Friday, August 30, 2019

Requiem for the Planet? (1)

We are in a fight for our lives and for the generations to come. Now’s the time to join the world socialist movement to stop global warming and climate change. The truth is that only socialism in which there is no capitalist class, could possibly usher in a world which will be environmentally sustainable and have a benign effect upon our planet. An even harsher truth in light of the ecological destruction, is it’s now a possibility that human civilisation won’t last much longer. Oceans not only absorb a quarter of the CO2 we emit, they have also soaked up more than 90 percent of the additional heat generated by greenhouse gas emissions since 1970.
Without this marine sponge, in other words, global warming would already have made Earth's surface intolerably hot for our species.

According to Agence France-Presse, a 900-page draft United Nations report warns "the same oceans that nourished human evolution are poised to unleash misery on a global scale unless the carbon pollution destabilizing Earth's marine environment is brought to heel."

The forthcoming scientific assessment is due to be released to the public Sep. 25, after diplomats and experts meet in Monaco to approve the final Summary for Policymakers.

AFP reported:
Destructive changes already set in motion could see a steady decline in fish stocks, a hundred-fold or more increase in the damages caused by superstorms, and hundreds of millions of people displaced by rising seas, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "special report" on oceans and Earth's frozen zones, known as the cryosphere. As the 21st century unfolds, melting glaciers will first give too much and then too little to billions who depend on them for fresh water, it finds. Without deep cuts to manmade emissions, at least 30 percent of the northern hemisphere's surface permafrost could melt by century's end, unleashing billions of tonnes of carbon and accelerating global warming even more.”
AFP detailed some of those impacts based on the IPCC draft.
By 2050, many low-lying megacities and small island nations will experience "extreme sea level events" every year, even under the most optimistic emissions reduction scenarios, the report concludes. By 2100, "annual flood damages are expected to increase by two to three orders of magnitude," or 100 to 1,000 fold, the draft summary for policymakers says. Even if the world manages to cap global warming at 2°C, the global ocean waterline will rise enough to displace more than a quarter of a billion people.
Experts are divided on the anticipated timeline for such mass displacement due to sea level rise. However, Ben Strauss, CEO and chief scientist of the U.S.-based research group Climate Central, told AFP that "even if the number is 100 or 50 million by 2100, that's still a major disruption and a lot of human misery." Strauss, whose research informs some of the IPCC report's conclusions, added that "if we warm the planet by 2°C by 2100 we will only be at the beginning of a runaway train ride of sea level rise." He continued, "When you consider the political instability that has been triggered by relatively small levels of migration today, I shudder to think of the future world when tens of millions of people are moving because the ocean is eating their land."
"The eyes of Beijing are gradually moving away from environmental issues, and climate change in particular," noted Greenpeace International analyst Li Shuo, a longtime observer of China's climate policy. A resurgence of domestic coal-fired power and a relaxing of air pollution regulations, he said, point to a preoccupation with China's slowing economy and its trade war with the US. And yet, all of these nations face many of the threats outlined in the IPCC report. 

Shanghai, Ningbo, Taizhou and another half-dozen major coastal cities in China, for example, are highly vulnerable to future sea level rise, which is projected to add a metre by 2100 compared to the late 20th century global watermark, if CO2 emissions continue unabated. Mumbai and other coastal Indian cities are in harm's way as well.
Even in the United States, where billions are being spent to protect New York, Miami and other exposed cities, such efforts could easily be overwhelmed, say experts.

"There is a pervasive thread in the US right now promoted by techno-optimists who think we can engineer our way out of this problem," said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. "But the US is not ready for a metre of sea level rise by 2100," he told AFP. "Just look at what happened in the wake of superstorm Sandy, Katrina, in Houston, or Puerto Rico."

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