Saturday, October 27, 2012

Teach your children well... part II

 the old and the new - the very busy, industrial traffic on the Yangtze River
 The Venice of China - Tongli - some of the older living conditions
 Condo - newer living conditions
 Multi-stories of wash day in the condos
 The newest - glitz hotels for tourists, the rich and those in charge
 The new - industrial China.  I believe that is sulfur on the carrier ships
The old farmstead.  There appeared to be this yellow crop (Canola perhaps?) all along the Yangtze where ever there was space for a bit of it to grow.
Above photos from April 2012
I am up to page 142 of Gwynne Dyer's book CLIMATE WAR$ @ Copyright 2008.  This is an extremely scarey book...  Page 142 Quote:
      Three things need to be borne in mind about the negotiations in Kyoto in 1997.  At that time, it was not clear that global warming would move as fast as subsequent models have predicted (let alone as fast as some recent events suggest).  Neither did most of the participants realize in 1997 that the recent ten-year growth spurt in China and the even more recent acceleration in India's growth rate were not transient events, but would both continue into the future at an even faster pace.  Both countries were actually on course to become major emitters of greenhouse gases in their own right, but this was a very new and contentious idea in 1997, so leaving them without obligations to curb their emissions in the first round of negotiations was seen as relatively cost-free.  And finally, there was already concern that the United States, the biggest emitter by far, producing one-quarter of the world's man-made greenhouse gases with only one-twentieth of the world's population, would not ratify the treaty if it demanded significant sacrifices from the US.  The Clinton White House might be in favour, and Vice-President Al Gore put a lot of effort into the negotiations, but the Senate would probably kill any treaty that placed serious obligations on the United States.
      So the treaty that emerged in Kyoto was an unambitious little thing, requiring the industrialized countries to cut their emissions by a very modest 5 - 7 percent by 2012 (from a 1990 baseline) and imposing no constraints on the emissions of developing countries, including China and India.  But it was far from a waste of time, and until the end of the twentieth century, there was still reason to believe that the response would match the scale of the problem.
.....from the Glynne Dyer's interview with James Hansen... June 28, 2008 ....
It was actually a quite remarkable rate of progress, given the fact that you really couldn't see many effects of this global warming.  It was a theory that we had some confirmation for, and we knew what we were talking about, but it was quite impressive.  Already within four years (after the creation of the IPCC in 1988) we had the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and then the Kyoto Protocol (in 1988).  But what happened, as we all know, was that the U.S. sabotaged the effectiveness of the Kyoto Protocol by not signing on.  Without the biggest polluter by far, and without the biggest economy, Kyoto could not be very effective.
     It would have been much more effective in reducing the developing country emissions because of the Clean Development Mechanism that was part of it . . . There would have been a lot more incentive to get moving on the renewable energies and clean energies.  But why did the U.S. take that position?
      Well, it was because the industries had more influence on our government than the public good.  The interest of a small number of people, the influence of money in Washington, and the fact that so many congressmen and administration are influenced by the fossil-fuel industry, which is huge.  That's why we need to try to draw attention to the activities of that lobby, because otherwise they may continue to muddle the story enough that we fail to get the strong and rapid actions that we now need.  Beause now we've used up the time -- we're at the hairy edge right now.  We have to make rapid changes.
--- James Hansen, director, NASA Goddard Space Studies Center, in an interview with the author (Gynne Dyer), June 28, 2008.
      U.S. President Bill Clinton never sent the Kyoto treaty to Congress for ratification, because he knew that it had zero chance of ratification: by now the fossil-fuel lobby had bought up enough members of Congress to ensure that.  Shortly after President George W. Bush entered office in 2001, he declared that the United States was withdrawing from the treaty entirely -- and the next eight years of international negotiations on climate change were characterized by official American obstructionism that often verged on wrecking tactics.  Somehow or other, the issue of climate change had got caught up in the 'cultural wars' in the United States, and the Bush administration was on the side that denied it was happening.
      It is not immediately obvious why the reality or otherwide of climate change, essentially a scientific question, should have become such an intensely emotional issue in the United States.  It did not become a left-right struggle elsewhere (except in Australia and Canada, which were carried along in the cultural wake of the United States), and conservatives like former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and German's Chancellor Angela Merkel could be found in the front rank of climate activists.  Even allowing for unusually ideological character of American politics, why did this particular issue become a badge of ideological allegiance in the United States?
      The fact that there was a campaign of denial funded by the usual suspects in the American oil, coal and automobile industries (and partly run by the same people wo had previously conducted the tobacco industry's campaign to cast doubt on the evidence that smoking causes fatal diseases) does not explain the emotion that Americans invested in the issue.  After all, smoking never became a pure left-right issue in the same way.  The passionate commitment to the cause that is evident in American blogs on climate issues, especially on the part of the deniers, is quite disproportionate to the impact that the topic has on the real lives of the participants.  
......  on to page 146 ....
     In less ideological societies, climate change could be treated as a more or less neutral fact.  Given the ferocity of the culture was in the United States during the Clinton and Bush administrations, global warming was bound to become a highly contentious 'values' issue in the United States, rather than a scientific one.  This was a major misfortune, since the Bush administraion, whose international position on climate change was shaped by its role as a partisan in those domestic ideological struggles, certainly bore a large share of the responsibility for the lost decade in international action on the global warming agenda.  However, it is also the case that some other countries used American foot-dragging as an excuse not to pursue a more ambitious policy themselves.  We have yet to know how they will act if they lose that political cover due to to a change in American climate policy.
      We may find out quite soon, however, since the period of time covered by the Kyoto Protocol is now drawing to an end, and the parties to the treaty have until late 2009 to decide on a follow-on deal that determines what further cuts will be needed in the period after 2012.  Membership in the post-Kyoto negotiating group is now almost universal, with even Australia having signed up after the 2007 election removed prime minister John Howard, an inveterate climate change denier, from office.  Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada has hinted at leaving the treaty and has ceased to work towards fulfilling its existing commitments, but it will probably be forced back into line after the inauguration of the next U.S. president in January 2009 (since the presidential candidates of both major parties in the U.S. are committed to action on climate change). It is even possible that the United States itself will sign up to the Kyoto Protocol or its successor in the next few years, although that is by no means guaranteed.  But will the next round of negotiations really yield a dramatically different result?
 ..... interview with Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber with the author Gwynne Dyer, March 15, 2008.
  HANS-JOACHIM SCELLNHUBER:  I don't want to be pessimistic, but there are two possibilities.  We might get a good post-Kyoto agreement by 2010 or so, which would mean that developed countries would have a road map that would include  a commitment to 40 percent emission reductions by 2030.  That's still a possibility.  China, India and so on would have soft targets, but only for the commitment period until 2020 ... Then we would revise the whole thing in 2015, 2016, so that they could enter in the third commitment period fter 2020 to crisp numerical targets.  In a sense, it would be a training camp for developing countries between 2012 and 2020.  It would not ensure that we would get this 40 percent reduction by 2030, but at least we would be on track.
      If that does not happen, there is still the possibility that you would have a coalition of the willing, in the sense that just the most advanced countries -- say Germany, U.K., Netherlands, Sweden, United States, hopefully Australia, where we had this sea change already, Japan --- (my insert - sea change refers to the recent rain in UK and drought in eastern US due to the change in the  traditional direction of the trade winds - you will have to read the book to see where this is a documented fact) would just form a club of countries who want to become extremely energy- efficient, extremely energy-independent, decarbonizing their societies, and do it through a patchy but ever evolving global-emissions trading system.  Then market forces as well as political willpower would drive the whole thing.  So we wouldn't get global targets, but they would simply emerge from the bottom, if you like.  That would be the alternative.  I think either way we will see something.
 Gwynne Dyer:  Does that alternative approach keep us clear of the 450 parts per million threshold?
Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber:  Only if this is just a training camp.  After 2020, clearly, you need to engage all the major industires in the world.  I still think that if we are able, for a certain period of time, to demonstrate in a credible way that the most developed countries are on track, are willing and able to do this decarbonization, then this will become something like an infectious disease.  If you see that you can lead a good life and nevertheless decarbonize your society, I'm sure the Chinese would be happy to copy that.  But it would all depend on the success, on the shining demonstration of that period.  Then I still think the 450 line could be held.
      We might have a little bit of help from our dirty friends, namely the aerosols in the atmosphere.  You know that they have this global dimming, masking effect.  The Aerosols might just help us over that period of time.  It's almost ironic:  without these aerosols we probably would have already much higher global warming.  So it may turn out that if we would do a very subtle management of aerosols by SULPHUR filtering in China, India and so on, in line with CARBON DIOXIDE REDUCTION, we might still save the day, but it may become a very tricky game, actually.  So, the answer to your question is a definite maybe.
--- Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber, director, Potsdam Institute for Climate Change Research, in an interview with the author (Glynne Dyer), March 25, 2008.
--- unquote ---
This was the book published in 2009, but the information is all based on far earlier scientific research due to the fact that all theories have to be tested and agreed to before publication.  So the information that Dyer could draw on was prior to 2005, perhaps 2003 information if we are lucky.  I say, if we are lucky, because, the more recent information that is available is illustrating the fears of the scientists researching in this climate change field.  The droughts, the forest fires, the floods, the glacier melts, the depletion of the underground water supplies, the fierce tropical storms, the dessertification of more and more land, not to mention out of control population increases,  all point to what I think is the fact that the world is going into a hot period, whether it be due to human intervention or be it due to natural cycle of our world, which has happened before -- granted -- but it is too soon for the cycle to be happening.. we need a couple of million years yet if the natural cycles happen rather regularly.
Hang on to your hat and head for cover and colder climates.. and teach your children well...
     

4 comments:

Ken Anderson said...

Good photos.
Notice how US politicians are ignoring global warming. Sooner or later; it has to be dealt with and I'm thinking very soon.

Maggie said...

The Canadian politicians are doing the same. But I really don't think it matters. We are well past the time to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions. I don't want to live in a world breathing polluted air or having water rationed, etc. I hope they can let us have the option of bowing out rather than struggling, only to have a life of hardship. The world is over populated anyway. Perhaps the earth is in its natural cycle, too. It has happened before when there were no carbon dioxide emissions from humans.
As I typed this post there was a 7.7 earthquake south of the Haida Gwaii islands (Canadian). It was 11 miles deep under the ocean. We did not really notice it where we live. There were tsunami warnings for the West coast of our Island. We were not affected by it. And in the South there was that huge hurricane raging. Apparently this storm is to join with a couple of other storms along the East Coast of the US and Canada to make a devil's brew of disaster. Hope it misses you!

Ken Anderson said...

I read about the earthquake; may be several natural cycles are happening or about to happen at once into one Perfect Cycle like the book The Perfect Storm described for weather. I think the hurricane of last night and today may have been a perfect storm. We as humans cannot see because $$ are blinding us.

Maggie said...

That was a terrible storm. All those $$ of damage, must be blinding and shocking to many people. I watched posts on the internet as New York flooded. Was shocking, even from my comfortable dray chair at the other end of the country.
I read about that book you mentioned. Seems it is a true story, too.