John Wawrzonek

One Million Species at Risk of Extinction, threatening Human Communities Around the World

By 2100, Deadly Heat May Threaten the Majority of Humankind.

A Gift of Surpassing Beauty

Earthrise, NASA

It took five billion years to create.
It is one of very few places that could provide a
climate for evolution of life like ours.
We will have destroyed it in less that 400 years.
Why we have not paid attention is a very troublesome mystery.

UN Report—A global assessment compiled by hundreds of scientists found that humans are inflicting
staggering damage on the world’s biodiversity

Every species depends on thousands of other species to survive.

All time record killing heat.

All time record wildfires.

All time record droughts.

All time record storms and floods.

Why The Panic? I

1. If emissions are not reduced soon enough the tundra in the north will melt and release methane. Mehane is a greenhouse gas about 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

2. When the methane is released it will accelerate warming so much that a phenomenom engineers call "thermal runaway" takes control. At that point reducing emissions to zero will not be sufficient. Only if major progress is made in negative emissions (which will be very costly but may be our only hope) will their be any chance to bringing earth's temperature under control.

3. Global warming is not perfectly predictable and could warm slower or faster than expected.

4. We are being fools for not dropping everything and getting to work.

5. The longer we wait, the lower our chances and the higher the cost.

6. This cosmic jewel took over 13,000,000,000 (billion) years to create. We in our ignorance may destroy it in less than 200 years.

The only option is to put our divisions aside, convince the deniers
through education, and then mount the largest collective effort in the history of mankind.

1. Upgrade the IPCC to a World Climate Authority able to enforce climate policy.

2. Reduce carbon emissions world-wide as close to zero as possible in 20 years.

3. Invest in new ultra-safe pre-fab nuclear power plants (see MIT Report).

4. Invest in negative-emision (carbon capture or air scrubbing) technology.

5. Establish a scientific oversite panel to guide the IPCC.

6. Commit the wealth of industrialized nations as needed.

7. Send deniers to school.

8. Establish world-wide education programs.

9. Pray

An imagined conversation between two strangers meeting by accident circa 2150....

"What are we looking at? Some pics.This was the beginning, chapter one I guess. Where have you been? Up in the highlands. It's mostly in the 80s. About the coolest we could find. You grow your own food? Yeh. There's about 10,000 of us. Maybe a million left all told, Out of 10 billion. My god. What happened? Well now it’s chapter 9. About chapter 3 all hell broke loose.Then what happened? Hell, nobody was paying attention. They were all messing with power and migrations and lousy governments. Every 20 or 30 years it got worse. How the hell could it get worse? Every way you could think of. Storms with 300 mph winds. No food. All the ice melted. They're no cities on the coast. Most of the lakes dried up. No water. Hot as hell. There are places reaches 180°. So how much carbon? 800 or 900. So what happened to all the people? From what I hear from the old folks it was worse than hell. Ten billion people. Nine billion without water or food and sick as you can. There were so many diseases they hadn't built immunity to. So they formed into something like tribes, bonded like we think the old hunter gatherers did.

This sounds worse than hell.

It was as bad as you can imagine...no, worse. I heard it direct and you would trade a concentration camp for it any day.

I wonder how we got so lucky.

Well you were north and isolated. And high too.Best place you could be.

So what's happening now.

Well there is still fighting in scattered places, but most bands realize they are better off joining up and cooperating with whoever they are fighting with.

There were three small groups. One spoke mostly French. Canadian.But we had to start from scratch. Tooli o

Well its kind of settled down, but only about 1/10 of it is habitable. Lots of guys predicted it, but very few got it. How come? Nobody listened, at least the guys in charge who thought it couldn't happen. My god! How come you don’t know any of this? Couldn’t do a damn thing about it. Ran away. Temperatures like you wouldn’t believe. Wrecked the earth. How could it happen? Just the way people are. They see what they want to see. Hear what they want to hear. Not all of them, but almost all of those who had any power. It calmed down after a while. About Chapter 6. But then it was too late. Temperature running away. They ran out of money, water, food. You can figure out the rest. Yeh. We know some of it. How are you now? O.K. Like going back to a much older way of doing things. Simple. Lots of work. But pretty much we agree. Just like us, pretty much. We still have some rabble rousers, but they don’t have enough company to hurt us. They just have a good time drinking the stuff they make and yelling about us to themselves. Funny as hell. Reminds me of stories of the old days. But then it wasn't funny. Now it’s sweat and work."


The following are quotes from the links below:

"We are, at best, now thinking decades into the future, while pressing our foot hard on a CO2 accelerator that virtually guarantees climate chaos for millennia to come.".....

"Because of our collective failure to rapidly decarbonize the global economy and slash CO2 emissions, we are poised to leave future generations a grim legacy of climate upheaval."

"The science is clear: climate change is the most serious threat to our natural world. To prevent irreversible damage to the lands and waters we all rely on, we must take immediate action now.

"We are already seeing the effects of a changing climate. The last three years have been the hottest on record and the problem is only going to intensify. As a rapidly growing global population puts increased demand on food, water and energy around the world,
our planet is being pushed toward a breaking point.

"What will happen if we don’t act right now? Global temperature is projected to rise by 3.2°C, increased air pollution will affect 4.9 billion more people, and 2.75 billion people will be subjected to water scarcity."

Portugal

A scientific understanding is not necessary to accept climate change as real. However, it is a great stumbling block when trying to convince someone in authority of the enormous challenges we face and the extreme actions necessary to preserve a reasonable climate on earth. It may be the greatest stumbling block in the history of humanity and it may be a problem that is impossible to overcome.

To help in understanding this delema, I have made the following a basic tutorial in climate change as it currently affects the earth. To understand it some knowledge of science is useful, because it is inherent in the nature of the material. In a subsequent section I will discuss the problem of convincing leaders of the urgency of the situation.

We have ever faced a situation where decision makers, such as presidents of countries, need such an understanding or a science advisor who can overcome the leader's limitations.

The essence of the problem is that we have backed ourselves into a corner in that urgent, difficult and expensive action now is required to avoid a calamitous future. Additionally, fossil fuel interests keep pressing to use their products despite knowing the harm they will cause. And unfortunately, because of present economic rewards the companies and their leaders may be part of the impossible stumbling block.

The Science of Global Warming

Figure 1: The atmosphere surrounds the Earth. The light from the sun either reflects from a surface or is absorbed by the surface. It all depends on the color. Lighter colors reflect the light and it never becomes heat. Darker colors reflect less light. The energy of the light must go somewhere. Surfaces of darker color absorb the light and become warmer but the warm surface radiates some of the heat back into the atmosphere. Some passes through the atmosphere, but carbon dioxide reflects this heat back and so, like a blanket keeping your body heat from excaping, it makes the air warmer and that's the problem. It's called the "greenhouse effect" because that's how greenhouses work. It is also why your car gets hot when it's parked in the sun.

Fig.3: This is a projection of future warming. The time around 2020 is very critical, it is an "inflection point" where the curve begins to turn sharply upward. It depends almost entirely on how much carbon dioxide is emitted by human activity. But the worst contributor to warming may become methane from melting tundra. When that happens there will be noting we can do to stop the warming. 3.6°F will be a huge problem. 5.4°F means we are out of control.

That gives us 20 years to accomplish a miracle, to turn the worlds energy generation inside out. A commitment of all resources, more than World War II. Multiple "Manhatten Projects" like the one that created the atomic bomb. We will have to learn to scrub carbon dioxide from the air and sequester it in the ground. It will require all the wealth we have, trillions of dollers.

The alternative is a disaster for which our grandchildren will suffer, curse us and many will die.

How the earth's temperature will increase
unless we begin a world war on carbon, now.

The pink curve shows the temperature of the earth from 1860 to 2017. The data is supplied by NASA. The blue curve is my own projection of future temperature. This projection is typical of those from many climate scientists. It assumes that carbon dioxide will continue increasing as in the past. The blue curve is extremely important because it shows what will happen if we continue business as usual. The Paris Accords were intended to keep the earth's temperature increase to less that 1.5°C, an increase generally accepted as "safe." However, "safe" is relative. Horrendous damage has been caused already by an increase of less than 1°C. Additionally the anticipated difficultly of achieving 1.5°C has many scientists accepting 2.0°C as a more realistic target, however a target that would more radically change the environment. However, it is easily possible that without drastic reductions in emissions the earth's temperature could reach 5°C to 7°C in 2100, a true disaster.

Fig. 4 (below): The baseline is the level of activity we have been maintaining. The large black arrow points to the reduction we should be achieving to meet the goals of the Paris Accords. However there has been no significant reduction so far and an increase by the U.S. The reduction should be accomplished by about 2050. There is virtually no possibility of this and so the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will continue to increase, trapping more and more heat.

The figures below show the short fall in emissions reduction and the increase in emissions of the US in the Trump era. Note that reductions of 60% to 70% are necessary in the next 20 years. In the present state of complience this appears impossible and is the primary cause for concern.

If these reductions are not met then the higher temperatures will accelerate the melting of the tundra and the release of large quantities of methane. Once this happens, the climate will be out of control and will continue to warm further for the indefinite future ultimately resulting in a sea level rise of about 150'. This is the cataclysm that is often spoken of.

Fig. 5: This shows a recent finding that the oceans are much warmer than expected and likely to increase warming.

Fig. 6: This shows the large increase projected for 2018 due to the relaxation of EPA rules by President Trump. This is a major problem partly because it increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but it is of special importance because it sets a poor example for the rest of the world.

FOR THE TRUTH WAS HIDDEN. It was power generation and transportation that had to reduce their carbon output, and primarily in the largest nations. And they did not understand, did not listen and did not take the actions necessary. The habits of maintaining the momenta of economies and of keeping political power were entrenched. And so "out of control" began to happen. The temperature rose high enough to begin release of the methane in the tundra, and was the beginning of the end.

To stay in control, emissions had to be reduced drastically and quickly for too much time had gone by, and just as critically, it became necessary to augument the process by removing carbon dioxide from the air, something called "negative emissions," a process that was so expensive and challenging that it would not be attempted because it was felt it would hurt the present economy. The customary short-term thinking locked in the status quo. And so a failure to spend a trillion dollors now portended the spending of a hundred trillion dollors in an attempted rescue 50 to 100 years in the future.

As the blanket grew, more heat was trapped, the temperature rose and every minute counted. But the major countries of the world: China, India, Russia and the United States were unable to rise to the occasion.

I have struggled for years to find a way to picture the future, to create a kind of metaphor for what was happening. In the minds of almost all of humanity they were living in their secure homes and for the most part the weather was comfortable. But in fact they were being carried along in a current of inattention and blindness. There eyes were clear but their minds were captive to the past. I call the current The Infinite River.

BY RICHARD SCHIFFMAN • MAY 23, 2016


Physicist Klaus Lackner has long advocated deploying devices that extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to combat climate change. Now, as emissions keep soaring, Lackner says in a Yale Environment 360 interview that such “air capture” approaches may be our last best hope.

"For two decades, Klaus Lackner has pioneered efforts to combat climate change by pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Now, after years of watching the global community fail to bring greenhouse gas emissions under control, Lackner — director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions at Arizona State University — is delivering a blunt message:

The best hope to avoid major disruptions from global warming is to launch a massive program of CO2 “air capture” that will begin to reverse the buildup of billions of tons of carbon in our atmosphere."

Website author's note:

I have struggled for a year to summarize my view of climate change and to keep modifying that view as circumstances changed. The two articles above summarize my current view exceptionally well.

This is the pivotal moment of our civilization and we have been horribly, morally and stupidly lax. It is truly now or never.

The moral sins that we have committed are beyond the pale and they are getting worse. We could easily spend (and should) a trillion dollars now, in return for having a decent home for our civilization and saving a hundred trillion dollars in damages and repair for future generations, as well as likely billions of lives along the way.

—JW

A CLIMATE OUT OF CONTROL was beyond comprehension. Scientists warned, meetings were held by the United Nations, articles were written in the most prominent journals and newspapers. And yet something was not getting through. "Out of control?" could not happen. A warning that the ocean could rise as much as 170 feet collided with a human memory of a constant and reliable earth. Looking out of the window of an airplane or sailing the seas seemed no different than before, and so what was needed was not done. It had come to a place where the behavior of every country on the earth had to virtually reverse itself, turn upide down, and the focus had to change from all other issues to climate. But that was beyond comprehension to the leaders where it mattered the most.

Scientists unfortunately spoke in clear, quiet and reserved tones, as they had been trained. The public and the politicians could not translate "it is highly likely" to it is "dead certain." Simultaneously many projects for renewable energy, electric cars, solar cells and wind mills were begun and were successful, but gave a false sense of accomplishment and security for there contribution was not sufficient to make the critical difference.

FROM GRIST, 12 12 2018
"Our current rate of warming will quickly lead us back to a climate that predates the evolution of modern humans, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That kind of rapid change has no direct comparison in all of Earth’s multi-billion year history."

As of yesterday (December 15, 2018) the mood from Katowice was upbeat. Agreements were better than expected and there was optimism that the 1.5°C target was doable. However, there was and is a giant fly in the ointment.

If you look at the graph below, you see a sharp break in the 1.5°C and 2°C emission curves. which means something pretty drastic has to happen soon in order to turn things around fast enough. If such a drastic action were contemplated it would be big news and there was no big news.

The Paris Agreement, around which the Katowice meeting was based, is deeply flawed. A good summary is an MIT review of the agreement. The first and last paragraphs of this review are reproduced below. There are numerous other organizations that have made similar comments (including the US EPA), but this is among the clearest. The link is "Last Words from Me" above.

However, despite my favorable comments about the review, it focuses on 2°C which is unacceptable.

1. Climate has always changed, but humans are now the main drive for change.

a. Rising atmospheric CO2 levels, primarily a result of fossil fuel emissions, have become the predominant cause of continuing climate change.

b. Climate change is driven by cumulative CO2 emissions. The United States has contributed a disproportionately large share of cumulative global emissions.

2. Current levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs), mainly CO2, cause Earth to be out of energy balance. This imbalance is driving climate change.

a. Earth’s energy imbalance is now measured and large. As long as Earth remains out of energy balance, the planet will continue to get hotter.

b. If GHG amounts continue to rise unabated, the energy imbalance will drive global warming to levels with climate impacts beyond the pale (see Opinion 3).

3. If high fossil fuel emissions continue unabated, consequences will be predominantly negative for humanity, especially for young people. a. Sea level: Continued high fossil fuel emissions will eventually make coastal cities dysfunctional, with incalculable consequences.

b. Species exterminations: Shifting of climate zones, with other stresses, may commit many species to extinction, leaving a more desolate planet.

c. Regional climate: subtropics and tropics will become dangerously hot, if global warming continues. Emigration chaos may threaten global governance.

4. Required actions to avoid dangerous climate change are guided by Earth’s climate history and by the need to restore Earth’s energy balance.

a. Science can specify initial targets, sufficient to define policy needs.

b. Substantial emission reductions must begin promptly, or climate will be pushed beyond a point at which changes proceed out of human control.

5. The United States government, via both actions and inactions, is behaving with flagrant disregard of rights and wellbeing of the public, especially young people

a. Action: authorizing, permitting, subsidizing massive fossil fuel extraction.

b. Inaction: absence of any coherent, effective program to reduce emissions.

CRITICAL

A nightmare and an overview of getting the nations of the world to comprehend how serious the situation really is.

The Infinite River. It has been to explain something that cannot be explained unless you have had something you thought you understood blow up in your face.

There are two problems:

The climate of the earth is the most complex system anyone has ever tried to understand AND we are continuing to abuse it by feeding it more and more greenhouse gases. Our predictions are already catastrophic, and they are probably optimistic like all our others have been.

We need to be turning ourselves inside out. Every nation. But we are going to smooze like we have in the past.

You don't keep flying an airliner to its destination with smoke coming out of the engines.

The most likely realistic outcome, taking all factors into account, is a very warm planet able to support about one billion people, about 1/10 of its projected population.

Every trillion dollars we spend now will pay itself back and then some. Every trillion dollars we don't spend now will require at least a dozen trillion down the road and a far more hostile planet.

But if you haven't been in the risk business, you won't get it. And hardly anyone does.

Talk to leaders who are gathered in Poland. They acknowledge that we aren’t close to getting the job done in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet. People are dying today because of climate change, and many more will die and trillions of dollars of damage to property will occur unless America gets back in the fight."

In my opinion, we do not have a prayer of saving the earth with Donald Trump as president. He is doing absolutely everything he can to make the situation worse by INCREASING emissions, but also by taking America out of its essential leadship and motivating role to the rest of the world.

The United States is necessary as part of the process not only because of its enormous output of carbon dioxide but because only it has the resources and technical prowess to take on the high risk but essential negative emissions challenge.

We are currently trapped between two nightmares: not knowing how the warming process will evolve and a presidential lockdown and lockup of America's contribution.


UPDATES

UrgentCareEarth.com

Chapter I

The Last Lap
or why our only hope is

The Green New Deal

Earthrise, William Anders, NASA Apollo 8

click above for story of photograph

Where are we?

This image is the first "earthrise" photograph ever made. It was made on the first manned trip to the moon on a mission that was not supposed to happen. It did happen because of a cold war race with the Russians. It happened on Christmas 1968 and was not scheduled until later in 1969 but that would have made John Kennedy's commitment "to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely in this decade." There were advantages to the early flight but there were only two months to prepare. The Saturn booster had failed its previous test. This flight was to orbit the moon several times. Hundreds of thousands of people worked on it. It was a tour de force of technical mastery and courage. The entire flight was perfect except for a minor tussle of whether or not to take this photograph and who was to take it. But it was visible only out of Ander's window. I sugget clicking on the link and reading all of the account in the Smithsonian.

But this is not the earth we live on.

1968 was twenty years before Jim Hansen's testimony before Congress when a program to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses would have been far easier. We knew the score then. Edward Teller had told the oil industry in 1959. So now 50 years, a full half-century later we are arguing over whether this all-out-effort, The Green New Deal, is necessary, when we cannot be sure the earth will survive even if we do it. I am betting it will not, short of a world-wide effort like the one that launched Apollo 8.

Where are we?

Most stories about the earth today focus on global warming, and that is the right focus. But humans have ravaged the earth in many ways for hundreds of years. It's a good back drop for thinking about climate change because it is just the latest in a long list.

Climate change and global warming we will look at in detail. The rest, it is sufficient to know that they are very big problems so climate isn't first, but it is by far the biggest and most urgent. Failure to do what needs to be done could result, in the worst case in an uninhabitable planet.

1. Overpopulation
2. Air Pollution
3. Water pollution
4. Strip mining
5. Oil spills
6. Fracking
7. Deforestion
8. Rain forest destruction
9. Acquafer depletion
10. Ocean plastics pollution

11. Ocean Acidification
12. Acid Rain
13. Ozone Depletion
14. Carbon Dioxide pollution
15. Radioactivity
16. Lead Paint
17. Asbestos
18. Pesticides
19. Insecticides
20. Herbacides
21. Wholesale species destruction

What did we do to get to this place?

Global warming had begun around 1850. It was too small to pay attention to although the famous psychiwst, Joeph Fourier introduced the concept how carbon dioxide would affect the earth and the potential danger. In 1959 Edward Teller, the great physist, warned the 100th anniversary gala of the oil companies. They understood and had done their own research but supressed their knowledge. In 1988 James Hansen gave Congress the full story and President George H.W. Bush made a proposal to the U.N. Implemental was feeble and the whole thing was watered down. Hansen spoke in his customary laid back scientific Iowa style.

Edward Teller addressing Oil Industry
Celebration about CO2, 1959

Bill McGibbin,
founder of 359.org

Rex Tillerson, despite knowning the dangers, spent millions of dollars to distort or supress information on tthe problems of carbon dioxide.

What did we do to get to this place?

Global warming had begun around 1850. It was too small to pay attention to. In 1959 Edward Teller, the great physist, warned the 100th anniversary gala of the oil companies. They understood and had done their own research but supressed their knowledge. In 1988 James Hansen gave Congress the full story and President George H.W. Bush made a proposal to the U.N. Implementation was feeble and the whole thing was watered down.

This was the time we should have taken on the global warming challenge.

I presented three seminars at annual meetings of the Thoreau Society. Thoreau is often thought of as the first conservationalist. Despite this there was no interet even in one on one with the exective director.

The longer we waited the higher the cost and the less chance of success.

I began to feel intense anguish for the world seemed not to be paying attention. The New York Times would bury climate news at the bottom of page 13.

There were heroes at this time, particularly vice president Al Gore, and Bill McGibbon who helped launch 350.org.

The longer we waited the higher the cost and the less chance of success.

I began to feel intense anguish for the world seemed not to be paying attention. The New York Times would bury climate news at the bottom of page 13.

There were heroes at this time, particularly vice president Al Gore, and Bill McGibbon who helped launch 350.org.

For hundreds of thousands of years the CO2 in the atmosphere averaged about 240 ppm.

350 ppm seemed the highest safe value and McGibbon fought to make the world aware of this. But the world was not interested and the emissions of greenhouse gasses kept increasing.

Between 2008 and 2015, Exxon handed $6.5 million to climate-denying groups and $2.3 million to climate-denying politicians. That all happened under Tillerson’s watch — and after the company had pledged to stop funding climate denial in 2007. Exxon led a decades-long misinformation campaign to gaslight the public over climate change, now referred to as #ExxonKnew. Scientists warned the company’s leadership what fossil fuel emissions meant for the planet in the 1970s. Instead of sharing that knowledge with the public, Exxon funneled resources into climate denial and lobbied to block climate action.

What we have been doing to the earth.

When I think of global warming I picture a portion of the "blue marble," the photograph that had been taken from aboard the Apollo 8 spacecraft. (The photograph at the top of the page, Earthrise is one of the most famous photographs of the 20th centur. There is a facinating story about who actually took the picture. Click on the caption to read the story.)

And then I was reminded of photographs I had made of the earth as I had experienced it. The thought of the danger to the earth that I felt was overwhelming and I suffered two years of depression. In my fourty–four years of photographing one of the most memorable and popular I made with a 4x5 view camera at sunrise on the entrace ramp of the Massachusetts Turnpike in Millbury, Massachusetts.

The earth as I have experienced it.

My reading and my own calculations CHAPTER III–CALCULATIONS

There have been two important conferences, one in Paris and one in Katowice, Poland ostensibly committing the nations of the world to a rapid decrease in emissions but the emissions are still rising.

The only hope that remains is the "Green New Deal" championed by Rep. Andrea Ocasio Cortez and Rep. Bill Markey of Massachusetts. The Green New Deal is not legislation but a non-binding resolution. Its strength is that it attempts to be bold enough, which is necessary, but is several times anything anyone else is considering. It will be very costly but it, or something very much like it is necessary. Without it the earth and our very civilization are in danger.

We have already suffered storms, droughts, and floods setting new historic records yet despite this not only the United States but the world is not taking nearly sufficient notice.

We need a mobilization something like that which happened when we entered World War II, only larger. And we need Manhattan Projects several times the size of the one that created the atomic bomb.

As extreme as this may sound we have not been able to grasp the seriousness of our situation. I will discuss that in chapters 4 and 5.

However, it will help to list of a few of the consequences that we have already experienced and a few of those we know are coming.

1. Too much warming will melt the tundra and release methane. Then the earth's temperature will rise faster than anything we can do about it.

2. Shortage of food, water, housing, and cures for new diseases.

3. Migrations of millions as people searching for places where food still can be grown and sunlight is not deadly dangerous.

4. Coping with sea level rise and many, and eventual all, coastal cities under water.

And more than I can list here.

There are those who argue that the cost of the Green New Deal will be too high. If it needs every spare dollar the world has it will not be too much. For waiting to act will make the situation still more expensive, and so serious that no amount of money will return the earth to being a good place to live. Large numbers of people will migrate north looking for more suitable places to live. Temperatures in the south will be high enough to cook people. Electricity will be in short supply unless we get serious about nuclear. Temperatures will rise quickly unless we get a jump on negative emissions and get very serious about emission reductions.

It is possibe civil war will break out as groups fight for prize pieces of land. And disease, depending on location will have moved north and northerners will find they are not immune. The population will drop precipitously.

At some point, perhaps several hundred years into the future a new equilibrium will be established and people will tell stories of the wonderful times in the twentieth century.

I wonder what the survivors will think of those of us who ignored the warnings and couldn't muster the united urgency necessary to do the job. They will be like all survivors, they will say that they would have done better. It's known as 20/20 hindsight.

17 May 2019

World Meteorological Association Report

"Global platform on disaster risk reduction: we need a drastic change of course."

"The impacts of climate change, associated sea level rise and extreme weather are amplifying as a result of record greenhouse gas levels and combining with urbanization, environmental degradation and water stress to produce interlocking crises. There needs to be a drastic change of course, according to the top global forum on disaster risk reduction."

"We live with the highest concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for 3 million years," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas told the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. The four warmest years on record have been in the past four years and the warming trend which has lasted since the start of this century is expected to continue as a result of the increase in greenhouse gas levels. Climate change mitigation is essential, as is climate change adaptation, he stressed.""

Summary, 22 May 2019

The last time I saw Paris was 1969 at which time there was no discussion of the greenhouse effect. However, the first calculations and experiments on the greenhouse effect came from a Frenchman, Joseph Fourier, in the 1830s. (Fourier is most famous for his development of the Fourier Transform, of which most scientists and engineers are intimately familiar.)

Fourier calculated that the earth should be much colder than it was, cold enough to surpress the development of life. He eventually concluded that the presence of carbon dioxide had the effect of a blanket, trapping heat from the sun and raising the temperature of the earth to a nearly ideal temperature.

The first formal presentation in the United States of the greenhouse effect was by Edward Teller (the inventor of the hydrogen bomb) to the 100th anniversary of the petroleum institute.

However it was not until 2015, some twenty-eight years after James Hansen's presentation to congress, that the first substantial international meeting on global warming was held in Paris. 176 nations attended and an agreement was reached to attempt to hold the earth's temperature to no more than 1.5ˆC over that at the beginning of the industrial age.

However, progress to accomplish reduction of emissions has been poor. A subsequent conference in Poland ostensibly to formalize procedures and goals was not effective. The following report brings us up to date on the status of the world's efforts. The report is extremely discouraging to say the least.

The "blue marble" photographed from space by NASA astronauts.

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