"Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute offers the following back-of-the envelope calculation in his book Eco-Economy. He demonstrates how the entire global economy could be getting 100% of its electricity (plus hydrogen for transportation and other needs), from exploiting commercially viable wind sites, within ten years, by expending just 2.5% of global GNP on the effort. Let that sink in a moment. Here we are watching our planet and the hopes and dreams of our children torched while elegant, affordable alternatives abound. For reasons of self-respect alone we can not allow this situation to continue."
Flannery: Danger Point Arrived Ahead of Schedule
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hit Danger Mark -- Scientist
Planetark.org, Oct. 10, 2007
The global economic boom has accelerated greenhouse gas emissions to a dangerous threshold not expected for a decade and could potentially cause irreversible climate change, said one of Australia's leading scientists. Tim Flannery, a world recognised climate change scientist and Australian of the Year in 2007, said a UN international climate change report due in November will show that greenhouse gases have already reached a dangerous level.
Flannery said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will show that greenhouse gas in the atmosphere in mid-2005 had reached about 455 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent -- a level not expected for another 10 years. "We thought we'd be at that threshold within about a decade," Flannery told Australian television late on Monday."We thought we had that much time. But the new data indicates that in about mid-2005 we crossed that threshold," he said.
"What the report establishes is that the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is already above the threshold that could potentially cause dangerous climate change." Flannery, from Macquarie University and author of the climate change book "The Weather Makers", said he had seen the raw data which will be in the IPCC Synthesis Report. He said the measurement of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere included not just carbon dioxide, but also nitrous oxide, methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
All these gases were measured and then equated into potentially one gas to reach a general level. "They're all having an impact. Probably 75 percent is carbon dioxide but the rest is that mixed bag of other gases," he said. COLLISION COURSEFlannery said global economic expansion, particularly in China and India, was a major factor behind the unexpected acceleration in greenhouse gas levels. "We're still basing that economic activity on fossil fuels. You know, the metabolism of that economy is now on a collision course, clearly, with the metabolism of our planet," he said. The report adds an urgency to international climate change talks on the Indonesian island of Bali in December, as reducing greenhouse gas emissions may no longer be enough to prevent dangerous climate change, he said.
UN environment ministers meet in December in Bali to start talks on a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol on curbing climate change that expires in 2012. "We can reduce emissions as strongly as we like -- unless we can draw some of the standing stock of pollutant out of the air and into the tropical forests, we'll still face unacceptable levels of risk in 40 years time," he said. Flannery suggested the developed world could buy "climate security" by paying villages in countries like Papua New Guinea not to log forests and to regrow forests. "That 200 gigatonnes of carbon pollutant, the standing stock that's in the atmosphere, is there courtesy of the industrial revolution, and we're the beneficiaries of that and most of the world missed out," he said. "So I see that as a historic debt that we owe the world. And I can't imagine a better way of paying it back than trying to help the poorest people on the planet.
"Conservation scientist, Australian of the Year, and author of The Weathermakers, Tim Flannery has warned that huge industrial and economic changes need to be implemented quickly to slow the growth of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.Global warming approaching point of no return, warns leading climate expert
By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor 23 January 2005 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd
Global warning has already hit the danger point that international attempts to curb it are designed to avoid, according to the world's top climate watchdog.
Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the official Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told an international conference attended by 114 governments in Mauritius this month that he personally believes that the world has "already reached the level of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere" and called for immediate and "very deep" cuts in the pollution if humanity is to "survive".
His comments rocked the Bush administration - which immediately tried to slap him down - not least because it put him in his post after Exxon, the major oil company most opposed to international action on global warming, complained that his predecessor was too "aggressive" on the issue.
A memorandum from Exxon to the White House in early 2001 specifically asked it to get the previous chairman, Dr Robert Watson, the chief scientist of the World Bank, "replaced at the request of the US". The Bush administration then lobbied other countries in favour of Dr Pachauri - whom the former vice-president Al Gore called the "let's drag our feet" candidate, and got him elected to replace Dr Watson, a British-born naturalised American, who had repeatedly called for urgent action.
But this month, at a conference of Small Island Developing States on the Indian Ocean island, the new chairman, a former head of India's Tata Energy Research Institute, himself issued what top United Nations officials described as a "very courageous" challenge.
He told delegates: "Climate change is for real. We have just a small window of opportunity and it is closing rather rapidly. There is not a moment to lose."
Afterwards he told The Independent on Sunday that widespread dying of coral reefs, and rapid melting of ice in the Arctic, had driven him to the conclusion that the danger point the IPCC had been set up to avoid had already been reached.
Reefs throughout the world are perishing as the seas warm up: as water temperatures rise, they lose their colours and turn a ghostly white. Partly as a result, up to a quarter of the world's corals have been destroyed.
And in November, a multi-year study by 300 scientists concluded that the Arctic was warming twice as fast as the rest of the world and that its ice-cap had shrunk by up to 20 per cent in the past three decades.
The ice is also 40 per cent thinner than it was in the 1970s and is expected to disappear altogether by 2070. And while Dr Pachauri was speaking parts of the Arctic were having a January "heatwave", with temperatures eight to nine degrees centigrade higher than normal.
He also cited alarming measurements, first reported in The Independent on Sunday, showing that levels of carbon dioxide (the main cause of global warming) have leapt abruptly over the past two years, suggesting that climate change may be accelerating out of control.
He added that, because of inertia built into the Earth's natural systems, the world was now only experiencing the result of pollution emitted in the 1960s, and much greater effects would occur as the increased pollution of later decades worked its way through. He concluded: "We are risking the ability of the human race to survive."