[GWSG] New climate state; EU at 18%; sequestering C; Years of Living Dangerously

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Sat Oct 12 10:54:30 EDT 2013

1.  A study in Nature, “The Projected Timing of Climate Departure from Recent Variability” (Camilo Mora et al., 582, 183-87) finds that the world will shift into a new climate state beginning in 2020.  The lowest monthly temperatures in a given region will be hotter than any for that month in the past 140 years.  The regions are defined with a resolution of 100 km.  (Verified from the article; the news stories are somewhat confused.)  The shift will occur first in equatorial regions and spread to the poles by midcentury.  “There will be no going back to the way things were.”  Average global temperatures will increase by about 1° C, bringing us to the UN target of 2° within a few more years of warming.    http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/10/the-coming-plague/  We are already committed to the new climate state.  However, we can buy 20 years to adapt and to prevent further disruption by a vigorous program of emissions reductions.  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/oct/10/global-warming-world-of-extremes    The New York Times story adds detail.  The research began as a class project in analyzing data.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/10/science/earth/by-2047-coldest-years-will-be-warmer-than-hottest-in-past.html?_r=0

2.  The European Union set a target of 20% greenhouse gas emissions reduction on a 1990 basis by 2020.  They have now achieved an 18% reduction and are discussing the next target—perhaps 40% by 2030 with 30% renewable energy.  The press runs a steady stream of discouraging news about (e.g.) distribution difficulties in Germany, cynicism in Poland, fracking in England, and financial stress in Spain, but behind that smoke the EU has been busy showing us the way forward.  The US and others have also made some progress.  Now we must floor the accelerator.  http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/70007

3.  To maintain the possibility of control over the climate we will probably have to remove carbon from the atmosphere.  In Michael Mann’s opinion, we are already at that point by some measures.  http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Study-Temperatures-go-off-the-charts-around-2047-4881822.php  At present major projects to do that are diminishing.  http://e360.yale.edu/digest/carbon_capture_and_storage_projects_lagging_worldwide_study_finds/3973/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+YaleEnvironment360+%28Yale+Environment+360%29   No-till agriculture can sequester carbon, as can using grasslands to graze livestock.  Grass-fed beef may even be carbon negative.  http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/07/michael_pollan_on_agriculture_s_role_in_fighting_climate_change.single.html
Biochar is still champ of carbon sequestration possibilities, though recent research indicates that its efficacy depends on where it is used.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biochar

4.  Showtime is producing an 8-part documentary on climate change, “Years of Living Dangerously.”  It documents how climate disruption is already changing people’s lives in diverse regions, mostly in the US.    http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059988528
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