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I found this first on FireDogLake: the International Energy Agency (IEA), an appendage of OECD and considered an authority on energy and climate issues up there with the IPCC, has revised its predictions for the extent of global warming upwards ... FAR upwards. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at their present rate, they expect the global average temperature to rise by SIX degrees Celsius by 2100.

For perspective: the projections considered most probably anticipate only 3 degrees C of temperature increase over the same time period. The only precedent for such a radical change in the Earth's climate is the Permian mass extinction that killed 95% of all species of life ... and it took tens of thousands of years for temperatures to rise that high. We're on track to do the same in less than a hundred

Part of what makes this scenario so unpleasant to contemplate is the fact that the IEA's model suggests that First World nations are more or less powerless to avert this catastrophe. North America and Europe are expected to amount to only 3% of the increased emissions. The remaining 97% is expected to come from the developing world - China and India especially - as they continue to industrialize and consume as much as they can afford. If the developing world follows in our footsteps, it will not be possible to prevent catastrophic global warming on our own, not even if we go carbon-neutral and reduce our [net] emissions to zero.

Based on the amount of greenhouse gases already emitted over the last 150 years and their affects on the ecosystem, as much as 2 degrees Celsius of global average temperature rise is already committed, as in there's nothing we can do to stop it.

Ladies, gentlemen, and 20-somethings, our children could be the last generation of human beings, and it's not up to us. The developing world simply MUST be prevented from making our old mistakes and dooming us all.

Originally posted to Visceral on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 07:11 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I was just deciding if I wanted to drink tonight (15+ / 0-)

    that pretty much decides that

    Fight the stupid! Boycott BREAKING diaries!

    by VelvetElvis on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 07:14:39 PM PST

  •  Well, (8+ / 0-)

    This sure vindicates my decision not to reproduce.

  •  I can only say this (0+ / 0-)

    This Boomer hopes he's still around to enjoy the sauna.

    :)  Peace

  •  OK, so a nuclear war wiping out most (6+ / 0-)

    of human civilization might be the only way to save the human race.

    I shoulda voted for McCain.

    Fight the stupid! Boycott BREAKING diaries!

    by VelvetElvis on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 07:18:20 PM PST

  •  well, I suppose in the long run (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    captainlaser, CJnyc

    we're all dead.

    by bhagamu on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 07:18:32 PM PST

    •  That's the short run (0+ / 0-)

      Given the speeds calculated by latest scientific prognostication, I don't think we're going to have to worry about 2100, probably 2050 is optimistic. Read about our blithe redistribution of available nitrogen sometime to induce serious depression.

  •  How do we do this??????? (0+ / 0-)

    "you ought to be ashamed of yourself, person who loves to tell your 'hat story' with OPOL. Grow up."

    by DemocraticLuntz on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 07:20:56 PM PST

  •  So we spend all that money on developing (6+ / 0-)

    countries and this is what we get in return ?!?
    Sarcasm aside, I think one of the biggest failures of our society is the fact that we hardly ever talk about over population and I have no idea why.
    Is it because capitalism needs more people to sell stuff to? I mean McDonalds can only feed one person 3 times a day (even though they are trying hard to squeeze a 4th one in).

  •  Six degrees of warming ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    would not be the end of the world. The globe can cope with much more than that, and has in the past. The difference in temperature predicted is around the same as between now and the end of the ice ages, so you can expect there will be significant changes in climate, but the globe won't be uninhabitable, and I expect a lot fewer than 95% of the species will go extinct. I don't know who comes up with this alarmist crap.

    It actually might be the end of civilization, if human beings can't cope with global warming and end up getting into wars about newly formed deserts or newly fertile lands. And certainly food production will go down, and we'll have a lot of poor people starving (although that's already happening for other reasons right now). But I don't see that the end-of-the-world view has any justification.

    •  Not just the temperature, but the timescale (6+ / 0-)

      Even if you're right, and I seriously doubt you are - just Google "Eocene Thermal Maximum" and "Permian Exinction" - what's truly unprecedented is the short timescale of this catastrophe.

      The Eocene Thermal Maximum raised global average temperatures by around 6 degrees C too, but that was over the course of 20,000 years. That's enough for evolution to radically reshape plants and animals without the pressures of severe climate change.

      When change happens quickly, evolution simply can't keep up, and Nature is much harder hit. There's no way life can adapt in 100 years: that's as much a part of the danger as the higher temperatures.

      •  Exactly, we know that most life can adapt at a (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, Bob Guyer, rainmanjr, RenMin

        given rate of temperature change per decade. Studies quantifying this have been around at least since the late 90s. The faster the change, the more catastrophic for life.

        Frankly, there's very little room for misjudgment at this point, maybe none. It is said that it takes 17-20 miles to stop a supertanker, likewise it is taking a very long time to change the world's CO2 emissions behavior, scores of years. And on top of this the half-life of CO2 in the atmosphere is something like 60 years.

        "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy" Hamlet, 1:5

        by synductive99 on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 08:00:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mitigation needs to be a priority too (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marina, Bob Guyer, RenMin, synductive99

          Reducing emissions isn't enough, not by a long shot. 2 degrees C of global warming is already in the pipeline, and what will be emitted even as we're cutting back will continue to raise temperatures further.

          Carbon neutrality isn't enough; we have to go carbon-negative and actively suck out and sequester carbon dioxide. It's simpler than we think: plant fast-growing plants, then after harvest or whatever sink them in the oxygen-depleted bottoms of meromictic bodies of water, lakes etc. that are divided into layers that don't mix. The Black Sea is suspected to be one such place, and smaller lakes and swamps can be found worldwide.

          We'll need some global means of managing the inevitable population shifts, adapting agriculture to the changing climate, and reforestation like our lives depend on it ... because they will.

      •  Nobody knows what caused the Permian extinction, (0+ / 0-)

        and in the Eocene thermal maximum, the temperature started out warmer than it is now (I find this easily from googling). Nobody really knows what will happen if the temperature warms 6 C, but the website you pointed to basically gives the worst-case scenarios that any scientist has come up with as established consequences. This is really dishonest.

        I agree, if the global warming raises temperatures 6 degrees C, parts of the globe will become very unpleasant places. But I will be very surprised if its the end of the world.

    •  There will be massive population displacements (6+ / 0-)

      A few hundred million Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis looking to move to higher ground is going to make a very tense region of the world.

      Behind every great man, there's a woman saying "Stand up straight"

      by captainlaser on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 07:50:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is already happening in Africa. & the Darfur (5+ / 0-)

        genocide is attributed, by many people, to climate change: severe drought has caused extreme hardship. Under these conditions survival becomes paramount, and people look after people like themselves. Those who are different are less valued. When the lifeboat is overloaded, who are picked to be thrown overboard? Who decides?

        There are a number of possible climate/economic scenarios that bring these conditions within our borders.

        The climate change problem is why I worked to elect Obama. We all need to educate ourselves, and those around us to the problem. And we need to work our asses off toward a solution. Toward minimizing the inevitable consequences: adaptation. And toward minimizing emissions: mitigation.

        Humanity is capable of incredible achievements when we commit ourselves and our resources to an issue. So there is every reason to hope, but there is also every need to work like hell.

        "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy" Hamlet, 1:5

        by synductive99 on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 08:12:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe they can go to Tibet. (0+ / 0-)

        That would be a fun switcher-oo.

        "It's time to start all over/make a new beginning." - Tracy Chapman

        by rainmanjr on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 08:49:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ray of hope ... (5+ / 0-)

    IEA is 'BAU' ... as to China / India, the opportunity is Google/such, who are targeting on how to deliver renewable energy less expensively than coal. Do that, ASAP, and we have a game changer to turn the IEA scenario on its head ...  

    Will it happen? Definitely worth fighting for.

  •  As the President of China said (7+ / 0-)

    You took 300 years to get to your economic position without worrying about pollution.   You cannot hold the third world to a higher standard.

    So the only solution is for the first world to build cheap, clean, renewable energy and give it away to the Third World.  Otherwise, your doomsday scenario may be our path.

    I would put a price on that 'giveaway', though.  The Third World has to make an effort to stabilize their population.

    This is not likely to happen in 100 years without a serious environmental disaster to force it.

    Behind every great man, there's a woman saying "Stand up straight"

    by captainlaser on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 07:43:24 PM PST

  •  So what you're telling me is that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eaglecries, Bob Guyer, rainmanjr

    even if we all survive December 21, 2012, our kids and grandkids are gonna be dead in a few anyway?

    Well, that fucking sucks. Thanks for the extreme bummer.

  •  The policy problem is not intractable. (4+ / 0-)

    Essentially, the U.S. and E.U. can adopt whatever policies they choose with respect to their industries to make sure environmental costs of industry like carbon emissions do not get externalized. And then they can present nations without these policies a choice: adopt them, or pay for your carbon emissions through punitive tariffs when you export into our markets.

    Otherwise, first-world restriction carbon emissons don't actually reduce carbon emissions, but just encourages emitters to shift operations to less restrictive economies, like China is now.

    Of course the WTO would be in conniptions over such a policy shift, but I certainly prefer sacrificing the World Trade Organization to sacrificing the actual world.

    Next problem?

    "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

    by andydoubtless on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 07:55:10 PM PST

    •  Chinese/Indian industry not all offshored from US (0+ / 0-)

      They both have huge populations demanding the high standards of living found in the West and especially the United States, and economic growth and consumer goods is the Chinese government's strategy for keeping itself in power.

      •  No, they're just so dependent on exports (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, Wolf Of Aquarius

        that the result of our recession is that Chinese electricity usage has declined by four percent due to the slide in factory production, according to a story on the New York Times website today.

        Economically speaking, if we do not impose some form of cost on Chinese imports to the United States to make sure that anti-global warming policies are parallel, then like I said all our global warming policies do is encourage moving industries offshore.

        Of course, you are right to the extent that taxes, duties, or penalties on Chinese exports to the US don't affect directly Chinese-made goods consumed in China, and to that extent we don't have leverage. That is why I think whatever barriers we impose shouldn't be just one-to-one to make sure the environmental costs of carbon emission aren't externalized with respect to that one exported good, it should be punitive.

        Essentially, China comes within the fold and adopts a carbon emissions program parallel to the United States and Europe, or it loses its export markets. That's very fair, especially considering as is becoming very obvious its advantages in export markets are not merely the "natural" result of economic advantages in areas like lower wages, but the result of an industrial environment free of public oversight, regulation, tort recovery and the costs these institutions create in the name of the public's safety and well-being.

        "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

        by andydoubtless on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 08:35:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  intractable if equity issue not faced (0+ / 0-)

      15 years after Rio, our country has done less than nothing.  

      •  Right. All this presupposes and requires that (0+ / 0-)

        the United States act on climate change. Although it should be noted that the inability to adopt parallel rules affecting all nations is one of the central reasons this has not happened.

        "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

        by andydoubtless on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 11:40:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The U.S. agreed to act without parallel rules (0+ / 0-)

          along with other major developed countries.  

          It should be noted that the U.S. has used "free rider" theory and supposed concern for workers as an excuse for not acting.  

          •  There's several ways to square this circle. (0+ / 0-)

            Given everything else I've said on this thread, it's understandable that the Chinese would object to parallel rules given that the baseline for different countries' carbon quotas would be 1990, because of the huge industrial growth China has experienced since then.

            As a concession to help justify the adoption of parallel rules, the methodology for each setting each country's quota of carbon emissions could somewhat reflect Chinese interests by, for instance, reflecting China's population as a total percentage of the world.

            I think that meets a basic test of equity that we want these rules to reflect.

            "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

            by andydoubtless on Sat Nov 15, 2008 at 01:04:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  All the more reason to invest trillions in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rainmanjr, RenMin, Wolf Of Aquarius

    alternative energies, and then make sure the technologies are licensed for free to the developing world.

  •  Why did I waste my time doing laundry? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rainmanjr, Calamity Jean, XerTeacher

    and turn down that nice piece of cake?  

    Why does it always end up like this?  The Europeans and the Americans go hog wild destroying the environment for a couple of centuries, but then China & India, the Rodney Dangerfields of the developing world get stuck with the blame for the end of the world?

    Perhaps China & India will be leading us toward a global solution to climate change.  China has higher CAFE standards than we do.  We shouldn't assume that because we led on how to destroy the planet means we are best equipped to lead the way to save it.  My guess is this will be a global solution but the west can't approach this problem with our traditional western hubris, we look like smug hypocrites.

    Just a thought.

    "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation.........well, that and the return of droogie! droogie is back!

    by Uncle Moji on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 08:41:15 PM PST

  •  We Are China and India (5+ / 0-)

    The Western world, particularly the U.S., has outsourced a substantial fraction of its carbon footprint to China and India. The coal was burned in China, but much of it was burned to make almost everything you see in your local Wal-Mart.

  •  All I have to say is, report for duty, y'all! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liz, MKSinSA

    Let's save the world!

    Here is a thoughtful post from FireDogLake
    on this shockingly bad report made by "selise":

    selise November 14th, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    re: derrick jensen’s "culture of make believe" - don’t know if anyone will see this, but might as well leave it. couldn’t find the bit i was looking for in the book, but this is the same conversation described in an interview:

       Personally, I’ve actually found it quite liberating to simply feel despair. Despair is an appropriate response to a desperate situation.

       One day I was just sobbing, and I called up a friend of mine, Jeannette Armstrong, who is an Okanagan Indian activist. I said to her, "This work is just killing me. It’s breaking my heart." She said, "Yeah, it’ll do that." And I said, "The dominant culture hates everything, doesn’t it?" She said, "Yeah, it does. Even itself." And I said, "It has a death urge, doesn’t it?" She said, "Yeah, it does." And I said, "Unless it’s stopped it’s going to kill everything on the planet, isn’t it?" She said, "Yeah, it is. Unless it’s stopped." And then I said, "We’re not going to make it to some great new glorious tomorrow, are we?" She thought for a moment and then she said the best thing she could possibly say, which was, "I’ve been waiting for you to say that."

       The reason it was the best thing she could say was that it normalized my despair. It let me know that despair is an appropriate response to a desperate situation; the sorrow is just sorrow and the pain is just pain. It’s not so much the sorrow or even the pain that hurts as it is my resistance to it. It let me know that I can feel all those things and it wouldn’t kill me. I could feel that pain and still feel love.

       There’s this idea that if you really recognize how bad things are you have to go around being miserable all the time. But the truth is, I’m really happy. I am full of rage and sorrow and joy and happiness and contentment and discontent. I’m full of all those things. It’s okay to feel more than one thing at the same time.

    Habeas Corpus:See Hamilton quoting Blackstone in The Federalist Papers, number 84.

    by Ignacio Magaloni on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 09:25:28 PM PST

  •  Nov. 14 and California is still experiencing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Santa Ana conditions. 90 degrees and wind gusts up to 70mph.  

    Quite timely, while waiting at the doctor's office today, I read an article in Los Angeles mag about the Santa Ana winds. I found this excerpt particularly interesting:

    Bill Patzert works in the earth science building at JPL in Pasadena. Several years ago the Bush administration cautioned the agency against drawing parallels between global warming and human activity. Patzert was one of a few scientists who ignored the order. "Anybody who says we need another study to prove global warming exists has their head up their tuchas," he told me.

    It was June, and Patzert had strange news.   "Remember how hot it was last week?" he asked. For ten days temperatures in Los Angeles had stayed above 100 degrees. "Well, that was a weeklong Santa Ana," he said, leaning back and smiling. "In June." Patzert and others think the Santa Ana season is expanding all the way into summer. "That," says Eric Boldt, "is something we are definitely seeing. We are having more and more offshore events in summer where we did not before."

    Patzert believes that the typical annual range of Santa Ana days in the past has run from 15 to 70. "But what is the trigger?" he asked rhetorically before mentioning the May 2007 Griffith Park fire. "That was a Santa Ana out of season. Then came the October fires. The Santa Anas just kept coming. Why? Well, in years of drought, as we are experiencing now, more high-pressure systems stall in the Great Basin, making us vulnerable to longer Santa Ana events. And California is only getting warmer and drier." In 2007, said Patzert, L.A. experienced 72 days of Santa Anas. Should the number of days keep increasing, Southern California might see fire seasons that run not from October through November but from May through December.

    Full Article

  •  The Chinese government seems to be aware (0+ / 0-)

    of the danger. They're encouraging grassroots environmental activism (pretty much the only type of grassroots activism encouraged in the PRC) as well as investing in clean technology. Here at my university, there are many, many Chinese students studying environmental policy and a lot of them seem to be the children of the elites and Communist party members.

  •  The Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) (0+ / 0-)

    is clear.  Developed countries must act first, and action by developing countries is dependent on financial assistance from the developed countries.  Despite that being the deal, ratified by the Senate, the Senate, by a 97-0 vote on the Byrd-Hagel Resolution in 1997, made it clear that it would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol because it did not require of developing countries that which the FCCC said could not be required.

    Even if emissions did not grow in the developing world, greenhouse gas levels would rise.  Even if developing countries reduced their emissions growth, developed countries, whose per capita emissions are far higher, would have to drastically reduce emissions.

    What has long been needed is a recognition of equity issues, and I don't see this diary showing any such recognition.  

    Contraction and convergence is what is needed:

  •  We need to lead by example! How selfish a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, montecristo

    proposal you make as call to action. "We MUST prevent them..." from what, having the ease of life, and all the goodies we have?

    Instead, we MUST begin to lead by example, pare back, sacrifice some, invest like a whirlwind in alternative energies - multiple -- and succeed at it.

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Nov 14, 2008 at 11:06:48 PM PST

  •  Before Kyoto, there was the climate treaty (0+ / 0-)

    On September 8, 1992, the US president George Bush transmitted the UNFCCC for advice and consent of the U.S. Senate to ratification. The Foreign Relations Committee approved the treaty and reported it (Senate Exec. Rept. 102-55) October 1, 1992. The Senate consented to ratification on October 7, 1992, with a two-thirds majority vote. President Bush signed the instrument of ratification October 13, 1992, and deposited it with the U.N. Secretary General.

    A key principle that our country agreed to:

    Noting that the largest share of historical and current global emissions of greenhouse gases has originated in developed countries, that per capita emissions in developing countries are still relatively low and that the share of global emissions originating in developing countries will grow to meet their social and development needs,

    and in the Commitments, a recognition that developed countries would fund climate mitigation in developing countries:

    1. The extent to which developing country Parties will effectively implement their commitments under the Convention will depend on the effective implementation by developed country Parties of their commitments under the Convention related to financial resources and transfer of technology and will take fully into account that economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing country Parties.

    I can see the need to renegotiate and ask more of developing countries, but a much stronger case could be made if this country had made real efforts to reduce emissions, which it has not.

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