Fire-Fueled Future

August 3, 2015

648909_9122271_lzOddly-ominous overcast along California’s north coast this Monday afternoon, and beyond the cheap alliterated verbiage, the environment appears going up in smoke.

Four hours south, down In Lake County is an original freaked, forested fireball (via Santa Rosa’s Press Democrat):

“Never happened before,” said Scott Lindgren, Cal Fire incident commander for the 54,000-acre blaze that broke out Wednesday near Lower Lake and now stretches east to touch Yolo and Colusa counties.
In five hours on Saturday, starting about 4 p.m., the fire made a 20,000-acre run through the driest Lake County woodlands ever measured by Cal Fire in the past century, Lindgren said.

Unfortunately, an incident soon to become common place.

(Illustration above found here).

Despite a well-intended and overdue move today by President Obama to cut emissions, the end result is still short-sticked, not only from a near-out-of-control environment, but from criminal assholes.
Via Reuters:

Declaring climate change the greatest threat facing the world, Obama said the regulation requiring the power sector to cut its emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 would reduce Americans’ energy bills and improve the health of vulnerable populations nationwide.
The plan, which also mandates a shift to renewable energy from coal-fired electricity, is meant to put the United States in a strong position at international talks in Paris later this year on reaching a deal to curb global warming.
Obama is enacting the plan by executive order, bypassing Congress, which rejected legislative attempts to reduce pollution from carbon dioxide, a common greenhouse gas blamed by scientists for heating the earth.

Hence already:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the new rules would shutter power plants and drive up electricity costs.
“I will do everything I can to stop it,” he said.
The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, called the plan an “energy tax” that the administration wanted to issue during a slow recovery from recession.
“I believe this final plan is an expensive, arrogant insult to Americans who are struggling to make ends meet,” he said.

Even as our woods burn. Not only — Ted Cruz was “full out denial” of climate change at a London forum this past weekend; across the pond meanwhile, Scott Walker, campaigning in New Hampshire got Koch-Brothers punk’d for the exact same thing, but appeared far-more dumber.

In the wake of all this, more indications the oven has pre-heated enough — more studies reveal there’s no ‘quick-fix,’ technical or otherwise, for the planet — only alternative to absolute-disaster is to near-immediately halt the burning of fossil fuels.
Yet for the oceans, they’re already gone.
From the Guardian today:

The research, published in Nature Climate Change today delivers yet another demonstration that there is so far no feasible “technofix” that would allow humans to go on mining and drilling for coal, oil and gas (known as the “business as usual” scenario), and then geoengineer a solution when climate change becomes calamitous.

“Interestingly, it turns out that after ‘business as usual’ until 2150, even taking such enormous amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere wouldn’t help the deep ocean that much — after the acidified water has been transported by large-scale ocean circulation to great depths, it is out of reach for many centuries, no matter how much CO2 is removed from the atmosphere,” said a co-author, Ken Caldeira, who is normally based at the Carnegie Institution in the US.
The oceans cover 70 percent of the globe.
By 2500, ocean surface temperatures would have increased by 5C (41F) and the chemistry of the ocean waters would have shifted towards levels of acidity that would make it difficult for fish and shellfish to flourish.
Warmer waters hold less dissolved oxygen. Ocean currents, too, would probably change.

Even a second, similar study — a double helping of gnarly.
Per The Conversation:

The possible “carbon removal” techniques are very diverse.
They include growing trees on land or algae in the sea and capturing and burying some of the carbon they have taken from the atmosphere.
There are also engineered solutions that “scrub” CO2 directly from the air, using chemical absorbents, and then recover, purify, compress and liquefy it, so that it can be buried deep underground.
That sounds difficult and expensive, and at the moment, it is.
Both the UK Royal Society and the US National Research Council point out that doing it on a large enough scale to make a real difference would be hard.
Nevertheless, a joint communiqué from UK learned societies recently argued that to limit global warming to 2-Degrees Celsisus, we are likely to need CO2 removal (CDR) rates in the latter part of this century that will exceed emissions at that time (“net negative emissions”).
That will only be possible if we can deploy CDR technologies.
A new paper in Nature Communications shows just how big the required rates of removal actually are.
Even under the IPCC’s most optimistic scenario of future CO2 emission levels (RCP2.6), in order to keep temperature rises below 2-Degrees Celsisus, we would have to remove from the atmosphere at least a few billion tons of carbon per year and maybe ten billion or more — depending on how well conventional mitigation goes.

Surreal sunshine slips slowly, softly-spellbound toward evening…

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