Growth has already pushed Earth past tipping point, new study says

Tue, 2007-10-09 10:36Bill Miller
Bill Miller's picture

Growth has already pushed Earth past tipping point, new study says

A soon-to-be-released UN report says runaway economic growth has pushed greenhouse-gas emissions to dangerous levels much faster than previously estimated and, instead of reaching the threshold within a decade, it was actually crossed two years ago.

The findings will highlight the perils of giving economic growth priority over efforts to curtail global warming.

The final report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change will show that growing economies herald growing greenhouse gas emissions and the result has been a growing threat of global warming, says scientist and Australian of the Year conservationist Tim Flannery.

''We thought we'd be at that threshold within about a decade,'' Flannery told ABC. ''We thought we had that much time, but the new data indicates that in about mid-2005, we crossed that threshold.''

Flannery’s comments came just days after Canada and the U.S. both advocated a voluntary approach to limit greenhouse gases instead of strict international agreements to curb emissions. Neither President Bush nor Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to cap emissions because they fear it would stifle economic growth.

They are right, of course, but that’s exactly what must happen.

As Flannery has observed: ''We've had growing economies everywhere. We're still basing that economic activity on fossil fuels. You know, the metabolism of that economy is now on a collision course with our planet, clearly.”

The IPCC's Synthesis Report (also known as the Fourth Assessment Report) will be released on November 7, 2007. The Report brings together the core information of the previous three volumes released earlier this year, to create “the most policy-relevant scientific document on climate change for the years to come.”

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Comments

to climate science and what has happened very rapidly in that field during the last few years. Nordic and Japanese villages being wiped out may be historical fact, but I remain sceptical. How these "facts" fit in to the Big Picture is another matter altogether. I'm an historian and I know something about how facts can be interpreted differently as the context in which they are perceived adjusts according to changing knowledge.

The science of climate change has been making huge strides at an accelerated rate, as the collected knowledge generates new lines of enquiry. You seem determined to stick to your position on the basis of some geography courses in college, rather than looking into specialized research in the specific discipline of climate science.

I am left wondering who are you anyway?

The point of this, which is clearly being lost is that with the cyclical patterns of the Earth it makes sense that a cooling period leads to a period of warming.

You and others, seem to insist that i am not willing to admit that global warming is an issue when i have time and again said i am just waiting for more facts. I have not stuck to my position nearly as forcefully as yourself and others here.

I am merely trying to say that i doubt i am 100% correct and i doubt you are 100% correct and I am trying to reach a middle ground where i am sure the answer is closer. I am merely questioning and in question we find answers or learn the right questions to ask. It is through questioning that we have found that old beliefs are false (such as the electron orbit) and discovered new postulates (electron cloud).

No one here can see the ultimate picture because it is so infinitly vast, so why are we trying to quibble over my simple questions.h

In two different places I provided you with a link describing the role of water vapour in global warming. Did you read it? Did you understand it?

And how about if you back up your statements with links showing where you get your information, or if it's from a book, tell us the title, author and page number. You can't spout just any old crap and expect to be taken seriously. You should have learned in college how to do research and how to cite your sources.

If all you can do is say it's all too big for you to understand, why are you bothering to say anything at all? And spare us the nonsense about it maybe only being a natural cycle: it's not. We are causing it.

http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2007/10/10/warming-humid.html

...Climate scientists have now seen the man-made fingerprint of global warming on 10 different aspects of Earth's environment: surface temperatures, humidity, water vapour over the oceans, barometric pressure, total precipitation, wildfires, change in species of plants and animals, water run-off, temperatures in the upper atmosphere and heat content in the world's oceans...

We have suggested several sources where you can find solid scientific information about climate change. There are answers for your "simple questions" but you aren't going to find them in college geography textbooks or at Wikipedia. The discussion has gone far beyond this level.

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Well, it looks like things are getting out of hand. While we continue to make feeble attempts at changing the way we "consume", the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has continued to rise.

What's really scary about this is that these numbers are two years old.

We've been going all out, balls to the wall, to "grow" the economy at the expense of the eco-system.

Well, two years ago we may have passed the first point of no return.

Have we passed yet another point of no return since then?

Talking about voluntary emission caps is a useless waste of time.

It may already be to late!

Stop the warming!

cyb3r_ph4ntom
The Closet Environmentalist
http://polarbearadventures.blogspot.com/

i think monbiots latest article summed up the problem well...

"On Sunday I visited the only UN biosphere reserve in Wales: the Dyfi estuary. As is usual at weekends, several hundred people had come to enjoy its beauty and tranquillity and, as is usual, two or three people on jet skis were spoiling it for everyone else. Most economists will tell us that human welfare is best served by multiplying the number of jet skis. If there are two in the estuary today, there should be four there by this time next year and eight the year after. Because the estuary’s beauty and tranquillity don’t figure in the national accounts (no one pays to watch the sunset) and because the sale and use of jet skis does, this is deemed an improvement in human welfare."

I agree completely.
As long as we only focus on the economy we will continue to destroy everything else that stands in the way of "prosperity".

cyb3r_ph4ntom.

for a good counter-balance to Flannery's pronouncements.

Here's the link:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/10/co2-equivalents/

They think he got his information from leaked drafts of the report, and that he is wrong about it.

someone is finally addressing the point of the article!

I agree he has probably gone over the edge on this one. Given Australia's reluctance to support mandatory caps and a regulatory approach, etc., it's easy to see why Flannery might try to oversell the implications, but ultimately it doesn't help to give the deniers something to point at.

Still, I began to wonder years ago whether, if you roll together the issues of AGW, overpopulation, other forms of pollution and devastation of habitats, we've probably already passed SOME kind of tipping point ages ago! But that's not science, that's intuition. It's also what happens when you try to think too hard before your first cup of coffee . . .

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