Tuesday 28th April 2009, the Guardian reports that ‘Arctic CO2 has peaked at highest level in 50 million years’ according to Johan Strom, professor of atmospheric physics at the Norwegian Polar Institute.
Apparently CO2 concentration levels are now at 393.7ppm after a 2008 increase of 2.5ppm. Strom goes on to say that ‘It is not the level of CO2 that is the problem’ (although very high!) ‘What is worrying is the speed of change. Never before have CO2 levels increased so fast.
Before the industrial revolution CO2 levels stood at 280ppm, now they are on average standing at 387ppm. We are told that 450ppm is the tipping point where we can expect 1m sea level rises and the plant to move into its own negative feedback loop ( ie. unstoppable climate change such as tundra melting etc). At a rate of 2.8ppm/year, this gives us just 28.5 years! D Day has just shifted to June 2031!
And if you don’t believe me, check out this little footnote I found in the NY Times last week!
I heard yesterday on BBC Radio 4 a report that by a world food organisation that by 2030 the world population will have grown 40% and that by 2050 it will have doubled. In short, this means that we will have to double our food production within 40 years!
Given that land resources are already under pressure (and reducing with global warming!) and that water is already a scare commodity in many parts of the world; How are we going to feed everyone?
The GM Food industry must be clapping their hands and my fear is that we are going to see another decision forced upon us because of our inaction, just as we are now facing with the debate over nuclear power.
If we do nothing we may have no choice but to use GM systems to increase food production and to free up previously unusable land for crop production – bugger the consequences because the down side of not doing anything is mass famine and deaths.
We must Act Now, otherwise we may have no choice!
It’s been a while since we last spoke and so much has happened in the news that I am unsure where to start; from Copenhagen to geo-engineering and Obama.
I shall start with the shocking news that has eminated from Copenhagen where scientist are reporting that we are on-track for at least a 2degC temperature rise by the end of the century.
Apparaently we are together releasing over 50bn tons CO2e into the atmosphere every year, 2-3% more than predicted. This will likely lead to a minimum 1m rise in sea levels as well as their acidification as they abosorb more CO2 leading to destruction of more eco-systems not to mention the widespread droughts predicted across Australia and Equatorial regions. If this goes above + 3degC we will see the end of the ski industry and above +4 the rainforests will begin to die. Of course it is the poorer nations that will suffer most because they do not have the funds to change..I will not go on as it gets too depressing.
In response to this there has been increasing chatter about finding geo-engineering solutions that operate on a global scale to capture, reflect or absorb CO2. Such solutions as 1500 salt spraying ships in the pacific, or giant sun shades in Space to reflect sunlight!
All pretty depressing and fanciful, but if we are now considering the nuclear option, perhaps we have to go even further to save our skins?
Then on the way to work today picked up a news bulletin that Obama is looking to pass legislation that claws back 90% of all bonuses that have been paid out to companies that have received US tax payer money. He is quoted as saying that individuals must understand that they are the cause of the financial meltdown and that thay must now take responsibility for their actions.
Wow, Cause and Effect, about time some politician got it! If only he could start talking in the same urgent terms about climate change. Could we suggest that he claws back all of the carbon profits from industries that have been polluting our climate with no thought for the consequences for so long?
Seems only fair to me; how about it Obama and Gordon?
Here’s a link to the fabulous website Age of Stupid.
Produced by Lizzie Gillett, this film should be watched by everyone. It is a thought-provoking and entertaining film that has grown from a seed to this massive achievement through the work of many.
C’mon fellow bloggers, let’s support them.
Planet Positive is about taking action now. Whilst it establishes a new standard for companies and individuals in environmental acievement it is, most importantly, a call to action; Action to take steps to reduce.
I think that most people recognise the need to do something and that only by acting together with a joint voice can we collectively make a difference. We recognise that the world in which we live, is totally interconnected and that our emissions here do ultimately have an impact somewhere else in the world.
The trouble is that we feel disconnected and so like the bomb blast in Afganistan, which initially inspires utter horror and disgust quickly becomes only another ‘feel bad’ news item leaving us feeling inept and frustrated at our inability to stop or help - We cannot smell it so we cannot feel it?
And yet, direct impact is all around us. Hurricanes, rising food prices in our shops, water droughts and flooding. These are all clear and present consequences of climate change and a direct result of our continued and increasing carbon pollution.
But the real question is ‘ Are we ready to take responsibility; Are we ready to do something in the short term to preserve our way of ilfe; Are we ready to change our habits and invest in our collective futures?’
I like to think the answer is a resounding YES and so today I am launching a campaign ‘Act Now!’ and I have identified two specific goals.
The first goal is to share any clear and present evidence that is out there that shows that climate change is affecting us NOW. For instance, a crop failure due to lack of water caused by drought, or increased pollution on our streets due to increased car use, or even a business that is suffering becasue it has not tackled the issue. I will call this objective ‘Clear and Present’
The second is to collect ideas from you about what we can do to make a difference. Whilst I am happy about gettting a list of the obvious such as turning lights off etc, I especially want ideas about how we can change the culture of consumption and emission. How do we encourage people and businesses to change their inhabits and make it cool to be cool, sexy to be low carbon and profitable to be sustainable. I will call this objective ‘Top tips’
We launch our new web site on the 17th December and I want to be able to feature, on an ongoing basis results from this campaign with case studies and support that you may have so please get writing! Thanks
12th December 2008