PAGE 2 TELLING THE STORY - John Wawrzonek

THERE ARE TWO CHOICES

1. Spend a few trillion dollars in the next 20-40 years to bring carbon dioxide back to 1980 levels.

2. Spend every dollar we have, hundreds of trillions of dollars, 100 years from now to make the planet livable.

To accomplish #1, we must replace Donald Trump in 2020 with a climate superman president. It is that bad. I would bet my life on it. If you keep reading, you might understand why I say this. Read carefully and think. Don't let your friends brush you off. If you live, you will regret it.

THE IMPACT HAS BEEN CATASTROPHIC. Although the earth has only warmed by an average of 1°C (1.8°K), this represents an enormous amount of energy warming the atmosphere, land and sea over the entire globe. The blanket of greenhouse gases is now too thick. There is too much carbon dioxide and more and more of the heat created by the sun is trapped and warms the earth.

But humanity has reacted in a strange way. Despite repeated warnings from the work of thousands of scientists, humanity for the most part has ignorned the effects of the carbon dioxide and moreover has kept adding more at a rapid pace when it is critical that the amount added should be drastically reduced.

This continues to this day in mid-January 2019 and there is no sign that it will chnge. Terrible wildfires, droughts, record storms and deadly high temperature have had litte effect on thinking about what is happening. Worse, and most unbelievable, the individuals and companies who sell the fossil fuels, despite being aware of the danger for decades, cover up their knowledge and keep working to sell more and more fossil fuel. And perhaps still worse the leaders of the world sit back as if nothing were happening.

We are at the critical point of the exponentional curve of temperature as the CO2 in the atmosphere increases. And in a very recent horrific discovery scientists announced that the oceans had absorbed 40% more heat than previous estimates. This will increase the speed of temperture increase even more.

"-- One central focus of this week’s gathering is climate change, but the world has backed away from collective action in the Trump era. Don’t forget that it was a fuel tax hike, intended to combat climate change, that precipitated the protests in Paris. And Trump has announced that the United States will no longer follow through with its commitments in the Paris climate accord."

1. AN ATTITUDE AND MOBILIZATION REMINSCENT OF WORLD WAR II in order to achieve the emission reductions necessary and accomplish new technology developments.

2. AN INTENSIVE EFFORT to develop and implement nuclear power. Many consider this on the edge of possibility. However a new and very thorough report from MIT outlines the possibilities and needed effort. The link is given below.

3. AN INTENSIVE EFFORT to develop and implement negative emissions technology.

IT IS A COMBINATION of efforts and a major change in attitudes that is necessary. It will also be expensive but current proposals for very practical tax revisions could raise trillians of dollars.

THE IMPACT HAS BEEN CATASTROPHIC. Although the earth has only warmed by an average of 1°C (1.8°K), this represents an enormous amount of energy warming the atmosphere, land and sea over the entire globe. The blanket of greenhouse gases is now too thick. There is too much carbon dioxide and more and more of the heat created by the sun is trapped and warms the earth.

But humanity has reacted in a strange way. Despite repeated warnings from the work of thousands of scientists, humanity for the most part has ignorned the effects of the carbon dioxide and moreover has kept adding more at a rapid pace when it is critical that the amount added should be drastically reduced.

This continues to this day in mid-January 2019 and there is no sign that it will chnge. Terrible wildfires, droughts, record storms and deadly high temperature have had litte effect on thinking about what is happening. Worse, and most unbelievable, the individuals and companies who sell the fossil fuels, despite being aware of the danger for decades, cover up their knowledge and keep working to sell more and more fossil fuel. And perhaps still worse the leaders of the world sit back as if nothing were happening.

We are at the critical point of the exponentional curve of temperature as the CO2 in the atmosphere increases. And in a very recent horrific discovery scientists announced that the oceans had absorbed 40% more heat than previous estimates. This will increase the speed of temperture increase even more.

TO EXPLAIN CLIMATE CHANGE requires several graphs and illustrations.

Figure 1: The atmosphere surrounds the planet Earth. The light from the sun either reflects from the surface or is absorbed by the suRface depending on the color. Light colors (especially white like snow} reflect the light and little heat is absorbed. When something is of a darker color it is warmed more by absorbing light and converting it to heat. It then radiates part of the heat as infrared radiation. Carbon dioxide reflects the infrared back to the surface esentially trapping the head. The more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the more heat trapped and the warmer the earth. Hence more carbon dioxide is a problem.

Fig. 2: This shows the amount of carbon dioxide over a very long period of time and the sharp increase (about 70%) beginning in the mid-19th century.

Fig.3: This is a projection of future heating. The time around 2020 is very critical and depends almost entirely on how much carbon dioxide is emitted by human activity.

Fig. 4: The baseline is the level of activity we have been maintaining (also the blue curve in Fig. 3). 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.

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.

"An MIT analysis of the Paris climate agreement finds that—even if all the participating nations meet their pledges—global warming will exceed the 2°C maximum targeted for 2100 as early as 2050. To determine what else is needed, researchers at the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change calculated a series of global energy technology mixes that would meet future demand while generating greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the 2°C target. Depending on the assumed costs plus a uniform global carbon price, different technologies dominate, but all the successful combinations are markedly different from today’s global energy system. The researchers conclude that substantial R&D investment is needed to lower the cost of key energy technologies and help transform the global energy system—a shift that must be well under way within the next decade or so if the world is to meet its targets."

"The researchers conclude that the transition to a dramatically different global energy mix must be well under way within the next 10 to 20 years to prevent an excessive temperature increase by 2100. They recognize that such an undertaking will almost certainly require extraordinary political agreement or sudden and unforeseen breakthroughs in technology. They assert that since it’s not clear which technologies will take the lead, substantial R&D investment is needed to develop current technologies, explore new ones, and increase the efficiency with which we use energy so less is required in the future. The technological advances and cost reductions that result will help countries move forward on climate change and support the transition onto a 2°C energy pathway as soon as possible."

Below are two graphs. The first is the MIT projections, the second is my extrapolations from what is likely the same NASA data. The results are similar for the simple reason that there are a huge multitude of contributors to carbon emissions, and neither incorporates a major (and I do mean major) change in how energy is created and/or how emissions might be removed from the air. The most probable program would require immediately beginning to build a very large number of nuclear reactors with a damn the cost approach finananced by wealthly nations, especially the United States, China and the EU. However, nobody has the (exuse the language) balls to get in front of the plenary session, read them the riot act and get them to face a very harsh reality. 2°C will likely be hell on earth and is not likely to be met, barring a drastic shakeup. Instead, whenever nations feel they are doing significantly better than before, satisfaction sets in.

The MIT scientists used a sophisticated dual modeling approach (read the whole MIT report; the link is above) to model what was really going to happen.

It has been clear for years (actually decades) that something drastic was necessary. James Hansen said recently that "the shit has hit the fan." But getting in front of 150 or more nations and telling them that the engines on their jetliner are on fire and so urgent is an understatement just is not happening. If you add to that the ongoing construction of coal-fired power plants and the unspeakable behavior of the United States who would have to play a major role in building and funding a nuclear or similar program, then you can predict that the earth will be toast.

HUMANITY AND THE EARTH HELD IN CAPTIVITY

CAN HUMANS BECOME HUMAN SOON ENOUGH TO SAVE HUMANITY

In the December 11, 2018 issue of Jacobin, Kate Aronoff in a story titled "Macron's Climate Tax Is a Disaster writes:

"The fuel taxes were less the cause of this wave of protests than the straw that broke the camel’s back. Macron has overseen a massive transfer of wealth to the country’s elites. His tax reforms will leave the bottom fifth of French households worse off as the top 1 percent — and corporations like Total, one of the world’s largest oil companies — reap massive gains, all while the cost of living continues to tick upward, public services are consolidated, and the unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent. Proposed fuel taxes were felt most acutely in rural communities that face cuts to both public transportation and speed limits, leaving many with longer and more costly commutes.

The United States ranks in the lower 30 percentile in income equality.

From Wikipedia:

"Just prior to President Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address, media[7] reported that the top wealthiest 1% possess 40% of the nation's wealth; the bottom 80% own 7%; similarly, but later, the media reported, the "richest 1 percent in the United States now own more additional income than the bottom 90 percent".[8] The gap between the top 10% and the middle class is over 1,000%; that increases another 1,000% for the top 1%. The average employee "needs to work more than a month to earn what the CEO earns in one hour."

Enormous sums will be needed to implement climate change mitigation, including negative emissions, and that money will have to come from the wealthy. Macon, as has been the govenrment in the United States, both conservative and liberal, has ignorned the enormous transfer of wealth to the wealthiest and Macon wants the poorest to finance it through a gasoline tax. This wealth transfer and the vicious power grab of conservatives in the United States represents a crossroads for humanity and for the earth.

PREFACE 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 chosen to make this page a basic tutorial in climate change as it currently affects the earth. To understand it some knowledge of science is required, not by intent but 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.

I do not believe 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.

WHY PANIC?

Engineers who have worked with power systems know of and have likely witnessed a phenominon called "thermal runaway" where rising temperature feeds on itself and runs out of control. Full thermal runaway is unlikely but something close enough that we would call "hell on earth" is not just a possibility, but a clear-eyed view says is likely because of what we are NOT DOING.

We already have flooding cities, vicious storms, record breaking wildfires and temperatures, mega-droughts, rising sea levels and despite all this and more THERE IS NO SENSE OF URGENCY OF THOSE IN POWER. There is no time left. In fact we are about 30 years late. What the hell is wrong with humanity? This is our only home. We have mega amounts of work to do to stave off a world none of us would like to live in. Let alone leave to our children's children.

Look at my graphs below. We are at what is known as the inflection point of an exponential curve. When we pass this, which we are doing right now, satan will seem like a friendly neighbor.

John Wawrzonek, MIT '63, '65, '67
carbon@theearthistoast.com

The Situation: Critical

How to saddle your grandchildren's children with hundreds of trillions of dollars in debt

1. Emissions are rising, with the United States being a major contributor and the president doing everything in his power to make the situation worse.

2. Negotiations between IPCC and country representatives are going nowhere and have no prospect of going anywhere. The negotiations are with "representatives" of the various countries who themselves have no authority. It is likely they go back to their individual countries and communicate with representatives of the leaders, who then speak with the leaders. The likelihood that the leaders understand the severity and urgency of the situation is near zero.

3. No one knows how fast emissions will rise or fall. If the present situation continues (which is likely) then the climate will reach a critical state in the next 10 years if it has not already done so.

4. There is no effective process for getting leaders in line, since they do not know what to do and do not comprehend the need for immediate and drastic actions.

5. There are several scenarios by which emissions could rise drastically with no possibility of reduction. The most likely is reaching a critical state of melting of the tundra releasing large quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Other unknowns are the recent discovery of ocean temperatures 60% higher than thought and the release of methane from deep in the ocean.

6. The greenhouse effect is still not understood by the population as a whole and by leaders in general. They do not realize that the earth is WHOLLY covered with a heat trapping blanket that is constantly growing in thickness like a metastasizing cancer and is not reversible.

7. The cost of remedies is already in the hundreds of billions of dollars and will soon reach trillions and eventually hundreds of trillions of dollars. It is unlikely the population of the earth can cope with this while storms, temperatures and disease increase and water supplies and food supples decrease. Every delay increases the prospects of this utterly bleak scenario.

The Situation: Critical

How to saddle your grandchildren's children with hundreds of trillions of dollars in debt

1. Emissions are rising, with the United States being a major contributor and the president doing everything in his power to make the situation worse.

2. Negotiations between IPCC and country representatives are going nowhere and have no prospect of going anywhere. The negotiations are with "representatives" of the various countries who themselves have no authority. It is likely they go back to their individual countries and communicate with representatives of the leaders, who then speak with the leaders. The likelihood that the leaders understand the severity and urgency of the situation is near zero.

3. No one knows how fast emissions will rise or fall. If the present situation continues (which is likely) then the climate will reach a critical state in the next 10 years if it has not already done so.

4. There is no effective process for getting leaders in line, since they do not know what to do and do not comprehend the need for immediate and drastic actions.

5. There are several scenarios by which emissions could rise drastically with no possibility of reduction. The most likely is reaching a critical state of melting of the tundra releasing large quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Other unknowns are the recent discovery of ocean temperatures 60% higher than thought and the release of methane from deep in the ocean.

6. The greenhouse effect is still not understood by the population as a whole and by leaders in general. They do not realize that the earth is WHOLLY covered with a heat trapping blanket that is constantly growing in thickness like a metastasizing cancer and is not reversible.

7. The cost of remedies is already in the hundreds of billions of dollars and will soon reach trillions and eventually hundreds of trillions of dollars. It is unlikely the population of the earth can cope with this while storms, temperatures and disease increase and water supplies and food supples decrease. Every delay increases the prospects of this utterly bleak scenario.

A plan that is specific about each issue, need, goal for every geographic entity and every technology that is critical to success. The story in Climate Home News indicates why we are in a hopeless position without an authority and without US suasion there is little chance for one.

Each is in the context of the others so efforts do not compete, but reinforce each other. It is time to get moving. It is time to stop wasting time.

To reduce future damage, suffering, and loss of life we need specifics in these areas:

PEOPLE

1. Get some engineers: who are a bit less meticulous but know how to get things done, and speak plain, forcful English. "It is highly likely...." does not get the point across as well as "If we don't do this we're dead."

2. Combine engineers with scientists to create ACTION PLANS.


TECHNOLOGY: The need and role of each.

1. Negative emissions: A research and evaluation plan so we can execute asap. "It is highly likely..." does not get the same action as: "If we don't do this we're dead."

2. Nuclear power: is now ABSOLUTELY SAFE and essential to provide large quantities of emission free power anywhere.

3. Wind Power: What is its role, where, how much, who does it. Wind power has become economical and is already a significant contributor. How do we optimize its contribution?

4. Energy storage: Evaluate new lithium technology as well as other approaches. Make recommendations.


CHANGE—OVER PLANS

1. Develop a working plan for each country and other appropriate geographic entities with assessments, targets, methods (i.e. nuclear, biomass, conservation) so leaders know what to do.

2. Develop financial plans for technology development and assistance to countries that cannot afford to do what they must do.

3. Work with mega-wealthly businesses and individuals to fund "SAVE THE EARTH" because that is where the money is now. Failure on the part of the wealthy to do their part will cause untold suffering and destruction. Develop an "encouragement plan" to get President Trump to do what an intelligent president would do.


PUBLICITY

1. Hold public hearings to make known to the world how good a plan each country has.

2. Hold "PROGRESS REPORT HEARINGS" every 6 months so everyone knows how everyone is doing.

3. Put a giant display in Times Square, New York that shows on an ongoing basis how each plan is going.

4. Put up a giant THERMOMETER in Times Square, New York to show how the earth is doing.

5. Put up a giant EMISSIONS GUAGE in Times Square, New York to show how the people of the world are doing.


WE ARE CONVINCED. LET'S GET TO WORK.

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