68 thoughts on “No Planet B

  1. akarog,
    You state: “However, those reviewing Roger Hallam’s claim that 6B people will die this century were unable to find any peer reviewed studies to support this claim.”

    Perhaps the ‘reviewers’ didn’t look far enough?
    See: http://www.climatecodered.org/2019/08/at-4c-of-warming-would-billion-people.html

    Published online on May 4 at PNAS is a paper titled “Future of the human climate niche”, that includes:

    “All species have an environmental niche, and despite technological advances, humans are unlikely to be an exception. Here, we demonstrate that for millennia, human populations have resided in the same narrow part of the climatic envelope available on the globe, characterized by a major mode around ∼11 °C to 15 °C mean annual temperature (MAT). Supporting the fundamental nature of this temperature niche, current production of crops and livestock is largely limited to the same conditions, and the same
    optimum has been found for agricultural and nonagricultural economic output of countries through analyses of year-to-year variation. We show that in a business-as-usual climate change scenario,
    the geographical position of this temperature niche is projected to shift more over the coming 50 y than it has moved since 6000 BP. Populations will not simply track the shifting climate, as adaptation
    in situ may address some of the challenges, and many other factors affect decisions to migrate. Nevertheless, in the absence of migration, one third of the global population is projected to experience
    a MAT >29 °C currently found in only 0.8% of the Earth’s land surface, mostly concentrated in the Sahara. As the potentially most affected regions are among the poorest in the world, where adaptive capacity is low, enhancing human development in those areas should be a priority alongside climate mitigation.”
    See: https://www.pnas.org/content/117/21/11350

    Or, published online on May 8 at Science Advances was a research article titled “The emergence of heat and humidity too severe for human tolerance”, that includes:

    “Our findings indicate that reported occurrences of extreme TW [wet-bulb temperature] have increased rapidly at weather stations and in reanalysis data over the last four decades and that parts of the subtropics are very close to the 35°C survivability limit, which has likely already been reached over both sea and land. These trends highlight the magnitude of the changes that have taken place as a result of the global warming to date. At the spatial scale of reanalysis, we project that TW will regularly exceed 35°C at land grid points with less than 2.5°C of warming since preindustrial—a level that may be reached in the next several decades (35). According to our weather station analysis, emphasizing land grid points underplays the true risks of extreme TW along coastlines, which tends to occur when marine air masses are advected even slightly onshore (14). The southern Persian Gulf shoreline and northern South Asia are home to millions of people, situating them on the front lines of exposure to TW extremes at the edge of and outside the range of natural variability in which our physiology evolved (36). The deadly heat events already experienced in recent decades are indicative of the continuing trend toward increasingly extreme humid heat, and our findings underline that their diverse, consequential, and growing impacts represent a major societal challenge for the coming decades.”
    See: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/19/eaaw1838

    It all depends on what the climate state will be in future decades. Evidence suggests to me at least a few billion people are likely to experience lethal heat conditions in the coming decades under BAU (unless they migrate to milder regions – climate change refugees), and global food production will also decline.

    Who knows with any precision what the numbers will be, but I’d hazard a guess it will be big. These environmental conditions are also ‘threat multipliers’ for geopolitical conflicts – like recent events in the Syrian civil war, so-called “Arab Spring”, etc.

  2. I am with Geoff Miell on this part of the debate. I think the situation is extremely serious. A possible range of human population in 2100 is likely to be from about 5 billion (rough Limits to Growth projection) right down to zero. Yes, zero! Meaning extinction, albeit extinction from any possible cause(s) the most likely of which are climate change and nuclear war. Sir Martin Rees suggested a 50% possibility of human extinction by 2100. Other scientists have suggested about a 10% chance of extinction by 2100. My opinion is at the 50% level, at least and sadly.

  3. I think it’s important to distinguish between alarmism and alarm.

    As Michael Mann observed;
    “alarmist” carries the connotation of knowingly misrepresenting (overstating) the evidence. The actual evidence is cause for urgent action. So why would you risk discrediting yourself as a messenger by misstating the case for action?”

    Similarly Naomi Oreskes;
    “..scientists are biased not toward alarmism but rather the reverse: toward cautious estimates, where we define caution as erring on the side of less rather than more alarming predictions.”

    I put Dr Ye Tao in the alarmist camp.

  4. akarog,
    You state: “I put Dr Ye Tao in the alarmist camp.”

    Which parts of Dr Ye Tao’s presentation do you think are in “the alarmist camp”?

  5. akarog,
    Where did Dr Tao say: We will all be dead soon?

    From time interval 45:50, Dr Tao said to the audience: “Everybody here in this room will witness the end if we don’t do anything.”

    I agree that’s a provocative statement, but is “the end” the same as “we will all be dead”? Witness the end of what? I think it’s deliberately ambiguous, open to interpretation. Perhaps he was referring to the end of Earth’s relatively mild current climate state, replaced with an increasingly more hostile one to humanity? I’d suggest that looks quite possible if humanity doesn’t urgently mitigate during this decade. You apparently have interpreted it to mean everyone’s death, or have I missed something?

    Is that all?

  6. Words to the effect of “On current trajectory most of us here today will not be able to live to our full biological lifespan”

  7. akarog,
    Thanks for the video. In the video, from time interval 0:20, he said: “On current trajectory most of us here today will not be able to live to our full biological lifespan, potentially”.

    It’s semantics, but to me:
    * he begins with the conditional “On current trajectory”, implying it may not happen if we change trajectory;
    * then says “most of us here today will not be able to live to our full biological lifespan” – most of us is not “all” and it doesn’t necessarily mean “soon”;
    * then he adds “potentially”, implying it’s not certain.

    That’s my interpretation. It seems to me you apparently wish to interpret something else and label it as ‘alarmist’, so it perhaps gives you an out to not accept ANYTHING of what Dr Tao says – write him off and ignore ALL of what he says.

    Perhaps you think Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, is also alarmist? Or Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research? Or Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change? I’d suggest Rockström, Schellnhuber, Anderson, and other prominent climate scientists are articulating similar messages about the existential threats of climate change to human civilisation.
    See: http://www.climatecodered.org/2019/08/at-4c-of-warming-would-billion-people.html

    Are you unwilling to accept the dire circumstances message? Is it too unpalatable for you? I’m sure there would be many people that choose to do what you are apparently doing.

    Or is it the geoengineering solutions and continued burning of coal that Dr Tao is suggesting that you don’t like? I’d suggest that’s a separate discussion from the multiple lines of evidence that’s apparent of the looming existential threat of climate change.

  8. Thank Geoff.

    As a climate scientist Dr Ye Tao has zero results on google scholar or realclimate

    He is wasting time.

  9. The chances that humans will be extinct by 2050 are 50-50. The chances that humans will be extinct by 2100 is not 50%. It is 99%. That is not alamism. That is the recognition of a sociologist. When one considers what the chances of survival are one has to not only consider how planetary climates work. One also has to consider how planetary societies work.
    Yes it is true how planetary societies work can, at least in theory, be changed. But when one considers what needs to be done to achieve such changes the odds of survival do not get any better.
    Furthermore if I am wrong about how s grave the situation is, and the situation is not as bad as I think, then action needs to start this second or the situation will be grave at some point in the not to distant future. Who better to deal with a difficult problem than Boddhisattav us. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by delaying urgent drastic action.
    But if success is not in the cards for us, there is still a job to do. That is to psycologically prepare people to face the defeat, the collapse of civilization, their deaths, and extinction for thier families, and humanity. We can help write a better ending, to the chapter, or the story. One that will help give a little bit more light to the darkness.

  10. akarog,
    You state: “As a climate scientist Dr Ye Tao has zero results on google scholar or realclimate”

    Is there anywhere where I claimed Dr Ye Tao was a climate scientist?
    How many results do you get “on google scholar or realclimate” for Professor Johan Rockström, Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and Professor Kevin Anderson?

    Below is a YouTube video (duration 2:23:08) of the afternoon session of The Club of Rome’s keynote debate on 17 Oct 2018, that includes Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber CBE presenting his Aurelio Peccei Lecture.

    There were a few technical issues in the first few minutes so Schellnhuber’s Lecture begins from around the 6 minute mark.

    From 0:15:35, there’s an animation of global GHG emissions from 1750 through to present day (2018) then a projection of emissions through to 2100 on our current BAU trajectory.

    From 0:23:23, Schellnhuber discusses the two climate alternatives that humanity faces that’s path dependent – Miocene or Pliocene like climate?

    From 0:24:51, Schellnhuber says:
    “You either end up with say, 500 ppm – we have now 410 and we are on the course of towards 500 ppm – you either end up in the so-called Mid-Pliocene, that was three million years ago, where the Earth in fact was two or three degrees warmer, and sea level was at least ten metres higher. But under the same condition, more or less, you could also go back to the Mid-Miocene, fifteen million years ago, where the Earth was five degrees warmer and sea level was sixty metres higher. So with the same boundary condition, you could either have a situation where human civilisation could simply not exist, or something – forget the Holocene – if we would go into the Pliocene, we might… we might somehow adapt to it, we might manage it, just so! But this is what the paper said. The jury is still out on that. And what is the knack here, what is the real secret here, ja? It’s path dependence. If the boundary conditions are the same, but you could end up in two different states, it depends on the path you have taken for this trajectory, ja? And we simply don’t know yet, whether the current path will lead us fifteen million years back, or just three million years back. So, look up the paper. It is… the summary of what… thousands of scientists have put together. It’s a meta study. But… it is posing the most important questions of all, actually: Do we still have a chance to preserve civilisation on Earth?”

    From 0:40:43, there’s a Q&A moderated discussion between some members of the audience and Schellnhuber. Jørgen Randers (one of the authors of the 1972 “The Limits to Growth: A Report for The Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind”) asks:
    “That man will not rise to the occasion, sufficiently to avoid the climate problem on one side, you know, digitalization on the other side. But then comes the interesting question: To what extent will we fail and how quickly does the damage arise when we fail?”

    Humanity is wasting time!

  11. There will be no Planet A soon. Our planet is changing so fast it will become unrecognizable to us. We are racing towards Planet X where X is an unknown quantity. I’ve seen no sign that people are going to change or that our political economy system is going to change. Without radical changes, the arrival of Planet X is a certainty. It is no longer the 11th hour. It’s the 12th hour which of course is zero hour.

  12. This Dr Ye Tao;

    – Is not a climate scientist
    – has no peer reviewed articles on climate science
    – Advocates support for fossil fuels
    – Does not support renewable energy
    – claims that we will all soon be dead
    – uses google as a reference tool

    This guy is a waste of time.

  13. akarog,
    You state: “This Dr Ye Tao;
    – Is not a climate scientist
    – has no peer reviewed articles on climate science”

    IMO, there are peer reviewed multiple-publication climate scientists voicing dire warnings of a climate emergency, similar to part of the message that Dr Ye Tao is presenting.

    Professor Johan Rockström, Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and Professor Will Steffen do have multiple “peer reviewed articles on climate science”, like PNAS paper “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene”, co-authors include Steffen, Rockström, and Schellnhuber (among others). They say in their paper: “Precisely where a potential planetary threshold might be is uncertain (15, 16). We suggest 2 °C because of the risk that a 2 °C warming could activate important tipping elements (12, 17), raising the temperature further to activate other tipping elements in a domino-like cascade that could take the Earth System to even higher temperatures (Tipping Cascades).”

    Are you saying Professor Johan Rockström, Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, and Professor Will Steffen should be ignored? Are their messages inconvenient too?

    Then you state:”– Advocates support for fossil fuels”
    Tao said: “We cannot let go of fossil fuels immediately.”
    Take away the cooling effect from aerosols derived from the burning of fossil fuels and we will see a rapid temperature rise impulse that certainly will take temperatures over 1.5 °C and potentially (if Tao’s evidence is correct) beyond the 2 °C planetary threshold. What’s the alternative – ignoring scientific evidence and wishing it won’t?

    Then you state: “– Does not support renewable energy”
    Incorrect. He does advocate for solar thermal energy – that’s renewable energy. Or did you miss that bit, akarog?

    Then you state: “– claims that we will all soon be dead”
    Incorrect. See my earlier comment. It seems to me you want to see/hear something that isn’t there.

    Then you state: “– uses google as a reference tool”
    I’d suggest how tools are used is what counts. How do you know what Dr Ye Tao’s investigative methods were? Did you ask him, or did you just presume?

    It seems to me you wish to see things that aren’t there and ignore other things that are uncomfortable/inconvenient.

  14. I think that we — or at least whatever counts as “we” in the future — are likely explore space. Both with big telescopes and some form of travel. If we’ve conquered poverty and disease and environmental destruction we’re going to need something to keep us occupied while waiting for the next series of My Little Cyber Pony to come out.

    But the idea of sending biological humans similar to the ones hanging around the place today into interstellar space is just weird and I don’t understand why people keep defaulting to it. It’s like people saying they want more internet bandwidth but only if the method uses messenger pigeons.

    Now maybe humans similar to the ones we have today will be sent off into interstellar space. I don’t know what will happen. But saying interstellar exploration won’t happen because human meat doesn’t like space is like saying internet speeds won’t increase because pigeons don’t like being shot through linear accelerators.

  15. US CBS broadcast a 60 Minutes program segment “Cause and Effect” on Oct 4 exploring whether climate change is reversible. Correspondent Scott Pelley talked with James Hansen and Michael Mann, including:

    Scott Pelley: At what point does it become too late?

    James Hansen: It becomes too late if you get to the point that you cannot stop the ice sheet disintegration. That’s the biggest point of no return. We can get to a point where we’re going to get several meters of sea level rise out of our control. That’s too late. We would lose our coastal cities. And more than half of the large cities in the world are on coastlines.

    Scott Pelley: If we don’t start to reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere, 50 years from now, someone doing research on this time might look at this interview and I wonder what you would like to say to them.

    Michael Mann: That– that’s a tough question. I would say we did everything we could and we’re sorry. We’re sorry that we failed. But I don’t think that’s our future. I don’t want that to be our future. That’s a possible future. We have to recognize that. The worst visions that Hollywood has given us of dystopian futures are real possible futures if we don’t act on this problem; the greatest crisis that we face as a civilization.
    See: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/western-wilfires-record-temperatures-california-60-minutes-2020-10-04/

    Is that alarming or alarmist?

  16. Posted this morning is a piece by Ian Dunlop and David Spratt headlined “What must climate and energy policy really achieve?” It includes:

    “In summary, the lower 1.5°C temperature increase limit of the Paris Climate Agreement will occur around 2030, a decade ahead of official projections. The 2°C upper limit is likely to be reached before 2050, even with actions better than the current Paris commitments. 3°C would be reached early-to-mid second half of the century on the current global emissions trajectory, with 5°C possible before 2100. Our Faustian bargain is that for the next two decades, lower emissions will have little impact on the warming trend. For a by-product of burning fossil fuels are sulfate aerosols which have a strong cooling effect that has been masking some of the warming to date. Declining fossil fuel use and clean air policies will reduce this cooling, thus offsetting for a time the impact of emission reductions.

    The current 1.2°C of warming is already dangerous; 2°C would be extremely dangerous; 3°C catastrophic; and 4°C unliveable for most people. An even greater danger is that “Hothouse Earth”, irreversible, self-sustaining warming may be triggered between 1.5–2°C. There is a risk that we have already lost the ability to prevent such warming.

    The world must face these risks with brutal honesty, not in the alarmist sense, but recognising that their sensible management requires emergency action. NZE2050 would be a recipe for disaster; net zero emissions must be achieved as soon as possible, ideally by 2030 (NZE2030). In addition, atmospheric carbon concentrations must be reduced substantially from current levels, albeit drawdown techniques are embryonic. Finally, if political aversion to emergency action continues, the use of geoengineering techniques, such as solar radiation management, to buy time cooling the planet before emission reductions take effect, must be seriously considered if they are shown to be of net benefit.”
    See: https://johnmenadue.com/what-must-climate-and-energy-policy-really-achieve/

    The climate emergency is evolving faster than predicted.

  17. In recent days I found a YouTube video titled “Will Steffen – Climate Change 2020 – Why we are facing an emergency – April 2020” published by Renew on Apr 23, duration 1:02:48 – see below.

    Will Steffen is an Earth System scientist. He is a Councillor on the publicly-funded Climate Council of Australia that delivers independent expert information about climate change.

    From time interval 0:18:21 through to 0:24:26, Will Steffen talks about potential ‘tipping points’ that could drive the Earth climate to a “Hothouse” state beyond human adaptation and control.

    From time interval 0:37:51, Will Steffen outlines “A COVID-19 type Response to Climate Change: Flattening the Curve”:
    * 2020: No new fossil fuel developments of any kind (coal, gas, oil);
    * 2030: 50% reduction in GHG emissions; 100% renewable energy;
    * 2040: Reach net-zero GHG emissions.

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