NASA and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) - "The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years..." ~ NASA.gov [NASA Evidence | Click Here For Weekly CO2 Levels]
Rising CO2 levels can herald increasing global temperatures and the human inability to significantly limit carbon emissions. This will likely spur extreme weather patterns including drought, catastrophic storms, flooding, sea-level rise and changing ecosystems leading to inconsistent food production and widespread extinction of native species. Life as generally expected may dramatically alter.
"Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal..." ~ IPCC
If Climate Change Is Real, What Does This Mean?
Climate scientist Kathryn Hayhoe offers a simple yet comprehensive TEDx presentation on whether climate change is real, whether it's simply a natural phenomenon, and what it means to all of us if it continues to grows in intensity and severity.
SCARED SCIENTISTS By Nick Bower
"My work on the potential impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems has made it clear that the human species is now threatened..." ~ Dr. Lesley Hughes
NASA Image Page
Data source: Satellite sea level observations.
Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Rate of Change: 3.2 millimeters per year
“Global mean sea level is not rising linearly, as has been thought before,” said lead author Anny Cazenave of France’s Laboratory for Studies in Geophysics and Oceanography (LEGOS). “We now know it is clearly accelerating.”
Abstract: Global mean sea level is an integral of changes occurring in the climate system in response to unforced climate variability as well as natural and anthropogenic forcing factors. Its temporal evolution allows changes (e.g., acceleration) to be detected in one or more components. Study of the sea-level budget provides constraints on missing or poorly known contributions, such as the unsurveyed deep ocean or the still uncertain land water component. In the context of the World Climate Research Programme Grand Challenge entitled “Regional Sea Level and Coastal Impacts”, an international effort involving the sea-level community worldwide has been recently initiated with the objective of assessing the various datasets used to estimate components of the sea-level budget during the altimetry era (1993 to present). These datasets are based on the combination of a broad range of space-based and in situ observations, model estimates, and algorithms. Evaluating their quality, quantifying uncertainties and identifying sources of discrepancies between component estimates is extremely useful for various applications in climate research. This effort involves several tens of scientists from about 50 research teams/institutions worldwide (www.wcrp-climate.org/grand-challenges/gc-sea-level, last access: 22 August 2018). The results presented in this paper are a synthesis of the first assessment performed during 2017–2018. We present estimates of the altimetry-based global mean sea level (average rate of 3.1±0.3mmyr−1 and acceleration of 0.1mmyr−2 over 1993–present), as well as of the different components of the sea-level budget (http://doi.org/10.17882/54854, last access: 22 August 2018). We further examine closure of the sea-level budget, comparing the observed global mean sea level with the sum of components. Ocean thermal expansion, glaciers, Greenland and Antarctica contribute 42%, 21%, 15% and 8% to the global mean sea level over the 1993–present period. We also study the sea-level budget over 2005–present, using GRACE-based ocean mass estimates instead of the sum of individual mass components. Our results demonstrate that the global mean sea level can be closed to within 0.3mmyr−1 (1σ). Substantial uncertainty remains for the land water storage component, as shown when examining individual mass contributions to sea level.
Citation: WCRP Global Sea Level Budget Group: Global sea-level budget 1993–present, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 1551-1590, https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-10-1551-2018, 2018. https://sealevel.nasa.gov/news/141/keeping-score-on-earths-rising-seas
Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, well-known atmospheric climate scientist, clearly, succinctly and directly addresses NASA deputy-director nominee’s doubt on whether humans have been a dominant influence on climate change.
“At the hearing for the deputy @NASA administrator today, nominee Jim Morhard was asked by @EdMarkey if he agrees with the scientific consensus that humans are the dominant influence on climate change. He said he couldn’t say. Well, I’m a scientist, and I can. Here’s why.
When we see climate changing, we don’t automatically jump on the human bandwagon, case closed. No, we rigorously examine and test all other reasons why climate could be changing: the sun, volcanoes, natural cycles, even something we don’t know yet: could they be responsible?
Could it be orbital cycles? Are we just getting warmer after the last ice age? No: warming from the last ice age peaked 1000s of yrs ago, and the next event on our geologic calendar was another ice age: was, until the industrial revolution, that is. Read: https://people.clas.ufl.edu/jetc/files/Tzedakis-et-al-2012.pdf
Could it be natural cycles internal to the climate system, like El Nino?
No: those cycles simply move heat around the climate system, mostly back and forth between the atmosphere and ocean. They cannot CREATE heat. So if they were responsible for atmospheric warming, then the heat content of another part of the climate system would have to be going down, while the heat content of the atmosphere was going up. Is this what we see? No: heat content is increasing across the entire climate system, ocean most of all! See: https://skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=65
No one – NO ONE – has been able to explain how increasing levels of CO2, CH4 and other heat-trapping gases would NOT raise the temperature of the planet. Yet that must be done first, if we are to consider any other sources as “dominant”.
So in conclusion: if you don’t think humans are the dominant source of warming, you are making a statement that does not have a single factual or scientific leg to stand on. Yet leaders of science agencies are saying exactly that today. This is the world we live in.
As Isaac Asimov said in 1980: “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
How do we know it’s humans, not natural factors, that are responsible for climate change today? This Global Weirding episode explains:
Will more scientific information change people’s minds if they’re convinced otherwise?
Generally not. But does that mean there’s nothing we can do or say? Absolutely not! This Global Weirding episode explains:
WHAT LIES BENEATH
The Understatement of Existential Climate Risk
By David Spratt and Ian Dunlop
Forward by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
Released 20 August 2018
“Human-induced climate change is an existential risk to human civilisation: an adverse outcome that will either annihilate intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential, unless carbon emissions are rapidly reduced.
Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences.””
“Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences… …[the issue] now “is the very survival of our civilisation, where conventional means of analysis may become useless.”
Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, senior advisor to Pope Francis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Union
“Human-induced climate change is an existential risk to human civilisation: an adverse outcome that will either annihilate intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential, unless carbon emissions are rapidly reduced.
Special precautions that go well beyond conventional risk management practice are required if the increased likelihood of very large climate impacts — known as “fat tails” — are to be adequately dealt with.
The potential consequences of these lower-probability, but higher-impact, events would be devastating for human societies.
The bulk of climate research has tended to underplay these risks, and exhibited a preference for conservative projections and scholarly reticence, although increasing numbers of scientists have spoken out in recent years on the dangers of such an approach.
Climate policymaking and the public narrative are significantly informed by the important work of the IPCC.
However, IPCC reports also tend toward reticence and caution, erring on the side of “least drama”, and downplaying the more extreme and more damaging outcomes. Whilst this has been understandable historically, given the pressure exerted upon the IPCC by political and vested interests, it is now becoming dangerously misleading with the acceleration of climate impacts globally.
What were lower probability, higher-impact events are now becoming more likely.
This is a particular concern with potential climatic tipping points — passing critical thresholds which result in step changes in the climate system — such as the polar ice sheets (and hence sea levels), and permafrost and other carbon stores, where the impacts of global warming are non-linear and difficult to model with current scientific knowledge.
However the extreme risks to humanity, which these tipping points represent, justify strong precautionary management.
Under-reporting on these issues is irresponsible, contributing to the failure of imagination that is occurring today in our understanding of, and response to, climate change.
If climate policymaking is to be soundly based, a reframing of scientific research within an existential risk-management framework is now urgently required.
This must be taken up not just in the work of the IPCC, but also in the UNFCCC negotiations if we are to address the real climate challenge. Current processes will not deliver either the speed or the scale of change required.”
…The biggest colony of king penguins on the planet has collapsed, with nearly 90 per cent of the population vanishing since the 1980s, ecologists said.
…The cause of the population collapse remains a mystery, with scientists speculating that climate fluctuations or disease could be to blame. In 1997, a particularly strong El Nino weather event pushed the fish and squid on which king penguins depend further south, beyond their foraging range.”
Simple, stark and to-the-point, Steven Salzberg’s article in Forbes Magazine addresses the recent Hothouse Earth Trajectory study presented by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The PNAS study states the following: “…our analysis suggests that the Earth System may be approaching a planetary threshold that could lock in a continuing rapid pathway toward much hotter conditions—Hothouse Earth. This pathway would be propelled by strong, intrinsic, biogeophysical feedbacks difficult to influence by human actions, a pathway that could not be reversed, steered, or substantially slowed.”
Dr. Salzberg discusses the study in no uncertain terms; the likelihood of irreparable hothouse Earth trajectories, the states of current and future climate change, the possibilities, ramifications and consequences of unfettered business-as-usual.
Steven Salzberg is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Computer Science, and Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University
In a major collaborative effort, scientists from around the world have used information from satellites to reveal that ice melting in Antarctica has not only raised sea levels by 7.6 mm since 1992, but, critically, almost half of this rise has occurred in the last five years.
Andrew Shepherd from the University of Leeds in the UK and Erik Ivins from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory led a group of 84 scientists from 44 international organisations in research that has resulted in the most complete picture to date of how Antarctica’s ice sheet is changing.
Their research, published in Nature, reveals that prior to 2012, when the last such study was carried out, Antarctica was losing 76 billion tonnes of ice a year. This was causing sea levels to rise at a rate of 0.2 mm a year.”
Jim Bridenstine NASA New Chief Administrator Speaks On Climate Change. Video and transcript below.
New NASA administrative head, Jim Bridenstine, a former Navy fighter pilot serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and a current member of the House of Representatives for the state of Oklahoma, spoke before the first NASA agencywide town hall meeting on May 17, 2018 addressing a number of issues including his updated stance on climate change. Included below: video presentation and transcript of climate discussion.
He includes the following, unequivocally clarifying his climate change position:
“I don’t deny the consensus that the climate is changing. In fact, I fully believe and know that the climate is changing. I also know that we human beings are contributing to it in a major way. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. We’re putting it to the atmosphere, and volumes that, you know, we haven’t seen. And that greenhouse gas is warming the planet. That is absolutely happening, and we are responsible for it.”
Full climate-related transcript below.
VIDEO RECORDING OF JIM BRIDENSTINE
NASA Town Hall Meeting, Washington D.C.
NASA CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR MAY 18, 2018
PARTIAL CLIMATE RELATED TRANSCRIPT (Edited By CC12)
Host Bob Jacobs, Office of Communications NASA:
“…one more easy one, because it’s about climate change…it’s from JPL – they (JPL) want to know how your position on climate change and climate monitoring has changed, what your position is specifically, and they add to it – your thoughts about the CMS (the Carbon Monitoring System) that has just been recently mentioned there, and things like cancelling the proposal to cancel the latest OCO mission.”
Jim Bridenstine, Chief Administrator, NASA:
“Sure… so the latest Elko mission OCO 3… I’ll hit that one quick and then revisit some of the others. So, the latest Orbital Carbon Observatory Mission 3… Number one: OCO 2 is on orbit and doing well. OCO 3 is still being developed by NASA and my understanding is, in January, we’re going to launch it.
Now, it was not in the President’s budget request but it was funded by Congress. The President signed the bill into law and we’re following the law, and we’re going to launch it in January of 2019. So, it’s not been cut, in fact, it’s going to be on orbit very soon. So, I think that’s an important point.
As far as my position on climate and how its evolved…
I’ll be very open and I’ll share kind of the story here. I guess it was in 2013, there were 24 Oklahomans that got killed in a massive tornado, and, me being a member of Congress and wanting to do something to help my fellows citizens in the state of Oklahoma, and, I want to be clear – that was a big event.
But, every year I’ve been in Congress, I’ve had constituents [that have gotten] killed in tornadoes, and every year in Congress I’ve made a commitment to my constituents that we’re going to do everything we can to prevent deaths from tornadoes. And, in fact, my objective is to move us to a day where we have zero deaths from tornadoes in the United States of America.
So, I started promoting a bill – the Weather Research and forecasting innovation Act, which actually started in 2013, passed in 2017 if you can imagine – hat’s how hard it is to pass bills in in the House and the Senate and get them signed by the president.
So, I started working on that bill. Now, in that debate, there was a moment where I said these words – I said, ‘temperatures quit rising 10 years ago, but, here’s what I know. My constituents this year will die in a tornado. Let’s allocate resources where we can save lives and property today.’
Now of course, after that, and, by the way – that 10 year timeline there, I pulled that from the NASA website. But, after that pause, it started going up immediately, like the next year. Right, and now, there’s this spike and then in the last two years it’s gone down a little bit.
But, here’s the point. I don’t deny the consensus that the climate is changing. In fact, I fully believe and know that the climate is changing. I also know that we human beings are contributing to it in a major way. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. We’re putting it to the atmosphere, and volumes that, you know, we haven’t seen. And that greenhouse gas is warming the planet. That is absolutely happening, and we are responsible for it.
NASA is the one agency on the face of the planet that has the most credibility to do the science necessary so that we can understand it better than ever before.
And maybe to allay the concerns of the person who asked the question, I would like to share this.
If you look at the president’s budget requests for 2019, his budget line for Earth Science – it is higher than three of the budgets that were passed by President Obama. And, if you look what was passed into law and signed just a couple of months ago in the Omnibus Bill for Earth Science, it’s the second highest Earth science budget in the history of NASA that the President signed into law.
Here’s what I’ll tell you from my perspective. We need to make sure that NASA is continuing to do this science. And, we need to make sure that the science is void and free from partisan or political kind of rhetoric. And to do that, what we do, and what we have been doing, and I know Thomas Zurbuchen [Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate] has been focused on, is following the guidance of the National Academy of Sciences.
And of course, we had a new Decadel Survey [United States National Research Council publication] that came out in 2018. It came out in January if memory serves right, and we’re going to make sure – and I’ve told Thomas, and of course Thomas is telling his folks – we’re going to put together an architecture that follows the guidance that Decadel has, a series of things that are critically important to understanding the Earth for, you know, human society at large.
It starts with the idea that the water cycle and energy cycle are coupled and we need to make sure that we’re understanding how that affects the change in climate. It talks about how ecosystems are changing. That’s the number two thing.
We’re going to focus on understanding how ecosystems are changing based on how we as humans are changing the climate.
It talks about, and this is important to me, the guy who represents Oklahoma, it talks specifically about extending weather forecasts and air quality forecasts and improving those weather and air quality forecasts which is something I’ve been working on as a member of the House of Representatives.
It talks about understanding climate in general, I think that’s the way it frames it – we’re going to reduce climate uncertainty is how the National Academies framed it.
And of course five was sea-level rise, and six was geological disasters and hazards. So, we have guidance from, an apolitical, nonpartisan National Academy of Science, telling us what is important for Humanity and we’re going to follow it. And, I intend to do that.
Now, I’ve got so much more to say but I know there’s more questions, but thank you for that.”
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AMOC Time Series – Modeled evolution of the maximum AMOC streamfunction at 44 8 Nand deeper than 400m. The time series are plotted from 1871 to 2100 for all 12 models considered in this study.
AMOC – Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is defined as the constant, northward flow of warm, salty water in the upper layers of the Atlantic Ocean coupled with a circulating southward flow of colder water in the deep Atlantic. It is driven by temperature differences and salinity causing thermohaline circulation known as the THC), and is credited with helping to maintain a more moderate clime in the coastal, land regions surrounding the North Atlantic ocean. The AMOC is part of the global ocean conveyor belt, a circulating system that constantly moves ocean currents around the globe.
Original Article By Peter T. Spooner, Research Associate in Paleoceanography, University College London.
“The ocean currents that help warm the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America have significantly slowed since the 1800s and are at their weakest in 1600 years,” according to new research conducted by Dr. Spooner and colleagues and presented in the scientific journal, Nature.
Dr. Spooner states, “the weakening of this ocean circulation system may have begun naturally but is probably being continued by climate change related to greenhouse gas emissions. This circulation is a key player in the Earth’s climate system and a large or abrupt slowdown could have global repercussions. It could cause sea levels on the US east coast to rise, alter European weather patterns or rain patterns more globally, and hurt marine wildlife.”
Coupled climate models predict density-driven weakening of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) under greenhouse gas forcing, with considerable spread in the response between models. There is also a large spread in the predicted increase of the southern annular mode (SAM) index across these models. Regression analysis across model space using 11 non-eddy-resolving models suggests that up to 35% of the intermodel spread in the AMOC response may be associated with uncertainty in the magnitude of the increase in the SAM. Models with a large, positive SAM index response generally display a smaller weakening of the AMOC under greenhouse gas forcing. The initial AMOC strength is also a major cause of intermodel spread in its response to climate change. The increase in the SAM acts to reduce the weakening of the AMOC over the next century by around 1 / 3 , through increases in wind stress over the Southern Ocean, northward Ekman transport, and upwelling around Antarctica. The SAM response is also related to an increase in the northward salt flux across 30 8 S and to salinity anomalies in the high-latitude North Atlantic. These provide a positive feedback by further reinforcement of the AMOC. The results suggest that, compared with the real ocean where eddies oppose wind-driven changes in Southern Ocean circulation, climate models un- derestimate the effects of anthropogenic climate change on the AMOC.
“The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) consists of a northward flux of warm water in the Atlantic basin, which cools and sinks at high latitudes, returning southward as dense water in the deep ocean (Wunsch 2002). Because it transports a large amount of heat northward, it plays an important role in Northern Hemisphere climate (Vellinga and Wood 2002; Knight et al. 2005). It is generally predicted that the AMOC will weaken in response to anthropogenic climate change (e.g., Thorpe et al. 2001; Gregory et al. 2005; Cheng et al. 2013) with the potential for both regional and global climate im- pacts, such as moderation of global warming in Europe (Christensen et al. 2007; Meehl et al. 2007).”
“Similar but larger changes in climate have been linked to the AMOC ‘‘bipolar seesaw’’ during glacial periods (Broecker 1998). AMOC strength, estimated using proxies such as 231 Pa/ 230 Th and 14 C (McManus et al. 2004; Robinson et al. 2005), is correlated with Arctic temperature as well as the intensity of Asian monsoons and climate over the Americas; it is thought to be the driver of such changes, although modeling has proved inconclusive (Wang et al. 2001; Alley 2007; Seager and Battisti 2007; Broecker et al. 2010). A weakening AMOC may also reduce the oceanic capacity for uptake of anthropogenic CO 2 via increases in North Atlantic stratification and the associated weakening of the biological pump and decreased transportofCO 2 to depth (Schmittner 2005; Obata 2007; Zickfeld et al. 2008). The paleoclimate record also hints that changes in AMOC strength are related to the capacity for terrestrial storage of methane and nitrous oxide, two potentially potent greenhouse gases (Fl € uckiger et al. 2004; Sowers 2006; Wolff et al. 2010).”
James Stavridis, a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former military commander of NATO, dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University writes in Bloomberg:
“…By failing to [recognize or address the critical dangers of] climate change,’ the U.S. is not only surrendering a position of global leadership on this crucial issue, but laying itself open to real security risks in the decades ahead.”
Jones PD, Lister DH, Osborn TJ, Harpham C, Salmon M and Morice CP (2012) Hemispheric and large-scale land-surface air temperature variations: an extensive revision and an update to 2010. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, D05127, doi:10.1029/2011JD017139.
Morice CP, Kennedy JJ, Rayner NA and Jones PD (2012) Quantifying uncertainties in global and regional temperature change using an ensemble of observational estimates: the HadCRUT4 dataset. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, D08101, doi:10.1029/2011JD017187
Osborn TJ and Jones PD (2014) The CRUTEM4 land-surface air temperature data set: construction, previous versions and dissemination via Google Earth. Earth System Science Data 6, 61-68 (doi:10.5194/essd-6-61-2014).
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“The skiers themselves seem out of place… relaxing in chaise lounges on the dry ground beside the trails, or arriving at the slopes in ski pants and T-shirts, because why bundle up when the temperature is a balmy 50°F? “It was incredibly hot for that time of year,” says Zorzanello. “And this was 2,100 m [6,900 ft.] up the mountain.”
““The dream of skiing on Alpine snow is going to go away,” says Zorzanello. The loss of the beauty that once was the Alps is a just price for the damage wrought by humans—and might serve as a sufficient spur for us to begin to avoid doing more.”
“Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these [current, impending, or potential damage on planet Earth involving ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine life depletion, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth] foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.”
“Especially troubling is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels (Hansen et al. 2013), deforestation (Keenan et al. 2015), and agricultural production—particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption (Ripple et al. 2014).
Moreover, we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.
Humanity is now being given a second notice, as illustrated by these alarming trends (figure 1). We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats (Crist et al. 2017).
By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere.
As most political leaders respond to pressure, scientists, media influencers, and lay citizens must insist that their governments take immediate action as a moral imperative to current and future generations of human and other life.
With a groundswell of organized grassroots efforts, dogged opposition can be overcome and political leaders compelled to do the right thing.
It is also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors, including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and other resources.
The rapid global decline in ozone-depleting substances shows that we can make positive change when we act decisively. We have also made advancements in reducing extreme poverty and hunger (www.worldbank.org).”
“Examples of diverse and effective steps humanity can take to transition to sustainability include the following (not in order of importance or urgency):
(a) prioritizing the enactment of connected well-funded and well-managed reserves for a significant proportion of the world’s terrestrial, marine, freshwater, and aerial habitats;
(b) maintaining nature’s ecosystem services by halting the conversion of forests, grasslands, and other native habitats; (c) restoring native plant communities at large scales, particularly forest landscapes;
(d) rewilding regions with native species, especially apex predators, to restore ecological processes and dynamics; (e) developing and adopting adequate policy instruments to remedy defaunation, the poaching crisis, and the exploitation and trade of threatened species;
(f) reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure;
(g) promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods; (h) further reducing fertility rates by ensuring that women and men have access to education and voluntary family-planning services, especially where such resources are still lacking;
(i) increasing outdoor nature education for children, as well as the overall engagement of society in the appreciation of nature; (j) divesting of monetary investments and purchases to encourage positive environmental change;
(k) devising and promoting new green technologies and massively adopting renewable energy sources while phasing out subsidies to energy production through fossil fuels;
(l) revising our economy to reduce wealth inequality and ensure that prices, taxation, and incentive systems take into account the real costs which consumption patterns impose on our environment; and
(m) estimating a scientifically defensible, sustainable human population size for the long term while rallying nations and leaders to support that vital goal.
To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual.
This prescription was well articulated by the world’s leading scientists 25 years ago, but in most respects, we have not heeded their warning. Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.”
Image Courtesy of Yale.edu | Illustration by Luisa Rivera for Yale E360
“The increased, widespread insect biomass decline is alarming.”
Recent results of 27 year comprehensive research study: “All traps were placed in protected areas that are meant to preserve ecosystem functions and biodiversity.”
Original Article In PLOS (Public Library of Science)
…Agricultural intensification, including the disappearance of field margins and new crop protection methods has been associated with an overall decline of biodiversity in plants, insects, birds and other species in the current landscape.
…The major and hitherto unrecognized loss of insect biomass reported for protected areas must have cascading effects across trophic levels and numerous other ecosystem effects.
…There is an urgent need to uncover the causes of this decline, its geographical extent, and to understand the ramifications of the decline for ecosystems and ecosystem services.” journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371…
Formal Scientific Analysis (Germany)
-Ongoing and rapid decline in total amount of airborne insects active in space and time.
-Seasonal decline of 76%, and mid-summer decline of 82% in flying insect biomass over 27 years of study.
-Decline is apparent regardless of habitat type.
-Changes in weather, land use, and habitat characteristics cannot explain this overall decline.
-Loss of insect diversity and abundance is expected to provoke cascading effects on food webs and to jeopardize ecosystem services. journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371…
The Scientist Magazine
“These results are not from agricultural areas but natural preserves that are well-maintained and meant to protect biodiversity. We are seeing insects slipping out of our hands.”
~Hans de Kroon, Radboud University
“The remarkable and alarming aspect of this long-term study is the magnitude of the decline. Most previous studies have reported biomass declines of less than 50 percent which is disconcerting. But the 75 percent decline reported here sends a clear call for immediate action.”
~John Losey, Entomologist at Cornell University, New York the-scientist.com…Drastic-Decrease-in-Insects/
"The study was performed at nature reserves across Germany, but the scientists say the findings translate across all agricultural landscapes. Insects are two-thirds of all life on Earth, the study said, and if they’re not around to pollinate and serve as food for larger animals, the entire ecosystem could fall.” weather.com…population-decline-study
Science Magazine Where have all the insects gone? "A team from the University of Regensburg in Germany reported in Scientific Reports in February that exposing the wasp Nasonia vitripennis to just 1 nanogram of one common neonicotinoid cut mating rates by more than half and decreased females’ ability to find hosts. "It’s as if the [exposed] insect is dead" from a population point of view because it can’t produce offspring, says Lars Krogmann, an entomologist at the Stuttgart Natural History Museum in Germany." sciencemag.org/news/2017/05…insects-gone
Yale Environment School of Forestry
What’s Causing the Sharp Decline in Insects, and Why It Matters
“A significant drop in insect populations could have far-reaching consequences for the natural world and for humans, who depend on bees and other invertebrates to pollinate crops.”
“Over three-quarters of wild flowering plant species in temperate regions need pollination by animals like insects to develop their fruits and seeds fully.”
“Furthermore, researchers emphasize that pollinating insects improve or stabilize the yield of three-quarters of all crop types globally — one-third of global crop production by volume.”
“Germany’s Federal Agency for Nature Conservation stresses that insects are a major food source not only for birds, but also for bats and amphibians. Another important role is played by specialized insects such as long-legged flies, dance flies, dagger flies, and balloon flies, which prey upon pest species.” e360.yale.edu…why_it_matters
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Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5° C
Article by Oxford University and other research scientist stating the impossibility of mitigating global warming to 1.5° C was possible after all, spawning much misinterpretation, controversy, minunderstanding and debate.
Excerpt: “…limiting warming to 1.5° C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, but is likely to require delivery on strengthened pledges for 2030 followed by challengingly deep and rapid mitigation.”
ORIGINAL AUTHORS’ CLARIFICATIONS
Clarification on recent press coverage of our ‘1.5 degrees’ paper in Nature Geoscience
Excerpt: “A number of media reports have asserted that our recent study in Nature Geoscience indicates that global temperatures are not rising as fast as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and hence that action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is no longer urgent. Both assertions are false.”
Excerpt: “…While that is not geophysically impossible, to suggest that this means that measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are now unnecessary is clearly false.” “…We find that, to likely meet the Paris goal, emission reductions would need to begin immediately and reach zero in less than 40 years’ time.” oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/opinion/view/379
Author Interview By Dimitri Lascaris for the Real News Network Excerpt: "The pledges from the Paris Accord were to reduce emissions a bit from baseline but in order to stop warming, whether that’s at 1.5 degrees, two degrees, three degrees or any other threshold, we still need to get emissions to zero. At the moment the pathways that we discussed in our paper coming out of where we are today in trying to meet these 1.5 degrees, even the pathways that have the smallest emissions reductions in the near term and therefore the most steep ones in the medium to long term because they all need to get to zero by the time these budgets are used, even those pathways would still require a strengthening of the Paris budgets by at least 10% and for us to actually to have a plan to eliminate net emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the global economy." therealnews.com…20131
Is there really still a chance for staying below 1.5 °C global warming?
Excerpt: “…In summary, both approaches used by Millar compute budgets that do not actually keep global warming to 1.5 °C.” realclimate.org…below-1-5-c-global-warming/
1.5ºC: Geophysically impossible or not?
Excerpt: So, is it appropriate to say that 1.5ºC is geophysically possible? Perhaps plausible would be a better word. Depending on which temperature dataset we choose, the TEB for 1.5 degrees may already be exceeded. Although it would certainly be useful to know what the underlying climate attractor of the Earth system is, any estimate we produce is subject to error. realclimate.org…1-5oc-geophysically-impossible-or-not/
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“It’s plausible,” said David Keith, a professor of applied physics at Harvard who is co-director of the balloon experiment. “How much gets up into the stratosphere is unknown. Our experiment will not get at this directly, much as we might like.”
“”We are quickly running out of time to prevent hugely dangerous, expensive, and perhaps unmanageable climate change,” wrote the report’s authors, who include former U.N. Environment Programme chief Achim Steiner and Mexican chemist Mario Molina, who won the Nobel Prize for his role in discovering the threat that chlorofluorocarbon gases pose to the Earth’s ozone layer.”