The data on climate change are in, folks. And in again. And again.
Today, January 16, 2015, a front page article in the New York Times by Carl Zimmer discussed the probability of catastrophic changes in the ocean animal species resulting from global warming. Based on data from the Science paper, “Marine definition: Animal loss the global ocean” (Science 347:6219, p 248, McCauley et al.,) the article quoted McCauley- “There are a lot of tools we can use. We’d better pick them up and use them seriously” – and semi-concluded that we can halt the damage to the ocean.
Stephen Palumbi, another author of the paper, was also quoted with another equivocation:
“If by the end of the century we’re not off the business-as-usual curve we are on now, I honestly feel that there’s not much hope for normal ecosystems in the ocean. But in the meantime, we do have a chance to do what we can. We have a couple decades more than we thought we had, so let’s please not waste it.”
Scientists, perhaps it is time to stop hedging if you want to world to act on your data.
Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows-Larkin, scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, are not mitigating their words or the implication of their data for the future of the world. Nor does Naomi Klein mince her words when writing about their data in “This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus the Climate.” Anderson and Bows-Larkin suggest that wealthy countries need to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 8-10 percent, now, in order to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius and protect poorer countries. An 8-10 percent cut in emissions, every year, is almost unimaginable: only after the stock market crash of 1929 did emissions drop by more than 10% for several years. Yet it must be done, and managed carefully, and it must be done with new economic rules. It cannot be done as capitalism, with its dependence on continual growth, is constructed.
Beautiful and strong language from Naomi Klein:
“Interestingly, Anderson says that when he presents his radical findings in climate circles, the core facts are rarely disputed. What he hears most often are confessions from colleagues that they have simply given up hope of meeting the 2 degree temperature target, precisely because reaching it would require such a profound challenge to economic growth. ‘This position is shared by many senior scientists and economists advising government,’ Anderson reports.
“In other words, changing the earth’s climate in ways that will be chaotic and disastrous is easier to accept than the prospect of changing the fundamental, growth-based, profit-seeking logic of capitalism. We probably shouldn’t be surprised that some climate scientists are a little spooked by the radical implications of their own research. Most of them were quietly measuring ice cores, running global climate models, and studying ocean acidification, only to discover, as Australian climate expert and author Clive Hamilton puts it, that in breaking the news of the depth of our collective climate failure, they were ‘unwittingly destabilizing the political and social order.’” Klein, 2013
Still, data just keeps rolling in.
Today, January 16, 2015, NASA released a video showing that 2014 was the warmest year for the earth since 1880.
And the National Climatic Data Center at NOAA announced that 2014 was the 34th warmest year for the contiguous USA http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/summary-info/national/2014/12 with eight weather and climate disasters that exceeded 1 billion dollars in damages.
The solutions won’t just be in the science.