Climate emergency! The one election issue that matters

Today’s Breakthrough Institute report shows we are tipping climate thresholds like dominoes as we slide down runaway warming’s road to Hell

Featured Image: Cover picture from the emailed announcement received 17/05/2022 of Breakthrough Institute’s new publication “Climate Dominoes“, by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop. This report summarizes the vast array of evidence showing that the climate emergency we currently face is truly existential as we progressively trip over important thresholds increasing the rate of warming as we slide down the road to a global mass extinction event in Earth’s “Hothouse” Hell.

Where the current election is concerned, stopping the warming and managing the associated climate emergency are genuinely the only issues that matter. If we fail to stop the warming we started as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, there will soon be no humans left to be concerned about anything. Making the economy the most important election issue without putting climate repair as the absolute first priority only ensures there will soon be no economy at all.

[Climate Dominoes] should be read and acted on by governments and their advisors, by the financial communities of the world, and by scientists, engineers, social scientists and philosophers. Precautionary action is needed now to avoid, to the extent possible, further tipping points being triggered.

This is a code red situation. No government is taking it seriously enough. We must urgently seek productive collaboration between sub-national, national, and international bodies to do more to combat climate issues equitably, with determination and speed.

From the Forward by Prof. Sir David King, Fellow of the Royal Society

Good leaders are guided by physical reality, not belief and dogma; and history has proved that science is our best tool for understanding that reality

Climate Dominoes encapsulates the body of Earth and climate science that our would-be Parliamentary leaders and members should consider as Australia progresses through time into evermore threatening climatic future …. A future that will be determined by the laws of physics and biology; irrespective of whatever fables, faith, belief, dogma and a miasma of self-serving humbug, bulldust, misrepresentation, and outright lies made by a bevy of puppet politicians representing super-wealthy vested interests.

Who would you prefer to have in government to represent you in the current climate emergency? — ranting puppets of narcissistic special interests (e.g., fossil fuel multi-billionaires) trying to make you believe in fairy tales about how good life is now and how much better their magic future will be for you while they squeeze the last cent of profit out of killing the world? … Or the alternative: qualified, ethical, independent thinkers and doers from your own community who understand how science works in order to see and understand the actual reality you live in……. Which kind of candidate would you trust to manage the real and growing climate emergency you can see and feel around you seriously look at the reality around you? E.g. increasing heatwaves, raging wildfires, dust storms, windstorms, floods, pandemics, dying reefs and forests, eroding shore lines, etc….

Following is the text of the Climate Dominoes’s overview that describes the main thesis of the work, and its absolute relevance to our upcoming election in Australia and the would-be leaders we are electing. Other than some added emphasis (in italics) and parenthetical comments, I have not changed the text. It is here because I completely agree with it, and so readers will understand that many scientists besides myself also see the same dangers. Superscript numbers refer to references that can be found at the end of the published document.

OVERVIEW: WHEN TIPPING POINTS COLLIDE

As global heating reduces the extent of floating Arctic sea-ice each northern summer, heat-reflecting ice is replaced by heat-absorbing dark ocean water, adding energy to the Arctic system, and driving more melting. This is a “positive feedback”, a self-reinforcing change. Examples abound in the climate system. On Greenland, for example, warming is reducing the height of the ice, and this lower elevation means it will melt more, because the temperature is higher at lower altitudes.

Sixteen years ago, James Hansen warned that: “The problem that we face now is that many [climate] feedbacks that came into play slowly in the past, driven by slowly changing forcings, will come into play rapidly now, at the pace of our human-made forcings, tempered a few decades by the oceans thermal response time.” ” 4

Those feedbacks can drive non-linear (or abrupt) change that is difficult to forecast. That happened to Arctic sea-ice in the summer of 2007, when a collapse in the ice extent led one experienced glaciologist to exclaim that it was melting “100 years ahead of schedule”;5 actually, the scientific understanding was 100 years behind reality! The same thing is happening in Antarctica now, according to the new observations of the Thwaites Glacier.

A group of eminent scientists point to “biosphere tipping points which can trigger abrupt carbon release back to the atmosphere… permafrost across the Arctic is beginning to irreversibly thaw and release carbon dioxide and methane… the boreal forest in the subarctic is increasingly vulnerable”. [Note: Working directly with the satellite record, I have made an extensive study of rapidly growing frequency, size and ferocity of wildfires in the Siberian Arctic that totally validates this point.] They say that other tipping points could be triggered at low levels of global warming with “a cluster of abrupt shifts between 1.5 °C and 2°C…” 6

Positive feedbacks, with or without abrupt change, can drive a system past its tipping point, which is a critical threshold at which small change causes a larger, more critical change to be initiated, taking components of the Earth system from one state to a discreetly different state. In other words, the system has reached a point of fragility such that it will move to a different state due to its own internal dynamics, even if there is no further external forcing (such as additional warming). [Climate Sentinel News has a number of articles on tipping points.]

An overview from Australia’s Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes describes a number of key aspects of tipping points:7

  • The implications of tipping points are not thoroughly quantified in the major IPCC analyses. [See my review of the limitations in the IPCC’s scientific methodology and publishing. Their work almost inevitably understates the magnitude of the climate emergency.]
  • Some tipping point changes are irreversible on timescales of centuries to millennia.
  • We do not know exactly how close we are to a tipping point, or even whether we have already passed it. We also do not always know if the changes are reversible, and if so, on what timescales.
  • There are tipping points that while not yet triggered may already be fully committed to. For example, the warming required for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to permanently melt might have already been reached.
  • Climate models lack the mechanisms to robustly simulate many tipping points, and the interactions between tipping points that could lead to cascading impacts. Therefore our understanding of the risks is limited.
  • Since the risk is hard to quantify, global negotiations around climate change have not appropriately taken into account the risks of initiating tipping points, which is essentially a gamble on the future of the Earth’s climate.

Tipping may be irreversible on relevant time frames, such as the span of a few human generations. For example, ice sheets can disintegrate abruptly — and drive up sea levels — much faster than they can gain mass. So whilst sea levels could rise two or three metres this century — and rates as high as five metres per century have been recorded in the past — it could take thousands of years to reset the ice and get sea levels back down.

This is an example of hysteresis, or bifurcation of a system, where it may be more difficult, or impossible, to return to its previous state. Extinctions are an example of the latter. Carbon Brief explains: “In some cases, there is evidence that once the system has jumped to a different state, then if you remove the climate forcing, the climate system doesn’t just jump back to the original state – it stays in its changed state for some considerable time, or possibly even permanently.” 8

Major tipping points are interrelated and may cascade,9 as illustrated. Interactions between these climate systems could lower the critical temperature thresholds at which each tipping point is passed.10

For example, Earth is approaching a temperature range above which the photosynthesis rate is projected to decline, affecting the storage of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere (the “land sink”).11 This will accelerate the warming rate, trigger further sea-ice loss, more melting on Greenland and freshwater injection into the North Atlantic, helping to further slow the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), often known as the “Gulf Stream”. This in turn would change rainfall patterns over the Amazon and further weaken its carbon stores and Earth’s land sink. And so it goes on.

Physical interactions among the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, AMOC and the Amazon rainforest tend to destabilise the network of tipping elements. The polar sheets are often the initiators of these cascade events,12 with evidence that Greenland and West Antarctica have passed their tipping (see following sections).

In 2012, James Hansen warned of scientists’ fear about the Arctic and the cascading of tipping points triggered in the Arctic: “Our greatest concern is that loss of Arctic sea ice creates a grave threat of passing two other tipping points – the potential instability of the Greenland ice sheet and methane hydrates… These latter two tipping points would have consequences that are practically irreversible on time scales of relevance to humanity.” 13 [Note: there is even more to the methane story than just methane hydrates as discussed in my presentation on the Siberian wildfires linked above.]

Cascading events may in turn lead to a “Hothouse Earth” scenario, in which climate system feedbacks and their mutual interaction drive the Earth System climate to a “point of no return”, whereby further warming would become self-sustaining (that is, without further human-caused perturbations).14 This planetary threshold could exist at a temperature rise as low as 2°C, possibly even in the 1.5°C–2°C range.15

The problem, elaborated in a 2019 paper, “Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against”, is that time is close to running out: “We argue that the intervention time left to prevent tipping could already have shrunk towards zero, whereas the reaction time to achieve net zero emissions is 30 years at best. Hence we might already have lost control of whether tipping happens. A saving grace is that the rate at which damage accumulates from tipping — and hence the risk posed — could still be under our control to some extent” (emphasis added).16

Likewise, former UK Chief Scientist Sir David King warns that: “What global leaders do in the next three to-five years will determine the future of humanity.”17

Tipping point analyst Prof. Tim Lenton says that the evidence from tipping points alone “suggests that we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and urgency of the situation are acute… If damaging tipping cascades can occur and a global tipping point cannot be ruled out, then this is an existential threat to civilization”.18 [As discussed in my IPCC presentation, linked above, few scientists will actually point out what should be emphasized is that they are actually discussing is a threat to the continued existence of the human species — i.e., near term human extinction]

Who is most qualified and likely to lead “productive collaboration between sub-national, national, and international bodies to do more to combat climate issues equitably, with determination and speed”? Our existing COALition Government of spin merchants, clowns, knaves and fools representing special interest, or an alliance government led by Labor kept focused on the climate emergency by Greens and a ‘teal’ flock of genuine community-based independent thinkers and doers forcing the career politicians to stay focused on the job of solving the climate crisis.

Just how extraordinary many of the teals are is documented in earlier articles in this series (click title to open link):

Applying your decision to preferential voting on the ballot

If you believe that our present COALition government will govern in your interests rather than their patrons in the fossil fuel and related industries, then go with the flow and don’t concern yourself with the likely consequences of going down their fossil fueled road towards runaway global warming. On the other hand, if you think it is better to work for a sustainable future where your children and their children can hope for a happy future, Vote Climate One can help you elect a government that will actively lead and support this effort.

Our Climate Sentinel News provides access to factual evidence about the growing climate crisis to support your thinking; and our Traffic Light Voting System gives you easy to use factual evidence about where each candidate in your electorate ranks in relation to their commitment to prioritize action on the climate emergency. This should make it easier to decide your voting preferences before confronting a long ballot paper in the voting booth.

We need to turn away from the the Apocalypse on the road to hothouse hell, and we won’t do this by continuing with business as usual!

It seems to have taken the clear thinking of Greta Thunberg, a 16 year-old girl who concluded school was pointless as long as humans continued their blind ‘business as usual’ rush towards extinction.

greta-act-as-if-the-house-was-on-fire
Listen to Greta’s speech live at the World Economic forum in Davos 2019. Except for her reliance on the IPCC’s overoptimistic emissions budget, everything she says is spot on that even she, as a child, can understand the alternatives and what has to happen.

In other words, wake up! smell the smoke! see the grimly frightful reality, and fight the fire that is burning up our only planet so we can give our offspring a hopeful future. This is the only issue that matters. Even the IPCC’s hyperconservative Sixth Assessment Report that looks at climate change’s global and regional impacts on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities makes it clear we are headed for an existential climate catastrophe if we don’t stop the warming process.

Scott Morrison and his troop of wooden-headed puppets are doing essentially nothing to organize effective action against the warming. In fact all they doing is rearranging the furniture in the burning house to be incinerated along with anything and everyone we may care about.

In Greta’s words, “even a small child can understand [this]”. People hope for their children’s futures. She doesn’t want your hopium. She wants you to rationally panic enough to wake up, pay attention to reality, and fight the fire…. so our offspring can have some hope for their future.

Let’s hope that we can stop global warming soon enough to leave them with a future where they can survive and flourish
Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Have we reached the point of no return on the road to runaway warming ending in near-term global mass extinction (including humans)?

Part 7 – concluding David Spratt’s guidebook to events along the road to Hothouse Hell: Have we triggered so many tipping points already that we are already at or past the point of no return?

Clearly, we wont know if we have passed the point of no return until it is too late to do anything about it. Spratt’s concluding comments to his guidebook need no embellishment from me. He lists 7 points. Basically I agree with all of him, except that I would state several of them even more strongly than he does:

A tipping cascade will be hard to stop!

Have tipping points already been passed for critical climate systems? (7) Summing up: Faster than forecast, cascades loom

01 February 2022

by David Spratt in Climate Code Red

Seventh in a series.   
Read 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7

Reflecting on the evidence presented in this tipping point series, a number of conclusions may be drawn:

1. At just 1.2°C of warming, tipping points have been passed for several large Earth systems.  At just 1.2°C of global average warming, tipping points have been passed for several large Earth systems.  These include Arctic sea ice, the Greenland Ice Sheet, The Amundsen Sea glaciers in West Antarctica, the eastern Amazonian rainforest, and the world’s coral systems. The world will warm to 1.5°C by around 2030, with additional warming well beyond 1.5°C in the system after that. Yet even at the current level of warming, these systems will continue to move to qualitatively different states. In most cases, strong positive feedbacks are driving abrupt change. At higher levels of warming, the rate of change will quicken. The meme that “we have eight years to avoid 1.5°C and tipping points” should be deleted from the climate advocacy vocabulary. It is simply wrong.

2. System-level change is happening faster than forecast. In each case surveyed above, abrupt change is happening earlier and/or faster than projected only two decades ago.
The 2007 Arctic sea-ice collapse was “100 years ahead of schedule”; in 2014 the tipping point for Amundsen Basin glaciers was one that “none of us thought would pass so quickly”. It was said that the guardrail for coral reefs was warming under 2°C, then 1.5°C; it is now clear that it is under 0.5°C. In 1995, the IPCC projected “little change in the extent of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets… over the next 50-100 years”. The 2001 IPCC report suggested that the Greenland and the West Antarctic ice sheets would not lose significant mass by 2100. Both have now passed their tipping points. The effect of the permafrost carbon feedback has not been included in the IPCC scenarios, including the 2014 report. And on it goes.

Read the complete article….

Earth on fire
It’s an Emergency!

In this now completed series of posts, Spratt has done an excellent job of summarizing the scientific observations that sound the klaxon fire alarm warning us that our planet is on fire. If we don’t wake up, smell the smoke, and mobilize global action to fight the fire, it will consume us humans along with most other complex life who share the still green(ish) planet with us.

The puppets show and tell
Captain Humbug (a.k.a. Scotty from Marketing) behind his then leader’s back, showing Barney Bulldust and the parliamentary puppet troop what he is promoting. ““Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you. It’s coal.” With these words Australia’s Treasurer Scott Morrison taunted the Opposition, attempting to ridicule its commitment to renewable energy.” – The Conversation (15-02-2017). Note: The fourth man — the holy ghost – later stabbed in the back by Scotty, was also previously a marketeer of the merchant banking type, by and for the special interests.

Following on from Tony Abbott’s almost religious commitment to denying climate science, Scotty’s marketing backed up by his troop of puppets, buffoons, and knaves in Parliament have been for years almost totally successful in blocking any effective action against the climate emergency. This has been achieved through a rich mix of humbug, denial, lying, misrepresentation, blocking, delaying, and distracting smoke and mirrors.

If our children and grandchildren are to have any hope of surviving into the future, we have to remove the humbug troop from Parliament and replace them with sensible people who can be trusted to put action against the climate emergency at the top of their priority lists if elected. Vote Climate Ones, Traffic Light Voting System is designed to help you rank your preferences to do this, without telling you who you should vote for. With a new Parliament focused on what needs to be done to protect our burning house, we might be able to offer our families a viable future in a still functional biosphere.

Will they have a future in the world we leave them? That is up to us. If we get it wrong, it will be too late for them…..
Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Thawing permafrost in the Arctic warns we are probably crossing several critical tipping points on the road to runaway warming and near-term human extinction

Part 6 of David Spratt’s guidebook to events along the road to Hothouse Hell: Burning Siberian tundra, taiga forests and peat soils are all contributing to thawing permafrost and pushing greenhouse gas emissions past an important tipping point

Spratt focuses almost exclusively on the consequences of permafrost thawing without much consideration of the overall environment of which the thawing permafrost is only a part. Even looked at in isolation it is clear that greenhouse gases are being released sooner and in greater quantities that in earth system models and conservative IPCC reporting.

I spent several months last year researching the interacting dynamics of the 2020 Siberian wildfires (burning taiga forests, arctic tundra, and even the underlying peat soils) on the underlying permafrost and the likely impacts on greenhouse gas emissions from both the burning overburden and underlying permafrost. None of the modeling has the full complexities of the likely internal positive feedbacks within this permafrost system. In other words, although all authorities seem to accept that the Arctic permafrost is a dangerous threshold we could already be tripping over, I think most still badly underestimate the dangers it represents for flipping us past the point of no return on the road to Earth’s Hothouse Hell climate state and global mass extinction.

Exposed ice wedge in slumping permafrost

31 January 2022

Have tipping points already been passed for critical climate systems? (6) Permafrost: Beyond the models

by David Spratt in Climate Code Red
Sixth in a series.   
Read 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7

Permafrost is permanently frozen ground. It covers one-quarter of the land mass of the northern hemisphere, and contains 1.5 trillion tonnes of carbon, twice the amount currently in the atmosphere and triple the amount emitted by human activity since 1850.  Permafrost buried beneath the Arctic Ocean holds 60 billion tons of methane (in structures known as methane clathrates) and 560 billion tons of organic carbon.

Permafrost is releasing significant amounts of greenhouse gases, and feedbacks are under way, but the dynamics are not yet well enough understood to be able to judge whether tipping points have been reached or not.  As previously noted (in part 1 of this series), University of NSW researchers point out that: “We do not know exactly how close we are to a tipping point, or even whether we have already passed it… There are tipping points that while not yet triggered may already be fully committed to.” 

As permafrost thaws, soil microbes awaken and feast on the warming biomass, creating heat as they do so: a positive feedback that drives more defrosting. Russian permafrost scientist Trofim Maximov describes the global feedback: thawing permafrost releases greenhouse gases which cause warmer temperatures, melting the permafrost further: “It’s a natural process… which means that, unlike purely anthropogenic processes, once it starts, you can’t really stop it.”

A 2018 study estimated that stabilisation of the climate at 2°C may eventually result in release of 225–345 gigatonnes (GtC) of thawed permafrost carbon. That is equivalent to two-to-three decades of human emissions at the current rate. Some scientists consider that 1.5°C appears to be something of a “tipping point” for extensive permafrost thaw.

Read the complete article….

If rapidly thawing permafrost doesn’t sound the alarm that shouts, ‘Your house is on fire. If you don’t put it out your house will be gone!’ I don’t know what does. Unfortunately, in Australia we are living in a country whose national government seems to be a troop of wooden-headed puppets and knaves working for the fossil fuel industry. Here they are doing everything possible to drown out, stifle, and misdirect the alarm so it either won’t be heard at all, or will at least be ignored by the citizens they are supposed to protect and keep safe.

If we continue to follow the lead these puppets are trolling us with, nothing will be done to stop and reverse global warming until we are irrevocably committed to the Hell the fossil fuel industry is tipping us into. Think of the future when you decide who to vote for (and place last in your list of preferences) in the upcoming election. Hopefully, you will give your top preferences to candidates who can be trusted to put action on the global climate emergency at the top of their to do list if elected, and puppets of the fossil fuel and related special interests at the bottom of your list.

To help you, we are making available what we know about each candidate via our electorate specific Traffic Light Voting System.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Dying coral reefs and collapsing reef ecosystems: evidence of more progress towards the point of no return on the way to Hothouse extinction

Part 5 of David Spratt’s guidebook to events along the road to Hothouse Hell: Increasingly frequent and stronger marine heatwaves are bleaching and killing corals, architects of reef ecosystems. Rotting organic matter emits GHGs

Coral polyps are the primary architects of the remarkably diverse coral reef ecosystems that border lands and islands in tropical oceans around the world. As such coral reefs provide shelter and sustenance for a significant fraction of our ocean’s biomass for at least part of their lives. Coral polyps are colonial animals related to jellyfish and sea anemones. However, thanks to symbiotic algae that live in their bodies, they are sinks for capturing and sequestering CO₂ in forming the limestone reefs. Over the last 10,000 years or so, they have thrived in waters close to the maximum temperatures their photosynthetic algae can tolerate. However, as the world begins to warm beyond temperatures observed for many 10s of thousands of years corals have had to expel their algae and become bleached. As Spratt describes, bleaching is becoming common event for the Great Barrier Reef, and is leading to dying coral reefs and collapsing reef ecosystems around the world.

As masses of polyps die and rot they become net greenhouse gas emitters (CO₂, methane, hydrogen sulfide – H₂S – where the H₂S is also highly toxic) and end up covered by slimes of bacteria and algae. The dead reef becomes quite toxic, and loses many of the species that originally thrived there through starvation, poisoning, or loss of habitat. Thus, the rising greenhouse gas emissions from dying and decomposing reef ecosystems adds yet another source of positive feedback to drive global temperatures (including ocean temperatures) higher yet.

Great Barrier Reef bleaching 2016

28 January 2022

Have tipping points already been passed for critical climate systems? (5) Coral Reefs: A death spiral

by David Spratt in Climate Code Red
Fifth in a series.
Read 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7

Ecosystems, including coral reefs, mangroves and kelp forests in Australia, are degrading fast as the world’s sixth mass extinction gathers pace. 

… 

Corals survive within a narrow water temperature band, and suffer heat stress and expel zooxanthellae if the ocean temperature gets too high. Bleaching events vary in intensity; in the extreme case, all zooxanthellae are expelled and the living colony will appear totally white (hence “bleaching”).  As elevated sea temperatures persist, coral mortality rates increase: corals may recover, if there are any zooxanthellae left in their tissues, but if not, death appears to be inevitable. 

The bottom line: If severe bleaching events occur regularly at shorter than 10–15 year intervals, then reefs face a death spiral of coral mortality followed by inadequate recovery periods. And that is what is happening now. Along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the frequency of mass bleaching is increasing, with events occurring in 1998, 2002, 2016, 2017 and 2020.  The 2016-17 events severely bleached half the reef, whose extent has been reduced by three-quarters over the last 40 years. Coral reproduction on the Great Barrier Reef has fallen 89% after repeated recent bleachings.  [My emphasis]

Read the complete article….

Analyses published yesterday shows that it is probably already too late to save dying coral reefs and reef ecosystems (including the Great Barrier Reef) from terminal collapse in the next decade or two

One of these articles is referenced in today’s The Age newspapers.

James Cook University marine biologist Jodie Rummer at work on the Great Barrier Reef. She has witnessed previous bleaching and described it as “scary and disturbing”.Credit:Grumpy Turtle

No climate change refuge for coral reefs: study

by Miki Perkins, 02/02/2022 in The Age

Global warming of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels will be catastrophic for almost all coral reefs, including those that scientists once hoped would act as refuges during climate change.

Only 0.2 per cent of coral reefs globally are likely to avoid frequent heat stress if temperatures warm, according to new research from an international team of universities, including James Cook University in Townsville.

Even thermal refuges, which experts assumed would be more able to endure warming oceans owing to factors such as the consistent upwelling of cool deep waters, would provide almost no protection to reef animals, the study found. It is published today in PLOS Climate.

Read the complete article….

Actually, there were two articles on rapidly rising sea surface temperatures (SST) published yesterday in the science journal, PLOS Climate. Together they seem to seal the fate of most of our planet’s coral reef ecosystems:

Future loss of local-scale thermal refugia in coral reef ecosystems

by Adele M Dixon, et al., 01/02/2022 in
PLOS Climate – https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pclm.0000004

Global distribution of exposure category in the 1986–2019 climate and at 1.5 and 2.0°C of future global warming. [DHW is the sum of SST anomalies 1°C higher than the long-term maximum monthly mean (MMM) over a 12-week period] Exposure categories are thermal refugia (probability of DHW events > 4°C-weeks less than 0.1 yr‒1), intermediate (probability of DHW events > 4°C-weeks from 0.1–0.2 yr‒1) and exposed (probability of DHW events > 4°C-weeks greater than 0.2 yr‒1). Percentages indicate the regional (on map) and global (right of map) proportion of thermal refugia (blue) and exposed reefs (red). The 12 coral reef regions are outlined in light blue. The base map is made with Natural Earth.

ABSTRACT: Thermal refugia underpin climate-smart management of coral reefs, but whether current thermal refugia will remain so under future warming is uncertain…. We confirm that warming of 1.5°C relative to pre-industrial levels will be catastrophic for coral reefs….

Read the complete article…..

The recent normalization of historical marine heat extremes

by K. Tanaka & Kyle S. Van Houtan 01/02/2202 in
PLOS Climate – https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pclm.0000007

Decadal evolution of frequency of extreme marine heat from 1980–2019. Extreme heat defined as exceeding the localized (1° × 1°), monthly, 98th percentile of sea surface temperatures (SST) observed during 1870–1919, averaged from HadISSTv1.1 and COBESSTv2 products. Extreme heat, resolved for boreal winter (Jan-Mar) and summer (Jul-Sep), accumulates steadily over time beginning in the Southern, South Atlantic, and Indian basins. Regions of the mid North Atlantic and eastern South Pacific indicate a low occurrence. The base map layer was drawn using the “rworldmap” R package (https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/rworldmap/index.html:

ABSTRACT: Climate change exposes marine ecosystems to extreme conditions with increasing frequency…. For the year 2019, our index reports that 57% of the global ocean surface recorded extreme heat, which was comparatively rare (approximately 2%) during the period of the second industrial revolution. Significant increases in the extent of extreme marine events over the past century resulted in many local climates to have shifted out of their historical SST bounds across many economically and ecologically important marine regions. For the global ocean, 2014 was the first year to exceed the 50% threshold of extreme heat thereby becoming “normal”….

Read the complete article….

The bottom line: It is almost certainly too late to save the Great Barrier Reef we know from ecological collapse, but we might be able to save keystone species able to rebuild it if we can stop and reverse global warming

Given that we have probably already crossed several tipping points such as permafrost thawing on the road to runaway global warming where natural positive feedbacks will continue working to drive global temperatures ever higher, the Great Barrier Reef as we know it seems to be unavoidably doomed. However, as long as a majority of the keystone architect coral species survive somewhere, they may be able to recolonize their previous ranges and begin building new reefs over subsequent centuries.

Unfortunately, when we should be working all-out to stop anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, our present Australian Government lead by Capt. Humbug (AKA Scotty from Marketing) and his deputy Blarny Barney (the Man with the Hat) is working hard to grow and maintain the healthy capacity of the fossil fuel industry to produce and burn carbon for energy. Also, not only are they doing nothing practical to stop and reverse global warming, but they just promised to spend a billion dollars on the Reef (over 9 years) to cloak the fact that they are doing nothing that counts to save the Reef (or for that matter our own human species).

The rapidly approaching Federal Election gives us the opportunity to remove Capt. Humbug and his wooden headed puppets from office and replace them with trustworthy, thinking people who have committed themselves to put work to solve the climate crisis as their first order of business if elected to Parliament. Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting System is designed to help you do this.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Tropical forests are turning into net greenhouse gas emitters, pushing us closer to the precipice of no return on the way to Hothouse extinction.

Part 4 of David Spratt’s guidebook to events along the road to Hothouse Hell: Overheated tropical forests are turning from carbon sinks into net greenhouse gas emitters.

In this part of his narrative, David Spratt leaves the polar regions he discussed in Part 3, to see what is happening to tropical forests (and other habitats). Tropical forests, notably including the Amazon Rainforest, are switching from sinks removing greenhouse carbon from the atmosphere to emitting greenhouse gases as they struggle to adapt to increasing temperatures.

Photosynthesis, the biochemical process that uses energy from light to shift electrons around to combine 6 CO₂ and 6 H₂O (water) molecules to make sugar (C₆H₁₂O₆, the basic carbohydrate that both fuels and forms the basis of most living matter) involves a complex cycle of enzymatic and electron transfer steps that are temperature sensitive. For most plants living in moderate climates, the rate of photosynthetic carbon capture increases as they get warmer, until, inescapably, there is a point (called the thermal maximum) when steps in the process begin to fail, causing the the rate of carbon capture to decline rapidly as temperature rises further. Also as the plant is increasingly stressed by rising temperature it burns more carbohydrate to fuel repair and maintenance so its CO₂ emissions also begin to rise rapidly. Spratt explains:

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon [dark green].
Image: Chatham House

26 January 2022

Have tipping points already been passed for critical climate systems? (4) Forests and the Amazon: A faltering carbon sink

by David Spratt in Climate Code Red
Fourth in a series.   
Read 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7

The plant-based terrestrial biosphere may be understood as including the world’s land-based plants, soils, derived dead organic matter, such as litter, and soil organic matter. 

Plants photosynthesis uses carbon dioxide and water to produce sugar (glucose) and oxygen. Around 30% of the additional carbon dioxide (CO₂) produced by human actions has been drawn down from the atmosphere (mitigated) by increased plant photosynthesis. This adds to the land-based sink of stored carbon. But plants also respire, for example at night and in winter, by converting oxygen and stored glucose back into water and carbon dioxide. 

As the planet continues to warm, a point of warming is reached — the “thermal maximum for photosynthesis” — after which combination of the rate of photosynthesis decreasing and the rate of respiration increasing results in the net flux of CO₂ from the atmosphere decreasing.

Together with more severe droughts and wildfires that also add to plant-based CO₂ emissions, the total amount of carbon stored in the terrestrial biosphere (the land sink) then starts to fall. This may be understood as a tipping point, a threshold beyond which large change is initiated in the terrestrial biosphere.

Brazil’s Amazon basin forest emitted more CO₂ than it has absorbed between 2010 and 2019: it gave off 16.6 billion tonnes of CO₂, while drawing down only 13.9 billion tonnes. “We half-expected it, but it is the first time that we have figures showing that the Brazilian Amazon has flipped, and is now a net emitter,” said study co-author Jean-Pierre Wigneron. Another study concluded that southeastern Amazonia, in particular, is acting as a net carbon source (total carbon flux minus fire emissions) to the atmosphere.


Read the complete article…..

Spratt’s article here refers mainly to tropical forests flipping from net GHG carbon sinks to net GHG emitters. The added GHGs then serve as positive feedback to increase the planetary greenhouse effect and thus force global average temperatures higher. What he does not discuss here (but may cover in subsequent parts of this series) is that boreal forests from the temperate to arctic zones are also flipping from being major carbon sinks to being even more potent emitters. This is due to the increasing number, extent, and ferocity of wildfires turning living and dead biomass into GHGs, combined with setting on fire especially carbon rich peat soils, releasing still more GHGs; and in the Arctic, contributing to the thawing of permafrost releasing still more GHGs including methane from the decomposition of methane hydrates stored in and under permafrost. These flips from sink to emitter begin slowly, but because of feedback amplification the flip may go to completion quite abruptly. (Last year I researched and wrote in some detail about how these processes work in the Siberian permafrost region: Portents for the Future – 2020 Wildfires on the Siberian Permafrost).

This is scary stuff. There is a large and rapidly accumulating body of evidence showing that humans started global warming started with the carbon emissions of our Industrial Revolution. We have probably reached a point where positive feedbacks will continue driving global temperatures higher even if we achieve zero emissions. At this point there is no evidence that anything we have done to reduce anthropogenic emissions is slowing the accelerating rise of any of the three major greenhouse gases, or that we are reversing the growth of global average temperatures. If we do not actually stop and reverse the warming, continuing positive feedbacks over the next few decades will drive us and the biosphere we need for our survival through the gates of Hell to a world that will be too hot for most species of life (including us) to survive.

I have said many times, and will undoubtedly say many times more that the fossil fuel industry special interests, its puppet representatives in many of the world’s governments, and friends in the print and social media have over the last 40 or so years until now managed quite successfully to deny, mislead, misrepresent, distract, delay, or block any effective action against their greenhouse gas emissions or their profits from thermal power generation. In Australia, beginning with the Abbott Government the LNP COALition and a few fellow-traveling independents & minor parties have been almost totally effective in preventing ANY very effective action to stop global warming (i.e., by doing everything they can think of to keep us on the downhill road to mass extinction and the end of the human species.

If we are to leave our only planet in a state where our children and grandchildren will have a future, Capt. Humbug and his wooden headed puppets must be removed from Parliament and replaced by trustworthy people who have committed if they are elected, to place action on the global climate emergency as their first priority in office.

Vote Climate One’s Traffic Light Voting System explains how you can use australia’s preferential voting system to do this.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Abrupt Arctic changes warn that we are slipping faster towards the precipice on the road where we cannot avoid the Hothouse Hell and extinction

Part 3 of David Spratt’s guidebook to events along the road to Hothouse Hell: Collapse of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Continuing from David Spratt’s look in Part 2 of his guidebook at evidence that the West Australian Ice Sheet is beginning to collapse; here, in Part 3 he turns his attention north, to signs that Greenland’s Ice Sheet is also beginning to collapse. As before, we are looking at the impacts of a probable sequence of events along the global warming road to Earth’s Hothouse Hell. These are leading us to what Steffen et al. described as the Earth System’s Hothouse (see the featured graphic above) in their 2018 Proceedings of the National Academies of Science paper, Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. The potentially cascading impacts of these events were also summarized in Lenton et al’s 2019 comment paper in Nature, Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against. An additional danger is that these may also cascade rapidly to cause a large change abruptly. The bottom line is that if we cannot stop the warming and backtrack to a lower temperature world, we cannot avoid the Hothouse and the road will end in the mass extinction of most species of complex life on our only planet, including ourselves.

There is no evidence that anything other than a rapidly mobilized war effort by humans will stop the cascade passing the point of no return to runaway warming and global mass extinction. If we want to leave any kind of future to our children and grandchildren, we had better pay heed to the warning signs that Spratt is pointing out, and start mobilizing and acting NOW!

Broken-up Arctic ice

24 January 2022

Have tipping points already been passed for critical climate systems? (3) Greenland and the Arctic: Abrupt change

by David Spratt in Climate Code Red

Third in a series.
Read 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7

“The Arctic is screaming”, says Mark Serreze, Arctic climate expert at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Arctic warming is racing ahead of the worst-case estimates, now heating four times faster than the global average, and the region is undergoing abrupt climate change, understood as a transition of the climate system into a different mode on a time scale that is faster than the responsible forcing. In other words, it has passed a tipping point for rapid, system-level change. 

Researchers say that the Arctic “is currently experiencing an abrupt climate change event …  climate models underestimate the abruptness of the recent changes observed in the Arctic (and) climate models underestimate this ongoing warming”. [Models do not account well for warming due to sea-ice loss, but losing the reflective power of Arctic sea ice in the summer months would advance the 2ºC threshold by 25 years”.]

Read the complete article…..

If we do nothing to stop the inexorable warming process we started with the proliferating carbon burning used to fuel the Industrial Revolution and our continuing competition to control the world the Climate System will complete its flip into Earth’s Hothouse Hell state. It will be very unlikely that we can avoid the hothouse and extinction along with the rest of the biosphere that supports our lives.

From the time the Abbott Government was elected in 2013 the LNP COALition Governments (currently under Capt. Humbug, (a.k.a. Scotty from Marketing) and his henchman Blarny Bulldust (The Man with the Hat) have worked hard to protect and and advance the interests of their patrons with special interests in the fossil fuel and related resource exploitation industries. Thus, for nearly a decade, The COALition’s humbug, denial, parliamentary blocking, disinformation, distraction and stupidity has successfully disrupted virtually every attempt to act against greenhouse gas emissions or even to slow the continued expansion of these lethal industries. Every year the COALition has been in power we are that much closer to the point of no return where our extinction is the only plausible outcome.

So what can Australians do to begin improving our odds to avoid the Hothouse Hell? One very obvious action is to replace the COALition government with people we can trust to put action on the climate emergency at the top of their goals in office and who have the capacity to organize and lead Australia’s mobilization of a global effort to stop and reverse global warming.

Our Traffic Light Voting System explains how we can help you do this without telling you how to vote.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Another step down the road to Earth’s Hothouse Hell and extinction

Part 2 of David Spratt’s guide-book to events along the road to Hothouse Hell: collapse of the West-Antarctic Ice Sheet

This post continues David Spratt’s account of how we humans seem to be passing critical tipping points in the dynamics of Earth’s Climate System initiating the positive feedbacks of runaway global warming to Earth’s Hothouse Hell. Steffen et al. described the dynamics and existential consequences of this process in their 2018 Proceedings of the National Academies of Science paper, Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. The feature graphic above from that paper maps out alternative destinations we can reach from where we are now. There are two roads,

  • a wide easy one leading to the cliff of no return, where we can no longer stop Earth’s runaway warming to global average temperatures 10 – 15 °C hotter than present that will be lethal to most species of complex organisms, and
  • an already hard to reach path where we climb back up the hill through effective “stewardship” (Steffen et al’s word), and reverse the warming process to stabilize the climate system in a way that will give humans and what remains of a probably already tattered biosphere a long term future.

Thanks to the technologies we began developing in the Industrial Revolution we have fueled our endless competition with one-another to control our one world with the increasingly profligate burning of fossil carbon to increase greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Rising temperatures are then initiating a variety of other temperature-related positive-feedback processes emitting more greenhouse gases or having other effects to increase the rate of temperate rise that has started us down the road to Earth’s Hothouse Hell.

When the positive feedback reaches a point where it can sustain further temperature increases, it can be said that it has passed a tipping point, that may begin a rapid cascade of further tipping points as described in Lenton et al’s 2019 comment paper in Nature, Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against. There is no evidence that anything other than a rapidly mobilized war effort by humans will be able to stop the cascade passing the point of no return to runaway warming and global mass extinction. If we want to leave a future to our children and grandchildren, we had better pay heed to the warning signs that Spratt is pointing out, and start mobilizing and acting now.

Where Thwaits Glacier meets the Antarctic Ocean

20 January 2022

Have tipping points already been passed for critical climate systems? (2) West Antarctica and the “doomsday” glacier

by David Spratt in Climate Code Red

Second in a series.    Read  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5

The Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica has an eastern ice shelf 45 kilometres wide as it flows into the Amundsen Sea. On 13 December 2021, scientists announced that the ice shelf is likely to break apart in the next five years or so, resulting in a speeding up of the glacier’s flow and ice discharge, possibly heralding the collapse of the glacier itself, and triggering similar increases across the Amundsen Sea glaciers.

The researchers explain: “Over the last several years, satellite radar imagery shows many new fractures opening up… which like a growing crack in the windshield of a car [can] suddenly break apart into hundreds of panes of glass. We have mapped [the] pathway the fractures might take through the ice [and conclude] the final collapse of Thwaites Glacier’s last remaining ice shelf may be initiated … within as little as five years” (emphasis added).

… 

The fracturing of the ice shelf means more warm water will penetrate under the ice sheet, helping to free the underbelly of the glacier from the grounding line rock underneath, and allowing water to flow into the deep basin under the glacier, causing the glacier’s collapse. This would raise sea levels by 65 centimetres, though the timing of such collapse — the “doomsday” scenario — is highly uncertain. Since neighbouring glaciers flow into the same basin, the demise of Thwaites could eventually lead to the loss of all of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), resulting in more than three metres of sea level rise, and putting at risk the lives and livelihoods of 250 million people.

Read the complete article…

There is no doubt that observable and understandable evidence from the real world that Spratt, I and others point out is telling us that we are on the road to Earth’s Hothouse Hell and the current climate emergency is already dire and getting worse. In the face of this truly existential crisis, Australia is governed by Captain Humbug’s LNP COALition. Based on watching and listening to them in action, they are a troop of wooden-headed puppets, charlatans, knaves and pathological liars.

Their COALition’s focus in Parliament seems to be protecting the special interests of their patrons in the greenhouse-gas emitting fossil fuel industries and related exploiters of Australia’s resources. Beginning with the holier than thou Abbott and currently led by Capt. Humbug (Scotty from marketing) and Blarney Bulldust (the man with the hat), as long as the COALition has been in government, their constant flow of humbug, legislative blocking, denial, disinformation, disruption, distraction etc., has effectively protected their patrons by stifling the mobilization of any real action on the climate emergency (e.g.., stopping GHG emissions cold).

Vote Climate One understands and accepts the real world evidence that humanity faces a genuinely existential crisis: we’ll soon become extinct if we do not stop and reverse global warming. Our group was formed with the single goal – to create some hope for the future by helping the Australian people remove Capt. Humbug and his nasty and evil troop from our Federal Parliament by replacing the puppets and knaves with honest parties and individuals who have convinced us that they can be trusted to place acting on climate change as their first order of business in Parliament.

Our Traffic Light Voting System explains how we can help you do this without telling you how to vote.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Tripping down the road to Earth’s Hothouse Hell and Global Mass Extinction

In this article David Spratt explains how we have embarked on this road to Earth’s Hothouse Hell.

These are well established tipping points on the road to runaway global warming

18 January 2022

Have tipping points already been passed for critical climate systems? (1) The basics

by David Spratt in Climate Code Red

First in a series.

As global heating reduces the extent of floating Arctic sea-ice each summer, the heat-reflecting ice is replaced by heat-absorbing dark ocean water, adding energy to the Arctic system, driving more melting. This is a “positive feedback”, a self-reinforcing change. Examples abound in the climate system. On Greenland, for example, warming is reducing the height of the ice, and this lower elevation means it will melt more, because the temperature is higher at lower altitudes. 

Sixteen years ago, James Hansen warned that “We live on a planet whose climate is dominated by positive feedbacks, which are capable of taking us to dramatically different conditions. The problem that we face now is that many feedbacks that came into play slowly in the past, driven by slowly changing forcings, will come into play rapidly now, at the pace of our human-made forcings, tempered a few decades by the oceans thermal response time.”   

Those feedbacks can drive non-linear (or abrupt) change that is difficult to forecast. That happened to Arctic sea-ice in the summer of 2007, when a collapse in the ice extent led one experienced glaciologist to exclaim that it was melting “100 years ahead of schedule”; actually, the scientific understanding was 100 years behind reality!  The same thing is happening in Antarctica now, according to the new observations of the Thwaites Glacier. 

For the full article ….

Spratt’s story will continue

Spratt warns us that more posts will follow in this series. One might relate to the unexpectedly rapid thawing of the Siberian permafrost (H on the map above) that holds at least two times more carbon Earth’s entire atmosphere.

This is something I have researched in detail with my own eyeballs using the original satellite scans. My findings are described in my graphical essay/presentation, “Portents for the Future – 2020 Wildfires on the Siberian Permafrost.” The authors of the tipping point papers Spratt cites and linked generally anticipated thawing of the permafrost would be one of the later tipping points. These authors certainly did not anticipate that all-time record temperatures would be recorded in 2020 above the Arctic Circle (due to Arctic amplification), or how this heat affected the rapid acceleration in frequency, extent, and ferocity of wildfires on the Siberian permafrost.

Spratt and I and a few other generalists (some of us with complex systems engineering backgrounds) can see that what is happening is well outside the boundaries of the IPCC’s super-conservative and bureaucratic approach to climate science that assumes that future climates can be predicted – at least in a statistical sense – by treating climate change as if it followed the universal laws of physics in a statistically repeatable way. However, even the IPCC’s tightly controlled conservative approach that only mentions the possibility of global mass extinction on one out of the 3949 pages of their recently released AR6 Report still shows we are well on the road to climate Hell.

As Spratt notes in the article here and I explain in detail in another graphical essay/presentation circulated earlier this month, “Some fundamental issues relating to the science underlying climate policy: The IPCC and COP26 couldn’t help but get it wrong“, climate change does not behave repeatably as one would expect in physics experiments. Climate is generated by a complex dynamical system of many variables interacting in non-linear and some times actually mathematically chaotic feedback loops such that climate change is actually unpredictable as one looks more than a few weeks into the future.

What this means for our future is that we are moving down the road to Hell farther, faster and sooner than anyone putting total faith in the IPCC’s complacent discussions of emissions budgets and 2050 net-zero targets would believe, and that the government and media puppets of the fossil fuel special interests are happy to refer to in their blizzard of optimistic humbug about a rosy future and keeping a vibrant coal burning industry going so there will be full employment.

The stark reality is that if we cannot very quickly mobilize a global effort to

  1. immediately stop human generated greenhouse gas emissions,
  2. engineer processes to capture and safely sequester a significant proportion of all the carbon in our planetary atmosphere, and
  3. enable to Earth to reflect away with out absorbing a significant fraction of the solar energy received

we will soon have passed the point of no return where the natural climate feedbacks are warming the world sped up so fast that nothing humans could do would prevent temperatures from running away to Earth’s Hothouse Hell state. That climatic flip would, of course, lead to completion of the global mass extinction event we have already started. Humans would be among the 90% or more of Earth’s biosphere to go extinct (as happened in the End Permian mass extinction).

Our current LNP COALition Government is clearly comprised of puppets of the greedily gluttonous special interests of the fossil fuel and related industries that are exploiting Australia’s natural resources for minimal return to Australia or its citizens. To have any hope of generating effective action on climate change against the blizzard of humbug, lies, misrepresentation, misdirection, alternative facts, fake news, bulldust and blather that members of this government emit to provide subsidy, cover, and protection for their patrons, they must all be removed from office and replaced wherever possible by electingtrustworthy people who have made public commitments to make action against climate change their first order of business.

Vote Climate One is dedicated to helping you achieve this replacement (where needed) in every Federal Electorate by making it easy to use our Australian preferential voting system to full effect. This help is provided via our Traffic Light Voting System. If we can sterilize the pigpen our Parliament has become and replace it with houses of genuine leadership and legislation, we might actually be able to engineer a solution to the climate emergency that provides us with a path into a foreseeable future.

If you agree with the program outlined here, we are seeking like-minded volunteers to help us in this effort to change our Parliament as Climate Heroes or in any other way.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.

Tripping down the road to Earth’s Hothouse Hell and Global Mass Extinction

In this article David Spratt explains how we have embarked on this road to Earth’s Hothouse Hell.

These are well established tipping points on the road to runaway global warming

18 January 2022

Have tipping points already been passed for critical climate systems? (1) The basics

by David Spratt in Climate Code Red

First in a series.

As global heating reduces the extent of floating Arctic sea-ice each summer, the heat-reflecting ice is replaced by heat-absorbing dark ocean water, adding energy to the Arctic system, driving more melting. This is a “positive feedback”, a self-reinforcing change. Examples abound in the climate system. On Greenland, for example, warming is reducing the height of the ice, and this lower elevation means it will melt more, because the temperature is higher at lower altitudes. 

Sixteen years ago, James Hansen warned that “We live on a planet whose climate is dominated by positive feedbacks, which are capable of taking us to dramatically different conditions. The problem that we face now is that many feedbacks that came into play slowly in the past, driven by slowly changing forcings, will come into play rapidly now, at the pace of our human-made forcings, tempered a few decades by the oceans thermal response time.”   

Those feedbacks can drive non-linear (or abrupt) change that is difficult to forecast. That happened to Arctic sea-ice in the summer of 2007, when a collapse in the ice extent led one experienced glaciologist to exclaim that it was melting “100 years ahead of schedule”; actually, the scientific understanding was 100 years behind reality!  The same thing is happening in Antarctica now, according to the new observations of the Thwaites Glacier. 

For the full article ….

Spratt’s story will continue

Spratt warns us that more posts will follow in this series. One might relate to the unexpectedly rapid thawing of the Siberian permafrost (H on the map above) that holds at least two times more carbon Earth’s entire atmosphere.

This is something I have researched in detail with my own eyeballs using the original satellite scans. My findings are described in my graphical essay/presentation, “Portents for the Future – 2020 Wildfires on the Siberian Permafrost.” The authors of the tipping point papers Spratt cites and linked generally anticipated thawing of the permafrost would be one of the later tipping points. These authors certainly did not anticipate that all-time record temperatures would be recorded in 2020 above the Arctic Circle (due to Arctic amplification), or how this heat affected the rapid acceleration in frequency, extent, and ferocity of wildfires on the Siberian permafrost.

Spratt and I and a few other generalists (some of us with complex systems engineering backgrounds) can see that what is happening is well outside the boundaries of the IPCC’s super-conservative and bureaucratic approach to climate science that assumes that future climates can be predicted – at least in a statistical sense – by treating climate change as if it followed the universal laws of physics in a statistically repeatable way. However, even the IPCC’s tightly controlled conservative approach that only mentions the possibility of global mass extinction on one out of the 3949 pages of their recently released AR6 Report still shows we are well on the road to climate Hell.

As Spratt notes in the article here and I explain in detail in another graphical essay/presentation circulated earlier this month, “Some fundamental issues relating to the science underlying climate policy: The IPCC and COP26 couldn’t help but get it wrong“, climate change does not behave repeatably as one would expect in physics experiments. Climate is generated by a complex dynamical system of many variables interacting in non-linear and some times actually mathematically chaotic feedback loops such that climate change is actually unpredictable as one looks more than a few weeks into the future.

What this means for our future is that we are moving down the road to Hell farther, faster and sooner than anyone putting total faith in the IPCC’s complacent discussions of emissions budgets and 2050 net-zero targets would believe, and that the government and media puppets of the fossil fuel special interests are happy to refer to in their blizzard of optimistic humbug about a rosy future and keeping a vibrant coal burning industry going so there will be full employment.

The stark reality is that if we cannot very quickly mobilize a global effort to

  1. immediately stop human generated greenhouse gas emissions,
  2. engineer processes to capture and safely sequester a significant proportion of all the carbon in our planetary atmosphere, and
  3. enable to Earth to reflect away with out absorbing a significant fraction of the solar energy received

we will soon have passed the point of no return where the natural climate feedbacks are warming the world sped up so fast that nothing humans could do would prevent temperatures from running away to Earth’s Hothouse Hell state. That climatic flip would, of course, lead to completion of the global mass extinction event we have already started. Humans would be among the 90% or more of Earth’s biosphere to go extinct (as happened in the End Permian mass extinction).

Our current LNP COALition Government is clearly comprised of puppets of the greedily gluttonous special interests of the fossil fuel and related industries that are exploiting Australia’s natural resources for minimal return to Australia or its citizens. To have any hope of generating effective action on climate change against the blizzard of humbug, lies, misrepresentation, misdirection, alternative facts, fake news, bulldust and blather that members of this government emit to provide subsidy, cover, and protection for their patrons, they must all be removed from office and replaced wherever possible by electingtrustworthy people who have made public commitments to make action against climate change their first order of business.

Vote Climate One is dedicated to helping you achieve this replacement (where needed) in every Federal Electorate by making it easy to use our Australian preferential voting system to full effect. This help is provided via our Traffic Light Voting System. If we can sterilize the pigpen our Parliament has become and replace it with houses of genuine leadership and legislation, we might actually be able to engineer a solution to the climate emergency that provides us with a path into a foreseeable future.

If you agree with the program outlined here, we are seeking like-minded volunteers to help us in this effort to change our Parliament as Climate Heroes or in any other way.

Views expressed in this post are those of its author(s), not necessarily all Vote Climate One members.