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If any single illustration best highlights our climate predicament, it is probably the Keeling Curve. Now scientists are warning that time is running out to reverse its steep upward trend.

Named after Dr. Charles David Keeling, the atmospheric scientist who began measuring CO2 in the air atop Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii way back in 1958, the iconic Keeling Curve graph shows an accelerating upwards saw-tooth curve as human emissions of carbon dioxide accumulate relentlessly in our atmosphere.

There was no slow-down in CO2 rises after the Earth Summit in 1992, nor with the Copenhagen meeting in 2009 nor even with the much-heralded Paris Agreement of 2015. As far as the Keeling Curve is concerned, humans have so far achieved more or less nothing in the battle to stabilize the Earth’s climate.

For the full post, see the Alliance for Science.

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It’s the last chance for the climate. Of course, this is said before every annual COP, but for COP26, which starts this weekend in Glasgow, it really is the case. Scientists are clear that to meet the 1.5-degree goal set by the Paris Agreement, global emissions of carbon need to be cut by half by the end of this decade. That won’t happen if COP26 fails, momentum is lost and climate targets are watered down.

For the full post, see the Alliance for Science.

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It has become something of a cliché, in advance of each annual climate summit, to say that it represents the “last chance to save the climate” or somesuch.

For COP26 this is actually true in a very specific sense. The meeting in Glasgow really is the last chance for the world to embark on the drastic cuts in emissions required to achieve the Paris goal of keeping global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

For the whole article, see The Scotsman

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The scientific consensus that humans are altering the climate has reached 99.9%, according to a paper of which I was lead author, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Here’s Cornell University’s news story, and coverage from the Guardian.

Link to the full paper (open access).

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So what might be a COP26 climate emergency target that we actually could meet? My suggestion is extremely simple: we set a date for the worldwide exit from fossil fuels, a sort of independence day from carbon. Like all ideas that eventually become mainstream, at first sight this looks preposterous. You mean, we actually have to stop burning oil? No more petrol? No more LNG tankers plying the world’s oceans? No more giant coal machines scraping up carboniferous forests from underneath medieval villages in eastern Germany? Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.

For the full article, see the Guardian

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By an extremely fortunate coincidence, the world urgently needs to invest trillions of dollars in decarbonization just when the global economy equally urgently needs a huge stimulus to get people back to work, says Mark Lynas.

To read the full column, see Project Syndicate.

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It’s here! After three years of hard labour, the new Six Degrees is finally launched. Thanks to HarperCollins for publishing on both sides of the Atlantic! For those asking – yes, this is a fully original rewrite of the 2007 original Six Degrees… if you’re wondering whether the projections made back then still stand today, read on.


From the jacket:

Mark Lynas delivers a vital account of the future of our earth, and our civilisation, if current rates of global warming persist. And it’s only looking worse.

We are living in a climate emergency. But how much worse could it get? Will civilisation collapse? Are we already past the point of no return? What kind of future can our children expect? Rigorously cataloguing the very latest climate science, Mark Lynas explores the course we have set for Earth over the next century and beyond. Degree by terrifying degree, he charts the likely consequences of global heating and the ensuing climate catastrophe.

At one degree – the world we are already living in – vast wildfires scorch California and Australia, while monster hurricanes devastate coastal cities. At two degrees the Arctic ice cap melts away, and coral reefs disappear from the tropics. At three, the world begins to run out of food, threatening millions with starvation. At four, large areas of the globe are too hot for human habitation, erasing entire nations and turning billions into climate refugees. At five, the planet is warmer than for 55 million years, while at six degrees a mass extinction of unparalleled proportions sweeps the planet, even raising the threat of the end of all life on Earth.

These escalating consequences can still be avoided, but time is running out. We must largely stop burning fossil fuels within a decade if we are to save the coral reefs and the Arctic. If we fail, then we risk crossing tipping points that could push global climate chaos out of humanity’s control.

This book must not be ignored. It really is our final warning.

 

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The most urgent climate challenge of the next two years is to get Donald Trump out of the White House. Unless that happens, there is no way to restore sanity to US climate policy. Four more years of Trump is unthinkable.

Therefore the most important climate plan is not the most eye-wateringly dramatic version of the Green New Deal, but the one that – as part of an overall winning strategy – stands the best chance of persuading the widest spectrum of American voters possible, and across political divides.

It won’t be easy, because climate change has become part of the culture wars, and many right-wing voters see climate denialism as a core part of their political identity.

Post for CNN.com Democratic town hall on climate change – full post here

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Humanity is on a collision course with nature. Already 72% of the global ice-free land surface is dedicated to supporting our species, and between a quarter and a third of the entire ‘net primary production’ of the planet is consumed by humans.

Net primary production is a measure of the combined photosynthetic output of all the world’s plants. Because we grab so much for ourselves, smaller and smaller amounts are left in the food chain for the rest of life on Earth.

No wonder so many other species are going extinct, displaced to the margins of existence in disappearing forests and degraded ecosystems. According to the latest International Union for Conservation Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, 40% of amphibians, 25% of mammals, 14% birds and 33% of corals are threatened with extinction.

And it’s only expected to get worse. Within another 30 years the global human population will exceed 9 billion people, meaning we will have to increase food production by at least another 70% in order to stave off mass famine.

Read full post on CNN.com here

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Fresh from the latest disasters on Brexit, surely the last thing the UK needs is a state visit from the world’s provocateur-in-chief, Donald Trump.

Trump’s position on Brexit — bring it on — may be divisive, but his denialist and pro-coal view on global heating and the climate crisis is even more extreme and makes him particularly unwelcome at this moment in Britain.

The British parliament declared a ‘climate emergency’ in May, while a day later the government’s chief advisory committee on climate change recommended that the UK should aim to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Full post on CNN.com – read it here