we get to win the PL and CL one more time before it's all over

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turns out that since 2006, Lovelock has modified his claims about the imminent crisis, but only about the speed at which it will happen

 

this buys Klopp a little more time to win the PL and the CL but overall the outlook is still dismal (for mankind - f*** off FSG)

 

also he shares my birthday

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