misssbelinda:

Bill McKibben on Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math 
Wrap your head around these numbers— they’re gonna determine our fate in the next 16 years:
2° Celsius = the international consensus on the upper limit we should allow on warming. But: “So far, we’ve raised the average temperature of the planet just under 0.8 degrees Celsius, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. (A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere over the oceans is a shocking five percent wetter, loading the dice for devastating floods.)”
“Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.”
2,795 Gigatons = “the amount of carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves…those 2,795 gigatons of carbon emissions are worth about $27 trillion.”
“We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We’d have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate.”
“…study after study predicts that carbon emissions will keep growing by roughly three percent a year – and at that rate, we’ll blow through our 565-gigaton allowance in 16 years, around the time today’s preschoolers will be graduating from high school.”
The Alberta tar sands “contain as much as 240 gigatons of carbon (or almost half of the available space if we take the 565 limit seriously)”
The Venezuelan Orinoco tar sands deposits “are larger than Alberta’s – taken together, they’d fill up the whole available atmospheric space.”
“A rapid, transformative change would require building a movement, and movements require enemies…And enemies are what climate change has lacked.”
“The five biggest oil companies have made more than $1 trillion in profits since the millennium – there’s simply too much money to be made on oil and gas and coal to go chasing after zephyrs and sunbeams. // Much of that profit stems from a single historical accident: Alone among businesses, the fossil-fuel industry is allowed to dump its main waste, carbon dioxide, for free. Nobody else gets that break – if you own a restaurant, you have to pay someone to cart away your trash, since piling it in the street would breed rats. But the fossil-fuel industry is different, and for sound historical reasons: Until a quarter-century ago, almost no one knew that CO2 was dangerous. But now that we understand that carbon is heating the planet and acidifying the oceans, its price becomes the central issue. // If you put a price on carbon, through a direct tax or other methods, it would enlist markets in the fight against global warming.”
“Climate change operates on a geological scale and time frame, but it’s not an impersonal force of nature; the more carefully you do the math, the more thoroughly you realize that this is, at bottom, a moral issue; we have met the enemy and they is Shell.”
Meanwhile: “This month, scientists issued a new study concluding that global warming has In the course of this month, a quadrillion kernels of corn need to pollinate across the grain belt, something they can’t do if temperatures remain off the charts. Just like us, our crops are adapted to the Holocene, the 11,000-year period of climatic stability we’re now leaving… in the dust.”

misssbelinda:

Bill McKibben on Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math 

Wrap your head around these numbers— they’re gonna determine our fate in the next 16 years:

  • 2° Celsius = the international consensus on the upper limit we should allow on warming. But: “So far, we’ve raised the average temperature of the planet just under 0.8 degrees Celsius, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. (A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere over the oceans is a shocking five percent wetter, loading the dice for devastating floods.)”
  • “Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.”
  • 2,795 Gigatons = “the amount of carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves…those 2,795 gigatons of carbon emissions are worth about $27 trillion.”
  • “We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We’d have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate.”
  • “…study after study predicts that carbon emissions will keep growing by roughly three percent a year – and at that rate, we’ll blow through our 565-gigaton allowance in 16 years, around the time today’s preschoolers will be graduating from high school.”
  • The Alberta tar sands “contain as much as 240 gigatons of carbon (or almost half of the available space if we take the 565 limit seriously)”
  • The Venezuelan Orinoco tar sands deposits “are larger than Alberta’s – taken together, they’d fill up the whole available atmospheric space.”
  • “A rapid, transformative change would require building a movement, and movements require enemies…And enemies are what climate change has lacked.”
  • “The five biggest oil companies have made more than $1 trillion in profits since the millennium – there’s simply too much money to be made on oil and gas and coal to go chasing after zephyrs and sunbeams. // Much of that profit stems from a single historical accident: Alone among businesses, the fossil-fuel industry is allowed to dump its main waste, carbon dioxide, for free. Nobody else gets that break – if you own a restaurant, you have to pay someone to cart away your trash, since piling it in the street would breed rats. But the fossil-fuel industry is different, and for sound historical reasons: Until a quarter-century ago, almost no one knew that CO2 was dangerous. But now that we understand that carbon is heating the planet and acidifying the oceans, its price becomes the central issue. // If you put a price on carbon, through a direct tax or other methods, it would enlist markets in the fight against global warming.”
  • Climate change operates on a geological scale and time frame, but it’s not an impersonal force of nature; the more carefully you do the math, the more thoroughly you realize that this is, at bottom, a moral issue; we have met the enemy and they is Shell.”
  • Meanwhile: “This month, scientists issued a new study concluding that global warming has In the course of this month, a quadrillion kernels of corn need to pollinate across the grain belt, something they can’t do if temperatures remain off the charts. Just like us, our crops are adapted to the Holocene, the 11,000-year period of climatic stability we’re now leaving… in the dust.”

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