2018/10/10: it’s not that the news about climate has changed, but that the scientific community is finally discarding caution in describing the implications of its own finding.
They have also, thankfully, offered a practical suggestion, proposing the imposition of a carbon tax many, many times higher than those currently in use or being considered — they propose a tax of up to $5,000 per ton of carbon dioxide by 2030, growing to $27,000 per ton by 2100. Today, the average price of carbon across 42 major economies is just $8 per ton. The new Nobel laureate in economics, William Nordhaus, made his name by almost inventing the economic study of climate change, and his preferred carbon tax is $40 per ton — which would probably land us at about 3.5 degrees of warming. He considers that grotesque level “optimal.”
But a carbon tax is only a spark to action, not action itself. And the action needed is at a scale and a speed almost unimaginable to most of us. The IPCC report called it unprecedented. Other activists often see one precedent, in all of human history, citing the model of how the United States prepared for World War II, and calling for a global mobilization of that kind — all of the world’s rivalrous societies and nationalistic governments and self-interested industries organized around the common pursuit of a stable and comfortable climate as though warming was an existential threat.
It is. And the World War II mobilization metaphor is not hyperbole.
A few weeks ago, as the IPCC report loomed, I had lunch with a prominent climate scientist who’d been involved in earlier reports and has done considerable work on local preparedness as well. I asked if he thought New York would eventually build a sea wall or surge barrier to protect the city from sea-level rise and flooding. Yes, he said, Manhattan will be protected, at any cost. But major infrastructure projects like these take decades — typically about 30 years. Even if we began building today, he said, the barrier would not be finished in time to save Howard Beach and other parts of southern Queens and Brooklyn. Soon enough, he said, you’ll see the city adjust accordingly — halting new infrastructure projects there, eventually pulling back from even quotidian maintenance like sewer repairs and generally signaling to current residents that they will not be able to leave behind their homes, when they die, to their children. And of course a sea wall to protect New York only encloses the narrows of New York Harbor, leaving all of Long Island exposed.
This is just the threat from sea level, and just one (very rich) metropolitan area. The world is much bigger than that, but so is climate change. It is also very fast, with more than half the carbon humanity has ever emitted into the atmosphere having come in just the last 25 years, since Al Gore published his first book on climate change. Monday’s IPCC may seem like a dramatic departure, and it is. But there is going to be much more like it coming. So long as we continue to squander what little time we have, the news will only get worse from here.
2018/09/17: in recent years, research has made it increasingly clear that — after an 11,000 year period of relative stability — the climate has become destabilized by human emissions of carbon pollution, putting us on a path towards steadily rising temperatures throughout the century.
In this business-as-usual case — without more drastic action taken to cut the world’s greenhouse gas emissions — we will continue warming more than 50 times as fast as the planet was (slightly) cooling in the past 5000 years.
And it’s not just global temperatures that are being destabilized, so are sea levels. That’s clear from the Trump administration’s own November 2017 National Climate Assessment.
This “authoritative assessment of the science of climate change” explains that sea levels do not stop rising this century. Even worse, if the country’s do-little climate policies continue — or, worse, actually get rolled back as they are under Trump — then the rate of sea level rise will actually speed up.
our current climate is near the very edge of stability, according to a major new study by 16 leading climate scientists.
We are pushing the planet toward an irreversible “Hothouse Earth” — catastrophic warming of 9°F or more with ultimate sea level rise of up to 200 feet. And that study warns we are much closer to the “point of no return” than most people realize.
Such extreme weather events are now happening four times more than in 1980, according to a European science paper
Limiting warming to 2 degrees C would make a huge difference for London, New York City, and Rio.
New model explains climate change contradiction
New studies in Science and Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) find that glaciers in the Amundsen Sea region of the great Antarctic ice sheet have begun the process of irreversible collapse. That by itself would raise sea levels 4 feet in the coming centuries.
In 2011, a tsunami sent waves as high as 49 feet crashing over the seawalls surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, causing meltdowns at three of the plant's reactors. After that incident, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) ordered nuclear facilities in the U.S. to review and update their plans for addressing extreme seismic activity and potential flooding from other events, such as sea level rise and storm surges. Those plans aren't due until March 2015, which means that many plants have yet to even lay out their their potential vulnerabilities, let alone address them.
According to two new studies, the collapse of much of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may now be irreversible. That could ultimately mean 10 feet of sea level rise.
Parts of the vast ice sheet of East Antarctica - which collectively holds enough water to raise global sea levels by 53 metres - could begin an irreversible slide into the sea this century, causing an unstoppable process of global coastal destruction, scientists have warned.
Studio dei climatologi: se innescato, il fenomeno sarebbe inarrestabile. E' come bottiglia senza tappo.
The "pause" in global warming since 2001 can be explained by the discovery of unusually strong winds in the Pacific, climatologists
The assault on British coastlines by storm, flood and sea this winter is a taste of things to come. Rising sea levels and a greater risk of coastal flooding are a significant future threat. Britain is
New research shows that sea-level "lock in" -- the amount of sea-level rise we are making inevitable through carbon emissions -- is growing rapidly. Do we, should we, care about what will happen so far in the future?
The number of U.S. cities that will fall below the future tide depends on how much more carbon we put in the air.
Check out the most detailed map of a continent never truly seen by human eyes: the de-iced surface of Antarctica.
Glaciers contain a tiny share of the world's land ice, but their rapid melting is contributing to nearly one-third of the world's sea-level rise.
Sea level rise from melting ice in Greenland, Antarctica probably less than expected say scientists
It's choose your own adventure: sea-level rise apocalypse edition! Here's your chance to decide what the future will look like.
South Florida lawmakers got a stark look Wednesday at how rising sea levels could dramatically change Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade counties and the Keys in coming years, leading to calls for more state aid to stem the tide.