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Dr Gideon Polya
Dr Gideon Polya

Good and Bad Climate News

Australia and the World are acutely threatened by man-made climate change and it may already be too late to stop catastrophe – however there is GOOD NEWS as well as BAD NEWS.

The BAD NEWS is that top UK climate scientists, Professor Kevin Anderson and Dr Alice Bows of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester, made the following shocking conclusions in a 2008 paper in the prestigious Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: “According to the analysis conducted in this paper, stabilizing at 450 ppmv [carbon dioxide equivalent = CO2-e, atmospheric concentration measured in parts per million by volume] requires, at least, global energy related emissions to peak by 2015, rapidly decline at 6-8% per year between 2020 and 2040, and for full decarbonization sometime soon after 2050 …Unless economic growth can be reconciled with unprecedented rates of decarbonization (in excess of 6% per year), it is difficult to envisage anything other than a planned economic recession being compatible with stabilization at or below 650 ppmv CO2-e … Ultimately, the latest scientific understanding of climate change allied with current emissions trends and a commitment to “limiting average global temperature increases to below 4oC above pre-industrial levelsâ€, demands a radical reframing of both the climate change agenda, and the economic characterization of contemporary society.†[1]

Yet, for example, Australia remains the world’s biggest coal exporter, the OECD’s worst annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) polluter and a world leader in per capita GHG pollution. Extrapolating from US Energy Information Administration data on Australian coal and liquid natural gas exports in the last decade, the recent decisions of the Australian Federal Government mean that Australia's annual Domestic plus Exported GHG pollution will actually INCREASE by 40% over the 2000 value by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. [2]

The Australian Great Barrier Reef will die above 450 ppm CO2 due to ocean acidification and warming. Professor James Hansen (top US climate scientist, head, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies): “We face a climate emergencyâ€. Australian Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty: “We are in real danger.†Professor David de Kretser AC (eminent medical scientist and Governor of Victoria, Australia) “There is no doubt in my mind that this is the greatest problem confronting mankind at this time and that it has reached the level of a state of emergency.†Dr Andrew Glikson (palaeo-climate scientist, ANU, Canberra): “The continuing use of the atmosphere as an open sewer for industrial pollution has … raised CO2 levels to 387 ppm CO2 to date, leading toward conditions which existed on Earth about 3 million years (Ma) ago (mid-Pliocene), when CO2 levels rose to about 400 ppm, temperatures to about 2–3 degrees C and sea levels by about 25 +/- 12 metres.†Top UK climate scientist Professor James Lovelock FRS predicts that only 500 million people will survive this century as a result of unaddressed, man-made climate change – Climate Genocide. [3]

And yet the GOOD NEWS is that the best non-carbon and renewable energy options (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro-electric) currently yield power at roughly the same market price as coal burning-based power. [4]

It is NOT necessarily too late to urgently cease carbon pollution and apply existing non-carbon energy technologies, re-afforestation and returning carbon to soil as biochar in order to necessarily REDUCE atmospheric CO2 to below 350 ppm as urgently advocated by leading climate scientists. Please send this message and the One-page summary “Climate Emergency Facts and Required Actions†of the Melbourne-based Yarra Valley Climate Action Group to everyone you can. [5]


[1] Kevin Anderson & Alice Bows, Proc. Trans. Roy. Soc, A, 2008

[2] “Australia’s 5% off 2000 GHG pollution by 2020†endangers Australia, Humanity and Biosphereâ€

[3] Climate Emergency Facts Sheets of the Yarra Valley Climate Action Group

[4] “Hope – best renewables now cost same as coal power. “One Day Pathétique†Symphony paintingâ€

[5] One-page “Climate Emergency Facts and Required Actionsâ€

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