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Antarctic blues and the Australian drought

Antarctic blues and the Australian drought
Andrew Glikson
Earth and paleo-climate scientist
Australian National University


The Antarctic ice sheet has not always been there.

The ice began to form about 34 million years ago, by the late Eocene, when the Antarctic continent (Fig. 1) became isolated through the opening of the Drake Passage between the Antarctic peninsula and southern tip of South America, restricting access of warm currents, and when global carbon di-oxide levels decreased to below 450 parts per million CO2, decreasing the mean temperature of Earth by near-6 degrees C [1].


Fig. 1. The Antarctic continent from space


The current global rise in atmospheric CO2 levels to 387 ppm (over 400 ppm-e radiative equivalent of CO2 + CH4 + N2O), ensues in warming of the Antarctic ice, in particular of west Antarctica, and of the Antarctic peninsula (Fig. 2). It further reduces concentration of circum-Antarctic sea ice (Fig. 3). Another expression of warming is the accelerating movement of glaciers, where the mass of the ice sheet decreased significantly at a rate of 152 ± 80 cubic kilometers of ice per year [2].

Based on a combination of ground stations and satellite observations, NASA/GISS reports a mean temperature increase of +0.12 degrees C per-decade for the entire continent of Antarctica, and +0.17 degrees C per-decade for west Antarctica, during 1957-2006 (NASA, 21.1.2009) (Fig. 2). Manifestations of warming include reduced concentration of sea ice around parts of Antarctica (Fig. 3) and the disintegration of ice shelves (Fig. 4) due to the effect of warming seas. In particular part of west Antarctica which overlies sub-sea level basement is vulnerable to sea water-induced melting. While most of the peripheral near-coastal zones of west and east Antarctica display various degrees of warming and glacier melt, small area in east Antarctica have been cooling, a likely result of ozone depletion above Antarctica, ozone being a greenhouse gas, as well as acceleration and wind-chill effect of the Antarctic wind vortex (Fig. 5).


Fig. 2. NASA Goddard Institute of Space Science, 21.1.2009. Satellite and ground station data confirm 50 years of west Antarctica warming. Values in degrees C over 50 years


Fig. 3. Sea ice per cent concentration trends in the Arctic Sea and around Antarctica for October 2008 relative to 1979-2000 October monthly average. National Snow and Ice Data Centre.


Regional changes in atmospheric circulation and associated changes in sea surface temperature and sea ice are required to explain the enhanced warming in West Antarctica [3]. Breakup of ice shelves is exemplified by the Wilkins ice shelf (Fig. 4), which for the first time continued to breakdown during winter (June-July) 2008 [4].


Fig. 4. Satellite images shows the Wilkins Ice Shelf as it began to break up. The large image is from March 6; the images at right, from top to bottom, are from February 28, February 29, and March 8. NSIDC processed these images from the NASA Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor, which flies on NASA’s Earth Observing System Aqua and Terra satellites.


The southward migration of climate zones by near-400 km, and the retreat of the Antarctic wind vortex (Fig. 5), combine to increase drought conditions in southern Australia. In the last thirty years 20% loss of the average rainfall along Australia's southern fringe occurred, marked by sudden drops in rainfall in south-western Australia in the 1970's, and in Victoria in the 1990's, affecting agriculture and reservoir supplies for more than six million people [5]. The consequences in terms of maximum temperature rise (Fig. 6A), rainfall variations (Fig. 6B) and extreme heat wave conditions (Fig. 6C) are evident.


Figure 5. The Antarctic wind vortex viewed from the Galileo spacecraft. As climate zones migrate toward to poles, the southward contraction of the swirling cold moist fronts results in reduced rainfall over southern Australia.


Loss of Antarctic ice shelves and ice sheets, indicated by time variable gravity show mass loss [2] threatens to raise sea levels on the scale of many metres, leading to inundation of coastal regions, delta and low river valleys around the world (Fig. 7). Melting of west Antarctic ice would raise sea levels by near-7 metres, whereas melting of the entire Antarctic ice sheet would raise sea levels by some 70 metres, returning the Earth to pre-late Eocene conditions (Fig. 6).


Figure 6A. Australia maximum temperature variations in degrees C per 10 years, 1970-2008 (Australian Bureau of Meteorology)


Figure 6B. Australia annual total rainfall variations in mm per 10 years, 1970-2008 (Australian Bureau of Meteorology)


Figure 6C. Maximum temperatures for Australia, 7 February, 2009. Australian Bureau of Meteorology.


Fig. 7. Projected sea level rise (Hansen, 2007). The color bars represent topographic elevations in metres. Sea level rise by up to 25 metres (Greenland and west Antarctic ice melt) is represented in blues, and up to 75 metres (total Antarctic melt) in yellow.


Until recently, whenever climate research organizations reported increases in Arctic Sea ice melt rates [6], advocates of global “cooling” have been making references to the Antarctic continent as supposed counter argument [7]. Referring to small stable or slightly cooling parts of east Anarctica (Fig 2), a plethora of bogus climate websites claim Antarctic warming is not a part of global warming [8].

Presumably regarding Antarctica as part of another planet?

Nor do “climate skeptics” shed too many tears about Emperor penguins, the magnificent birds which have to migrate from their inland colonies across ice shelves and sea ice (Figs 8), where the females lay just one egg that is tended by the male. The ice plays a major role in their overall breeding success. Further, the extent of sea ice cover influences the abundance of krill and the fish species that eat them – both food sources for the penguins.

Misreadings of climate science by “climate skeptics” have delayed efforts at climate mitigation by at least 20 years. In the words of Clive Hamilton [9]: “If scientific advances cause scientists to reject the conclusions of past IPCC reports … not much harm will be done. … but if … fellow skeptics were successful in stopping policies to cut emissions and the IPCC projections turn out to be correct, then environmental catastrophe will follow and millions of people will die. Do they lose sleep over this? Do they worry about how their grandchildren will see them? Or are they so consumed by the crusade that they know they will never be proven wrong?”


Fig. 8. Melting Antarctic iceberg



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Nothing less the 80 percent cut by 2050

A Labor-dominated parliamentary committee is calling on the Federal Government to significantly toughen up its greenhouse gas emission cuts targets.

The Federal Government's existing target is to make cuts of 60 per cent by 2050, but Labor and Greens members on the joint standing committee on treaties have released a report saying nothing less than 80 per cent will be sufficient.

The government has a lot of work to do. A reduction of nothing less than 80 per cent by 2050 will demand much more than a pathetic carbon reduction scheme. It is about time we listened to what the science is telling us and take the appropriate actions. The end of all coal mining would be a good start.

How many jobs will be lost if we continue to mine coal?

XSTRATA Coal has revealed it could sack hundreds of Queenslander workers and bin a $5 billion project because of an emissions trading scheme.

A written briefing to Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has revealed the world's largest exporter of thermal coal could retrench 1000 employees across Australia - with predictions half could be in Queensland - and sacrifice 4000 future national jobs.

Has any thought been given to the number of jobs that will be lost if we continue to mine coal? If the barrier reef is destroyed thousands of jobs in tourism will go. If ocean acidity continues thousands of fisherman will sacrifice their jobs. It is about time we realised how many jobs will be lost if we continue to mine coal.

Perhaps we should also ask how many will die if we destroy our food chains and cause sea level rises of over 1 metre?

Big Apple bob

Could the Big Apple soon be bobbing in sea water? A new study shows that sea level rise due to climate change in the next 100 years will be disproportionately high around New York and other cities of northeast US.

This looks like natural justice to me. I wonder who the US will bomb as it begins to sink. It might be a commie plot or an Islamic  attack. Or maybe the Muslims have god on their side after all.

Forget 9/11. This will be a much bigger threat and one that homeland security should really be concerned with. Better bring the troops home to start building the levees.

Ideological rage

Anthony Nolan, I had a good laugh at your comment. There is no one in my area who thinks like I do, or knows how I think. They are all just the same as city folk, but more friendly and are expressing the reality of what they are experiencing in their daily lives.

“So Alga, Queenstown? Zeehan? Somewhere in the hills south of St Mary's? “

Maybe you should learn to read a map, but I understand the rage you feel towards difference and reality. Its a common trait and lacking in the ideologically enslaved, you're welcome to it.

Keeping on topic. For the first time, they are unable to harvest the fruit here as we have had little rain. The springs have dried up so the fruit is too small and useless, meaning 20 or so jobs have disappeared this year from the town. In a small place like this, that's a dramatic event and one which will see living standards here decline even more. Over the last 10 years, our rain fall has dropped continuously, in the last 3 about 200mm a year. Now our dams are dry for the first time in memory and things are pretty grim for this once area of high rain fall, as it is in many other places.

The insanity of the ideological human

I think your are flogging a dead horse, nothing will change as we are seeing. I also watched Wong give her empty answers, it seems she has no idea about anything. If I wasn't so prepared for this, then it would be frightening knowing the future is in the hands of people like Rudd, Wong, Turnbull and Co. As for the science, I think its 50 years behind and what they are expecting in the next 50 years will be upon us within the next 5. However I am now beginning to believe there is very little I can do to prepare for the reality, how do you prepare for ecological collapse and the consequences of lost biodiversity and many breaks in the food chain.

As we know, emissions trading is all about keeping power in the hands of the polluters, nothing at all is being done to change to or encourage alternatives. All the money for economic stimulus which will again just put more money in the pockets of the rich, should have been used to create new sustainable industry which reduce costs and slow climate change.

John Pratt, you are not alone, I've been telling the story for more than 30 years to no avail. Even with the growing evidence, people just continue along in hope and denial. If you've studied history you'll find this is the normal approach by the majority of humans and they make no effort to change until disaster actually hits them. As the current human approach hasn't changed and the evidence is showing we are about to repeat human stupidity but this time on a massive scale, all you can do is prepare yourself and forget the rest.

Locals in my area are talking about the changes which are affecting their livelihood. The cray fishermen are complaining about soft shells and diminishing stock, yet the science is stating warming sea temperatures and increasing CO2 levels in the oceans will cause this. Yet they just say it's just a cycle and things will come good again soon. So you see even with the evidence before them, the average person will do nothing, just like the political system will do nothing to upset their corporate masters.

Ideological humans never learn from their mistakes, just look at near space, we have already turned that into a garbage dump in a few short years because of the short sightedness of the ideological human. If this wake up call doesn't rid the world of the ideological human and its primitive approach, then it may be the end of humanity and life on earth. But, as long as they have their primitive mythology to cling to and delusional suppressive control over life around them, they couldn't care less.

Self loading Alga

Self loaders, of course, are those who don't trust the proprietary gunpowder mix.  You know, store bought loads.  Alga is clearly a flat shooter with a heavy mix load. 

However, the problem with all survivalism is that by the time you've put enough distance between yourself and the Sodom and Gomorrah evils of the city, politicians and people who don't seem to take you seriously, damned if you know why, you find yourself in company of others whose singular and equally paranoid world view  is the match of your own.  Other than that the only common interest you have is self loading.

So Alga, Queenstown? Zeehan? Somewhere in the hills south of St Mary's?

Fiona: Careful, Anthony ...

The mourning of the Earth

How to mourn the loss of all those lovely other species? The beauty for and of its own sake? The multiplicity, the teeming, seething, robustly regenerative richness and diversity of being and life.

People are indeed in denial.

I grew up and have lived a life in a world in which the possibility existed that one day I might see a polar bear in its natural envionment. I never made doing so a priority and that is OK with me because I've seen other natural wonders, most often on foot and far from any road or trail, often alone and sometimes in good and loving company.

My children, however, will most likely live out the majority of their lives without even the possibility of seeing such a magnificent beast in its own domain and on its own terms because ... there will be no wild polar bears.

And many other species, large and small.

Ross Garnaut has put the consequences of failure in terms of a loss and regret that will be experienced by succeeding generations "until the end of time".

Ah. Well. Not for want of effort. I'm well over the denial and well into the healing. Struggle is life and struggle for life is the best of all.

Heading for mass extinction!

Since the Industrial Revolution, CO2 emissions have already turned the sea about 30% more acidic, say researchers.

It is more acidic now than it has been for at least 500,000 years, they add.

The problem is set to worsen as emissions of the greenhouse gas increase through the 21st Century.

"I am very worried for ocean ecosystems which are currently productive and diverse," Carol Turely told BBC News.

"I believe we may be heading for a mass extinction, as the rate of change in the oceans hasn't been seen since the dinosaurs.

"It may have a major impact on food security. It really is imperative that we cut emissions of CO2."

More evidence pointing to the damage our C02 emissions are causing.

The global economic crisis will feel like a walk in the park compared to the problems we are about to face due to the damage caused by our C02 emissions.

We must use the money stimulating our economy to move us to a low emission economy.

Talking to no-one

John Pratt keeps posting more and more links to credible sources, mostly rationally trained scientists.  Just letting you know, John, that you ain't alone here.  I see it that way too.

I saw 4 Corners on Monday night and I think it was there, or maybe a subsequent interview, that Wong used the word "transition" to describe the process of change towards ... well, what exactly?  In my view we need to be organising a transition to virtually a post-industrial economy and I suspect that more than a few others see it that way as well. At a national level the issue is going to be how to feed, house and educate and provide health care for the population.


Shock and denial

Thanks Anthony, I do sometimes feel alone.

I think most people are in the first stage of grief. Denial is is certainly a common reaction.

The sooner we get through this stage the better.

It is only when the majority is the seventh stage will we begin to move forward:


During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

Major floods several times a year by 2100

"As a result of the acceleration of outlet glaciers over large regions, the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are already contributing more and faster to sea level rise than anticipated," says Eric Rignot of the University of California in Irvine and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "If this trend continues, we are likely to witness sea level rise 1 metre or more by year 2100", he says.

Church says even 50 cm would have a huge effect on flooding events. "Our study on Australia showed that coastal flooding events that today we expect only once every 100 years will happen several times a year by 2100," he says.

If this science is correct many Australian coastal cities would become swamps. People would not be able to live in cities that are flooded several times a year. The cost of rebuilding would be enormous. In the third world millions will die and the pressure on the remaining land would be enormous.

Carbon trading has been disastrous

"In principle [carbon trading] is not a bad idea but in operation it's been disastrous. Business has frankly made billions out of artificial reductions of what is called hot air with absolutely no environmental benefit at all," said Meacher, singling out the ETS for being distorted by commerce. "Governments under pressure from industry – the worst example is Germany – gave away far more allowances than industry actually needed."

As Penny Wong introduces Australia's carbon trading system into our Parliament why will it do any better than what we have witnessed in Europe?

The winners seem to be big business and big polluters. Is it just a distraction to slow us from making the changes that would make real reductions in our GHG emissions? A carbon tax would be a much simpler method of putting a price on carbon pollution.

Sea level rise of a metre by 2100

The global sea level looks set to rise far higher than forecast because of changes in the polar ice-sheets, a team of researchers has suggested.

Scientists at a climate change summit in Copenhagen said earlier UN estimates were too low and that sea levels could rise by a metre or more by 2100.

As usual the scientists have been too conservative. It looks as though the sea level rise our children will experience will be a least one metre. Most of our coast will flood. Floods like those we have seen recently in North Queensland will happen much more often, and canal front homes will be under water. We should be putting more pressure on our politicians to act on reducing global carbon emissions. Two actions that should take place today are the introduction of biochar into our agriculture and a ban on all coal mining.

Failure to act now will cost our kids more than the sacrifice we should make today.

Copenhagen 2009

We believe 2009 can be a transformative year, that the economic crisis presents an opportunity to reject old assumptions just as the ecological crisis focuses minds on the last chance UN climate summit in Denmark in December. The Copenhagen meeting has the potential - more than any gathering of human beings before it - to affect how our civilisation develops. This is Westphalia, Versailles and Bretton Woods rolled into one, and it's happening this year.

Some of you who have read this far will by now be sniggering with cynicism, and when this article is published online many of the comments will exhibit a similar scorn. But with respect to the keyboard commandos, we'll take our cue instead from Professor James Hansen, director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies who said: "In the nuclear standoff between the Soviet Union and United States, a crisis could be precipitated only by the action of one of the parties. In contrast, the present threat to the planet and civilisation requires only inaction in the face of clear scientific evidence of the danger."

Copenhagen 2009 must be a turning point. The future of the planet depends on it. It will be the most important meeting of humans since Jesus held his last supper. The decisions made will determine the future of the human race. Will we be willing to change or will it be more of the same? 

Last supper

John Pratt, Copenhagen 2009 is going to be the same as the Bali meeting in 2007, it will achieve nothing.

At Bali we saw Rudd strutting the world stage and signing Kyoto, and since then he has done nothing.

Copenhagen will be the same, we will pick up the 5 star bill for a load of Ministers and hangers-on to have a nice little holiday.

John, as I have said before, unless Kevin Rudd can get India and China to cut down on their emissions we will go nowhere.

I recently came back from China, and their pollution is back to where it was before the Olympics.

Come in Hamish...

Mr Alcorn, could you possibly persuade your alter ego to head down to south-eastern Australia for a few weeks? Please ....

Powerful yet "Well behaved"

I'm working my way south Fiona. Dunno if I'll make it. Being downgraded to category 4 was a bit of a blow to my self-esteem, but I'm impressed that, "The army is on stand-by due to Hamish."

Dr James Hansen call to action on coal

On March 2 the first civil disobedience action against the use of coal took place in Washington.

Listen to Dr James Hansen's call to action.

It is about time we called a halt to Australia's coal exports.

Are we doomed?

So are we doomed?

There is one way we could save ourselves and that is through the massive burial of charcoal. It would mean farmers turning all their agricultural waste - which contains carbon that the plants have spent the summer sequestering - into non-biodegradable charcoal, and burying it in the soil. Then you can start shifting really hefty quantities of carbon out of the system and pull the CO2 down quite fast.

Would it make enough of a difference?

Yes. The biosphere pumps out 550 gigatonnes of carbon yearly; we put in only 30 gigatonnes. Ninety-nine per cent of the carbon that is fixed by plants is released back into the atmosphere within a year or so by consumers like bacteria, nematodes and worms. What we can do is cheat those consumers by getting farmers to burn their crop waste at very low oxygen levels to turn it into charcoal, which the farmer then ploughs into the field. A little CO2is released but the bulk of it gets converted to carbon. You get a few per cent of biofuel as a by-product of the combustion process, which the farmer can sell. This scheme would need no subsidy: the farmer would make a profit. This is the one thing we can do that will make a difference, but I bet they won't do it.

An interview with James Lovelock in the New Scientist. Is it possible that a change in farming practice is all it will take to save the planet from global warming? No need for a carbon reduction scheme.

Major change only comes when it's demanded

More importantly, we need a powerful and active movement not to force the administration and the Democrats in Congress to do something they don’t want to, but to give them the political space they need to act on their convictions. Barack Obama was a community organizer — he understands that major change only comes when it’s demanded, when there’s some force noisy enough to drown out the eternal hum of business as usual, of vested interest, of inertia.

On March 2, environmentalist Bill McKibben will join demonstrators who plan to march on a coal-fired power plant in Washington D.C. In this article for Yale Environment 360, he explains why he’s ready to go to jail to protest the continued burning of coal.

The time has come for action. We should be ready to act in unison with Bill McKibben and his fellow activists in Washington DC. Australia is a leading exporter of coal. Our economy is run on black death. It is time to shut down the coal mines.

Richard:   The Halliburton activist who was deported from Australia, Scott Parkin, has had a strong hand in this one as well.  It's shaping up to be a major event.

Yes, I see the point here

Yes, I see the point here. The burglars only get past when the gatekeepers are asleep.

Biochar could make humanity's prospects much brighter

Biochar technologies are potentially world-wide in their applicability. Grain production and many other forms of agriculture, livestock production, forestry and even the disposal of human waste will, I’m convinced, be profoundly transformed by biochar, and the impact will be both swift and radical. The driver, at least initially, is likely to be the climate crisis. Approximately eight per cent of all atmospheric CO2is absorbed by plants each year. If just a small proportion of the carbon captured by plants can be pyrolysed and transformed into charcoal, humanity’s prospects will be much brighter, for this will buy us time as we struggle to make the transition to a low emissions economy.

Biochar represents a cornerstone of our future global sustainability. With the appropriate political and technical recognition, promotion and adoption, it will change our world forever, and very much for the better.

Most of us are now aware of the dangers of global warming. We need to look for solutions that are quick and economically feasible. Better farming practice is one way we can remove C02 from the atmosphere and grow better crops at the same time. It is about time Biochar was recognised as a potential solution for our climate problems. How many of our political leaders are aware of its potential?  You can make a difference if you make sure your local pollies are aware. 

Corporatism the next step backwards.

Paul Walter...I agree with your analysis above.  For years the "greenspin" from the coprorates and the state has been to individualise the responsibility for market choices of consumers as if there is no responsibility on manufacturers as to what they put on the market by way of goods and services or how they produce what they market. 

This has effectively limited the range of responses to, for want of a better phrase, consumer responsibility or responsible consumption. Into the bargain the corporates let themselves off the hook.  And now, when we all have our backs to the ecological wall they threaten a flight of capital to China or thereabouts?  Time to call their bluff.  They understand only too well the tradeoff - economic and political stability (Australia) or corruption and chaos (SE Asia).

Go ahead guys, make my day.

The real danger for the future is the corporatist response where the state, labour and capital align themselves to hyper-exploit remaining resources in the class interests of those three groups.  Marginalising dissent (greens are ratbags, the earth is warming, climate change scepticism, clean coal etc etc)is a first and necessary step in forming that particular alignment of forces.

The step after that is fascist governance as  dwindling resources are depleted further. Watch out for the working class as that happens.  The working class, contra-Marx and as Germany shows, is perfectly capable of a vicuous swerve to the right in the name of its own factional interests and it is and can be as much of a creature of capital as the bosses themselves.  In other words watch out for further alliances, like in Tasmania, between working class forces and those whose profits depend on non-sustainable ecological exploitation of resources.

Actually, second trip here

Actually, second trip here tonight with tales of other media.

In this case because Andrew Glikson's last two paragraphs talked of "Climate Skeptics" long term undermining of emissions mitigation, based on a convenient lapse on the part of these, to the effect that Antarctica can still be regarded as  "part of another planet".

I'd mention specifically Crikey, the Clive Hamilton article there and responses to that, that recognise the shafting of all citizenry,  most of all those responsible for taking personal responsibility earlier or currently for their emissions via methods like solar panelling, which simply then leaves more of the carbon emissions pool available to big business, rather than offering big polluters any incentive to pull back on their pollution, as others try to do. Why bother, what's more, putting in mitigation systems when it stays cheaper to use fossil fuel generated power. Gets rid of the competion, doesn't it, thru discouragement?

I thought back to the timid Scullin government of the early 'thirties that was saddled with the Great  Depression, and its acceptance of the notorious Niemeyer Plan, which bled Australians  to pay off off-shore financial interests  (responsible for the crisis, in the first place). The equivalence is, that Australians now are being asked to subsidise big interests  polluting activities, even as they are encouraged to be self sacrificing citizens themselves. The carbon credits scheme makes responsible people sponsor the sociopathy of others unwilling to also take similar substantial steps perhaps involving personal sacrifices.

Wong reckons the corporate bastards will take their bats and balls sulk off to China if they are also asked to pull their weight here ( yes, China and co remain a problem).

But others responding take a darker view, cynically mentioning the fossil fuel industry constellation of interests and an emerging  political framework where government also sets the precedent and reinforcement for holding off on decisions as to other sectors of environmental policy,  unless developers can "persuade" them otherwise as to these, also. Eg. government as brokerage house, auctioning off what's ours- the NSW/Tas/Vic state model, imho. The opposition, who did much the same thing in government and the maligned Greens are sidelined, whilst the sheep in the mortgage belt, spooked by business fear campaigns, are  won over with the prospect that their jobs won't be lost, altho that was unlikely in the first place.

Howard Lite usurped, you could say, but sad to see the sloth continuing even into in new times, that call for definite responses to long postponed real problems.

Coffee break

It is comforting to know that concern about matters environmental are not confined exclusively to these threads.

Lateline did a fairly long segment this evening on precisely the issues the thread is concerned with. Included some concern expressed in passing by scientists on the problems with West Antarctica, one of several apparent symptoms of a situation coming to a head re global warming carbon emissions and a semingly intransigent lack of adequate government response. Most of the extensive lead in followed in line, tone and conclusions proffered, similar to Glikson's in essence.

At this stage I anticipated an interview with a government minister, but apparently Penny Wong had already been interviewed, with apparently sad results, on 730 Report, the minister still apparently not  across her portfolio as it relates to this problem. 

Instead we got, descending rapidly into burlesque, a surpassing poor performance from opportunist Andrew Robb, transparently trying to pour oil on troubled waters as to a united front in getting a more decisive response from the government as to its current watered-down proposals for carbon trading/emmissions.

I suspect Jones was not amused by Robb .

We were belatedly given a consolation interview involving finally a politician who did appear comfortable and familiar with his subject matter, like the scientists spoken with earlier, Greens Sen. Bob Brown.

This a very brief sketch of the segment.  I hope those who missed the show get the online download tomorrow and make their own minds up.

Climate tipping points

I append below a recent (16.2.2009) statement, titled "The sword of Damocles" by Prof James Hansen, chief climate scientist, Goddard Institute, NASA, consistent with evidence by the world's climate research institutions (Hadley-Met, Potsdam, CSIRO, as summarized by the AR4 IPCC-2007 report):


Richard:  Andrew, without knowing what to edit into a length within copyright parameters, I thought it best just to leave the link.

Future shock.

Just read Hansens/Gliksens corrollary and agree . But since the Wests previous hegemony has been broken due to the egregious abuses of colonialism and neocolonialism, most lately thru the idiot catastrophe that was the Bush presidency, how we do influence or direct those now outside and free of, our former hegemony.

China, Brazil, Indonesia and India, to name four larger members of a posse of developing countries, are going gangbusters in a futile attempt, if they only realised it, to mimic our comodity fetishism and consumer capitalism.They are no longer within our ambit: what can we possibly do to influence them? They have been infected with our addictions, hook line and sinker at the very time the Wests indolence and selfishness has denied them the education, therefore  the capacity to manage their freedom as the same time they reached for and took it and when, furthermore, our previous conduct rendered them utterly suspicious of us. (

Were third world humans genetically smarter than us, rather than of the same species as us they could, Canute-like and unlike us,  be able to "turn back the tides"; metaphorically and actually. But what do you reckon-  if for all our cornering of education and science we are still "human, too human", what hope them, with or without technology.

Their (leaders and middle classes, identical to ours) response seems understandably to parallel the response of a couple asked to perform coitus interruptus past "the point of no return", having been vigorously encouraged along that path to such a point in the first place. 

Every where now is the"politics of development", with its silly spindoctorings, ideologies and simulacras, rampant corruption, verbal or physical thuggery of rational science and opposition,  weak will and consequent further media and electoral manipulations in the face of the fear of a deliberately (psychically, of course) lobotomised Stepford public. We are inculcated in the belief that satisfaction in life is impossible, beyond the beforehand accumulation of four wheel drives, hot electronics, botox and plastic surgery, fashion accessories,designer drugs and Macmansions, to name just a few of the sillier products.

Now the little rationality previously permitted thru opposition and dialectic, with  both the developed/ developing world split and older old class divide, now stands collapsed in the wake of the also collapsed global political unity the west possessed in a different form once, but abused and lost with dire ecological economic and political consequences now to be faced. Inmn We didn't "share it around", just selfishly hogged and horded the earth's bounty, keeping meanness on life support.

Hence, the "Death of Neoliberalism" is anything but true. Because we didn't kill the mean spirit that dominates human affairs. Hansen all but says it and Gliksen obviously notes it, unless I'm wrong.

 All that has happened is the accelarated advent of of real heterogeneity and hegemony;control frakery thu tachnology,  in contrdiction to the conclusions reached earlier by pholosphers and  historians after two major depressions two world wars and the experiments of Stalinism and neocolonialism.

Far from being destroyed, neoliberalism and its form of globalisation are more intact then ever; merely yet utterly discredited, leaving the absence of any  proposal at this time, when one has never been more desperately needed.

A generation wasted on the market furphy experiment that was the alibi for the overthrowing of the socail democrat and Keynesian civil society compromises preserving rationality developed over previous centuries, for reassertion of the prerogatives of myopic Capital.

The wrong people usurped the decison making processes, back in the era of ignorant  Brezhnev, Nixon, Reagan, Thatcher and the sly gits of Wall st, Tokyo and the City of London, etc, costing  us the historically- assigned era historical experience had gifted us,  to make preparations for reality.


Death Trains.

Coal is not only the largest fossil fuel reservoir of carbon dioxide, it is the dirtiest fuel.
Coal is polluting the world’s oceans and streams with mercury, arsenic and other  . The dirtiest trick that governments play on their citizens is the pretense that they are working on “clean coal” or that they will build power plants that are “capture ready” in case technology is ever developed to capture all pollutants.
The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are
factories of death. When I testified against the proposed Kingsnorth power plant, I estimated that in its lifetime it would be responsible for extermination of about 400 species – its proportionate contribution to the number that would be committed to extinction if carbon dioxide rose another 100 ppm.

From Andrew's link an extract from fellow scientist James Hansen.

Who can argue with the scientists? These death trains are similar to the Nazi death trains, in fact more will probably die from the coal death trains.

We asked the German people why the ignored their death trains?

Our we going to ignore our death trains?

We are about to spend billions on infrastructure, lets hope it is spent on renewable energy and not more death trains and their ports.


You know, it would be almost amusing if it were not so criminal, the conversation with Sales, Brandis and Emerson on lateline tonight. The chat  ended up focussing on the alleging rolling of  developers friend Mar'n Ferguson and treasurer Duck by the progessives, over carbon trading/carbon taxes.

Not one of those people could draw away from mollycoddling the business community;  the stubborn denialists largely most responsible for so much environmental damage leading up to the current situation, to point out that carbon trading/taxes is a response to a situation created largely (like the related economic crisis) by big business.

The poor things want "certainty", probably like after Wik and Mabo, when Howard was put in to undermine aboriginals participation in their own lives, when that stood in the way of a developer buck,as well. They'll take their bats and balls home if they don't get what they want, after rolling and kicking on the floor, holding their breaths and going blue in the face of the prospect of actually reining in their greed for once, for the sake of the wider world.

Think locally. Fear monger globally.

Angela Ryan:  "UK has had the coldest winter in 25yrs".

Well, as you know, it is impossible to make with any assurance inferences about long term climatic trends based on isolated weather events.....

"But just because some of us are suffering through a particularly cold and snowy winter doesn't refute the fact that the globe is warming as we continue to pump carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere."

-  E/The Environmental Magazine 

...unless of course, it suits your argument to do so...

"With Victoria’s bushfire holocaust now confirmed as Australia’s worst-ever natural disaster, people are reasonably asking: are these events linked to climate change?  The short answer is yes."

 - Green Left Weekly

Something about Mary

 The thing with global warming is that the subsequent melt of cold fresh water could trigger off a shutting down of the"conveyor belt" of warm ocean currents that keeps Western  Europe ice free and temperate. Result- rapid onset of ice age!

The other thing is, the migration of climate southwards mentioned in the Glikson article  coincides with statistical information relating to el nino/la nina cycles.  An occasional cold year has always figured in the five to seven year cycles that used to define our weather. The cooler year last than most others this decade ( not that you would have noticed it in Adelaide!! ), is also still relatively hot, as the article , I think, mentioned.

Eliot, gratifying to see you are an afficianado of Green Left Weekly.

All we need are the neolib denialists also in the fold as to less blase' dismissal of evidence concerning the still-unfolding story of climate change and pollution and we can then start planning for the future instead of just euphorically changing deck chairs on the "Carpathia", as if things 'd just float along as before. And "float " could be the operative word in more ways than one, if we are not careful very soon.

What's happening is a cultural mindset change not seen since Darwin and before him, Galileo. But as ever there are reactionaries who won't think about neew information, either thru stubborness or a vested interest in things staying the same.  

"Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans", as John Lennon famously said.  Its just a matter of making the slight effort to adjust  mentally and the notion of climate change will stop being so bothersome to those few troglodytes left who can't face it, probably because they might then have to make some minor lifestyle adjustments along with the rest of humanity, for the common good. Still attitude can be a surprisingly hard thing, as this writer also well knows.

Or is the notion of the common good that's the problem for adherents of neoliberalism?

Think on, the right adjustments now might save grief  for the self-involved too. Now that should bring about a change...


To what level do temperatures, droughts, cyclons, ice melt, sea level and methane emission need to rise before people will realize that climate science is correct?

Madhatter's tea party

John Pratt:  "Even if you thought the science had a fifty fifty chance of being correct wouldn't it be prudent to reduce our GHG emissions until we can prove that GHG are not causing the observable changes to our planet?

It probably wouldn't be wise. Considering a major economic downturn (it hasn't even hit yet) will take care of all that at any rate.

In Britain for example they'll probably experience depression conditions. And all their money has already gone into that bottomless pit of the "best of British Banks". Though, it depends on who you listen too: Gordon Brown, affectionately known as sumphead, or those that profit so handsomely from this lunks every move.

Climate change is the least of their concerns. Merely bread and circuses.

Angela Ryan:  "UK has had the coldest winter in 25yrs".

One of the British papers on the very same page of reporting six or so deaths from freezing were breazely quoting "climate changers" that were expecting the hottest summer ever! Perhaps the "frozen few" will thaw out? Do energy generating windmills work in blizzard conditions by any chance?

Holy holy holy glory to the global warming, hail mary rain/shine

There are some other issues being debated about the changes in Antarctica. the increasing size of the rest of the ice cover is interesting. Everywhere except the busy little west area (symbolic) or is it the changes in tides affecting the shallower masses, the active volcanoes beneath the ice with hot currents moving along, and now this week we have a cold snap. Does that mean an Ice age is coming? Is climate change a bandwagon of fear? Are we forgetting in the demonisation of carbon the dreadful pollution and deforestation and overfishing occurring, the cementing of our arable land for cheap profits for developers etc?

Are we losing a scientific grasp of how to observe the climate phenomenon as a fanatical bandwagon leaps into gear with populace chanting and burning of heretical sceptics?

Are we forgetting the influence of the large hotplate beneath the western ice sheets? Note the eastern sheets are increasing in size apparently :

Most of Antarctica is seismically stable. But its western part lies on a rift in Earth's crust that gives rise to occasional volcanism and geothermal heat, occurring on the Antarctic coastal margins.

This is the first evidence for an eruption under the ice sheet itself – a slab of frozen water, hundreds of metres thick in places, that holds most of the world's stock of fresh water.

Reporting in the journal Nature Geoscience this week, the investigators from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), In Cambridge, England, describe the finding as "unique."

It extends the range of known volcanism in Antarctica by some 500 km and raises the question whether this or other sub-glacial volcanoes may have melted so much ice that global sea levels were affected, they said.

And this bit:

"The Wilkins disintegration won't raise sea level because it already floats in the ocean, and few glaciers flow into it," Scambos said. But "the collapse underscores that the Wilkins region has experienced an intense melt season. Regional sea ice has all but vanished, leaving the ice shelf exposed to the action of waves."

And this comment (which is true it seems):

... he himself conveniently ignores the fact that only 2% of the surface area in Antarctica is losing ice - while the ice on the other 98% of the continent is actually increasing.

From an article discussing the Wilkins shelf break up:

"Temperature records from the nearest weather station (San Martin - 400kms away) show no evidence of unusual temperatures since a warm summer in 2003 - both land and sea temperatures have been around average since then. What we are seeing here is a normal phenomenon involving a relatively small amount of ice - if global warming was causing this there would be many more ice shelves collapsing in Antarctica than the isolated incident we are seeing..."

"I find the press commentary on the calving of a slice of the Wilkins Ice Shelf a trifle exaggerated.

Currently, the sea ice off Antarctica totals about 4 million square kms, as against about 2.5 million sq kms this time last year. Last year ended up having the largest sea ice cover since satellite measurements began in 1979.

I don’t think 400 odd sq kms really counts when there is about 1.5 million sq kms of extra ice around.

Doug Lavers, Melbourne, Australia"

"NEW evidence has cast doubt on claims that the world’s ice-caps are melting, it emerged last night. Satellite data shows that concerns over the levels of sea ice may have been premature. It was feared that the polar caps were vanishing because of the effects of global warming. But figures from the respected US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that almost all the “lostâ€� ice has come back. Ice levels which had shrunk from 13million sq km in January 2007 to just four million in October, are almost back to their original levels. Figures show that there is nearly a third more ice in Antarctica than is usual for the time of year. The data flies in the face of many current thinkers and will be seized on by climate change sceptics who deny that the world is undergoing global warming. […] Central and southern China, the USA and Canada were hit hard by snowstorms. "

And this little gem:

"To quote ICECAP:

"The full Wilkins 6,000 square mile ice shelf is just 0.39% of the current ice sheet (just 0.1% of the extent last September). Only a small portion of it between 1/10th-1/20th of Wilkins has separated so far, like an icicle falling off a snow and ice covered house. And this winter is coming on quickly. In fact the ice is returning so fast, it is running an amazing 60% ahead (4.0 vs 2.5 million square km extent) of last year when it set a new record. The ice extent is already approaching the second highest level for extent since the measurements began by satellite in 1979 and just a few days into the Southern Hemisphere winter and 6 months ahead of the peak. Wilkins like all the others that temporarily broke up will refreeze soon. We are very likely going to exceed last year’s record. Yet the world is left with the false impression Antarctica’s ice sheet is also starting to disappear."..."

and after some pretty hot weather we now have cold weather for the year-perhaps that must mean there is an Ice Age coming now. UK has had the coldest winter in 25yrs.

And a bit more about volcanoes beneath - despite the article dismissing an active volcano as a possible cause of Ice melting and warmer sea just there - wow how amazing and I thought magma was kind of hot stuff:

Although ice buried the unnamed volcano, molten rock is still churning below. David Vaughan, a glaciologist with the BAS and a co-author of the new study, said the discovery might explain the speeding up of historically slow-moving glaciers in the region.

“This eruption occurred close to Pine Island Glacier on the West Antarctic Ice volcano has caused some of that acceleration." Sheet," Vaughan said. "The flow of this glacier towards the coast has speeded up in recent decades, and it may be possible that heat from the

The effect is similar to a person gliding down a Slip 'n Slide: Volcanically melted water beneath the colossal ice sheet lubricates its movement, assisting its gravity-powered journey toward the Antarctic Ocean...."

"The discovery of a ‘subglacial’ volcanic eruption from beneath the Antarctic ice sheet is unique in itself," Corr said. "But our techniques also allow us to put a date on the eruption, determine how powerful it was and map out the area where ash fell."

Scientists like Corr have used radar and other technologies to find other features, such as lakes, tucked beneath the Antarctic ice. Researchers also think that magma-heated rock beneath Greenland's massive ice sheet is accelerating its melting, but whether a volcano or just a pool of magma is responsible is still a matter of debate."

So.... got that? volcanoes under the area melting, like Greenland, and the opposite are of Antarctica increasing ice cover and the coldest winters in decades in the northern hemisphere...

If we miss the real cause of a phenomenon due to a religious obsession with a popularist hypothesis then we may miss the real reasons for events and the dangers such encompass.

Science is not religion. It is not something to be believed or not. hypothesises are to be examined and all observations explained by that hypothesis or such must be re-examined.

Imagine if current changes from volcanic activity was the threat to the ice sheets not a tiny change in temperature-not recorded in other areas and rapidly countered by the colder snowier winter... we would be missing this by failure to observe and question.

Climate change is not a religion but a hypothesis to be observed and tested. So far there is much that is controversial there.


How can we ignore the science?

Angela, are you willing to ignore this science?

Reduce CO2 emissions or watch our marine life suffer. That’s the ultimatum delivered last week by a group of over 150 scientists from 26 countries, who said in a statement that “severe damages are imminent” if something is not done to stop ocean acidification.


Seventy percent of the world’s tropical glaciers are in the high Andes Cordillera of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.  Of the 18 currently existing mountain glaciers in Peru, 22 percent of the surface has been lost over the past 27 to 35 years, an area equivalent to that of all the glaciers in Ecuador. Since 1970, glaciers in the Andes have lost 20 percent of their volume, according to a report by Peru’s National Meteorology and Hydrology Service (SENAMHI).

Most of the smaller glaciers in the Andes Cordillera are expected to diminish within a generation. Modeling work and projections indicate that many of the lower-altitude glaciers could completely disappear during the next 10 to 20 years.

The International Panel on Climate Change confirms thermal changes are occurring in the earth’s environmental climate systems. IPCC’s latest report (2007) finds evidence from all continents and most oceans showing that many natural systems are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases.


There is considerable confidence that climate models provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at continental scales and above. This confidence comes from the foundation of the models in accepted physical principles and from their ability to reproduce observed features of current climate and past climate changes. Confidence in model estimates is higher for some climate variables (e.g., temperature) than for others (e.g., precipitation). Over several decades of development, models have consistently provided a robust and unambiguous picture of significant climate warming in response to increasing greenhouse gases.

A majority of scientists believe that GHG is causing climate change.

It is not a religious belief. It is the use of the best of our human abilities to determine a scientific cause of the observable changes such as the recent drought, bushfires and floods.

Scientists are naturally conservative and in fact may have underestimated the effects of GHG pollution.

Prof Field said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report had underestimated the rate of change.

He said warming is likely to cause more environmental damage than forecast.

Speaking at the American Science conference in Chicago, Prof Field said fresh data showed greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2007 increased far more rapidly than expected.

"We are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we've considered seriously in climate policy," he said.

Even if you thought the science had a fifty fifty chance of being correct wouldn't it be prudent to reduce our GHG emissions until we can prove that GHG are not causing the observable changes to our planet?

Thomas, the first in scientific theory

HI John,

"A majority of scientists believe that GHG is causing climate change."

So hey John when did science become an election process where majority rules? when did science become historical "truth" as taught by hollywood like DVDs and pop up talking heads?

Did Henny Penny go around screaming "the iceage the Iceage" when EU and Northern amerca just froze so badly? 

And CO2 is the reason(for exactly what?)? What is the evidence? 

Rising levels of CO2 have been atributed to Global warming,the rsulting melting Icecaps and hence global flooding and the end. SOund like a movie plot. Panic all we must switch to nuclear, we must pay more for our carbon we must have acarbon trade gimmick of valuelss paper.........

Where is the evidence that CO2 has risen (and yes I know about the buffering systems, hence there is little change.......er.so-so why the "resutling climate changes now etc)? 

Did anyone ask themselves hwo come it is suddenly Gobal warming that is the catechism for the monied world?

I have no doubt that we are screwing the planets's ecomsystems unto our own genocide if our arms industry doesnt do it first, but evdience in a scientific hypothesis is hard to come by when one is doing modelling in such a new field and such an model has enormous variables.

How do we knwo it is not deforestation that is causing rising temperatures/extreme eather in some areas adn draught etc? blahblah.

It is lack of attention to our ecosystems that is now continuing as a band wagon starts about co2 due to the benefits from teh carbon traders and the nuclear industry and the Greenies who want to do good and think such may help, all well meaning but i=mis diercted for our survivla.. 

Is Global warming-now morphing into global weather change-even  statistically significant? Why this sudden morph to Climate change with no redface at all. Why failure to acknowledge climate cycles and to paint the Antarctic Ice changes so deceptively to ingore the increasing sheets and in=gnore the active volcano activity beneath-as has Greenland I think.

There is far more evidence for cataclysmic ecological collapse with continued pace ecossytem destruction-but now one can offset it with carbon payments without bothering to stop it..

 Have you not noticed our extreme events have past to compare to?(remember few natural events havent yet had their past history occurance to compare with )

Without  the strict scientific application of testing data  one finds real scientists dragged along, yes perhaps with the offer of funds suddenly for their projects and little lab empires etc and who else profits-the multibillion buck carbon trading slush, the ultimate buying of nothing. It doesnt stop the destruction, the pollution but now there is profit. And the nuclear industry, busy enjoying it's revival as brainwashed environments seek noncarbon energy sources in their honest attempt to save the planet-I kid you not.It has beeen a mulitbilion shot in the arm for the -what should be until we get Fussion-dead industry.(Even Canada-the Candoo makers published their plans in 1998 to shut down their uneconomical power plants. Now we have Candoo exporting everywhere, and even nuclear power plants being built in fault flawed Indonesia. No doubt top face the reality Japan did last year-70% plus need to be shut down, built in the wrong place due to corruption.

 And if the data is collected and it is actually heating that is the problem then too bad about the nuke plants then....and the little wars all the time, what carbon tax will be payed there? farce.

No, I say contineu coal fired with well filtered emissions and the best quality coal as our primary source of high watt energy, add local sourced solar and wind and tide and gas, including the hydrogen algae pools for running cars so indepnednt of oil imports and dramatically reduce the wasted use of energy ..We need our coal to last a long long time , not chew it up and waste it, not send it all the China-no carbon emissions issues there- this is what runs ourlives and we are wasting it.

Instead of playing money market games with carbon and damaging our community so well resourced by such a type of energy, we should be putting all our ecosystmes in order. Stopping pollution , stopping wanton felling of virgin forests (hemp instead) , rationalising our farming practices(We shoudl also be planting more locally friendly crops like hemp and low water users for our always dry continent and run soft footed anmals/emusetc.)

We may increase our rainfall by greening our deserts that we and the aborginals before us made through burning adn clearing(and overgrazingand feral animals)), and  that burning damage assisted by forestry practice of thinning the canopy and increasing the undegrowth hence more ferocious forest fires and more frequent..

Notice in Western Africa where Aussis have been greening the desert with edible acacia  theyield per hectare has improved, reported even the local"climate has" with better rainfall. Hard to believe but easy to measure..

Look at Google earth and study  the growing scars upon the land that are sprawling cities, flat cleared lands and polluted runoff into the oceans.

we can do better but we dont need the carbon distraction.it is a much bigger picture that we need to see and act..

What I see are just weather disasters , most of which have happened before at similar scale but ar they increasing? Or is it a cycle developing? Or is the change, if resent, due to teh huge damage everywhere one sees? Thee is only a theory (a hypothesis , more likely) based on dubious untested data with conficting interpresations available. Perhaps we can blamethe tsnuami on Climate change-ye heard it said-pity they forgot about that little undersea shock.

 And we know it is a furfy..why? because if it profits and pays then carbon is still OK in this money dealing enterprise that just sucks with no benefit. If it is real and supported then Malcom Turnbull is right-just tax it everywhere if it is the problem with compulsory reduction everywhere, evreywhere, yes even teh biggest buddies and think of China/India etc too.Are we really beliveing the data is hard and we still say"heck let china keep burning they need a good economy".......?  We would say no coal mates.  But that is it, there is no evidence.There is eco-econ-sytem benefit in altenative (non-nuclear) energy too so win either way.

It seems profit by carbon emitting is Ok for your company in China, Vietnam and Oman (where our big carbon emitters have cleverely gone) but not OK for our domestic electiricty users.....work it out.  A furfy. A certain aluminum company crying poor and wanting tax bucks and carbon credits to keep jobs here is busy setting up in OMAN ready to shift very soon, like our steel boys in Vietnam(opened by Howard).

it is just a furfy to spin panic and reap profits without fixing the real problems, that is what I think.  I wont "believe" until I put my hands on the kidney from the front,. like thomas.ie science is not "belief" .

I look forward to rela evidence that (1) there is global warming

(2) it is due to man-made carbon emission

Anyone got any?


New days new problems

The economic downturn supplies the perfect back out clause for both sides of the argument. The climate change people can now claim that the downturn has "delayed the inevitable", and industry can conduct its "less" business, until a "return to better days". This is the perfect win-win situation. A noble and face saving truce for both parties.

The economic downturn will eventually affect funding for numerous subjects at any rate. This will naturally include climate change funding. Everyone is now fighting for much smaller slice of the pie, and it's only getting smaller. As the situation deteriorates people such as James Hansen (obvious to me he is suffering a Messiah complex) will be crowded off the pages for other stories.

The irony here is the climate change industry directly relies on economic success as much as any industry. The exact thing they seemingly want to destroy, and even more ironically the job seemingly has been done for them. Finishing them in the process.

We will destroy the planet

The climate is nearing tipping points. Changes are beginning to appear and there is a potential for explosive changes, effects that would be irreversible, if we do not rapidly slow fossil-fuel emissions over the next few decades. As Arctic sea ice melts, the darker ocean absorbs more sunlight and speeds melting. As the tundra melts, methane, a strong greenhouse gas, is released, causing more warming. As species are exterminated by shifting climate zones, ecosystems can collapse, destroying more species...........

The greatest danger hanging over our children and grandchildren is initiation of changes that will be irreversible on any time scale that humans can imagine. If coastal ice shelves buttressing the west Antarctic ice sheet continue to disintegrate, the sheet could disgorge into the ocean, raising sea levels by several metres in a century. Such rates of sea level change have occurred many times in Earth's history in response to global warming rates no higher than those of the past 30 years. Almost half of the world's great cities are located on coastlines......

Clearly, if we burn all fossil fuels, we will destroy the planet we know. Carbon dioxide would increase to 500 ppm or more. We would set the planet on a course to the ice-free state, with sea level 75 metres higher. Climatic disasters would occur continually. The tragedy of the situation, if we do not wake up in time, is that the changes that must be made to stabilise the atmosphere and climate make sense for other reasons. They would produce a healthier atmosphere, improved agricultural productivity, clean water and an ocean providing fish that are safe to eat.

James Hansen in the Guardian.

How can we ignore this science? 

Does anyone think we can continue with a business as usual policy?

One other threads I have argued for Triple Bottom Line accounting to make corporations more responsible for the environment. I have argued for the withdrawal of Australian troops in Afghanistan. These are linked: we cannot carry on as we have in the past.  As our cities disappear under the ocean or burn to ash from bushfires we will need all our troops to protect us from the effects of climate change. Who will give a toss which government rules in Afghanistan?

How denial operates.

John Pratt- denial takes many forms.  Kathy has mobilised considerable intellectual and research resources to make a case that global warming isn't real.  Her case is not convincing. 

When we see people who we know to be rational and trained in rational competencies denying even the possibility that there might be a problem, and in this case there is enough evidence to argue for prudent remedial action until we are proven wrong, then it is clear that other factors are at work.

In Kathy's case it is probably a grief reaction at what we are about to lose. Expect to see a lot more of this kind of thinking and behaviour.  In order to cope it may be useful for you to make a study of the five stages of grief in order to better understand how to deal with people as the crisis deepens.

 In Paul Morella's case I think there is not even a grief reaction at work.  He is a representative of a particular personal and class interest who will fight to the bitter end to defend his advantages (as he sees them).  Presumably someone read Hobbes to him as a childhood bedtime story while he fell asleep in his private school dormitory.

 We cannot rely on such people and it is a waste of time to argue with them. They are useful only as foils in public debate in so far as their irrationality allows us to present argument for rational and prudential courses of action.



I meant Angela not Kathy in above post. Apologies all 'round.

Kathy and Angela ,only with the ether, or perhap the nitrous

Thanks Anthony for that correction, much as I love Kathy it would have amazed me if we were both on the same side in a scientific data testing argument. the ether is where we join.


So, where is the data that 

(1)There is global warming

(2 it is from man produced carbon emissions?


What more proof do you need?


Proof for global warming.

1. “We now see warming is taking place on all seven of the earth’s continents in accord with what models predict as a response to greenhouse gases,” said Eric J. Steig, a professor of earth and space .

2. The Earth is absorbing more energy from the Sun than it is giving back into space, according to a new study by climate scientists in the US.

They base their findings on computer models of climate, and on measurements of temperature in the oceans.

The group describes its results as "the smoking gun that we were looking for", removing any doubt that human activities are warming the planet.

The results are published in the journal Science this week

If you need anymore proof.

Carbon levels since 1960 note the steady increase to 388 ppm.


Global temperature, note the rise from 1960 to today.


How can anyone sincerely deny this reality?


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