Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

Archive for October 15th, 2007

Only Zero Emissions Would Avert Dangerous Warming

Posted by feww on October 15, 2007

The following is a response to an article in the New Scientist titled Zero emissions needed to avert ‘dangerous’ warming. The response was submitted by The Management School of Restorative Business. The original article is posted below.

RE: Zero emissions needed to avert ‘dangerous’ warming

MSRB concurs with the overall conclusion of the University of Victoria report that the only way to stabilize the temperature is by total elimination of industrial emissions.

However, according to our model, even with the total elimination of industrial emissions effected immediately the temperature would stabilize above 3.2oC probably by 2025.

Further, their timeline appears to be too optimistic. According to our model the global warming “tipping point” occurred in mid 2006, beyond which all changes are irreversible [in the short run.] We expect to experience catastrophic climatic events starting by 2009-2010. By as early as 2015, we believe dramatic ecosystems collapses including ozone holes, global heating, extreme climatic events, toxic pollution, depletion of food and natural resources, unethical conduct, war and disease pandemics would result in the depopulation of most of our population clusters.

The world entered a double exponential* phase in 1980, when Earth’s “torching energy,” exceeded 9.51 terawatts {q[torch] > 9.51TW.} According to MSRB model the countdown toward the Earth’s “Terminal Energy” had started. The q[torch] for the first half 2007 averaged at 16.8TW. See http://msrb.wordpress.com/2007/08/25/the-point-of-no-return/ and http://msrb.wordpress.com/stop-burning-earth/

*[Note: Double exponential functions grow even faster than exponential functions.]

Apart from the obvious political reasons, most climate models are fundamentally flawed because they (i) use tired old formula to “predict” the future changes based on empirical analysis, (ii) base their calculations on the “official” data, (iii) are “one-dimensional” and therefore unable to model accurately or forecast the behavior of sophisticated, highly interdependent systems such as Earth’s ecosystems.

The best [and the only intelligent] course of action on global and national levels would be an immediate “powerdown” to the “safe” energy consumption levels of about 60EJ, while allocating most of the resources to creating low-energy communities that provide food, shelter, education and safety for as many people as possible.

The Management School of
Restorative Business (MSRB)

Related Links:

Original Article:

http://environment.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn12775&print=true

Zero emissions needed to avert dangerous warming
16:56 11 October 2007
NewScientist.com news service
Catherine Brahic

Only the total elimination of industrial emissions will succeed in imiting climate change to a 20C rise in temperatures, according to omputer analysis of climate change. Anything above this target has been identified as “dangerous” by some scientists, and the limit has been adopted by many policymakers.

The researchers say their study highlights the shortcomings of governmental plans to limit climate change.

A warming of 20C above pre-industrial temperatures is frequently cited as the limit beyond which the world will face “dangerous” climate change. Beyond this level, analysis suggests the continents will cease to absorb more carbon dioxide than they produce. As the tundra and other regions of permafrost thaw, they will spew more gas into the atmosphere, adding to the warming effect of human emissions.

The end result will be dramatic ecological changes, including widespread coastal flooding, reduced food production, and widespread species extinction.

Established model

In January 2007, the European Commission issued a communication stating that “the European Union’s objective is to limit global average temperature increase to less than 20C compared to pre-industrial levels”.

Andrew Weaver and colleagues at the University of Victoria in Canada say this means going well beyond the reduction of industrial emissions discussed in international negotiations.

Weaver’s team used a computer model to determine how much emissions must be limited in order to avoid exceeding a 20C increase. The model is an established tool for analysing future climate change and was used in studies cited in the IPCC’s reports on climate change.

They modelled the reduction of industrial emissions below 2006 levels by between 20% and 100% by 2050. Only when emissions were entirely eliminated did the temperature increase remain below 20C.

A 100% reduction of emissions saw temperature change stabilise at 1.50C above the pre-industrial figure. With a 90% reduction by 2050, Weaver’s model predicted that temperature change will eventually exceed 20C compared to pre-industrial temperatures but then plateau.

Stark contrast

The researchers conclude that governments should consider reducing emissions to 90% below current levels and remove what is left in the atmosphere by capturing and storing carbon (see Chemical ‘sponge’ could filter CO2 from air).

There is a stark contrast between this proposal and the measures currently being considered. Under the UN’s Kyoto protocol, most developed nations have agreed to limit their emissions to a minimum of 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. What happens beyond this date is the subject of ongoing debate and negotiation.

The European Union nations have agreed to limit their emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020, and support dropping global emissions to 50% below 1990 levels by 2050.

“There is a disconnect between the European Union arguing for a 20C threshold and calling for 50% cuts at 2050 – you can’t have it both ways,” says Weaver, who adds: “If you’re going to talk about 20C you have got to be talking 90% emissions cuts.”

Vanishing point

Tim Lenton, a climatologist at the University of East Anglia in the UK, agrees that even the most ambitious climate change policies so far proposed by governments may not go far enough. “It is overly simplistic assume we can take emissions down to 50% at 2050 and just hold them there. We already know that that’s not going to work,” he says.

Even with emissions halved, Lenton says carbon dioxide will continue building up in the atmosphere and temperatures will continue to rise. For temperature change to stabilise, he says industrial carbon emissions must not exceed what can be absorbed by Earth’s vegetation, soil and oceans.

At the moment, about half of industrial emissions are absorbed by ocean and land carbon “sinks”. But simply cutting emissions by half will not solve the problem, Lenton says, because these sinks also grow and shrink as CO2 emissions change.

“People are easily misled into thinking that 50% by 2050 is all we have to do when in fact have to continue reducing emissions afterwards, all the way down to zero,” Lenton says.

Journal reference: Geophysical Research Letters ( DOI: 0.1029/2007GL031018 )

Fair Use Notice: See Article 107, CHAPTER 1, TITLE 17 of U.S. Copyright Code

Posted in collapse, double exponential phase, ecosystems, environment, fossil fuels, Global Warming, lifestyle, Zero emissions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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