Category: CO2 Emmissions

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Hits Highest Level in Over 4 Million Years | Common Dreams News

CO2 emissions

“The solution is right before our eyes. Solar energy and wind are already cheaper than fossil fuels and they work at the scales that are required. If we take real action soon, we might still be able to avoid catastrophic climate change

Source: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Hits Highest Level in Over 4 Million Years | Common Dreams News

Scientists: Earth is substantially hotter than at any time during past 12,000 Years; entire Holocene was Cool

The CO2 is trapping the sun’s heat on earth and not letting it radiate out into space. Some historians say we have now left the Holocene for the Anthropocene, for an era when earthlings are changing the climate in the direction of the tropical. Up until we did that, it had been cool on earth, and we liked it that way. We won’t like what is coming if we don’t swing into action and stop emitting green house gases.

Scientists: Earth is substantially hotter than at any time during past 12,000 Years; entire Holocene was Cool

State of the Climate: Thank goodness for ocean sinks currently holding more warming extremes at bay – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

map of oceans around Aus, oceans warming by over 0.16 degrees Celsius in the south east. 0.08 in the eastern tropics. 0.12 rest

“We know from our analysis that the cause of the increases in CO2 concentration is human activities, through burning of fossil fuels and through land use change,” Dr Cleugh said.

She said atmospheric CO2 is up 46 per cent since before the industrial era began in the 1750s.

via State of the Climate: Thank goodness for ocean sinks currently holding more warming extremes at bay – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

As Earth Reaches Frightening CO2 Milestone, Bill McKibben Calls for War on Climate Change | Democracy Now!

“We are under attack from climate change—and our only hope is to mobilize like we did in WWII,” says Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, in an extended interview in our New York studio. “It’s not that we need to go to war with climate change, it’s that we are under siege.” This comes as 2016 is on track to be the hottest year ever on record and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said if he is elected, he will weaken the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, abolish President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, promote fossil fuel exploration and recruit oil and gas executives to lead his Cabinet.

Source: As Earth Reaches Frightening CO2 Milestone, Bill McKibben Calls for War on Climate Change | Democracy Now!

Emissions Rise For First Time In A Decade, Australia Now ‘Comparable To China And India’ – New Matilda

Australia’s emissions have risen for the first time in 10 years, will increase six per cent by 2020, and will not peak before 2030, according to new analysis by market analytics firm RepuTex. Citing United Nations data, RepuTex said Australia’s emissions growth is among the highest in the developed world. The 2014-15 fiscal year sawMore

Source: Emissions Rise For First Time In A Decade, Australia Now ‘Comparable To China And India’ – New Matilda

Is the US-China Climate Pact as Big a Deal as It Seems?

Wednesday’s news doesn’t mean that global climate negotiations will succeed. But it means they’re no longer guaranteed to fail.

This story originally appeared in The Atlantic and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

I’ve been offline for many hours and am just now seeing the announcements from Beijing. The United States and China have apparently agreed to do what anyone who has thought seriously about climate has been hoping for, for years. As the No. 1 (now China) and No. 2 carbon emitters in the world, and as the No. 1 (still the US) and No. 2 economies, they’ve agreed to new carbon-reduction targets that are more ambitious than most people would have expected.

More coverage of the historic US-China climate deal.

We’ll wait to see the details—including how an American president can make good on commitments for 2025, when that is two and possibly three presidencies into the future, and when in the here-and-now he faces congressional majorities that seem dead-set against recognizing this issue. It’s quaint to think back on an America that could set ambitious long-term goals—creating Land-Grant universities, developing the Interstate Highway System, going to the moon—even though the president who proposed them realized that they could not be completed on his watch. But let’s not waste time on nostalgia.

Before we have all the details, here is the simple guide to why this could be very important.

1) To have spent any time in China is to recognize that environmental damage of all kinds is the greatest threat to its sustainability—even more than the political corruption and repression to which its pollution problems are related. (I’ll say more about the link some other time, but you could think of last week’s reports that visiting groups of senior Chinese officials have bought so much illegal ivory in Tanzania that they’ve driven the black market price to new highs.)

Unless China and the US cooperate, there is no hope for anyone else.

You can go on for quite a while with a political system like China’s, as it keeps demonstrating now in its 65th year. But when children are developing lung cancer, when people in the capital city are on average dying five years too early because of air pollution, when water and agricultural soil and food supplies are increasingly poisoned, a system just won’t last. The Chinese Communist Party itself has recognized this, in shifting in the past three years from pollution denialism to a “we’re on your side to clean things up!” official stance.

Analytically these pollution emergencies are distinct from carbon-emission issues. But in practical terms pro-environmental steps by China are likely to help with both.

2) To have looked at either the numbers or the politics of global climate issues is to recognize that unless China and the US cooperate, there is no hope for anyone else. Numbers: These are far and away the two biggest sources of carbon emissions, and China is the fastest-growing. As John Kerry points out in an op-ed in tomorrow’s NYT, reductions either of them made on its own could just be wiped out unless the other cooperates. Politics: As the collapse of the Copenhagen climate talks five years ago showed, the rest of the world is likely to say, “To hell with it” if the two countries at the heart of this problem can’t be bothered to do anything.

We see our own domestic version of this response when people say, “Why go through the hassle of a carbon tax, when the Chinese are just going to smoke us to death anyway?” This new agreement does not mean that next year’s global climate negotiations in Paris will succeed. But it means they are no longer guaranteed to fail.

3) China is a big, diverse, churning, and contradictory place, as anyone who’s been there can detail for hours. But for the past year-plus, the news out of China has been consistent, and bad.

Many people thought, hoped, or dreamt that Xi Jinping would be some kind of reformer. Two years into his watch, his has been a time of cracking down rather than loosening up. Political enemies and advocates of civil society are in jail or in trouble. Reporters from the rest of the world have problems even getting into China, and reporters from China itself face even worse repression than before. The gratuitous recent showdown with Hong Kong exemplifies the new “No More Mr. Nice Guy” approach.

A nationalistic, spoiling-for-a-fight tone has spilled over into China’s “diplomatic” dealings too. So to have this leader of China making an important deal with an American president at this stage of his political fortune is the first news that even seems positive in a long while.

We’ll wait to see the details. But at face value, this is better news—about China, about China and America, and about the globe—than we’ve gotten for a while.