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NOAA: Climate change now irreversible for 1000 years

January 27, 2009

When it comes to climate change, we want to think that we can stop the bus, turn it around, and go back, or get off. But like a bad marriage, this ride is not that easy to turn around.

“[climate change] It’s not like air pollution where if we turn off a smokestack, in a few days the air is clear,” said Alan Robock, of the Center for Environmental Prediction at Rutgers University, who agreed with the report’s assessment. “It means we have to try even harder to reduce emissions.”

According to a NOAA report released Monday, Jan.26 2009, the effects of climate change at this point are more or less irreversible. Now that’s some bad marriage. But it doesn’t mean we give up and give in. SO TAKE ACTION! It’s time to leave that marriage, get off that bus–and get on your bike!

“People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 years; that’s not true,” climate researcher Susan Solomon said in a teleconference.

If everyone changed their behaviors, if everyone left the bad marriage which is our abusive one to fossil fuel and over-consumption of resources,  and rallied around to make change at an institutional level (this is the biggie), we can slow down, even halt our carbon emissions making the fall-out from this bad marriage a little less, and the recovery somewhat quicker or easier to address with whatever technological fix we may come up with at some point. But we are still talking 1000 years before some of the climate damage we’ve caused goes away.

Before the industrial revolution the air contained about 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide. That has risen to 385 ppm today, and politicians and scientists have debated at what level it could be stabilized.

Solomon’s paper concludes that if CO2 is allowed to peak at 450-600 parts per million, the results would include persistent decreases in dry-season rainfall that are comparable to the 1930s North American Dust Bowl in zones including southern Europe, northern Africa, southwestern North America, southern Africa and western Australia.

Many of these areas are already suffering droughts, some multi-year droughts. Western Australians have already radically changed their behaviors to save water, some behaviors regularly adopted by drought stricken southern Californians, but we need to do more. According to recent news reports and the World Metereological Association, 2008 is one of the 10 hottest years on record since 1850–and most of the hottest years have occurred in recent years .

So TAKE ACTION! join a local climate change group–around here it’s VCOOL! The bike pod meets the second Tuesday of the month and there’s info on a forum on transportation below! Because–

“The policy relevance is clear: We need to act sooner … because by the time the public and policymakers really realize the changes are here it is far too late to do anything about it. In fact, as the authors point out, it is already too late for some effects,” according to Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Moving the Central Coast Forward
A Public Transit Workshop and Strategy Forum

http://www.vccool.org/newsletter/28_jan_09/transit_forum.jpgSaturday, January 31st
8:30 – Noon
Ventura College Cafeteria
(Central Campus Way off Telegraph)

VCCool teams up with other local organizations to bring you this kick-off event to launch a campaign for public transportation in the Ventura County area.

The event includes speakers such as State Senator Alan Lowenthal, Assemblymember Pedro Nava, City Manager Rick Cole, and Manuel Criollo of the Bus Riders Union. There will be workshops such as “Transportation 101” with Darren Kettle Executive Director of Ventura County Transportation Commission and Das Williams Santa Barbara City Council, and many more! There will be a chance to share your transportation needs and learn of “Next Steps” and upcoming actions.

This gathering will be a critical first step in moving Ventura County forward toward alternative transportation. We urge everyone who can attend to please mark your calendar and participate next Saturday morning!

(Other sponsors of this event are CAUSE, Arts for Action, COAST, Local 721 SEIU, and Pueblo)

Report: Some climate damage already irreversible – Yahoo! News.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Jason permalink
    January 27, 2009 2:19 pm

    Yeah, this was a hard blow to hear yesterday.
    But I won’t let these predictions feed doubt to my efforts!

  2. January 27, 2009 5:06 pm

    The bad news: A lot of people will probably just fully embrace they’re apocalyptic nihilism and see this as a reason to stop trying to do anything to help. “It’s out of our hands now, so I might as well drive around the biggest hunkajunk I can find!”

  3. January 27, 2009 7:10 pm

    Thanks Jason, and Tony for your comments. I’m glad to hear you’re still motivated, Jason! And I understand your fear, Tony, too. Sometimes people are just looking for an excuse not to change their behavior.

    I’m bothered by the fact that what we do as individuals, while it adds up, is insignificant when compared to the kinds of changes that need to happen at higher levels–changes in emissions and other laws which can have a much greater impact than my riding my bike to pick up my son at school rather than our car.

    I’m curious about the response of the people who deny that climate change is a serious problem and deny that it is anthropogenic, for example people who I know who have a science background but who haven’t necessarily kept up with the literature since they were in school…

  4. January 28, 2009 7:01 am

    As individuals we can only have a small impact, but if everyone reduces their carbon footprint then it can be an effective part of the solution, but it needs everyone and it also as you point out needs instititions and governments to use their power wisely

  5. theoldhorse permalink
    January 28, 2009 9:40 pm

    “Before the industrial revolution the air contained about 280 parts per million of carbon dioxide. That has risen to 385 ppm today, and politicians and scientists have debated at what level it could be stabilized. [Susan} Solomon’s paper concludes that if CO2 is allowed to peak at 450-600 parts per million, the results would include persistent decreases in dry-season rainfall that are comparable to the 1930s North American Dust Bowl in zones including southern Europe, northern Africa, southwestern North America, southern Africa and western Australia.” – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory

    Picture a huge opening in the clouds if you will, 1000 feet wide by 1000 feet long or three football fields in each direction. Through this 1,000,000 square foot opening the sun is shining on the earth. Now picture 1 foot round black balloons floating in the opening approximately 40 feet apart in each direction. That is 24 rows of 25 balloons, 600 balloons total. Question: Would the balloons block the sunlight from reaching the earth? Would the balloons block the view of the blue sky from earth? If not, I ask the scientists at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory to explain how 600 carbon dioxide parts in each 1,000,000 parts of the atmosphere can have any material effect of the planet? And furthermore, if the pre- industrial planet was fine with 280 parts of CO2, how will adding 320 to the other 999,400 parts cause 1000 years of irrevocable damage? And justify the $billions per fewer part it will require to maintain, and improve, the quality of life on the planet in the next 100 years?

  6. pablo permalink
    January 31, 2009 3:12 am

    it amazes me that so many still can’t understand what “greenhouse” means

    clearly our education system has failed us

Trackbacks

  1. VCCOOL Bikes & Plans 1st Fridays PAJAMA PARTY ARTRIDE « art predator
  2. Revolutionary Resolutions #1: James Hansen advocates “Just say NO to COAL” « art predator

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