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.