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III. Assessment: June 2019

—Michael Bloomberg, MIT Commencement Address, June 2019

"The race we are in is against time, and we are losing. And with each passing year, it becomes clearer just how far behind we've fallen, how fast the situation is deteriorating, and how tragic the results can be.

"In the past decade alone, we've seen historic hurricanes devastate islands across the Caribbean. We've seen ‘thousand-year floods’ hit the Midwestern and Southern United States multiple times in a decade. We've seen record-breaking wildfires ravage California, and record-breaking typhoons kill thousands in the Philippines.

"This is a true crisis. If we fail to rise to the occasion, your generation, your children, and grandchildren will pay a terrible price."

"Meanwhile, the science keeps moving the possible inflection point of irreversible global warming closer and closer." Michael Bloomberg's commencement address at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, June 7, 2019

Although climate change has caused numerous instances of horrific impact, it is not appreciated that we have only experienced the beginning of the problem. There will be more instances with greater intensity, size and length of time. There will be continuous disruptions of life and livability of large areas and enormous strains on resources to counteract damages.

It is also not understood that delay will result in far more series consequences for later generations.

When large sums are deemed necessary, responses are that it will hurt the economy, take away from other needs and stress resources. However, it is not understood by leaders and the public that, in the absence of major efforts now, the consequences in the future will be far worse, with potentially billions of lives lost. Coastal areas, where half the world's population lives, will be under water due to sea level rise.

Most significantly, as Mayor Bloomberg mentioned there will soon come a time (if it has not already arrived) where temperature increase will be permantly out of control so that no effort in emission supression or negative emission will be sufficient to deal with the problem. Delay is giving time for the millions of square miles of tundra to melt and release methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide. The methane result in a positive feedback loop where the rate of warming increases putting making further supression of emission incapable of stopping temperature rise.

At present scientists are stressing the great impact if we do not meet the Paris Accord target of 1.5°C. It is vertiually certain, that we will not meet this target nor even stay within 2.0°C. There are many reasons to believe that we will loose control such that any action we take will not keep the temperature from continuing to rise with unforseen death and destruction.

From the curve below, based on an extraolation of temperature through 2017, it appears that the inflection point Major Bloomberg spoke of will occur at about 2020 which is essentially now. However, to begin to control temperature within 10-20 years will require mobilization of the world's resources comparable to that of World War II. Subsequent pages will discuss the nature of this "mobilization."

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