Thursday, October 8, 2009

Beyond 4 Degrees

What will our grandchildren experience in the year 2080? Or will some of you feel the heat, the climate and social disruption as soon as 2060? Scientific studies are pouring out their warnings - we have already passed the danger levels. And there is no sign of action to stop horrible climate change.

What if the politicians fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep the Earth's climate from warming? What if the people of the world keep on pumping out carbon dioxide, as they now do? Can we survive? Will the Earth hit runaway climate change, morphing to another Venus?

The widely accepted danger line is 2 degrees Celsius, that's 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit, global mean temperature rise over pre-industrial levels. We have already warmed at least .7 degrees C. Counting the masking effect of other pollution, the warming in the pipeline may already be around the 2 degree level - and the major polluters show no sign of agreeing on steep cuts at the Copenhagen climate treaty talks in December 2009.

So what will happen?

In this program, we're going to cover major new scientific reports about our climate situation. Then, almost as a relief, we'll go to an interview with one of the long-time activists with solutions, from the UK, Dr. Jeremy Leggett. He's an oil expert who crossed over to Greenpeace, before becoming a solar energy entrepreneur.

I also have some new climate music for you.

Right now, we'll get hot and heavy with an international climate conference held at Oxford in Britain from September 28th to the 30th. The title is: 4 DEGREES & BEYOND. We'll hear the results of some of the first scientific studies of a failed climate world. I have a digest of a speech from Professor John Schellnhuber.

MUSIC IN THIS PROGRAM

"Radio, Radio" by Elvis Costello
"Don't Kilowatt" by Seattle group Million Dollar Nile

LINK FOR AUDIO AND SLIDES FROM "4 Degrees & Beyond" Conference:


MAJOR SPEAKERS

1. Prof John Schellnhuber, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research "Terra quasi-incognita: beyond the 2 degree line. (past director of Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research)

2. Dr. Richard Betts, Met Office Hadley Centre "Regional climate changes at 4+ degrees"

3. Prof Nigel Arnell, University of Reading 4+ degrees C: impacts across the global scale

4. Dr. Pier Vellinga, Wageningen University, "Sea level rise and impacts in a 4+C World

5. Prof Stefan Rahmstorf, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, "Sea-level rise in a 4 degree world

6. Prof David Karoly, University of Melbourne "Wildfire in a 4+ C degree World

7. Dr. Fran├žois Bemenne, Sciens Po Paris "Cimate-induced Population Displacements in a 4+ degree World

The conference opened with one of the top climate advisors in the world. Professor John Schellnhuber is from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He is a past director of Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. The German version of his name is Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. He has directly advised many heads of government, including Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, and even Barack Obama. The title of his talk: "Terra quasi-incognita: beyond the 2 degree line."

This was a presentation to fellow scientists, so part of it is heavy going for the rest of us. It was accompanied by slides, and I'll give you the web address for those.

In order to hit some key points from this speech, and several others from the 4 Degree conference, covering several hours of audio, I'm going to attempt a digest of this latest science.

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