4 Noble Truths Newsletter June 2013

West Wales Open Camp

Tues July 9th – Fri August 2nd

Tues August 27th – Fri September 27th

Drop In, Camp, Help Out and learn new skills and talk about organising serious action on solving climate change….

Projects: make a woodland bridge, bramble clearance to help establish a coppice, Learn about lime plaster , have a go at greenwoodworking/basketmaking. Plus Films, Workshops and Discussions. Free Enquiry encouraged

Communal Kitchen/facilities on site/Runs on Donations

What to Do: Please email us that you are coming or if you need any further info. deassart@btinternet.com

Location Directions: Castle Green Pentrecagal is 2 miles East of Newcastle Emlyn West Wales. Just off the A484. At Pentrecagal take the Drefach Felindre road from Carmarthen. The 460 bus runs from Carmarthen (train station) to Pentrecagal (about 1 hours journey)

Look forward to seeing you!

Climate Camp Funds Application

We did not get any cash out of the Climate Camp funds. It is a shame that most of the money will go to causes that have little or nothing to do with action on climate change. We would have needed 3 instead of 2 representatives at the meeting in order to get some money. Our main point that action on climate change is not being taken seriously was not taken seriously.

What should be done?

Further on in this news letter I have written up and linked the research I have been doing recently. I have looked at the position mainstream media is pushing at the moment which is that climate change has stopped and is not serious. It turns out this is wrong.

A recent report for Shell Oil puts forward the corporate view on climate change which is that in effect they can get away with business as usual and maximum fossil fuel burn until 2040. Only then do they see unstoppable public pressure for action which will be will be carbon capture. The cynicism of such a view is to be expected for organisations whose primary goal is to make money for the share holders. The management structure tends to select up individuals who can rationalise unethical behaviour to make money. The same can be said for politicians, UK emissions are going up again and a substantial roads building program is underway. The objectives are to increase GDP (and therefore tax revenue). The environment is not a consideration and most people seem prepared to go along with this view at the moment. According to Nafeez Ahmed the US is preparing to fight and suppress its own population’s environmental protest (see links below). This really should lead to the conclusion that solutions coming from states or corporations are a false hope.

Chasing Ice, James Balog

We now have a copy of this documentary on DVD. Having seen it we would strongly recommend it. There is a human story of one persons endeavour to show a wider audience the massive and rapid ice melt in Greenland and Alaska. Over ten years ago the limits of 450ppm CO2 and +2 Degrees warming from 2000 levels were adopted by EU and the IPCC to prevent “dangerous” climate change. At that time it was thought that ice melt (in particular Greenland) would be very slow to respond and we would have a thousand years or more to figure out a way of bringing CO2 levels down. It turns out that this is a mistake and Chasing Ice shows the visible evidence of fast melting and dangerous climate change. James Hansen’s book Storms of my Grandchildren explains this in detail. It has led to the conclusion that 350ppm CO2 and +1 Degree from year 2000 levels are realistic limits. This of course means that action to seriously reduce emissions should be taken right now.

“If ice sheets begin to disintegrate there will not be a new stable sea level on any foreseeable time scale. Instead we will have created a situation with continual change, with intermittent calamities at thousands of cities around the world. Because the oceans and ice sheets each have response times of at least centuries, change will continue for as many generations as we care to think about. Change will not be smooth and uniform. Instead local catastrophes will occur in association with regional storms. Given the regional infrastructure and historical treasures in our coastal cities, it borders on insanity to suggest that humans should work to “adapt” to climate change as opposed to taking actions needed to stabilise climate”

Dr James Hansen

Climate News According to the Media

Let’s face it the business as usual agenda is succeeding at the moment. If we take the attitude and response to climate change of the average person we might conclude there is no problem. The whole issue was just exaggerated and warming has stopped. At times like this it is reasonable to ask the question “have I got this wrong, can I ignore this like most of my friends do”? It would be great if there was nothing to be concerned about.

The mainstream UK media (apart from the Guardian and Huff Post) is currently pushing the idea that climate change has stopped, is not serious or that there is lots of time to act. The current wave of complacent stories began with Climate Prof Miles Allen of Oxford University unwisely talking to Daily Mail journalist David Rose about the current state of research. This set off the chain of articles and news reports that climate change is not as serious as thought. So what is the truth?

We have been suggesting that everyone should read Storms of my Grandchildren by James Hansen so that they can understand how climate change really works. Hansen explains climate change in terms of climate forcing and energy imbalance. He also clearly explains what is and is not known by the science community. Since the 80’s Hansen and the most reputable scientists have been forecasting global temperature increases. This sees about  a +2 ºC rise from pre-industrial levels by around 2050, +3-4ºC by 2100 and +4-6ºC by 2200 (if we carry on with the current emissions profile).

The Mark Lynas book Six Degrees describes what these temperatures meant in the geologic past and therefore what they will mean eventually to us. Simply put anything over 1 degree is serious, over 2 degrees is a disaster. The graph we have been using by Professor Michael Schlesinger based on 2012 science describes the same picture as Hansen did in the early 1990’s.

There was a cooling followed by rapid warming in the nineties which caused some scientists to assume that the climate was more sensitive than first thought. This led them to publish papers with highly alarming forecasts of warming over 6 degrees by 2100. They were inaccurate; the climate is a spiky system. It should be noted that the more accurate climate sensitivity is derived from geologic and paleo-climate records, not computer models.

The more responsible scientists have now been able to show the mistaken forecasts to be in error. In part it is this correction that is being used by the media and vested interests to try and fool people that there is little to worry about. Most people want to be fooled so they can carry on with what they are doing.

Additionally there is a better understanding of the cycles of natural variations and this has been added to models. The UK met office model now shows that UK temperatures will warm again after 2017. This is due to the 68 year cycle of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) that is now included. This natural cycle gives us several (12-15) years of long cold winters which will peak between 2015 and 2017. These winters are nothing like as long or cold as the last AMO peak in the 1940’s.

As happened in the nineties we are seeing another period where warming slows. There are a range of probable reasons for this in combination. As said above we are nearing the peak of the AMO in 2015/17. The low point of the 12 year solar irradiance cycle ended recently and 2012 was a la Nina cooling year. Despite all this 2012 was one of the 13 warmest years in the last 150 and all of these occurred since1997. Warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions carries on in the background and the only real unknown factor outside of natural variations is the effect of atmospheric aerosols, sulphuric acid in particular.

It is worth considering this because if the so called “plateau” in warming does turn out to be due in large part to aerosol cooling it will be very bad news. The two satellite experiments that would have looked at this effect (as suggested by Hansen in the mid nineties) were not undertaken. There is reason to suggest that the 50% increase in coal burning in the last 15 years is having a cooling effect because of the sulphur aerosols. There is evidence from the 1950’s to 1970’s that the growth in coal burning in the US and Europe caused a very significant cooling effect. This ended from the 70’s onwards following regulations to cut sulphur emissions due to acid rain. Warming really took off from the 70’s onwards. This is illustrated by the HADCRUT4 temperature record and the NASA equivalent below which also shows the spiky natural variations. Regulations to cut sulphur emissions are now being put in place in China. The sulphur is washed out the atmosphere in a few weeks leaving the CO2 from the coal. The cooling effect of the sulphuric acid vapour is lost and the warming from the CO2 remains. As the satellite experiments to monitor the aerosols were not launched the extent of this effect is a major unknown.

HADCRUT4

 

 

 

 

 

 

NASA Version of HADCRUT4

 

 

 

 

NOAA Version of HADCRUT4

 

 

 

 

Other Issues to Watch Out for

On the political front it is likely that the 2 degree limit for warming which has been acknowledged by EU and IPCC since 2000 will now come under pressure. If anything indicates abject political failure and the need for a new ethics this will be it. As explained above +1 degree from 2000 levels is actually more realistic.

It is difficult to have much confidence in our politicians behaving responsibly if the following is anything to go by:

“Well I’m sitting like a rose between two thorns here and I have to take practical decisions – erm – the climate’s always been changing – er – Peter mentioned the Arctic and I think in the Holocene the Arctic melted completely and you can see there were beaches there – when Greenland was occupied, you know, people growing crops – we then had a little ice age, we had a middle age warming – the climate’s been going up and down – but the real question which I think everyone’s trying to address is – is this influenced by manmade activity in recent years and James is actually correct – the climate has not changed – the temperature has not changed in the last seventeen years and what I think we’ve got to be careful of is that there is almost certainly – bound to be – some influence by manmade activity but I think we’ve just got to be rational (audience laughter) – rational people – and make sure the measures that we take to counter it don’t actually cause more damage – and I think we’re about to get -“ — Owen Paterson, 7th June, Any Questions.

It is hard to believe but Mr. Paterson is the Environment Minister for whom science about climate can be ignored flat but science for GM must be accepted.

Here are some interesting links:

Warming Stopped 1997?

That there has been no warming since 1997 is another commonly heard claim that is analyzed here:

http://www2.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/Media/Commentary/2012/February/anthropogenic-global-warming-1997.aspx

Here is a blog on current warming around North Pole and other climate news.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-ellen-harte/climate-change-this-week_b_3445163.html

Nafeez Ahmed article how the US state is spying on its environmental activists in the expectation of trouble:

http://grist.org/politics/the-feds-get-seriously-creepy-about-climate-change/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jun/14/climate-change-energy-shocks-nsa-prism

Environmental Artists repression in Canada:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/17/artist-inspiration-canada-silence-climate

Here are the graphs of warming records:

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-temps.html

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/

And finally a World Bank report on effects of climate change on the worlds poorest:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/19/climate-change-developing-countries-world-bank

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