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Hansen must read: Get back to 350 ppm or risk an ice-free planet and sea levels 200 ft higher

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RedEarth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-19-08 02:35 PM
Original message
Hansen must read: Get back to 350 ppm or risk an ice-free planet and sea levels 200 ft higher
Edited on Wed Mar-19-08 02:55 PM by RedEarth
Hansen (et al) must read: Get back to 350 ppm or risk an ice-free planet
Here is the draft of the long-awaited defense of why we need an ultimate target of 350 ppm for atmospheric carbon dioxide, by NASAs James Hansen et al., Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?


The key paleoclimate finding of the article:

We infer from the Cenozoic data that CO2 was the dominant Cenozoic forcing, that CO2 was only ~450 ppm when Antarctica glaciated, and that glaciation is reversible.

That is, if we stabilize at 450 ppm (or higher) we risk returning the planet to conditions when it was largely ice free, when sea levels were higher by 70 meters more than 200 feet!


The final point of the paper deserves reprinting:

Present policies, with continued construction of coal-fired power plants without CO2 capture, suggest that decision-makers do not appreciate the gravity of the situation. We must begin to move now toward the era beyond fossil fuels. Continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions, for just another decade, practically eliminates the possibility of near-term return of atmospheric composition beneath the tipping level for catastrophic effects.

The most difficult task, phase-out over the next 20-25 years of coal use that does not capture CO2, is herculean, yet feasible when compared with the efforts that went into World War II. The stakes, for all life on the planet, surpass those of any previous crisis. The greatest danger is continued ignorance and denial, which could make tragic consequences unavoidable.
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Dhalgren Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-19-08 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. Fuck! K&R! Fuck!
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-19-08 04:12 PM
Response to Original message
2. Wonderful summary - important to read entire piece
I think it is a spot on recitation of the policy perspective. The only thing I'd add is that I don't think the cause for the sense of urgency is really clear to people who don't have a fairly deep understanding of the forces at work. Even though the risk cannot be effectively argued as a high probability, the degree of potential loss is on a scale that people really only associate with an all out nuclear war.
It is such a low probability (in terms of policy recommendations) that arguing a 90% extinction event can't help but be seen as fear mongering. However, a standard part of the literature includes some work on the Permean-triassic extinction event and the release of undersea deposits of methane hydrate. It's a world killer.
So anyway, I think this fear of world death scale consequences is the kind of fear that many proponents of immediate action have. I also think it is a reasonable personal analysis that lies behind such fear. However, how do you argue it without sounding like a scaremonger with some kind of agenda?

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One_Life_To_Give Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-19-08 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. Love it, Yeah!
Edited on Wed Mar-19-08 04:38 PM by One_Life_To_Give
My front door is at 215ft. I am going to make a killing on this beach front property.


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govegan Donating Member (661 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-19-08 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
4. Does anyone take the science of global warming seriously?
Personally, anyone who claims to be an "environmentalist," or some sort of messenger about the scale of disaster that potentially lies ahead, I can not take overly seriously if the individual has not undertaken the single most effective, safe and easy path to personal responsibility for change. That path involves a common sense understanding of the drastic effect that animal agriculture has upon the planet's precious resources.

I am not going to cite any of the studies here, but they have been done. The animal agriculture industry has a more drastic effect on planetary climate change and atmospheric degradation than all of the transportation sector.

Some newspapers and other publications are in the habit of printing the fact that the paper is recycled and should be recycled again, and that the ink is soy-based. So why can't people be informed on a regular basis of an indisputable scientific fact: no disease, no malady, no infirmity has been identified in all medical literature that results from not having animal products or by-products in the human diet?

The average American consumes less than 5% of their calories from whole, unprocessed, natural foods. Again, the studies have been done and can be cited.

What most individuals consume is a matter of choice in industrialized Western societies. Some of the most wasteful and disease causing foods are heavily subsidized and would not be affordable by the lower classes if that were not the case.

To a large extent, planetary climate change is one of personal choice. If you want change, you may have to change yourself. Big business and their neo-fascist governments want you to believe that only big industry driven changes are effective. They want us to believe that we must get big business to re-tool transportation and energy sources, for we can surely do little ourselves.


Serious scientists had identified global warming conditions in the 1st half of the twentieth century. Why were scientific studies not well funded, or not widely publicized when they could be done?

The next time a politician, green group or environmental consortium tries to get you on board for the next massive transportation project, or energy generation project to be funded from your tax payments, ask them what they have done themselves to raise awareness about the massive, massive wastefulness of animal agriculture.

Ask them why you need to make yourself sick to keep Monsanto rolling in the hay.

This is the night of Love, and we're closing all books.
We're closing the door of separation, and are letting in the dawn.
Hey there, politician, don't tell me I am banned from the Winehouse;
Who died and left you sitting on the throne of God?
I made God a promise, and I'm never going to give up this cup.
-- Hafiz (trans. by TR Crowe)

How can one believe in big changes from those afraid to share a little truth?
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-19-08 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Grass-fed small-scale family-farmed beef ain't the problem.
FACTORY FARMING is the problem.

That, and too goddam many humans burning too goddam much fossil fuel.

Pushing your vegan agenda is a little bit of a thread hijack, dontcha think??
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govegan Donating Member (661 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-20-08 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. No. I ain't got no agenda.
I just have a problem taking seriously the same lying bullshit, over and over and over.

You are right, however, factory farming is a big problem, and not the only big problem.

And anyways, how can you avoid the issue of the devastating effects of animal agriculture?

If global warming alarmists do not address the issue, they will fail, and perhaps fail miserably.

Small scale animal farming is not sustainable with the large urban and suburban population centers of today.

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diane in sf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-19-08 08:02 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. The ecology did just fine with millions of buffalo running on the plains.
We need to practice balanced organic succession farming, plants do better with animal fertilizer and a lot of people have better health eating animals. There is a reason that vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists have high rates of cancer and heart disease and the meat eating Brits have a lower rate of diabetes and heart attacks than the largely vegetarian Indians.
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govegan Donating Member (661 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-20-08 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Why can't you cite some facts?
It is demonstrably untrue that "a lot of people have better health eating animals" if you consider "a lot" to be any statistically significant population group.

It seems that biological science does not support any of the wild speculation that you make.

It seems that you have never seriously studied statistics or epidemiological studies that address these issues. The largest epidemiological study ever done in the history of the planet showed conclusively that even the smallest amounts of animal foods added to the human diet do have negative effects on human health and well being.

All studies I have seen show SDA participants with better overall health than any comparable group with which the studies paired them.

Statistically SDA church members are only around 50% vegetarian, and a much smaller group would be considered vegan. SDA studies are also affected by the fact that SDA members generally avoid alcohol and tobacco.

What is the point about the buffalo herds?
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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-20-08 06:45 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. More people take the science of global warming seriously ...
... than they do a clumsy thread-jacker.
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govegan Donating Member (661 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-20-08 01:00 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. Global warming may indeed be serious, and I believe that it is.
However, instead of stupid argumentative innuendo, do you have a point to make?

I am generally unable to respond quickly to these computer boards, but I wanted to encourage others to think about local and positive action of any kind.

I do advocate for all to be healthy, and to understand the nature of the problems we all face.

I read the article, but it was more predictive of dire consequences than helpful in terms of solution offering.

Thinking individuals are sometimes angered and frustrated by these types of articles, and I understand the spirit in which they are offered.

Again, one of the latest United Nations sponsored studies was just another in the growing list to show the definitive link between animal agriculture and global climate change. CO2 emissions are problematic, but other gases not directly tied to the transportation sector are far worse in their effects over the coming decades.

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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-20-08 06:51 AM
Response to Original message
8. Good article (worth a K & R) ...
... but the comments make depressing reading ... :-(
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-20-08 09:58 AM
Response to Original message
9. The oil curve...
(I wrote this a while back)

Javaman (1000+ posts) Mon Nov-26-07 08:00 PM
Original message
The oil curve...
Edited on Mon Nov-26-07 08:58 PM by Javaman
I have been reading many an article today regarding the Peaking of Oil. Many of them offer all sorts of solutions from the mild to the extreme.

All have to do with conservation, rationing, lowering speed limits, etc.

The other bend is that technology is going to save us all. I have heard all sorts of rationalization from "we are smart, we will just come up with something" to "nanotechnology is going to save us all!"


Some good ideas, some odd ideas, and some straight out of Sci-Fi ideas, but sad to say, they would have been more helpful if they were acted upon 30 years ago. However, today, to enact even the mildest form of any of these ideas would still taken an enormous amount of fossil fuel to get them up and going.

Say for example, we build at solar panel manufacturing plant using the latest nanotechnology to squeeze as much energy as possible out of the Sun's rays.

What sort of power are you going to use to construct the building? (not even going to go into the hours spend at the design firm under fossil fuel powered lights). How does the construction equipment operate? How do the workers get to the location? How are the materials manufactured?

That last one is the biggie, because right now all solar panels are made, constructed and supplied energy to make via fossil fuels.

Now one can extrapolate this concept to any of the "alternative" energy devices. Look at windmills. I don't think there are artisans actively carving blades for them. Wave power. Pistons are filled hydraulic fluid. And nanotechnology of any sort requires machines powered by fossils, oiled by fossil fuels, designed via fossil fuels, etc.


As of 2004 we were importing 55% of our oil. Taken in real world terms, that's roughly 11 million barrels of oil a day. No doubt, it's more today.

Another segment of the population, just wants to cut off all foreign imports of oil. Think about that for a moment.

Over 50% of all things operating on oil or oil products in this nation would vanish. The right wing would now crow on and on that the tree huggers are keeping the US from drilling off Florida, in Alaska, etc. Fine, you want to drill there go right ahead, but I can tell you this, in the grand scheme of things, you aren't going to find much in real world terms. If we were the sole user of that oil it would all run out in a couple of years at the current rate if usage. And because we don't have any limits or restrictions on our use, it would vanish quickly as society grows, even if it grew at a slower than normal pace.

And even if we did drill in those areas, it would be years before they are on line and producing enough in volume to make any sort of mark.

So what do we do? Very good question. What, indeed, do we need to do...

First we need to develop means to smelt metals without the use of fossil fuels or wood. The same goes for various replacements for fossil fuel based lubricants. These two things will keep industry going or at least to a point where we can potentially change over to a non-fossil fuel economy. I offer no magic solution here because, I don't have one, but if we wanted to continue with some level, even if it's really low, of "normalcy", this beyond all others needs to be done.

Also keep in mind that we will all have to adjust to living with less. A lot less. The days of rampant consumerism is going to end. Just a fact. If there ever was going to be a major societal hang over, it will be from that.


So what is my point? We all talk about doing our part to end global warming, to use "recycle, reused" things. If we are serious, I mean really serious and I don't mean sipping our latte while perusing DU in an overly heated house in the middle of winter, while shredding our documents to recycle. I mean, brass tacks, no bullshit, let's fix this now, serious. We turn off the computers, we wear sweaters, we don't drive at all costs, we change our jobs so we work closer to home, we grow our own food, we save rain water, we eat local, we ride bikes, etc.

Then, we as a nation commit the lions share of our fossil fuel imports to research and development for a renovation of our infrastructure. High on the list, the transportation and manufacturing industry.

We take the hard pill. The one that we all know in the back of our minds only gets bigger each and every day we put it off. If we take it now, it's only the size of a Volkswagen, if we wait 5 years from now, it's the size of a semi. If we wait 10 years from now, it's an ocean liner. Get the picture.

This isn't fun and games, no happy festival of earth mothers telling us to grow our veggies. This is the real deal. Everyone is effected whether they like it or not. Because, no matter what we do, no matter how we dream, no matter how much we deny it, it's still going to happen.

And to make matters worse, China and India are now growing into energy sucking, pollution belching giants, which now, only speeds things up.

So in an essence we are in a race against ourselves.

I hope you have your running shoes on, because the race began 150 years ago and we are still at the starting line.

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govegan Donating Member (661 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-20-08 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. Great post, javaman, thanks for bringing it back to life!
I have seen many studies that show that something like 50% of our energy usage (US) is tied to animal agriculture. Whatever way you slice it, the amount of foreign oil that fills America's meal ticket is astounding.

Should we try to count all of the synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics, irrigation to feed animals, etc.?

We should not forget that the "energy sucking" and "pollution belching" has largely been the result of the neo-fascist corporate elites and politicians pushing the Western life style across the world.

However, I don't see it as a "race against ourselves," perhaps because I do not consider the race that way exactly.

This is a political race, with the welfare of all peoples at stake.

(just picture a running person smilie, I can find one right now)

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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-20-08 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. "politicians pushing the Western life style across the world"...
You said a mouthful with that statement.

I have long believed that the whole "American dream" was nothing more than a propaganda tool pushed upon us to outdo the Russians during the cold war.

However, now, I see it as a political tool to ruin foreign nations. LOL

We had the financial base once upon a time to "sustain" such a grand version of play time theater, but other nations do not. And I'm honestly curious as to what the real motives are behind this type of dystopian dream cloaked in the image of prosperity being pushed abroad.

Perhaps it's the full knowledge that a massive financial base is required to pursue such a grand scheme? Yeah China, India and several middle eastern countries are trying to emulate such concepts, but it appears as if although they are growing in leaps and bounds, they still don't have the financial and resource base to achieve that "dream" in the long run. Maybe that is what this was all about to begin with?

Maybe those in "power" understand that our way of life is completely unsustainable and that it could be used as a tool or weapon to ruin other nations that don't have the financial resources that we once had.

It's comical to think that mcdonalds or KFC are being used as weapons. LOL

But sadly, the result of my theory, if it is wrapped deeply in tinfoil or not, is a world that is slowly choking itself to death. The neo-cons are famous for claiming the means justify the end. Somehow, and I'm certainly not giving them a free ride, they didn't plan on ruining the world in the process. This is why I think they are in such denial over global warming. They know full well it's was their policies that got us here.

Like the kid who broke the cookie jar and denies vehemently that he did it, even though his face is smeared with chocolate crumbs, we get the same song and dance from the repubs.
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