Thursday, December 02, 2010

For the last three million years natural CO2 levels hovered around 280 parts per million (PPM). But since 1750 they abruptly (in geological time) increased to today’s 390 PPM. Life’s stability on the planet now teeters on a CO2 fulcrum precariously tilting toward demise.

Skeptics can shout all the Cassandra epithets they want about this being another doom and gloom message but facts are facts. Twenty years ago, globally, we pumped about 25 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. Today we pump in 37 billion tons; twenty years from now it may be as high as 50 billion tons. This rate of increase could push CO2 levels to a perilous 400 PPM within ten years causing serious food or water shortages in massive continental areas and sea level rise in highly populated coastal areas displacing hundreds of millions of people causing serious conflicts over resources. Does this alarm anyone?

We’ve known for six decades that CO2 levels influence global temperatures and that burning fossil fuels is the major cause of CO2 increase, yet in six decades we’ve chosen to deny it and avoided converting to clean energy. In fact, we’ve exponentially ramped up fossil fuel energy reliance because “it’s cheap” and the fossil fuel industries cooped governments to bend the rules and finances in their favor. The only reason fossil fuels are cheap is because the fossil fuel industry has not been held legally responsible to pay the true cost of the backend environmental and health damages they cause to society.

In the past six decades government leaders kept handing the problem down to the leaders that followed them until the problem now lies squarely in our laps. A problem so dire that we are staring in the face of the Do-or-Die-Decade with no more wiggle room; no more passing it on to the next generation. The game is over if we as a species want to survive.

World leaders tell us that nations have no choice but to depend on coal to meet the demands of future energy needs. Last year, the United States’ use of power generated by wind and solar increased significantly but power generated by coal increased seven times more. The United States, China, India, and Russia posses 60 percent of the world’s coal, and combined, have 40 percent of the world’s population. What a paradox!

Are humans suicidal? Our choice is to continue burning fossil fuels and perish or stop burning fossil fuels immediately, disrupt economies, but hope to survive the impacts of the 390 PPM we already loaded into the atmosphere. Yes energy needs are important but if most of life as we know it perishes won’t energy needs be a moot point?

In this Do-or-Die paradigm let’s hope the negotiators at COP-16 do not live up to the expected failed negotiations because time has run out for the human species, if we fail this time. We need to put a huge tax (yes, let’s call it what it is) on fossil fuels to level the playing field for green energy technologies and also make them pay for the dirty backend damages that fossil fuels cause to our environment and our health. We need to stop emitting more CO2 into the atmosphere as soon as possible or revenues, profits, and economies will no longer matter.

Come on COP – 16 humanities last chance depends on you!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Here is a great book called Witness for the Earth that is about a religious perspective on environmental protection or "creation caring". It is a great discussion book for environmental church groups. Go to the Amazon link below and check it out.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Are humans suicidal?

Since the mid 1990s the slogan for environmentalists has been “stop global warming.” Now that CO2 levels have reached 390 parts per million (PPM) and continue mounting at almost 3 PPM each year, there is no hope in “stopping” it. The best we can expect now is to mitigate the impacts that 390 PPM plus the yearly incremental increases will bring in coming decades, and to work urgently and diligently to lower CO2 levels to at least 350 PPM. Decades have passed with nothing done to cut CO2 emissions, bringing us to the do-or-die decade.
The bottom line is governments backed by wealthy fossil-based industries put short-term profits above climate stability. This short-sightedness will lead us to costs from climate related destruction that will eventually far exceed those profits. Once nations suffer from drastic climate related reductions in their ability to provide basic food and water needs for their citizens wars will break out over control of dwindling resources. Human survival in future decades will be difficult at best.
We’ve been through Kyoto and Copenhagen and see how money trumps science. We know how effective the fossil-based powerbroker’s disinformation campaigns are at stalling action to mitigate climate change.
Powerbrokers control legislators who create laws that protect powerbroker assets. If they lack the moral fortitude to put the wellbeing of future generations of human life above concerns for their short term profits it begs the question; is this a form of generational genocide? It sure looks that way.
Conversely, it stands to reason that younger generations have a moral right and obligation to protect their ability to survive which trumps the powerbrokers laws. If they sit back and do nothing it begs the question; are the younger generations suicidal? Survival mandates rebelling against unjust laws that protect the privileged at the expense of everyone else.
It’s obvious that the scientific and environmental communities have failed to educate people about climate change. The powerbrokers own the media and greatly outspend them in the information wars. This leaves us one conclusion, if humanity is to survive; we need to deal with the amoral powerbrokers with non-violent civil disobedience. This is the only way to achieve the change needed to survive in the coming decades.
Given the failure of past climate negotiations, it’s hard to believe anything effective will come from COP 16. Regardless, it’s too late to “stop climate change.” We can only hope to avert the magnitude of long-term impacts by cutting CO2 below 350 PPM as soon as possible. The longer we stall the worst each decade will get.
Younger generations have a right and a moral obligation to rebel against the powerbrokers in order to maintain an inhabitable planet. Drastic times require drastic measures. It is time to assert non-violent civil disobedience like boycotting fossil-based products, disrupting the flow of fossil energy, disrupting the activities of pro-fossil lobbyist, demanding serious government support for green energy, and demanding major investments in clean energy now! This is the do-or-die decade; time is running out.