Scream! Climate Change, Point Of No Return, Or Not?

July 31, 2022

Our environment here this late-afternoon Sunday in California’s Central Valley is the future of the right now — musty hot with a forest-fire tinge of burnt wood.  In the real scheme of things, despite some heavy shit scattered over a wide subject area, our biggest, most-hugest problem is climate change.
A crisis seemingly moving slow, but already is way ahead of research projections, most-obvious example, Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted (and there are plenty others), and the catch-phrase conclusion of a shitload of climate-change studies published nowadays is whatever situation is actually worse than originally figured. In other words, appearances seemed to show we could be up shit creek without a paddle.

However, we as a planet are not yet a done deal, as far as I can tell, from off the InterWebs and so forth. I follow climate science news fairly closely and from all I can reckon, we still have some time to make adjustments — the way-big bug is in the time. Although extreme heat waves, flooding and forest fires are in today’s top news, apparently we still have time left to rectify our emissions and decrease the CO2 before a ‘point of no return.’
Or maybe not.

In the last couple of days, a call for some optimism sprung up on the InterWebs:

Prof. Mann is a way-smart, well known climatologist and geophysicist, who wanted to set the record straight.
Bill McGuire was interviewed at the Guardian (published yesterday) about his new book, “Hothouse Earth: An Inhabitant’s Guide,” with a headline ‘Climate Meltdown Cannot Be Stopped,” which jolted the climate science community.
Some snips from the piece:

The crucial point, he argues, is that there is now no chance of us avoiding a perilous, all-pervasive climate breakdown. We have passed the point of no return and can expect a future in which lethal heatwaves and temperatures in excess of 50C (120F) are common in the tropics; where summers at temperate latitudes will invariably be baking hot, and where our oceans are destined to become warm and acidic. “A child born in 2020 will face a far more hostile world that its grandparents did,” McGuire insists.

In this respect, the volcanologist, who was also a member of the UK government’s Natural Hazard Working Group, takes an extreme position. Most other climate experts still maintain we have time left, although not very much, to bring about meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. A rapid drive to net zero and the halting of global warming is still within our grasp, they say.

Such claims are dismissed by McGuire. “I know a lot of people working in climate science who say one thing in public but a very different thing in private. In confidence, they are all much more scared about the future we face, but they won’t admit that in public. I call this climate appeasement and I believe it only makes things worse. The world needs to know how bad things are going to get before we can hope to start to tackle the crisis.”

“Just look at what is happening already to a world which has only heated up by just over one degree,” says McGuire.
“It turns out the climate is changing for the worse far quicker than predicted by early climate models. That’s something that was never expected.”

McGuire later tweeted it was the headline and not the actual Guardian story:

Go read the whole piece — see for yourself. Optimistic or not?

Time will tell.
Yet it’s shit like this that makes it hard to see any kind of optimism.
— from an in-depth investigative report at the Associated Press, published last week, which dug into the methane situation:

The methane released by these companies will be disrupting the climate for decades, contributing to more heat waves, hurricanes, wildfires and floods. There’s now nearly three times as much methane in the air than there was before industrial times. The year 2021 saw the worst single increase ever.

Methane’s earth-warming power is some 83 times stronger over 20 years than the carbon dioxide that comes from car tailpipes and power plant smokestacks. Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency have largely failed to regulate the invisible gas. That leaves it up to oil and gas producers — in some cases the very companies who have been fighting regulations — to cut methane emissions on their own.

“Methane is a super pollutant,” said Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group.
“If carbon dioxide is the fossil-fuel broiler of our heating planet, methane is a blowtorch.”

Go, read the whole piece, lengthy, and a deep dive into not only the gas-producing companies, but lackluster government agencies handcuffed to the whims of politics.
And the horror of the “basket of deplorables” with a literal stranglehold on humanity.

Here we are, once again…

(Illustration out front: Edvard Munch‘s ‘The Scream,’ lithograph version, found here.)

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