How Can We Stop Global Warming?

 

Strange Facts and Questions about Global Warming ACADEMIA and the CLIMATE EMERGENCY ITS THE LIFESTYLE, NOT THE SCIENCE Sceptics and Deniers Contact the Author, Michael Tuckson References and Acknowledgements Short CV For Beginners and the Bewildered COPENHAGEN and  AFTER BLOG WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW My Sitemap
 

 

stopglobalwarming-newstrategies.net

An Independent, Global and Flexible Approach: This site has no national, political or scientific sub-theory bias. It is regularly Updated and Improved.

 

New Strategies  to Stop Global Warming

Dr. Michael Tuckson

Updated September 2011.

Climate emergency: There is a risk, if not a danger, of sudden global warming and climate change driven by natural feedback processes, if global average temperatures rises 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.  We are now at 0.8 degrees above, and thus must aim for a maximum rise of 1.5 degrees. You, if you are young, or your children and grandchildren and further descendents could suffer seriously if we do not control net carbon emissions. All nations and all social classes are/will experience catastrophic loss, just some before others. Nearly all practicing climate scientists believe something like this. Behavioural options and alternative technology can solve this problem if we act quickly and decisively.

If you are mainly interested in the 'NATURAL FACTS' of global warming and climate change you could start by clicking Basic GLOBAL WARMING Information

IF YOU KNOW A HIGH, SCHOOL, COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY TEACHER OR PROFESSOR, PLEASE EMAIL the website address www.stopglobalwarming-newstrategies.net/ and suggest they look at Academia and the Climate Emergency webpage

  

Polar Bear AlonePhoto: Jan Martin Will

There are two types of actions you can take: reduce your carbon emissions, and spread understanding. The latter is much more important, but the former mainly has value as a model and to give you credibility and self-respect. 

Ocean inertia implies sea level has risen several metres already; feedback warming has long started. Even though the temperature of the atmosphere oscillates, heat in the oceans climbs more steadily.

Despite the claims of  ‘sceptics’, the sun and cosmic rays have had no major influence on the global average temperature rise over the last three decades. Most of the rise has been rural, not urban. Thus it must be due to the trapping of radiation by rising greenhouse gases, including methane, and black carbon soot. The theory of atmospheric geophysics predicts this. 

'Scepticism' and Its Consequences

If you think the findings of climate science are due to incompetence, fraud or conspiracy, then ask yourself why the same doesn’t apply to other theories such as those of genetics, aeronautical engineering, or indeed accounting? The main reason some people are attacking climate science is that it implies that they must change their lifestyle. They only pretend to be interested in the quality of the science. This is where the real fraud has been, but few have realized it partly because of our inadequate mass media, including the government owned outlets. The pretence has largely been financed by the fossil fuel industry for two decades, as it has most to lose (in the short-term) if we change our lifestyle. Much of the mass media have been financially induced to participate in this intellectual fraud using omission and a false balance, and others have followed. Do you realize that our young (rich or poor) including those descendents of parents working in the fossil fuel industry, are already suffering or will suffer for this deceit? 

Compare two scenarios involving two types of risk, and action versus inaction. If we follow the advice of almost all climate scientists, and sacrifice some convenience and luxury, experience some unemployment and reduced wages, and spend considerable effort increasing energy efficiency, changing to renewable energy, conserving forest, and eating less livestock produce, but it turns out that the climatologists were wrong, we will still have gained reduced local pollution, higher biodiversity, better efficiency, greater energy security, alternatives for oil when the price soars, renewed manufacturing at home, new exports, better health, better urban planning, less environmental degradation, and will have preserved the fossil fuels for later use by future generations.  If on the other hand, we do nothing about climate change, but the deniers are shown to be wrong, we will be led to oblivion, perhaps by the end of the century. Which scenario do you prefer?  

 In fact we may be coming close to the second one already. The lies of the fossil fuel industry and others over two decades have made it much more likely that all our civilizations will be destroyed. We must act swiftly to avert this danger.  The longer we leave significant change the worse it will become, and the more likely we will eventually face unstoppable climate degradation. Note that a slight effort such as a 5 or even 20 percent reduction in net emissions by 2020 is just delaying disaster a little. Some are saying we must reduce net emissions by 100 percent by 2020.

Everyone Can Help 

Everyone who can understand this article can help, even if just a little. You can contribute by studying the science if necessary, and moving towards a low carbon lifestyle, but more importantly by teaching your relatives, work colleagues, neighbors and friends, especially the more influential, why they should do the same. We must all spread the word more widely, and pressure all levels of government, political parties and private organizations to implement effective policies. We should all write or speak to politicians to get them to understand the danger and the opportunities. The new technology is essentially there. It just needs inducements for companies to invest, and some sacrifice on our part. (see details below and on other pages).  

At the moment, China is doing better than the USA, Canada and Australia in this respect by investing in renewable energy, electric cars and planting trees. The former Anglo-Celtic colonies must do better as they have been polluting for longer than China.  

Think about the long-term rather than just your life this year and next. Consider what our lifestyles are leading to for ourselves, our descendents and those of our siblings and friends. If you care about your future life and their lives, it is almost certain you will have to alter yours now. We can survive if we all move fast. We cannot win with idlers waiting for someone else to act towards low carbon, lead dialogue, disseminate and educate.

Large scale solar thermal energy, already successful in Spain, photovoltaic solar panels (that are coming down in price rapidly) wind energy, more buses and trains, stopping forest clearing, massive tree planting, and a move towards a vegan diet, together with support from the rich to the poor regions, may be the most important measures. Can you help? 

'Scepticism' or Denial has nothing to do with the quality of science, but everything to do with a false understanding of how to preserve the family's lifestyle. Learn first and spread your knowledge; educate/persuade the powerful deniers, government and the people. Deniers are holding up decent legislation in the USA, the world's leading polluter. Denial by the powerful is causing pollution that is causing global warming that is causingclimate change and ice melting, that are in turn causing misery and death already. Deniers are denying morality. Do they realize that their own grandchildren will suffer, no matter how rich they are. Nobody can escape the effect of food riots and the wars that will probably ensue.

Support a carbon tax or rationing before cap and trade, behaviour change before technology; support job-time sharing and retraining, tree growth and carbon storage, minimum tillage and contra-conception. Fund green jobs. Reduce all consumption from modern sector production. Stop new coal, stop methane; ban lobbying and bribery; study the banks' role.

Amazing subsidies for fossil fuels and other gifts to polluting companies must be eliminated immediately, not over ten years.

We can re-power most of the world with clean energy, enjoy a low meat/milk diet, halve ploughing, save remaining forests, plant a hundred billion trees, and halve population growth rates, to make a huge difference within 10 years.

Unless the emission and existing greenhouse gas reduction is substantial, we are merely delaying the disaster. Britain and later the USA and other nations at the start of the 1939-45 World War are useful socio-economic models to consider. In humankind smart enough to collectively rise the occasion?

The USA and its closest allies must lead. We must educate/persuade the Republicans and their financiers. They are the leading causes of mass death. The developing world is increasingly speaking out, but has greater potential to demand that the Republicans and their backers study the science. People from around the world could contact the Republican Party in Washington. If you care for your own future, children and grandchildren, please take this seriously. Read on.....

To all those Americans reading this, do you know that your nation's politicians are among the hardest to contact from outside the nation, among the 'developed' nations. I need your help to place appropriate ideas in this website before the politicians.

From around the world we cannot email most Republicans or Democrats members of congress, only 'secretaries', meaning ministers of government. We have to use real mail. This is the first address: Republican National Committee, 310 First Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003, USA. The real mailing addresses for all senators can be found from  www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm  and lower House from indi vidual web sites. Read much more of this website before you write. Note that a letter from overseas is unusual and thus attracts more than usual attention. If you get your friends to help, you can send hundreds of letters. It may be a good idea to cc your own prime minister or president, and local newspaper.

To everyone, please email me to tell your story and give your opinion. (your own language and then translation if possible) mtuckson@stopglobalwarming-newstrategies.net  Say if you would give permission for, or like, your email placed on the website.

The climate emergency is growing with new evidence, new understanding and new deniers. Don't be fooled by the oscillating weather in your country or region (a small percent of the Earth's surface) unless it is extreme, and realize that the yearly oscillating average temperature is driven largely by the oceans. The global trend is relentlessly upward. Some slowing of the rise may be due to methane, water vapour and changes in aerosols and clouds. See......Basic GLOBAL WARMING Information 

Our actions must go beyond the individual low carbon-behaviour and introduction of zero-carbon technology, to lead dialogue, teach, communicate bilingually and internationally, to make the change global, especially among modern sectors, in all regions of the world. If you have contacts abroad, email them to put your case.

If you wish to help the poor or save your local ecosystem, work to stop gobal warming. This is way more important that other actions, as global warming will eventually kill the poor and the ecosystems.

The Science is as Good as Science Can Be

The scientific evidence from thousands of researchers around the world, if not the experience of ordinary people, and photographs of then and now, against the deniers' claims, is proving the truth of global warming. A couple of mistakes certainly does not invalidate the whole of science. Deniers only pretend to be interested in the quality of the science. Denial has no relationship to the quality of the science, but is all about the perceived threat to some industries, lifestyles and the 'world view' or ideology that back them up, and a tragically incorrect view of how to save a good part of those lifestyles. If it was related to science, then deniers might also attack other sciences such as genetics, astronomy or human biology. On the contrary, it is largely based on vested interests of those rich who either have inappropriate schooling and/or have been indoctrinated.

Everest then and now

                                               Everest then and now

It is obvious from the largely absurd statements they make that deniers have either blocked out learning of climate science, have learned selectively, are incapable of changing their beliefs in face of evidence, have become addicted to scepticism, or some combination. This is not a conflict between the rich and poor, the city and countryside or any other social division, but an issue of ignorance, resistance and denial versus understanding and willingness to change. Senior deniers, and their quieter but more powerful financiers, the resisters, must be provided with an opportunity for dialogue with climate scientists, and be shown the evidence of a severe threat to their children's and grandchildren's lives.

It will be best to firstly try show the most influential deniers and resisters that their own descendents will eventually be in high danger, if not facing misery and death, due to a combination of pollution and surface Earth systems inertia, feedbacks, tipping points and irreversibility, if not the ire of citizens.

But you may have to help them learn about these concepts. It is possible to learn quickly. Although it has taken me six months to write and set up this website, an intelligent person who wishes to learn can probably understand most of the site in a week. You may have to consult a few other sources on particular points, and read further to deepen your knowledge, but this site has enough information and ideas to enable you to discuss with well established deniers.

Spreading Knowledge

We need your help to spread new knowledge about both the science and the strategies  . This is more important than one individual "switching off lights", except where individual action acts as a model for others and provides you with the self-confidence to teach. We need to spread understanding, especially to the influential and powerful as well as the mass, in all major countries, so that "switching off lights" becomes a universal practice in modern sectors before new technology spreads widely.

The USA Must Lead

The USA, probably the largest human lifetime emitter, must lead now or we may be lost. Germany, the Nordics and Spain are leading technologically, China is investing massively in clean renewable energy and and Brazil has passed promising legislation, but Canada, Australia and others appear to need US leadership. It is not adequate to refer simply to nations when analysing global warming. Especially in the large nations, we must zero in on those sectors, political groupings and regions that are causing most of the damage. If the national Republicans in the USA remain intransigent, the states and cities, may lead with citizens' organizations. If we could place a people's case to an international court, the US Republicans might be the first to be charged. If the party was convicted with realistic penalties, that could be implemented, it would destroy the party, and justifiably so. 

If you feel confused, try these.....Summary in Easy English or  For Beginners and the Bewildered

Inertia and Sea Level Rise

We are not now at 0.8 degrees above pre-industrial levels, but virtually1.3 degrees above, because the greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere now essentially guarantees such a rise. We can only afford another few tenths of a degree more before global catastrophe is almost guaranteed. Palaeo-climatology suggests we may be facing several metres sea level rise based on this 1.3 degrees. The graph below indicates one possible scenario of eventual sea level rise as surface Earth temperatures rise above the present, based on geological data from the last 3 million years. The timing of the rise is uncertain, but rates of 4 metres a century are known from the past, without the influence of humans.

Temperature - Sea Level Rise Relationship in Pliocene and Pleistocene Earth History

Inertia in the surface earth systems means that temperature rise lags GHG concentration, and sea level rise lags temperature. To stop this apparent inevitability we would need to not only stop emissions, but capture much of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now and reduce the temperature by geo-engineering.

Behaviour Change, Moratoriums and Job-time Sharing

New technology likewise takes time to develop and spread, but we can reduce carbon pollution more rapidly by behaviour change, with leadership, education supported by people right through the population, and government incentives such as a carbon tax or rationing and other programmes, all coordinated globally, but if possible led by the big polluters. The EU is considering a carbon tax across all 24 members. Other countries can follow Brazil in making a major contribution now. It may be that the countries with the least fossil fuel and suffering most will have to lead, educate and cajole the rest. Bolivia organized a major conference this April. More regional conferences could be organized with invitations to major polluters.

Action must include a moratorium on all new fossil fuel projects to stop growth in emissions and the reduced per capita electricity use to match it. Banks must stop lending to, and investing in, companies directly and indirectly contributing in a major way to GHG emissions. But this should be accompanied by temporary job-time sharing and retraining to stop untenable unemployment. As well, we must stop cutting forest, start planting tens of billions of trees annually and reduce ploughing now, to not only help stop the rise of GHGs, but to eventually reduce levels to below 350 ppm, and then to 300 ppm. Trees should be planted on less fertile land that could include much former livestock land not required for food crops. 

Birth Control

Birth control should be radically stepped up, especially where populations are growing rapidly and children are now using high levels of fossil fuel, as in still growing developed nations, or will on average soon be, due to technological education, investment and employment, as in developing nations. No nation, and no region within a nation, should have a growing population. Preferably they should shrink as Japan's and Russia's population is doing. Populations as a whole will age, with increased age dependency, and so work must continue well into the 60s, and into the 70s where possible, adjusting the form of work to suit the age. Migration can make a small contribution to reducing dependency.

Having an Effect Through Trade

Although you may think it is hard to influence other countries on climate change, modern production and consumption is a global process. While the rural poor are largely prosumers, to use Alvin Toffler's word, those of us who are urban, and the rural intermediate and rich, participate in global trade. Thus by reducing consumption of all things that give rise to carbon pollution in their production, we will be affecting pollution in producing regions, including other nations. If you get the old one fixed rather than buying a new one, you may reduce pollution in Germany, Korea, the USA or China, as well as the pollution caused by the trade itself. On the other hand, as modern areas suffer heat waves and drought they will import less, and thus reduce emissions, but even mass suffering might not stop global warming driven by feedbacks.

Related Crises

We must also recognize that carbon dioxide is acidifying the oceans, oil leaks and spills are threatening coastal ecosystems and livelihoods, that water supplies are becoming increasingly stressed, that forest resources are disappearing, that other ecosystems that support humans for food, water, medicine and recreation are disappearing, that soil is being eroded and salinized, and that certain minerals such as oil will soon run out. Whatever happens to the climate, we must consider these other threats. Human populations and human resource use are twin problems that require mass adult education to solve. Will that education come about carefully and peacefully, or through crisis and disaster? 

Please contact me at mtuckson@stopglobalwarming-newstrategies.net with comments or offers of support. Could you contribute perhaps a specialist page about your nation, your former nation if you are a migrant, or professional experience, to this site, to be posted under your name?

We should also work to stop donations to, and lobbying of, politicians and parties, so politicians will become more honest. President Obama needs massive support more than criticism in the corrupted US system. Obama is buffeted at every turn by selfish and or ignorant polliticians and media commentators. The weakness in his programmes is hardly anything to do with him.

The Banks and Jeffrey Sachs

The banks must stop lending to polluting companies and rise above the denial virus. At the moment in New York, a report from well known  economist, Jeffrey Sachs, suggests that the Wall Street Journal is willfully supporting denial of climate change theory, and refusing to cooperate in dialogue with climate scientists. This must be the clearest indiction yet that denial has nothing to do with the quality of the science. If it did they would be willing to talk with those they denigrate.

The WSJ is, we can postulate, unofficially representing the banks. The banks appear to be implicated, and no wonder. They not only have massive investments in the fossil fuel, transport, construction and livestock industries, but the  bankers themselves, based on their incomes and "bonuses", have highly polluting lifestyles. Climate scientists and their supporters need to try to talk directly to bankers to inform them of the risks to their grandchildren's lifestyles, if not lives.

The Mass Media

If humanity is to survive in the long term, the mass media in general must stop feeding us political stories for entertainment, often pitting denial against science as though they are equal, and work out ways of educating us in the latest climate science and strategy options in an interesting way. Incentives and laws may be required to oblige the media to make such an effort as they normally thrive on argument and debate. Globo TV in Brazil is leading the way. Even the BBC with its multi-lingual global coverage is weak in this respect. To survive globally, we may need the media to realize that global warming is not just another issue like taxes or public health, but a major threat to humanity. The media must provide an ongoing programme of quality, up-to-date education if the people are to understand and act. I am afraid that if the BBC, the only reasonably competent global media organization, continues to be as ignorant of the future as it appears to be at the moment, we will surely be struggling. The ABC in Australia, a similar, but much smaller organization, appears to be equally ignorant. If organizations such as this cannot lead, then what hope have we got from the average private media, driven as they are by a greater dose of selfishness.

Hope from the Developing Nations

Nevertheless it may be private media from the developing world, such as Globo TV, that could make a major contribution, as they are closer to the early suffering. China is controlled, but where is India, surely already suffering from climate impact? The Indian government and media could play a major role to alert the intransigent elements of the world. It has a new forward looking Environment Minister that offers hope. South Korea is another nation that is progressive, but could do more to speak out to its ally, the USA.

Laws on Science in Corporations

Laws and incentives may also be needed to establish scientific competence in our major corporations, including the banks. Just as corporations are required to have competent accountants, they might be expected to have competent senior natural science and engineering advisors who would  produce an annual report for government and the company website for all to see.

Help from Concerned Seniors

More knowledgeable people, especially scientists, must speak out. Senior people in all walks of life who more or less understand must step up to support the best theory and explain the consequences of inaction for our children and grandchildren, our cultures and nations. Business people, technicians, farmers, government staff, sociologists, lawyers - everyone must speak out. Find a local forum or take a delegation to your politician if the national media ignores you, as it usually will. Especially, we need senior volunteers to act as go-betweens between climate scientists on the one hand, and deniers and their funders, the resisters, on the other. Form a group to work on it.

A large number of people are not deniers but remain uncommitted or support the main parts of climate change theory but remain quiet, not knowing how to express support. It is important that we seek out such people to help them understand the theory, its critical importance, and how to contribute to changing the corporate and goveernment deniers' minds.

We Must Change

Either we in the modern sectors of all countries of the world change, quickly, or the Earth will change us, all of us. Either way, human life, rich or poor, cannot go on as it has. If you care about the human future, you must act, and act now.

Greenland icebergs 

Greenland icebergs, breaking off from glaciers much faster than 10 years ago.

Photo: Philippe Roy.

Hundreds of millionsmore will die if the social influence and power of the senior deniers, especially in US fossil fuel companies, their so-called think tanks, and now the media, is not negated within a few years. Their deadly responsibility will become increasingly clear to Americans when new storms, storm surges, floods, water shortages, heat waves, forrest fires, drought and disease afflict those at home. Australia's major drought has been ended with one of the country's biggest floods. When they learn from future disasters, will it be too late?

This website will help you increase your own understanding and learn new ways to spread it.  

'STOP PRESS'

If you like this website please email or fax SUITABLE PARTS OF THIS HOME PAGE and THE WEBSITE ADDRESS together with YOUR OWN COMMENTS to as many of your national and local politicians and other influential and powerful people, as well as media outlets as possible.

 

It would also we worthwhile to email especially senior people in the USA and other big polluting nations, whichever nation you live in.

This website is quite unlike nearly all other websites that are based on "posts" that once posted are fixed. This site includes a blog of this sort, but most of the site, text in always open to change as my understanding improves and new information and ideas become available. New web pages are written and hived off from others. It is thus worth revisiting.

The Underrated Keys to Progress

The underrated keys to progress are up-to-date science, education using advanced multi-media and face-to-face, moratoriums on new fossil fuel projects, a carbon tax or rationing and behaviour change, followed by appropriate technology, globally coordinated. Some technological changes such as bicycle riding are partly behavioural change, and others such as house insulation can be implemented quickly, with appropriate training and incentives, alongside behavioural change. Birth control must be stepped up in growing regions. Carbon dioxide, methane and other short-term greenhouse substances such as black soot emissions, low level ozone formation, and halocarbons are important to understand climate science. We need, for example, a tax on fossil fuel, a separate tax on livestock, fuel efficient stoves for the peasantry, filters on diesel engines exhausts, and collection and use of methane from waste dumps. Moreover we must all put more effort into learning integrated climate science, including palaeo-climatology, so as to be able to clearly answer the sceptics-deniers questions and claims, but especially for private dialogue with the seniors.

At the same time, we must point out that deniers are deceiving the public, and perhaps themselves, in pretending to be interested in the quality of climate science. They are merely interested in their own income and wealth, and thus their lifestyle in the short-term. They may have started out aware of the lie, but after listening to, and putting out, the denier message over many years, gradually became deluded sceptics, believing they were genuine sceptics.  

Countryside

We can't leave the countryside behind, by either ignoring their needs or ignoring the contribution they are making to warming emissions. The rural poor want electricity, and transport into the local town at least. On the other hand, the countryside in all countries is contributing a huge weight of emissions, variously in the form of methane from livestock and rice, carbon dioxide from forest clearing and careless farming, black carbon soot from inefficient stoves and burning off, and nitrous oxide from fertilizer and burning. The city must all of help, regulate and provide incentives.

A System of Behaviour Change 

Over this next decade, if we are going to have a serious and adequate impact on net emissions, we cannot wait for new technology, that almost certainly cannot be manufactured fast enough. An interacting system of behaviour changes including low-carbon actions, incentives and education in global warming and new jobs, job-time sharing, and birth control will be necessary. We must first change our emission creating behaviour, including internet work at home 2-3 days per week, eating much less meat, turning off the heating and air conditioning when more suitable clothing would do, bicycling and moving home closer to work, or vice versa. Much of this will 'save us money'. And if this is going to be widespread enough, we need government implemented education and incentives, globally coordinated. Moreover, this must be accompanied by job-time sharing and retraining support for workers in declining industries. Where populations are growing, birth control should be much better promoted, mainly by making contraceptives easily available, but also by offering holistic schooling to girls and women. Birth control is also an option to avoid producing children that may have to face a dreadful future.

This is now an emergency requiring substantial learning, especially among those in democratic nations who so far have received very little or weak schooling in the natural and social sciences, and yet can influence policy through elections. We need to spread the existing cultural change that recognizes the weaknesses of our communities, the environmnetal damage we have done and the excessively authoritarian nature of most nations. It is not worthwhile trying to quantify this system of behaviour change until we see governments willing to take this seriously. If this happens in just a few areas others will take advantage of reduced prices. But the more such changes spread, the social pressure for others to follow will grow. The highest human lifetime polluters among developed countries will hopefully lead. We cannot expect even China to lead the USA.

Can you help lead dialogue, or teach the mass or the powerful?

 

Stop Lobbying

We need a citizens global web strategy, citizen education of the mass and the powerful, and cessation of corporate lobbying and "donations" to politicians and parties (just made easier in the USA!). Lobbying with bribery (and corresponding corruption), conceivably the single most important evil in democratic nations, and close to that elsewhere, must be eliminated if we are to have quality lives. Note that this is not an argument against markets, but only the corporate bullying of politicians attempting to regulate. This needs a mass movement with teeth, an alligator movement to eat the alligator shoes!

If at this stage you now feel confused, try ... For Beginners and the Bewildered

Spreading Technology

Forest conservation, tree planting for biochar and timber construction, and minimum tillage, can be organized to reduce net emissions. Cement-based construction must be reduced by increased use of plantation timber accompanied by much wider spread planting. Also needed are energy efficiency measures, genuinely renewable energy, buses and bicycles to replace most car trips, and probably other energy sources that have very few negatives. Note however, this will take several decades to spread widely through the modern sectors of every country so we must have strong behaviour change, including job-time sharing and retraining in the early years. Separately, oil supply shortages will soon cause major price rises, requiring changed behaviour and then new technology. Many other socio-environmental problems should not be overlooked.

Sailing ships awaiting cargo in a British port

Cargo sailing ships loading and unloading in a British port. One of my great uncles sailed around the world in ships such as this. What is the scope for a new form of exciting tourism at least? But it must be based on plantation timber. (from Bisset, Sir J)

Incentives to Change and Greenwash

Whatever method is used to entice people to use less fossil energy and increase carbon uptake, it must be based on up-to-date understanding, and should be sincere, transparent, free of bias, enforced and well monitored, so any weakness can be quickly rectified. The possible methods for government regulation include auctioned cap and trade (ACT), emission standards, research, development and support (RDS) use regulation, carbon tax or fee, moratoriums on new fossil fuel projects, highway regulation and rationing per user unit. A carbon tax at first point of sale and import may be the most effective as it can be introduced rapidly. Because of tragic social power of deniers, we have run out of time to organize complex systems. Note that the usual cap and trade without auctioning is a corporate scam. Government revenue under ACT or tax/fee can be used for RDS and to return funds to the people per capita, or to reduce other taxes such as those on tree seedlings and payroll (employment). Control of emissions by itself may not be enough in the long term without government funded RDS. Amazing subsidies for fossil fuels and other gifts to polluting companies must be eliminated immediately, not over ten years.

Which ever methods are decided on, in combination they must not amount to greenwash, but be severe enough to markedly reduce emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, starting gradually and strengthening over the first decade or so. The eventual aim should be a atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and other GHG of less than 350 ppm, achieved in the long term  by also capturing CO2 from the atmosphere. Caps and taxes combined with other measures must be severe enough to markedly reduce fossil fuel use. Small tax increases will not provide a sufficient incentive to get people to car pool, bicycle or use buses. If hefty taxes or caps are not acceptable electorately, then rationing may be. Education of the public must be exemplary.

 

The graph below shows historical global emissions in blue, and two future scenarios: in pink the weak plan stuck in the US Senate, and in yellow, an absolute minimum reduction path for safety.

GHG Emissions over Time

Cap and trade, especially without auction, and the option of funding trees overseas where the traders have no control, the popular method promoted by many economists and the corporate sector, hardly gives us confidence, given the hopelessly weak caps used and proposed, the failure to raise funds through auctions, two collapses in the carbon price so far, and the overall boom and bust record of the economic markets that economists are generally unable to predict. Although the 2009 recession has ended according to economists, millions remain unemployed, while bankers are back making super profits and incomes.

This work recession, that continues in many countries, and climate change, can be addressed together by RDS and especially support for the renewable energy, energy efficiency and tree plantation sectors by virtue of tax reductions, together with moratoriums on new fossil fuel exploration and exploitation, unless carbon capture is part of the construction now, not merely planned. This must be led by the 'developed' nations with high net per-capita human lifetime emissions. The more the mega-corporate sector denies and resists, the more desperate we will become and the further along the list of methods we will have to go until, when yet another major US city is flooded by a storm surge or the ice sheets begin to collapse, we may have reached rationing under different political leadership, but most likely it will be too late. Hunger and violence will have become widespread, and surface earth system feedbacks involving the oceans, ice sheets, forests and soil will be roaring. 

In most circumstances, fossil fuel electricity is still "cheaper" than renewable electricity if calculated commercially. But commercially we pay an immorally low cost, as every kilowatt hour contributes to the death of people now and in the future, not to mention our cultures and environment. The cost long calculated by most economists is not the real cost. For more than a hundred years, mainstream economists have ignored morality and the environment, believing that commercial costs resulted from "rational" behaviour. This has been apparently rational only for the relatively callous. As George Monbiot notes in Heat, even some economists sincerely supporting radical change for a safe climate have failed to appreciate the value of a poor person's life. A ray of hope is coming from California where hire-purchase is resulting in solar energy that is cheaper commercially than fossil energy.

In Storms of my Grandchildren, James Hansen shows that many Western governments are routinely deceptive, claiming to have emission reduction goals while allowing new fossil fuel exploration, exploitation, conversion, marketing and energy factory construction. Are they ignorant of the latest science and strategy options, playing dangerous international bargaining games, perhaps collectively of inadequate intelligence, spineless in the face of industrial bribery, or are they just callous? How can we help?

Hansen produces a thorough critique of cap and trade, with strong support for a carbon tax with dividend returned to the people, but he doesn't consider rationing. He points out that cap and trade is highly susceptible to lobbying by special interests, that it puts an artificial floor on emissions, limiting the contributions of altruistic individuals and low carbon innovations, and relies on offsets that are often dodgy or unviable. Many people have noted that cap and trade is essentially irreversible. This is great, an irreversible scheme that will probably fail to stop climate change becoming irreversible. Carbon taxes have been tried successfully in several European countries and British Colombia in Canada. Taxes or fees are simply applied at source or point of import, easily raised, not easily affected by lobbying, are more transparent and flexible, and relatively easily negotiated internationally. Absolutely all countries must apply them, to discourage thousands of companies from moving to no-tax nations, but moderately different rates can apply. Each country uses its own taxes.

Nuclear Power?

Hansen adds an unexpected hopeful note into the climate gloom in summarizing Tom Blees account of fast breeder reactors given in his 2008 book Prescription for the Planet. I first learned about the potential of fast breeders from Paul Ehrlich's writing 40 years ago, and had assumed the idea had died on the back of the dangers of sudden and gradual pollution, terrorism and proliferation. But Blees has revealed that the new good news about the environmental implications of fast breeders was killed by Clinton-Gore in 1994, seemingly at the behest of the environmental movement, unaware of the huge progress. The most amazing revelation is that fast breeders can use as their fuel all the nuclear waste from existing reactors and produce hardly any themselves. Hansen is now calling for immediate restoration of the idea with an experimental reactor. 

It is revealing that the environmental movement was able to kill a good idea much in the same way that climate deniers are now trying to kill the climate movement. Lobbying was and is the method, one strand funded by millions and the other funded by the few, but nevertheless lobbying, often with gifts. A new law is needed not simply to outlaw bribery (known as donations) but to outlaw lobbying, in all countries, but especially in the USA. Beware of dirty hands bearing gifts.

Integration

If we are to reduce global warming we must try to take an integrated view, studying the climate science, the deniers, the future of human affairs, the technological options, the behavioural options and the policy-politics. Too many people are knowledgeable about only one or two aspects, and so fail to see the links. This is an extremely complex subject. This website struggles to bring these threads together to present a holistic overview.  

If human "civilizations" are to survive longer than perhaps another 100 years, influential deniers, the resisters who fund them, and the mass they persuade, must be countered, mainly in the USA, the country with the highest human lifetime emissions, but also in Canada, Australia and several of the major developing nations. We are now suffering from the consequences of, not only bribe-based lobbying, but our inadequate schooling systems in which we largely promote specialized knowledge, rather than with equal emphasis, an overview of human life and the environment.

Human Lifetime Emissions

We often read that the rich or developed nations are responsible for most emissions, or that they have higher per capita emissions. For this reason they must lead, but it is not quite as simple as this. As an Australian in Thailand I seem to be less responsible than if I was in Australia, even though I could be using as much fossil energy as I would be if at home. The closer reality is that individuals and corporations as well as nations pollute. In every country we can find profligate polluters and those that hardly make an impression. London, for example, has thousands who sleep on the streets, while China has millions of car drivers. It is not only the national responsibility that we should be examining, but the human lifetime emissions, the amount each person, wherever they live, has caused to be emitted directly or indirectly in their lifetime. We cannot blame people obviously for what their ancestors did, but we should look more closely at the individual. Millions, in say the USA, have lived in an electrified house all their lives, but other millions in say India, have only done so in the last 10 years, so their human lifetime emissions are less. A small proportion of Indians have lived a profligate lifestyle since they were born, while some millions in the USA use little electricity and drive little as they are dirt poor.

Support and comments by email: mtuckson@stopglobalwarming-newstrategies.net 

A Coordinated Emergency Effort 

The World is desperate for well informed, coordinated leadership on climate change.  Of all the crises facing humanity today the most serious is the global warming crisis that is causing first climate degradation, and then possibly climate breakdown, and a vast sea intrusion onto the land. It is already upon us, its consequences are global, and it could be system threatening and irreversible. The slight respite that several influences may have given us since 2000 is temporary and must be seen as an opportunity, like the recession, to reduce emissions, not a reason not to. We must distinguish between the very short-term gains for some of doing nothing to change with the long-term gains for all of decisive action. Despite real progress in the Nordic countries and Germany and the occasional hopeful policy proclamation in countries such as Brazil and South Korea, if humankind is to survive the climate crisis, we must make a much greater coordinated effort, coordinated globally by government and citizens. A global emergency programme is needed lead by the USA and its closest allies.

Canadian Intransigence

While some nations are moving forward, if ever so slowly, some, notably Canada, are moving backwards with the full opening up of its massive tars sands deposits, and attempts to scuttle climate change negotiations (Monbiot 2009). The Commonwealth is considering expelling   Canada. During the GW Bush years Americans overseas called themselves Canadians to avoid opprobrium. Can we now expect the reverse?

Early Progress

Much of the mitigation progress achieved so far has been in the easiest activities, often done and achieved for other reasons, such as new resources discovered, recession, efficiency gains, energy security, or the smell and unsightliness of rubbish. While this sort of progress, for which there is little opposition, must be encouraged, it is not enough by itself. The caps proposed so far on industry that will promote the carbon trade are too weak and the money generated so government can provide subsidies and incentives for new activities and technology is too little. The subsequent technological and organizational steps require more intensive learning and reallocation of funds.

Individual versus Collective Effort

Individual or organizational effort is certainly not enough. It spreads too slowly and where there is an open market, allows others to benefit from any relative price reductions of fossil fuels or meat and milk products. If the beneficiaries are poor this has some value, but if they are well off, in any country, well think about it. Of course someone has to lead but it should be leadership that attempts to bring all relevant populations together. This implies massive translation and dissemination of the relevant literature in many directions. Whether you or your company use less energy through car pooling or insulation, any reduction of emissions and price can be taken up by someone else in a responsive market unless we have a global agreement.

Start of Bicycle Ride

Photo: MT

The start of this Bicycle Ride from Chiang Mai to Bangkok (Krungthep)  including several people in their sixties, in December 2009 leading up to the Copenhagen Summit, was a great example of the value of the bicycle.  Through the web we can link such efforts around the world (see below) so that individual or group effort is not in vain.

Regions

Each region, each country, has a different vulnerability and adaptability to climate change and sea intrusion, whether natural or human induced. Generally dry areas will become drier and wet areas wetter. Low lying areas will be intruded by the sea especially in the tropics, due to cyclones/typhoons/hurricanes. It is probable, unfortunately, that the richest nations on the whole will be affected least due to physical geography and technological and organizational capacity. But the USA is no. 18 on the list of affected nations. Some parts such as the Californian forests, the arid Southwest and the Southern coast are already suffering. It is certain that such suffering will intensify and spread as the world grows warmer.

The map below shows how stark the differences can be over a short distance. This is easy to understand for sea invasion related to topography, but where the differences result from differences in rainfall, winds, and more clearly human factors, the variability is only assessed using complex historical data. Note that the redder areas reflect a combination of biophysical risk and lower socio-economic and political capacity to adapt. The map was published by the Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia in 2009.

What this map implies is the potential and 'risk' of migration. For example, in the Malaysian part of North Borneo the pressure for emigration at least to other parts of Malaysia will be high. Those areas with fewer apparent future problems will be assailed by migrants seeking jobs, land, accommodation and food, tending to spread the consequences. What this map doesn’t show, that is usual for maps, is change over time. It emphasizes biophysical and historical human information, so does not show that as the temperature rises past say 2, 3 or 4 degrees that the red areas will spread across the whole of Southeast Asia. 

Vulnerability to Climate Change and Sea Invasion in South East Asia

Can We Avoid the Future?

If we are to avoid Irreversible Catastrophic Climate Breakdown, governments of all major polluting nations must radically strengthen their policies as soon as possible, and continue to strengthen them, as will be demanded as more people understand the latest research results and surface earth system inertia, feedback, tipping points and irreversibility. The people must use innovative ways to raise understanding at the top of government, and through the World Wide Web, coordinate a people’s strategy. Moreover, unless the emission and existing greenhouse gas reduction is substantial, we are merely delaying the disaster. Britain and later the USA and other nations at the start of the 1939-45 World War are useful socio-economic models to consider. The enemy now appears to be nature, but really it is us and our ‘economy’, ‘politics’, technology, including livestock farming, and schooling, including universities. The responsibility lies particularly with the high power holders in the energy, construction and transport corporations, including the banks, directly or indirectly related to high net emissions, and politicians allied to them.

Not only are carbon emissions causing global warming and climate change that are already killing hundreds of thousands of people every year, and will cause further inevitable climate change due to heat in the oceans and carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere now, the sea level is rising faster and the oceans will inevitable intrude, displacing hundreds of millions of people in cities and countryside creating socio-economic and political chaos.

Feedback Processes

This will be partly due to surface earth system feedback, first fast feedback and then slow feedback processes (Hansen et al 2008). These feedback processes mostly cause either reduced sun reflection or a rise in greenhouse gases (GHG) and still further warming, then still less reflection and more GHG, and so on.

Fast feedbacks such as the increase in water vapour in the atmosphere and reduction in sunlight reflection due to melting of sea ice have long been operating. Slower feedbacks are already well underway but have hardly been included even in the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) models from 2007. Giant ice bodies are melting much faster than previously and sometimes collapsing suddenly in part, while forests are already under excessive stress, and methane has been ‘photographed’ bubbling from under the sea and is escaping from melting Russian permafrost. It may be the burning of tropical and temperate forests that are the greatest danger as the carbon dioxide produced will have the greatest feedback. In addition to these serious processes, it should be noted that but for short-lived aerosol pollution from many sources in the atmosphere, the warming would be much greater. We urgently need to absorb carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere.

Read about the many types of surface earth system feedback. This will deepen your understanding of global warming and climate change…….Feedbacks

Worsening Droughts, Floods and Storm Surges

While warming may allow higher crop and animal production in some areas, much larger regions are already harvesting less food as a result of drought or of excessive rain and wind, floods and attacks by pests. According to Tim Flannery (2005) warming in the Indian Ocean is the main cause of the African droughts. Malnutrition, diseases and debt are spreading causing suicide and death. Note that individual extreme events are usually not evidence of global warming unless they are markedly more extreme than that experienced in the last half century or century. Most extreme events become evidence when they form part of a trend. Moreover, excessive generalization and choice of the wrong variable can lead to mistaken conclusions. The number of storm surges globally is not increasing, but storm surges are intensifying in some regions. The Katrina storm surge that invaded New Orleans occurred in 2005, the hotest year on record.

View a shocking picture of the future we hope to avoid........ The Burmese Storm Surge (Disturbing)

The conditions will continue to deteriorate. The number of farmers, herders, fisher folk and other vulnerable occupations dying from global warming and climate change every year will continue to increase from the present 300,000 per year for decades to come. Although the poor are suffering already, the well off will increasingly begin to suffer.

A New Culture

If we can stop global warming, this huge victory over our habits may usher in a new world culture in which all resources are used much more sustainably and global cooperation built during the climate crisis continues to support a more peaceful and equitable world.

An Oil Peak

Quite apart from global warming, we should be taking planned action to avoid the need for emergency action when oil production peaks and the price rises relentlessly. It is extraordinary that an oil 'peak' has been under discussion for 40 years, regularly postulated by independent earth scientists and discounted by economists. Although up until recently the economists have won the argument, now the tide is turning. Because economists have been more influential, the 'society' has been deaf to the warning and now we are very poorly prepared.

Other Environmental and Social Degradation

Moreover few people seem to be aware that the worlds, soils, water resources and land and marine ecosystems are under threat from a combination of over population, poor schooling systems, corporate greed, bribery and corruption, pollution and a host of other factors. Even without global warming we are suffering ever widening regional disasters. Perhaps global warming will wake us up to these other threats.

Basic Information about the Website

  • Michael Tuckson is an environmental and social writer and consultant, an Australian citizen, based in Thailand 
  • The writing, design and hosting of this web site is wholly "financed" by the author and those who have helped with effort (see Reference and Acknowledgements).
  • First published: 22 October 2009 
  • Regularly updated or improved every few days. 
  • Header photograph: a strip from photo of the Greenland ice melt by Roger Braithwaite.

Support Needed

We need someone to translate at least the short summary of this website into yet further languages. If there are several volunteers for each language for longer passages the work might be shared.

An energy data base programmer is needed to set up a format to enter the household or organizational emission reduction data. See table at Emission Reduction Actions

Comments for improvement are also welcome and offers of additional articles to form new sub-pages.

Please contact me at mtuckson@stopglobalwarming-newstrategies.net if you can help with translation or emission reduction data bases or have comments, etc.

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Language Links Above

减缓气候变化的新对策  

NUEVAS ESTRATEGIAS PARA MITIGAR CAMBIO CLIMATICO

วิธีหยุดโลกร้อน 

Các chiến lược mới để làm giảm nhẹ sự thay đổi khí hậu      

Semi-Random Slogans

Invite a denier to lunch

Eat less meat every day

Form a small climate group

Inertia will kill us, twice

Holiday on bicycles

Learn how to plant and nurture trees

Drain your rice fields sometimes 

Auction caps 

Grow and store carbon 

Write to a newspaper in a denier region 

Help the employees, not the fossil fuel owners

Read a book, not a newspaper, on the bus

350 not 450

Study tropical forest protection

Why are most deniers men?

Carbon tax before cap and trade

Look for a home closer to work

Write a new page for this website

Oppose lobbying

Put a new slogan on your bicycle or bag every day 

Study the latest climate science first

No air-conditioning before lunchtime

Drink just a little cow milk

Study Earth's thermal inertia

Learn how to teach

Send parts of this website to a politician

Grow and store carbon in houses 

Organize exchanges with Asian universities 

Grow crops not livestock

Rationing is equitable

Study thermal inertia in buildings

Practice dialogue, not argument

Behaviour before technology

Make a bicycle path plan

Don't use concrete

Drive a much smaller car

Study the denier claims

1.5 not 2.0

Don't use trees for offsets

Work with a bilingual person 

Eat even less meat every day

Support better democracy

Do deniers care for their grandchildren? 

Paint your roof white

Oppose advertising by polluting companies

Consume less, save money

Form an international group 

Help a politician to learn

Making cement emits CO2.

Education must be global 

Grow and store carbon in the soil

Fans, not air-conditioning

Lobbying is bribery

Study growing algae

Improve the school curricula

You can't read driving a car

Find dated photos of glaciers

Study which companies bribe political parties 

How do you entice a denier to want to learn?

Share your job with an oil driller

Plant trees to absorb carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere

Have you tried Tahini dip?

What do deniers understand?

Dress less formally in the heat

Design a more tempting commuter bus

Get to know a denier's children

Pay tax to fund retraining

Less clothing, not fans

Eat kangaroo meat 

E-commute

Improve the university curricula

One is enough

Interview a climate scientist on video

Insulate your home

Open a wind turbine factory in a coal town

Study Earth feedback processes

300 not 350

Wheat is safer than rice

Take men's fashions up, and women's down

Use a condom in emergencies

Share some job-time

Protest forest destruction

Wear a cotton coat

Study tree plantations

Eat just a little cheese

Get to know a denier's grandchildren

Why do the rich want to grow?

Put on an extra jumper when its cold outside

Offer a new job to a coal miner

Adopt two

Join an NGO today

Political bribes, not donations

None is enough

Holiday close to home

Invest in a diverse plantation

Wear less in the heat

Talk to migrants about emailing home

Make compost

Promote eco-tourism for locals

Read more of this website

Ask a politician have they read James Hansen

Eat less cream

Jumpers are cheaper than gas

Arrange a climate debate

Build a thick-walled house

Study how to turn moderate deniers

Study fast growing trees

Hand out appropriate leaflets at railway stations

Study your local energy organization

Learn about the delights of veganism

Study Chinese

Practice walking

Shirts are enough in hot weather

Support rapid research on how to turn deniers

Try an IUD

Asians make blankets from cotton and kapok

Get to know your neighbours

Recycle jumpers and coats

Holiday by mass land transport

Drink red wine, not milk

Support rapid research on capturing CO2 from the air.

Hand out leaflets at bus stops

Men's legs are beautiful too

Talk to local government about recycling biological waste

Keep a stock of morning after pills

 

Adopt another one

When will the USA go metric?

Write and publish leaflets

Holiday on a sailing ship

Start a course on climate change and solutions

Exercise periodically when its cold

Farmers now support the Green party

Give a talk at the local school

Chocolate's great with soya cream

Climate crisis not climate change

Share a car with your neighbours

Study tipping points and irreversibility

Email government ministers

Form a climate group with your neighbours or friends

Read Climate Cover-Up

Study palaeo-climatology

Soon meat becomes less tempting

Improve your foreign language skills

Adopt a baby girl 

Write an article for your local newspaper

Read Storms of My Grandchildren (after reading some climate science such as on this website)

Take plastic packaging off at the shop

Climate emergency not climate crisis

Ask you government to make a good video on the climate emergency

Move your company to where your workers live

Invite your favourite denier to a vegan lunch

Ask the supermarket to turn off half the lights

Study carbon taxes in more than one nation

Join yours with other climate groups

Shop at dimly lit shops

Email people you know abroad

Ask a climatologist to explain the various! meanings of CO2e

Plant and nurture trees in your garden till its full

Learn about biochar

Study the bus routes in your town or city

Support James Hansen for the Nobel Prize for physics, peace or whatever.

Protest new oil exploration

Install a solar thermal hot water heater

Shop for food where the fridges have lids or doors

Plant 10 trees a month in neighbours' gardens and in parks

Ask your adult children what they think

Write a better letter to the newspapers

Organize a demonstration outside coal company offices.

Where are the Nobel prizes for Earth and social sciences?

Form a climate group at work

Give a talk at a school in a coal town

No children is best

Buy a glass of wine for a denier

Start an NGO

Support honest and intelligent politicians

Study short-term GHGs

Join a good political party

Give a talk at a school at an oil town

Study hire-purchase for solar panels

Stake out a coal energy factory

Don't export coal or oil

Work in a vulnerable area

Invest in geothermal

Live with a farmer family in the holidays and help them plant trees

Build a sailing ship

Give talks at the local town.

Hand out leaflets at another station

Video a debate

Move to a swinging seat in time for close elections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
 
 

 Michael Tuckson

The website author and publisher, December 2009.

 

Easy Summary

 

We must try to understand up-to-date climate science coming out over the last few years that warns of possible disaster. Ice shelves and sheets are melting much faster than before. Global temperatures are rising, with oscillations due to ocean oscillations. Natural causes are minor compared with pollution. This understanding must be spread by advanced adult education, especially among the powerful. As many readers as possible must spread understanding.

 

Denier leaders are funded by the fossil fuel, tobacco and similar corporations and/or are ideologues. Their arguments are always against, not considering pro and con, as with real science. They rarely call for better understanding, just attempt to confuse. None are climate scientists. Their motivation is salary and weak government, not salary and discovery. Either they do not care about their descendants or they do not understand the probable future.

 

We must put more emphasis on the short-term greenhouse influences such as methane. Carbon dixide must be captured from the atmosphere. Also we must lead with behaviour change before appropriate technology spreads. Birth control is important in some regions. Job-time sharing and retraining can reduce any unemployment resulting from mitigation measures. Mitigation must be coordinated globally by government and citizens in modern sectors. City pairing could be useful.