Note: The following is the abstract of an article in the Journal of the National Acadimies of Sciences that explores a potential loss of control of the climate possible with insufficient supression of carbon emissions:

ABSTRACT: Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene

“We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene. We examine the evidence that such a threshold might exist and where it might be. If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies. Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state. Such action entails stewardship of the entire Earth System—biosphere, climate, and societies—and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values.” (emphasis supplied)

I. Introduction

Whether earth-like planets are common or the earth is the only one, we have been entrusted with a jewel beyond measure. The decisions we make now will affect the lives of all generations to come. With present practices, future generations will live severely degraded lives. It is our moral, civil, compassionate responsibility to do the absolute best that we can. Cost should be irrelevant with only technical and manpower limitations that are impossible to overcome limiting what we do. Anything less is morally reprehensible. There are preciously few signs that we will rise to the occasion.

Scenarios presented by the IPCC represent conditions significantly worse than what we have now with only 1.0°C temperature increase. These conditions have created a continuously warming planet, extreme drought, historic storms, floods, fires, heat death and will result in indefinite sea level rise.

At the first MIT symposium on the climate, Prof. Susan Solomon spoke the following in her keynote:

“... a real challenge in communicating the urgency of the issue, because carbon dioxide emissions being produced now can persist in the air for centuries, with their effects building over time.”

The future of every person to be born is in our hands. I cannot understand how we can do such an enormously greater version of fiddling while Rome burns. We must recognize that we are in the equivalent of a nuclear war and respond accordingly. The actions of leaders of nations and of fossil fuel companies are reminiscent of the time when cigarettes were marketed to children by executives who knew they were causing cancer. As I discuss later, this is the most fundamental human flaw that finally must be dealt with, of placing money and power ahead of the welfare of humanity.

II. Current conditions are unacceptable.

We are for all intents and purposes doing NOTHING.

Oil companies are INCREASING output.

Governments are doing NOTHING.

Scientists speak so as not to awaken anyone.

Media cover climate as it were ORDINARY weather.

Surveys show that most people BELIEVE IN global warming.

If they knew enough science to UNDERSTAND it they would be camped outside their senator’s door.

No one raises their voices. EVERYONE should be screaming because here is what is going to happen:

a. Massive death through heat exposure

b. Cyclones that destroy completely: leveling structures to the ground.

c. Floods of historic proportion, storms with record rain in excess of 50 inches

f. Widespread drought and shortage of drinking water,

g. And much more.

III. Everything the IPCC is proposing is worse.

Any temperature increase beyond the current 1° is morally unacceptable for it will cause continued worsening of conditions far into the future for the damage and suffering it will cause.

a. 1.5°C (Paris Accord) is presently the best we would do and it is extremely unlikely

b. 2.0°C is more possible but has been described as "horrible."

c. Given present policies and attitudes the best we will get is about is calamity.

d. If we meet the approximate targets countries have set we will get around 3°C. If you love life, this will be hell.

e. It is most likely, that with present attitudes (thinking we are doing a lot but actually not doing nearly enough)

IV. We need to reduce the earth’s temperature back to 0°C.

I cannot answer whether there is any hope of accompishing this.

The National Academies of Sciences has published a comprehensive report on carbon capture. It shows the necessity of carbon capture to meet a 2.0° goal. Yet this is not enough since there will be enough carbon still in the air to continue warming for centuries plus the sea level will continue to increase indefinitely. The questions is what is the absolute best we can do? Would running even the most expensive carbon capture system indevinitely at large scale provide benefits? At present, even leaving the temperature at 1.0°C I consider unacceptable. As it is:

a. It is necessary to rapidly reduce emissions in combination with carbon capture.

b. Despite the effort and expense, to do otherwise is shirking our moral responsibility.We must make every sacrifice and do the best we possibly can. Cost is irrevelent.

c. As an exaample, we convert our economies from peacetime to war on carbon.

d. As in WWII we stop making new cars and in their place build carbon capture machines.

e. We use nuclear power on vast scale for power and for powering carbon capture.



The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is presenting six symposia on climate change. I will provide links and excerpts. This link is a summary of Prof. Susan Solomon’s keynote from the first symposium. and the following text is excerpted from her keynote.

“Even if the world were to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at today’s level, the temperature would continue to rise, and sea level would continue to rise even more, she said. Anywhere from 50 to 100 percent of the expected temperature increase from a given amount of carbon dioxide “is in the pipeline,” she said, because it takes time for the changed atmosphere and oceans to reach a new state of equilibrium: “The temperature stabilizes after a few hundred years, but the sea level just keeps going and going. She said “it’s sobering to take a look at the 25 warmest years that have been recorded, and realize that if you’re 32, you’ve been alive for all of them. We, this generation of people, are living on the warmest planet that has ever been measured in the environmental record.” And that increase is something we’re stuck with, she said. “Even if we go cold turkey” and eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions, “temperatures go almost constant for 1,000 years. The cumulative carbon dioxide that’s been emitted is what controls it.”

The MIT portal to their six symposia climate program is MIT CLIMATE PORTAL.Past symposia may be viewed on video. Future symposia may be viewed live.

V. For the well-being of future generations

Many events in history were once viewed as impossible to deal with. However, when America was involved: The Revolution, The Civil War, The Depression, World War II, Putting a Man on the Moon we rose to the occasion. Saving the best possible life on the earth for future generations dwarfs all previous challenges in difficulty and necessity. Perhaps it is even the reason for the lacadaisicaal feeling often shown. Or more likely it is version of not understanding the situation. This leaves it up to those who can lead to find a remedy.

There has never been a previous situation that comparies to saving the quality of life, or life itself on the earth, nor the challenge of communicating the vast issues, moral, technical, and spiritual that are at stake.

Returning carbon to 350 ppm is necessary. As Gene Kranz, flight director of Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle missions said: "Failure is not an option." This is true more than ever.

Reading the story of Apollo 8, the emergency speed first flight to orbit the moon, Rocket Men, and the story of the Apollo program: 400,000 people on the most complex endeavor ever attempted by humanity, gives a good idea of extreme difficulty and the ability to accomplish the impossible.

I will add additional information on the two most essential and difficult elements: nuclear power and negative emissions.

A small indication of the obstacles is this quote from the Guardian:

The world’s 50 biggest oil companies are poised to flood markets with an additional 7m barrels per day over the next decade, despite warnings from scientists that this will push global heating towards catastrophic levels. New research commissioned by the Guardian forecasts Shell and ExxonMobil will be among the leaders with a projected production increase of more than 35% between 2018 and 2030 – a sharper rise than over the previous 12 years."

The acceleration is the opposite of the 45% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 that scientists say is necessary to have any chance of holding global heating at a relatively safe level of 1.5C. And we must do better than that.”


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