Thursday, October 18, 2018

Eyewash by the IPCC Enables Pentagon Inertia

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established by the United Nations Environmental Program and the World Meteorological Organization in 1988 has just issued a report described by the New York Times as quite concerning, predicting a “world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die off of coral reefs as early as 2040.” Despite all its handwringing
(“ the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has ‘no documented historic precedent’ and ‘the atmosphere will  warm up by  as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty’) it urges us just to do the same and more of the same, but it overlooks the vital discussion of self-reinforcing feedback loops resulting from arctic ice melt.


Because it leaves out everything it either doesn’t know or can’t quite cope with, the IPCC report and all the media attention it has received is utter eyewash.  Why? For answers we must look to Peter Wadhams, emeritus professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge.  His analysis of the flaccid IPCC report is that it is based on old fashioned modeling that ignores the data of observational scientists. It soft pedals such self-reinforcing feedback loops as methane feedback, sea-level rise and glacier melt feedback, decline in thermohaline circulation,  and albedo feedback, (the reflectivity of white ice deflecting the sun’s heat).  None of the four, potentially leading to catastrophic global warming, are described as major threats, says Wadhams, because the IPCC doesn’t consider them in the first place, either hoping they go away by themselves, or forgetting them altogether.


For example. the report claims that, if we are to keep to 1.5 degrees, there will be an ice-free summer once every hundred years!  And that if we allow the temperature to rise to 2.0 degrees, there will be an ice-free summer every ten years! Whereas the reality now is that either next year, or at most the year after that we will have nothing but ice-free summers thereafter.

The IPCC has always ignored methane release from the Arctic offshore. And they ignore it again this year.  Because they themselves lack the resources that observational scientists have, they base their conclusions on the old models that say the methane is not supposed to be released for another 50 to 100 years.

Another self–reinforcing feedback mechanism and potentially runaway cycle has to do with the acceleration of sea level rise, coupled with glacier retreat. Because the IPCC ignored present conditions, they produced reports relating to sea level rise in the next century, gifting policy makers with complacency and allowing them to under budget for sea defenses. This year, while reporting on the melt occurring in Greenland, and Iceland, the report still ignores both what’s happening in the East Antarctic ice sheet which is beginning to retreat, and the moulins happening in Greenland of melt water running down to bedrock, which accelerates the rate of melt.

A third self-reinforcing feedback loop related to the loss of sea ice, and not mentioned by the IPCC relates to the decline in thermohaline circulation,  a process controlled both by water temperatures and ocean salinity, which leads to an increased amount of water warming up faster in the tropics, resulting in increased hurricane intensity. It ignores the albedo effect altogether for which a very simple solution might be to color all the planet’s roofs and highways white.

To sum up, the IPCC seems to think that IF we can keep warming to 1.5 degrees, methane release won’t happen because the sea ice won’t melt. But the sea ice is already melting! Other runaway cycles won’t happen either, so they think they don’t even have to mention them.  The report offers complacency when a dire panic warning is called for, requiring  a catastrophic overhaul, but if we go by the IPCC’s impotent report, we are not going to get anything like it done in time, and certainly not as long as the U.S. and Brazil insist on withdrawing altogether from the Paris accords.


Wadhams stresses that at the stage we find ourselves, namely keeping to a 1.5 temperature rise, we have to focus on carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere. The IPCC  report doesn’t mention how much CO2 removal per year is needed to keep the warming down to 1.5, namely at least 20 billion tons per year, from 40 to 50% of what our present emissions are.  Or up to 1 trillion metric tons of carbon from the biosphere over the 21st century.  To address such a commitment, development of a huge industry is needed that will change the lives of everyone on Earth. It has already affected me. At 82 years of age, just when walking became a conscious act, I gave up driving, I junked my car. I am inviting you to consider what in your life you might consider giving up.


Supposedly the Pentagon “got it,” declaring in 2017 that global warming is a threat to “national security.” Now suppose those Pentagon bean counters were to look over their shoulders for a minute to see what some of the world already sees: the streets of Shanghai choking, the forests of the Western Northern hemisphere burning, do you think they might have the imagination to reallocate every penny that now goes into killing children and starving them in countries like Yemen, and Afghanistan to a concerted effort to preserve life on this planet? Because that’s what it will take:  all the resources that now go to war-making and destruction would have to be reallocated to sucking per year that 20 millions tons of carbon dioxide pout of the atmosphere in order to save Earth.

Nothing short of declaring war on global warming will do it.

War is the most profligate user of fossil fuels. Prevent the Iran war.

Judge denies U.S. governments request to skip trial on its responsibility to protect U.S. citizens from the damage due to global warming and its impacts.

Point Conception, an eight-mile stretch of pristine southern California coastline will be protected by The Nature Conservancy.

New Supreme Court ruling re: ConAgra and Sherwin-Williams could make it easier to hold corporations liable for climate change.

AMP Creeks Council and Greater Southern Maryland Community announce success fighting Dominion Energy Cove Point effort to build a giant fracked gas compressor station on 14 clear cut acres.

New York City announces divestment of its pension  funds from fossil fuel stocks. Both the Mayor and City Comptroller plan to re-invest that $4 billion in community-led climate solutions.

Ecosia, a German start up, to buy 200 hectares of Hambach forest slated for open coal mining.

Judge Ann Aiken rules that 21 children and young adults have standing claiming that their due process rights have been violated by the government and fossil fuel companies.

One of nation’s oldest, Englewood, Colorado based Westmoreland Coal Company files for bankruptcy.

Our People and Planet awards two green businesses Nature’s Magic, a woman-owned business in Georgia, and Eutree, which recycles urban tree “waste” in Villa Rica, Georgia.

Bringing together advocates for peace and economic, racial, environmental and climate justice, Peace Congress announces plans to end U.S. wars at home and abroad.

Due at least in large part to public opposition, the administration’s weapons parade in Washington D.C. has been cancelled.

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are calling for the Government Accountability Office to launch an investigation into the policies and practices of charter schools.

Education “Secretary” Betsy DeVos loses major battle over Obama’s student loan protections.

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) introduces the Strengthening
Social Security Act of 2018 (H.R. 6929) to ensure the annual Cost of Living Adjustment adequately reflects the real cost of living, and will improve the financial health of the Social Security Trust Fund.

Senators Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV) Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D –Il) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) along with 18 other Democratic senators send a letter to Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen urging her to withdraw proposed regulatory chances to the “public charge” rule.

Thousands of Glasgow women strike over pay discrimination.
Hundreds of thousands march in Berlin demonstrating against racism and calling for solidarity against the far right.

Dunkirk, the biggest European city so far to do so, offers entirely free transport to residents and visitors alike.

Citing the S.F. Bryant Street jail as unsafe and apt to liquefy in a major earthquake, No New Jail activists call for its closure and funds for a substitute to be allocated to health, education, and housing.

Canada legalizes marijuana.
Following their success advocating for no funding increases for ICE, the #DefundHate Coalition urges people to mobilize calling for complete defunding of this racist agency and its inhumane practices.

California’s Contra Costa and Sacramento Counties and the City of Santa Ana sand Williamcon Couty, TX, and Atlanta pull out of their contracts with ICE.

Atlanta cop, Matthew Johns, who beat a teenager, is indicted after over two years.

A measure on the Maine ballot proposes universal home health care for all Maine residents to be paid for by a tax on people making more than $128,400 a year.

ACLU with other civil rights groups file joint lawsuit against Kemp for “disproportionately impacting the ability of voting-eligible African-American, Latino, and Asian-American applicants to register to vote.”

Activists raise a stunning $100,0000 in 70 minuites to defeat Native American Voter Suppression in North Dakota.

The Illinois State Journal-Register announces that remains from the 1908 Springfield race riots will be excavated.

Rahm Emanuel announces he won’t seek third term as mayor of Chicago. We await his notification of retirement.

More than eighty civil society organizations protest the National Park Service’s “Pay to Protest” Proposal.

National Park Services receives over 71,000 comments in response to the new proposed anti-protest regulations.

Florida Supreme Court thwarts Republican Governor Rick Scott’s plan for the Florida courts to remain in Republican control for years to come.

As Judge Suzanne Bolanos considers letting Monsanto off the hook, jurors demand court respect their historic verdict holding Monsanto to account.

The two Koreas agree to begin re-connecting rail and road links.

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