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The Current State of Global Climate Destabilization: A Not so Happy Candid Discussion and Summary

Lawrence's picture
Submitted by Lawrence on

Image credit: NASA

"The worst case projections for global warming may be the most likely, according to an analysis from scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)."

There is no way to deny it no matter how much we would like a more hopeful picture! We are not winning the global warming climate destabilization battle! Cataclysmic climate destabilization is already here and the remaining climate battle now is to try to avert an irreversible or an extinction-level of global climate destabilization. We are so close to going over the tipping points of the next climate cliff that some researchers feel we have already done so! (Extinction level here is defined as the projected potential extinction of approximately half or more of the species on earth and most [60-90%,] if not all, of humanity. Irreversible whenever used is defined as severe climate destabilization consequences that could take hundreds or even thousands of years to correct or re-balance or  never correct or re-balance.)

In spite of 30 years of warnings and education by scientists, the environmental movement and media exposure to an increasing body of compelling scientific evidence (now agreed to by 84% of the scientists qualified in climate science,) carbon pollution of the atmosphere has not slowed or even leveled off. It has increased! To make things worse it has not increased in a gradual manner.

Leading climate scientists like James Hansen say that we would remain safe if carbon in the atmosphere did not go over 350 parts per million (ppm). As of August 2012, carbon ppm was at near 400 ppm and was increasing at about 2 -3 ppm plus per year in a non-linear and accelerating exponential progression (imagine a rapidly rising and steepening carbon ppm graph curve.) If you include methane and other pollutants, the adjusted carbon ppm is more near 430 ppm currently.

If we include methane we will be at carbon 450 ppm in 10 years or less.

To put this in perspective from 1850 to about 1950 carbon pollution was steady at about a 1 ppm per year increase. From 1950 to 2000 it rose to 2 ppm per year and now it is exponentially rising rapidly towards 3 ppm per year in just a few more years. (If carbon continues to rise exponentially and virtually unchecked as it appears it will, some post 2025 predictions project carbon increasing to a possible additional 4 -6 ppm per year.)

Based on carbon ppm levels already in the system and reaching the 450 mark, this means that a two degree Celsius global temperature increase (4 degrees Fahrenheit,) is already an inescapable reality. One factor seldom considered in the public's awareness of the climate destabilization challenges is the climate momentum factor also relating to why we will reach the carbon 450 mark with certainty. (Price Cooper Waterhouse [an international accounting firm,] did the disheartening temperature calculations in late 2012 and said it is virtually assured we will hit 2 degrees Celsius and that we would probably hit Six degrees Celsius.) 

Here is how it works. Greenhouse heat that is also trapped in the oceans and elsewhere besides the atmosphere from past carbon pollution has an estimated 40-80 year period  of dissipation. This means that our climate warming has a 40-80 year momentum behind it. In other words, if we found a way to stop 100% of all current carbon pollution today our climate's temperature would have to deal with the heat dissipation momentum of the last 40-80 years before the climate temperature would fully stabilize. This also means that at whatever point in time we finally do radically reduce carbon pollution of the atmosphere we will then have this same climate momentum monster to deal with, but it will be worse because of the additional carbon we have added to the atmosphere in the time from now to that later point. Unfortunately, it gets worse. much worse.

It is also highly probable that because of our denial in facing the looming climate cliff and the danger of this problem as well as the physical time lags in developing and the widespread deployment of new green energy technology (25-35 years,) to correct or diminish it (once we do pass enforceable international laws making large scale carbon pollution of the atmosphere a crime,) that carbon will also rise rapidly to carbon 550 ppm, which translates to a 3-4 degree Celsius increase (6-8 degrees Fahrenheit,) in global temperature.

Making this recipe for mega-disaster even worse, new research indicates that for every degree of Celsius temperature increase global food production will drop 10% while the human population continues to soar toward 8 billion. Climate scientists who are normally guarded in their language call a 4 degree Celsius increase (6-8 degrees Fahrenheit,) "hell on Earth." 

If climate destabilization proceeds to the levels currently being predicted, over time it will eventually cost the global society thousands of trillions of dollars in crisis recovery as well as soaring insurance rates, massive real estate depreciation and massive infra-structure losses --- not even taking into account the vast amount of human suffering and death. The Stern Review estimated that the costs of catastrophic climate destabilization will grow to consume as much as 5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP,) of every nation on earth --- and that is not even at climate destabilization's (CCD's) worse latter stages!

Right now most of the nations on earth are struggling with over indebtedness and their economies are in trouble with anemic annual growth. How will they ever remain financially viable, stable or even in existence if another 5% or more of their total GDP is drained off each year into the continually escalating costs of  climate destabilization?

Catastrophic climate destabilization is already here BIG TIME and it's storms, flooding, wildfires, heat waves, migrating insect infestations and droughts will continue increasing in scale, severity and frequency. The real battle now lies in how to keep from going off the climate cliff and keeping climate destabilization from becoming irreversible or a humanity extinction level event where human-caused carbon pollution levels in the atmosphere pushes the global temperature increases to 5-6 degrees Celsius (8-12 degrees Fahrenheit,) and beyond...

Current efforts at establishing enforceable international laws for  reversing climate destabilization have resulted in dismal failure. After many years and over a dozen major meetings the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is largely impotent and shows little hope as it is currently progressing to ever be able to deal with the critical path climate destabilization time lines and tipping points.

Cap and Trade laws, which are not the right laws we need anyway, (fee and dividend are the correct new laws,) have only been passed in one U.S. state (California,) and according to leading experts like James Hansen these fossil fuel industry lobbyist watered down ineffective Cap and Trade laws will not save us from catastrophic and irreversible climate destabilization in time. and there is more...

"There should be no denial surrounding the facts about the escalating climate destabilization caused by global warming due to the burning of fossil fuels. Unfortunately, even in the climate re-stabilization community there is still denial of just how bad it is. Lawrence Wollersheim

The Perfect Storm of the Unknown Climate Tipping Points

The two most dangerous facts about the climate:

1.) Current climate science on many of the critical climate tipping points is grossly incomplete and underfunded.

2.) Climate systems are complex adaptive systems and complex adaptive systems have tipping points. Those tipping points can cause sudden, unpredictable and severe changes and collapses. In complex adaptive systems tipping points and small changes in the master climate system or in its sub systems can unpredictably whipsaw into each other and into the master climate system and produce unexpected massive changes.  (If you do not understand the basics of complex adaptive systems and their unpredictability we strongly recommend that you click this complex adaptive systems link because understanding the climate as a complex system and its tipping point paradoxes will be greatly aided and simplified.)

This complex adaptive system tipping point unpredicableness factor is critical because unfortunately as climate research stands now, no one can currently say with any degree accuracy at what point does our atmospheric carbon pollution experiment cross the final tipping points of irreversible or extinction-level climate destabilization. No one can tell us what exact carbon pollution level or climate system temperature tipping point or other action will do it --- or even worse, if we have already gone off that climate cliff and crossed that final climate tipping point of irreversibility. (To get up to speed on the specific tipping points of the climate and its subsystems watch a 10 minute video that graphically explains many tipping points by clicking here and go to the section half way down the page.) Unbelievably, with it's many still unknown climate tipping points, this makes human-caused carbon pollution of the atmosphere the single most dangerous and destructive blind experiment and looming disaster in all of human history.

As an example of the unresearched or incomplete tipping point research problem and dilemma take the example of our current best science computer models for when the Northwest Passage above Canada and Russia will be ice free during the summers. In 2007 they predicted this would not happen until 2035 to 2050. Now just a few years later based on the current escalating warming they now predict that in 2015-2020 the Northwest Passage will be completely ice free during the summers.

This means in just 7 years our best-science predictions had to be corrected by 30-35 years over a 43 year total prediction period. This means the best time predictions of 2007 were 60-70 percent off.

What is really scary about this is what if many of the other time predictions of climate destabilization made the the 2007 IPPC report are also off by 60-70% because of lack of tipping point research?  What if what the IPPC is predicting in 2100 will actually happen in 2040 or 2050? What if the level of storms, flooding, wildfires, heat waves, migrating insect infestations and droughts of increasing exponential scale, severity and frequency that were predicted for 2060-2080 started arriving from 2020-2040?

Can we really trust any temperature increase or sea level rise predictions and timetables in any meaningful way until far more climate system and sub-system research is done? And most importantly, what does this new absence of adequate climate tipping point research mean to our current strategies and timetables for preparing for and dealing with catastrophic climate destabilization? Are we using near useless current climate prediction timeframes? (Read about the major climate system and sub-system tipping points that are not adequately researched and often missing from many of our climate temperature and sea level rise prediction calculations by clicking here.) 

Now add to this new research by climate scientists that the Earth's climate is capable of major average temperature changes over large and small areas in much shorter time than ever imagined. First they thought major average temperature changes took thousands of years, then centuries now there is new research to show that in just decades average temperature can change can be significant. (New research has show that in the past the average temperature over the Greenland area increased 7 degrees Celsius (about 12-14 degrees Fahrenheit,) in just 2-5 decades. 

All of the above tipping point data makes the incompletely researched climate tipping situation the perfect scenario for the Perfect Climate Storm that can quickly lead us over the climate cliff to irreversible climate destabilization and collapse.  Not knowing or ignoring these climate tipping points issues and their potentially drastic and rapid consequences is a risk we REALLY do not want to take. (If you have not seen this 9 minute climate destabilization risk analysis video, do so now so that you fully understand why we must act now and collectively and how we can be smarter in managing the blind climate experiment that we are all unknowingly participating in. This video and its earlier version have had millions of views in spite of its sometimes comical presentation of such a serious issue.)

The Perfect Storm of Perfect Storms

As if the unknown tipping points of climate destabilization are not enough of a perfect storm. There is another larger, more dangerous “perfect storm of perfect storms” coming into being in the not too distant future. This perfect storm of perfect storms occurs because as the global climate destabilizes it destabilizes the global economy. As the global economy destabilizes it destabilizes the political landscape of functioning nations. As the climate, the global economy and the political landscape of functioning nations destabilize it destabilizes all of the various societies (individuals, businesses, organizations etc.)

The first perfect storm of unknown climate tipping points not only whip saws all of our current global challenges into each other, it makes them individually worse and it also injects them with steroids. Collectively by environmental collapse, the global economy and failing nations all whip sawing off of each other with all kinds of unexpected consequences it will make our current global challenges (when taken as a whole complex adaptive system,) worse, far far worse then they are now!

We are already struggling with serious global economic problems. We already have many failed and minimally functional nations. In those existing failed nations economic and social struggle and breakdown are already common.  Now just imagine what will happen to exacerbate our global economic, political and social problems, once those problems have been first further destabilized and then amplified by the escalating climate destabilization…

What also makes this perfect storm of perfect storms worse yet is that evolution on this planet has not proceeded to the point where there is a unified management or single government with the power of enforcement (when needed,) to align the self-interests of the many parties that must work together if there is any hope of avoiding irreversible or extinction level climate destabilization. The very worst news is that due to our evolutionary immaturity as a species a unified global management with enforcement powers is not anywhere on the near horizon to come to our rescue.

With escalating climate destabilization we have fully entered into an age of destructive creation, retrogression and global meta-crisis far beyond the management capabilities of our fractionalized and nationalized self-interests. How soon will this all begin you wonder?

It has already begun!

Unfortunately, our well-intentioned leaders either haven’t seen the pattern of a whole, interconnected complex adaptive system headed for a sudden and hard to predict collapse or, they refuse to see that this process has already begun. From now until we reach carbon 450 ppm somewhere around 2020 (which creates an eventual 4 degree temperature increase,) up through the decades of 2030 to 2050 we may very likely all be watching the “perfect storm of perfect storms” building and unfolding across our planet.

Too many of our leaders and intelligence agencies are ignoring the unknown climate tipping point factors and the recent, horribly-failed summer Arctic ice coverage predictions hoping that either “climate destabilization really won’t get that bad until the second half of the 21st century or that we (the generations alive now,) still have lots of time or can adapt to it.”

We in this organization believe that because of the vast amount of missing tipping point research and our still incomplete understanding of the elements and subsystems of the climate as a complex adaptive system one should adjust the time occurring and severity of consequences predictions of the 2007 IPPC report by 50-70% to the negative. This adjustment does not even consider how the IPPC report was most certainly politicized and watered down because of all of the nations and individuals who had to sign off on it before it could be released.

While when it will come will most likely surprise us, how it will come is much better established. Global warming and climate destabilization will proceed irregularly. Some places will actually get colder as most of the planet warms. Weather will be more unpredictable as it worst effects increase in severity, scale and frequency. As major and minor climate tipping points are crossed there will be sudden and steep spurts and jerks of alternating and non alternating negative weather consequences increasing in severity, scale and frequency like floods, droughts, heat waves, wild fires, super storms, seasons that do not seam like their normal seasons any more such as monsoons that are too short, winters that last too long or springs that come too early or winters or monsoons whose snow and moisture runs off long before it can be captured for spring and summer use etc. If left unchecked, then eventually the exponential growth of carbon pollution in the atmosphere will cause our dynamic climate system equilibrium of glacial periods and non glacial periods that has oscillated predictably within a stable range for hundreds of thousands of years to destabilize and collapse.   

Destructive Creation and the Possible Opportunity of Climate Destabilization

After all of this bad news about the climate is there a silver lining? They say "great catastrophe holds equally great opportunity."

Many individuals who have survived great catastrophes have said that the catastrophe gave them the chance to see aspects of our world that both society and themselves had hid behind veils of denial. They also said the catastrophe gave them the opportunity to change and to take responsibility for what they had finally discovered behind the denial. Historically great catastrophe often precedes a period of great renewal, advancement and growth. For example, the Black Death and the Dark Ages preceded the great advances of the Enlightenment Age of human history. 

If climate destabilization continues to escalate unchecked in any meaningful and remedial way appropriate to the threat level as it is now, climate destabilization will most certainly bring about its own kind of Black Death and Dark Ages period that we can only hope will teach humanity the lessons it needs to learn in order to bring about a new more enlightened and sustainable global order and way of living. 

And finally...

as if all the above was not more than one can bear, the nongovernmental environmental movement, which originally broke this issue has not in any well-coordinated way made irreversible or extinction-level climate destabilization the keystone environmental issue of our time and of all environmental groups. It is after all, the single issue upon which almost all other environmental issues will depend, be determined or be severely to significantly impacted. In spite of all of the worthy work that the environmental movement is doing in other non-climate areas, it cannot seem get it's coordinated act together on this keystone issue of global warming and climate destabilization the Job One for all Humanity of our time.

So now it is time to be honest with ourselves. The first battle against stopping the rise of climate destabilization has been resoundingly lost and we are now in a planetary state of emergency. It is now time to start the second battle of the climate war, which is --- preparing for and lessening it --- in order to lessen the suffering and for as many people as possible to survive!

The Likely Future: Prepare, Adapt and Where Still Possible Mitigate

Human history has resoundingly demonstrated that people, businesses and nations do not normally make the kind of major and costly changes needed until "the pain of going forward is less than the pain of where they are." In spite of political rhetoric to the contrary, this implies that until the climate destabilization crisis becomes far, far worse than hurricane Sandy was, (which will cost the U.S. in excess of 100 billion dollars,) it is unlikely that much if any effective national or international climate stabilization actions will be taken and, by that time, because of new tipping points being crossed, it could easily be too late to avert irreversible or extinction-level climate destabilization.  Unless there is a miracle, it is not likely that the world's politicians will do anything substantive until we start having regular climate destabilization mega-disasters each costing somewhere in the range of 1/4 to 1/2 trillion dollars each.

This likely ongoing failure to act collectively with enforceable international laws also implies that we need to prepare for and adapt to these worsening climate conditions now, while doing what we can to help mitigate (lessen,) the effects of the rapidly escalating climate destabilization already upon us and finally, to do whatever we can to survive after that.

"We need to understand that the stability of our global climate is the essential and conditioning "game board" upon which all life and all of life's games and goals are played. If this master conditioning game board of life is destabilized, it will destabilize all of our other sub-game boards (our current economic, social and political games.) Not many people really get that almost everything that they are currently doing within their personal, business and political lives will become increasingly destabilized as their local climate destabilizes and their local support systems collapse as the global climate and master "game board" becomes more destabilized.

We need to begin thinking about irreversible climate destabilization like a slow-moving, but still game-ending asteroid that is on an near irreversible extinction event level collision course with Earth. When you finally get this, you will begin to understand the seriousness of why we must prepare ourselves now and then act to immediately try to lessen the escalating cataclysmic climate destabilization that is already upon us." Lawrence Wollersheim

If you would like to learn more and know what you can personally do to help solve this catastrophic climate crisis effecting all of our mutual futures, click here for the Job One for Humanity climate recovery program!

"We will either have to live and party like there is no tomorrow or we will have to work collectively to keep from going off the climate cliff into irreversible climate destabilization." A comment from an young person who has studied the challenge. Maybe we should do both? What do you think?

(Recommended new update video: Two leading evolutionaries Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow just made a new climate destabilization video with the latest information and summary of the most recent data. It is worse than what you have just read and it is now coming from very conservative organizations like the World bank and the Natural Resource Council. The Natural Resource Council supplies its reports to the American intelligence agencies. Click here to view this new video called Climate Change and Intergenerational Evil.

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