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WE MADE IT: 400(PPM)!!! May 12, 2013

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Global Warming (climate change).

That is all of us. Everyone on earth. As in any common activity there a some slackers, some non-makers. The Chinese and Indians lately have picked up, assisted with imports of Australian coal.

So, last Thursdays they recorded 400 parts per million of Carbon Dioxide gas in the atmosphere at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. These figures referred to the daily average of readings. Now, as they say in the classics, “the sky is the limit”.

We might want to think about our societies and our industries are doing to the commons delineated by the biosphere. Then there is the problem of denial, that implicitly has taken over both the major political groupings in Australia, that suggests the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide simply does not matter. The critical condition to make any judgment is climate system works and how it has changed since the beginning of the Industrial Age. It is not the data in isolation, but what it means with the framework of the climate system, and I imagine that requires investigating diverse observations and circumstances to identify underlying patterns.

Apparently, conventional wisdom among some people, including some political leaders, with strangely Tony Abbott coming to mind, is to ignore the people who make it there business to study these matters and who are deep into the data, in terms of published results but equally in terms of ongoing research projects. Why listen to medical specialists, who as they have admitted to me, and I was strangely reassured, that they do not understand everything about the system that is the human body? The difficult reality is, that under some circumstances, continued denial, although it is human and understandable, may represent stupidity.

Peter Hannam at The Sydney Morning Herald does not take this approach. He quotes the usual alarmists, who have noticed the unusually high temperatures recorded in Australia this year, extending from summer into autumn. He writes:

“Humanity has never been here before,” John Connor, chief executive of The Climate Institute, said in a statement. “We are in dangerous and uncharted territory, with little time to ensure a safe and sustainable future.”
A report on the website of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the concentration of carbon dioxide had increased each year since the Mauna Loa site began tracking the greenhouse gas in 1958. In the late 1950s, the annual increase of the gas was 0.7 ppm and it has since tripled to 2.1 ppm a year during the last decade, NOAA said.

“The evidence is conclusive that the strong growth of global CO2 emissions from the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas is driving the acceleration,” said NOAA senior scientist Pieter Tans, according to the website.

That is there out in the middle of the North Pacific, but here it seems that only are persistent recent evidence of higher temperatures of longer duration, but that the weather pattern is shifting southward. Last summer was extraordinarily hot. And higher temperatures and dry weather have continued to be recorded.

There is the implication that climate change is connected with the levels of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere, which climate deniers repudiate. Nonetheless, as noted in the article:

Carbon dioxide levels averaged about 280 ppm before the industrial revolution and temperatures have risen about 1 degree since then as the concentration of greenhouse gases has increased.
Scientists estimate that 450ppm levels of the gas will see temperatures warm by at least another degree. That concentration level may be reached by 2037, The Economist magazine reported this week.
“Today’s rate of increase is more than 100 times faster than the increase that occurred when the last ice age ended,” NOAA said on its website.

‘‘It feels like the inevitable march toward disaster,’’ Maureen E. Raymo, a Columbia University earth scientist, told the New York Times.

Tony Abbott, the putative Prime Minister has declared that the finding of climate science is “crap”, and he has not to my knowledge denied that proposition. The “plan”, presumably designed to win this election does not acknowledge climate change. Although:

“Because it’s in our national interest to avoid further dangerous warming, Australia joined the US, China and over 170 other countries to commit to avoid a 2°C warming,” Mr Connor at the Climate Institute said. “We have no time to lose.”
The 400-ppm mark “is one more clear alarm bell which we ignore at great risk, because, when it comes to extreme weather and climate impacts, ‘we ain’t seen nothing yet’,” he said.

There is a far more effective, and more final approach, that will leave mean relaxed and comfortable: shoot the messenger. That is what sequestration will achieve in the United States, so that NOAA’s wings will be clipped, and what austerity program to be introduced by incoming government will also accomplice when the inevitable budget black hole is rediscovered. Nothing to see here. Nothing to worry about. We are your leaders in this fine representative democracy.

(Now is there some way, we can close down those newspaper reporters? Of course, the Murdochistas are good guys and gals.)

Now don’t listen to this person. What would he know? Or, for that matter, the Sierra Club?

We could always vote this bloke into Federal Parliament:

Quite seriously, as Al Jazerra reports we should be “shocked”:




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