Postscript: The Time is Growing Short

I published the blog post below in 2017. It discusses a scientific analysis and climate-change warning published in the journal Nature.
The critical element of the scientists’ conclusion was the absolutely necessity to begin immediately reducing CO2 emissions. Progress was pinned to six milestones that had to be reached by 2020. Here we are in 2020. Unfortunately, global CO2 emissions increased in 2018 and 2019 and none of the six milestones was reached. Likewise, the other disasters I mentioned are continuing to accelerate. The likelihood that human civilization will continue to progress and flourish in years to come is perhaps exactly equal to the number of times “biodiversity” or “global wildlife extinction” has been mentioned in the Democratic presidential debates: Zero. But who knows? Perhaps this year’s weather will provoke a massive mobilization similar to what it took to combat the Nazis.

[Alfred E. Neuman said “What, me worry?” — perhaps he was our spokesperson after all, eh Joe?]

The 2017 Blog Post

GR [in 2017]:  An article from June, 2016 should be on everyone’s mind now. Here’s my discussion followed by a link to the article.

A group of scientists analyzed the sources of CO2 and the dynamic relationship between the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere and global temperature to devise a global carbon budget they could use to assess the effect of timing of changes in CO2 emissions. The analysis enabled them to calculate the changes we must make to preserve a livable climate. You’ll have to read the article to see the individual sources of CO2 that must be adjusted. I wanted to mention the timing for the budget. The analysis shows that if CO2 emissions begin to fall immediately and reach zero in 30 years, we will remain within the global warming limits set by the Paris treaty. After the flat emissions of 2014, 2015, and 2016, the authors believed that the fall in emissions was ready to begin. This is good, because their budget shows that if we wait to 2020 to start tapering off CO2 production, we only get 20 years to reach zero emissions. If we wait to 2025, we get less than 10 years to reach zero. Transforming our energy use that quickly would be impossible.

SO, how are we doing. Six months after the analysis was published, we find that 2017 emissions have gone up, not down. Lot’s of positive changes have begun, but we have to wait to see what happens in 2018. If we begin to taper off CO2 emissions by 2020, we will have 20 years to reach zero emissions. I suggest you take a look at the six milestones the authors believe must be reached by 2020. Then you can monitor the world’s progress toward painful climate change (the Paris treaty) or disastrous climate change (with too many storms, fires, heat waves, and rising seas).

Climate change is just one of the approaching disasters. Human population and its impact is growing, wildlife species are going extinct at incredible rates, freshwater supplies are dropping, and toxic wastes are building up. If we can’t do much more than take our CO2 emissions to zero over the next 20 years, most of the diversity and beauty of life on Earth will disappear.

Christiana Figueres and colleagues set out a six-point plan for turning the tide of the world’s carbon dioxide by 2020. NATURE.COM

11 thoughts on “Postscript: The Time is Growing Short

  1. “The massive mobiliization” to defeat the Nazis was the exact opposite of what a climate change “revolution” could theoretically (that’s stretching the word) be – war is killing, bombing, murder, huge and fantastical employment of fossil fuels to destroy anything and everything. The common trope of “WWII-style campaign to defeat climate change” is nonsensical.
    Nothing in the human record or in human reality augurs any hope whatsoever about arresting the fossil fueled Climatastrophe. We’re not there yet, so we’ll keep on having a nice day, but we all know what’s a’comin’.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Recycle I guess. Another important question is, What do we do with all the hungry/thirsty people? If their number doesn’t start becoming more sustainable, reducing CO2 will not save us.


  3. HOST: Our contestant on “Climate Family Feud” says: “Recycled.” Survey question was: What will happen to all of our fossil fuel cars and trucks and machines? Survey Says:
    “Recycled”? (XXXX) Buzzer. Zero.

    The top survey response to our Climate Family Feud Question was: “OPERATED!” 100%! All of those cars and trucks and SUVS and mining machines will continue to be “Operated!,” come the Climatastrophe today or tomorrow.
    Thanks for playing!
    Host: Next survey question: what will become of those coming hungry/thirsty people?
    Survey Says?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. With one disaster after the next, I find it hard to comprehend how anyone could deny that our weather has changed – and the planet is firing out SOS signals.

    Your wise and grounded council is greatly appreciated. You’re a beacon to many of us; thanks for the smoke signal.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that humans will keep breeding to the max and really nothing will be done to address climate change havoc in time. Honestly, I don’t care about humanity surviving; I do care about all the other species. But humans will just keep procrastinating, using fertility clinics and driving pickup trucks/large SUVs and only making tiny inroads into abandoning fossil fuels. It’s what we do.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. A species’ population growth in limited environments tends to decline not long after carrying capacity is surpassed. This might occur gradually appearing as declining average life span and reproduction success or in a series of jerks corresponding to invasions and natural (or unnatural) disasters. Or both. Gruesome for members of the species for sure. Okay, confetti time!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Last night I lectured on fuelweeds and the future of weed floras. I proposed that the most aggressive foreign and native weeds will inevitably replace most other plant species. Plant extinctions will accelerate and botanical (and, of course, zoological) biodiversity will decline. But one day, with the Anthropocene in Earth’s rear view, the flood of introduced species will stop, greenhouse gases will be reabsorbed, evolution will produce diseases and consumers for the foreign weeds, natural selection will bring forth new long-lived climax species, biosphere productivity will again find a balance with incoming solar energy, and there will be a return to levels of diversity, productivity, and beautiful complexity that existed before our species came along. [“Fear not the long sentence” — Roy Clark.]

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Added to the influence of a few powerful leaders who call climate change a hoax, there was a report this morning that a large portion of all climate denial tweets are produced by bots. The bots’ creator was not determined.

    Liked by 1 person


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