FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dying By Two Degrees

by

The End Age for humanity will not be a date known to man, but a point of no return from climate change, about which we shall be as oblivious as if we had sleepwalked out of an airplane without a parachute. Scientists will describe their shock at the free fall, estimate the time of impact and ask for more funds to refine their estimates. World agencies will organize meetings to exotic places, to which people will fly long distances at great costs in emissions, to discuss how to mitigate the effects of climate change and promote a capitalist notion of buying and selling carbon credits. All will be helpless against our catastrophic crash once we pass the turning point. Are we there now, as the Hopi and Mayans have predicted? Is there time left and, if so, how long?

By five different estimates of global warming from measurements of the temperatures of the lower atmosphere as well as Earth’s surface, during the 30 years between 1980 and 2010, human activities raised the entire globe’s surface temperature by 2 degrees Celsius (or an increase of 3.6 degrees Farenheit). Regardless of what scientists might say to prevent a panic or protect their careers, they generally agree that another one-degree rise in temperature is too horrible to countenance and will be catastrophic for humanity.

Some climate reports say that we might reach this two-degree warming around 2050 to 2070 if we do nothing to “mitigate” climate change, but these projections are disingenuous. Based on the “Albedo Effect” alone, which predicts that the decreased reflectivity of the Earth, due to melting of glaciers, will cause warming to accelerate, anyone can reasonably calculate that, if we do nothing at all, the next one-degree increase in temperature will happen faster than the last. In other words, if we stop all emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) today, we have less than 30 years.

The time left to us might be very much less than 30 years because global warming itself is expected to trigger a series of events that will release massive quantities of greenhouse gases to trap yet more heat in the atmosphere. One of these is the release of methane from the Arctic permafrost. This has already started, with methane emissions increasing over 30 percent from 2003 to 2007. Another is the expected conversion of the Amazon from a carbon fixer to a net carbon emitter due to warming of the rivers and their release of CO2.

How might we prevent a catastrophe? For sure, it cannot be averted without acquainting the public with the seriousness of the problem, which is as follows. Our cumulative emissions of CO2 are the main source of the greenhouse effect that is warming the planet’s surface. Furthermore, CO2 stays in the atmosphere, on average, for about 200 to 300 years, and possibly longer. Therefore, at this juncture, the notion of emitting additional CO2 should be understood by all as being complete lunacy. We should, instead, be turning our attention to the task of removing much of the accumulated CO2.

Those scientists who do not communicate the urgency of the situation and participate in lulling the public into inaction have much to answer for. This is no time for inoffensive names like “thermal inertia” to describe the continued warming if we do nothing, or for obtuse terms like “negative emission,” to communicate the urgent need to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. All scientific jargon must be thrown away. Not only our species is at risk, but also much of the ensemble of life that makes our existence possible. It is time for straight talk.

How excessive is the human contribution to global warming? Think how much heat one needs to warm a small pot of water by one degree centigrade. Imagine the heat needed for a container of water 10 times larger, a 100-liter drum and, finally, the surface of, not only the Earth’s oceans, but also the entire lower atmosphere! Consider the energies involved. They are now stored as heat over the planet’s surface and can transform at any time into massive storms. The epicenter of these events is the tropics.

It is a simple matter of thermodynamics that we are returning to the conditions that prevailed during the Permian Era, before green plants fixed the carbon that we are now burning as fossil fuels. Back then, the seas were vaster, and the Earth’s landmass was smaller than it is today. At two degrees of warming, civilization, as we know it, will end. Port cities will become submerged. Islands will disappear or shrink to their highest peaks. Simultaneously with the violent cyclones and massive floods, there will be fires in currently dry regions because they will become yet drier. The salinity of the oceans has already changed to the extent that many aquatic species are greatly stressed and might soon disappear. The overall process is underway, and it will intensify even if we stop all carbon emission right now. We need to do more. Much more. At the least, we must set out to reforest the planet as rapidly as we can. We must also gradually decrease the human population to a sustainable level, if only to prevent the achievement of this depopulation by disease and other calamities. The world simply cannot accommodate more humans, nor can it tolerate the religion of capitalism, which calls for infinite growth and consumption on a finite planet.

Dady Chery is the co-Editor in Chief at News Junkie Post.

More articles by:

Dady Chery is the Editor of Haiti Chery and the co-Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post. This article was originally published in Haiti Chery. 

November 22, 2017
Jonathan Cook
Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot
William Kaufman
The Great American Sex Panic of 2017
Richard Moser
Young Patriots, Black Panthers and the Rainbow Coalition
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Darkness
Lee Artz
Cuba Libre, 2017
Mark Weisbrot
Mass Starvation and an Unconstitutional War: US / Saudi Crimes in Yemen
Frank Stricker
Republican Tax Cuts: You’re Right, They’re Not About Economic Growth or Lifting Working-Class Incomes
Edward Hunt
Reconciling With Extremists in Afghanistan
Dave Lindorff
Remembering Media Critic Ed Herman
Nick Pemberton
What to do About Al Franken?
November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman
Stephen Corry
OECD Fails to Recognize WWF Conservation Abuses
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail