Tag Archives: tipping points

You can’t argue with deniers, just throw them out

[Published by Canberra Times 24 Aug.]

Zali Steggal OAM, Independent MP for Warringah

You can’t argue with climate deniers, they have a never-ending supply of excuses. You won’t persuade the Coalition, the mining industry has hijacked it. Labor is too scared and too compromised to do what is needed. That is why your greatest power is your vote.

If you usually vote for one of the old parties, you need to change your vote. Find a candidate who rates global warming a top priority, who will stop the huge annual fossil fuel subsidies and switch them to renewables, who will disallow any new carbon extraction projects, and who will release the brakes on a rapid phase out of fossil fuels, supporting the workers as we go.

That candidate might be an Independent or with a minor party. If your response is ‘Oh I could never vote for them’, think about that.

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Neoclassical economics I: farcical global warming analyses

William Nordhaus in Stockholm

[Published 21 Sept at Pearls and Irritations.]

Analyses of the economic effects of global warming by prominent economists are based on patently invalid arguments, profound ignorance of the global response to solar energy and basic misrepresentation of scientific sources. Their conclusion that the effects are minor is egregiously in error and use of their analyses to advise governments has placed the world in peril.

Economist Steve Keen has published a critique (and summary) of analyses by William Nordhaus and others of the effects of global warming on the global economy. Those analyses, incorporated into official IPCC reports, suggest the effects of global warming are minor. Keen’s critique reveals the analyses to be absurdly deficient, reflecting not only profound ignorance but patently invalid arguments and a lack of scholarly integrity.

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Why It’s a Climate Crisis – the Graph

Two years ago I posted the latest plot of global temperature, and argued that if trends continue, as they are likely to do, the Great Barrier Reef has little chance of surviving beyond 2030 as more than a sad remnant in its southern reaches. Even if we suddenly got serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions the warming will still continue for 2-4 decades, and the damage would only be deferred.

The greater danger is that the warming will tip into being irreversible if it is not soon reversed. In that case our grandchildren would inherit a very different and hostile world.

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We can still save the climate

There is a climate crisis. Deniers commonly have one or two facts that they claim show the scientists are wrong: the climate has always changed, carbon dioxide is only a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, and so on. They have an endless supply of supposed justifications for doing nothing.

Evidently the deniers imagine the climate scientists never thought of these objections, never investigated them. Well, they did.

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My Tipping Point

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[Published at Independent Australia, 12 Jan]

There was no big revelation, just a train of thought. Nearly a quarter of the Great Barrier Reef is dead, and there has been no discernible political response. Global temperature is rising off the chart, only glancingly noted in the torrent of chatter. The decades-long trend of ever-more perverse and destructive politics continues. Societies are fragmenting.

For perhaps two decades I have held to the thought that while ever there was a chance of avoiding a planetary tipping point I would continue explaining how we can avoid the worst. Through that time, the path to a healthy, stable world has become clearer and more obvious, demonstrated in a thousand practical, small-scale ways. All that time the window of opportunity was closing. It is, in my judgement, barely open any more.

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StE gets big plug in Australian Fairfax press

An article by Bob Douglas on the dire need for real political leadership prominently features Sack the Economists, along with a new book by prominent Australian economist Ross Garnaut, Dog Days: Australia After the Boom, the latter launched by prominent Liberal politician Malcolm Turnbull.  Tony Abbot deposed Turnbull as Leader of the Opposition in 2009, winning by one vote, otherwise Turnbull would probably now be Prime Minister.

See Bob Douglas’ article in the Sydney Morning Herald here.  It also appears in the Melbourne Age and the Canberra Times.

Warming beyond 2100

The IPCC (InterGOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change) cops a lot of stick for allegedly being radical, part of the great climate-science-greenie-leftie-jewish-commo conspiracy, etc.  But in fact it is too slow and conservative, witness the world is tracking on the high side of its projections.

One IPCC habit that annoys me is running projections only to the year 2100.  We know warming and its consequences won’t stop there, so the choice is pure bureaucratic nonsense.

Here is a rare example of a more useful graph, showing warming continuing for more than a century beyond 2100.  God knows what sort of world our great- … – grandchildren would be contending with.

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Global warming: window closing

You may have read or heard that the shrinkage of the Arctic sea ice recently smashed the previous 2007 record low.  You may not have heard of a new study that says we might, just, still have a chance of keeping global warming below 2°C.  You may or may not have heard that some prominent climate scientists, including James Hansen, think 2°C is too high, and we need to keep warming below 1.5°C or even 1°C.

All this means we might still have a chance of avoiding “dangerous” global warming, but the chance is already small, and diminishing very rapidly.  It also means we are not doing nearly enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, even though there is a great deal more we can do at quite modest cost to our economies.

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The Productive Way to Address Global Warming

Most of the discussion of global warming is about the wrong questions.  The important debate is about the level of risk, the consequences of inaction and the cost of action.

The debate about scientific uncertainty is secondary, and exploited as a distraction.  So as to minimise the continuing spurious discussions here and elsewhere, I’ll set it out as I see it.

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The Durban Roadmap to Extreme Climate Danger

[Published on ABC’s The Drum Opinion 13 Dec]

Climate negotiators in Durban have agreed to a “roadmap” that would leave the world at high risk of severe or catastrophic global warming.  They have belatedly agreed to discuss adopting outdated targets that would not come into force until 2020, far too late by current climate criteria.

Recent studies require greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced much faster than previously proposed, to give us even a moderate chance of keeping warming below two degrees Celsius (2°C).  Meanwhile the climate science now says the threshold of “dangerous” warming is only 1°C.

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