Land Speed Record To Do The Dishes…

Last night I had the privilege of getting to speak about global warming to a small dinner party. There were a couple of young people. A spirited elderly political heavyweight who helped elect New Jersey governors, ran a newspaper and hobnobbed with the Kennedys. And some successful business men and women.

I learned — once again — how difficult this information truly is. I gave a briefing on global warming science, where we are today and where we’re headed fast. Which is towards the 4°C “game over” temperature.

The burning question was, “what can we do about global warming as individuals?” An important question. A heartfelt question. The right question. But one whose time has passed.

We are now at the point where it will take major government intervention, leadership and international co-ordination. We as individuals can agitate for this. We are way beyond changing light bulbs and buying a Prius. There is no individual solution to this problem.

As I started to list the radical and dramatic changes our civilization would have to make, most of the adults bolted into the kitchen to help do dishes and clean up. But the Kennedy political heavyweight said, “I believe everything you have just said here is true.” And the two young people in their 20s stayed.

I need to continue to experiment with helping people feel and move past their fears. My sense is that we must always provide a concrete action in the face of this information, and better still, a group action. Because that’s what it will take to solve this problem…group action. Coordinated. Disciplined. Resolute.

Intelligence in action…Solar Canals…

India Solar Canals

Prevents evaporation of water. Powers villages and towns with CO2-free energy.

Bar Graph CO2 Challenge…

CO2 1850, 2013, 2100

Hate charts and graphs? You are not alone. Many people are still suffering from the dead hand of boring science classes.

However, I dare you to stick with this particular graph.  Let’s break it down, step by step.

This graph shows the concentration of CO2 in earth’s atmosphere. You can see it was 280 in 1850. 400 today in 2013. And will be 866 in 2100 if we keep doing what we are doing.

That 280 in 1850 (shown in blue, and show also in blue in 2013 and 2100) is what kept our planet’s temperature just right for the past 10,000 years. All the advances we made in agriculture, in organization, in science, were due to that steady temperature for the past 10,000 years.

Since 1850, we started getting our energy from fossil fuels — coal, oil and natural gas. These concentrated energy sources made possible many advances, but they have had an unintended side effect — they gave off CO2. Lots of it. So much, in fact, that they have changed the temperature of the planet.

We have added 40% more CO2 to that initial 280 by 2013. That’s in red (coral color). And if we keep going, we’ll have added 200% more CO2 by 2100 (in coral color for 2100). Think of this additional coral color as additional “blankets” around earth, trapping heat, warming the planet.

All the effects we are seeing from global warming — the stronger hurricanes, stronger blizzards, more rainfall and flooding, more droughts and wildfires — are from that additional 40% CO2 in 2013. And the coral-colored bar for 2100 is game over. If we continue on our path we will turn the planet into one we don’t recognize.

Here is my main point: it’s hard as hell to get rid of that additional CO2. Let’s say we stopped burning any fossil fuels today. A mammoth undertaking. How long would it take for that coral 40% extra CO2 for 2013 to get back to the original all blue 280 we saw in 1850?

There would still be coral-colored CO2 after 100 years. And there would still be coral-colored CO2 after 1,000 years. We’re stuck with our decisions. If we don’t like the new warmer temperature, it will take a millennium to change that.

The CO2 we create today will last 50 generations.


Ocean Acidification Cartoon

Ocean acidification is a side effect of all the CO2 we are pumping into our atmosphere.

CO2 is absorbed into the ocean, turns to carbonic acid, and lowers the pH.

Why should we care? Because ocean organisms that build their shells from calcium carbonate — shrimp, krill, lobsters, oysters, and, most importantly, phytoplankton, the base of the ocean food web — can’t when the ocean gets too acidic.

Let me say this again. Phytoplankton, the primary producers of the oceans which turn CO2 into food and support the entire marine food web, are at risk.

A more acidic ocean means less fish, more jellyfish.

Ocean Acidification, Less Fish, More Jellyfish

Obama Speaks To Climate Change

President Obama, Second Inauguration

“We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.  We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.  Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.

The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult.  But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.  We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise.  That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks.  That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.  That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.”

One Degree War, Video One

The One Degree War Plan, Original Doc

To read the original document, CLICK HERE.

It’s definitely worth a read.

This paper was submitted and published in 2010 but that document cost $50 to access. This 2009 document has plenty of meat on its bones.

Notes from The One Degree War Plan

The One Degree War Plan, KN

Reading THE ONE DEGREE WAR PLAN by Jorgen Randers and Paul Gilding.
Draft Paper from November 2009.


Why are they writing this? They see the dangers and consequences of global warming getting more severe with every year. Finally, the public will insist on emergency action. This is a “first take” on what should be done, on what is necessary.

Academics and climate scientists. Discussing the collapse of civilization. Geopolitical breakdown. Mass starvation.

Message too soft: as in, preparing for global warming is a win win. Being positive. People often respond: Avoid doing anything.
Message too rough: act now or we’ll all die. People often respond: Move into denial. Or worse, move into resistance.

Is it too late? Not yet. It is too late to have no human suffering. That is here, and worse is coming. But not the collapse of the global economy and civilization.

Can we do it? See WWII mobilization.

Society will respond when it perceives a crisis. There will be a “great awakening.”

We will shift into “whatever it takes” mode. Churchill in WWII: “It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”

Two degrees C above pre-industrial period too dangerous. I agree. 1 degree C is reasonably safe.

Target of 350 ppm CO2e. Also could call it a 350 War Plan.

1 degree C is achievable. Will be disruptive to parts of our economy. Will require lots of sacrifice. Can be done.

1940. Defense spending 1.6% of GDP. 1945. Defense spending 37% of GDP.

Four days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the auto industry was ordered to stop making cars.

Little hope for a global agreement. A few powerful and influential countries will start it off.

China, US and Europe = 50% of global emissions. If add Russian, India, Japan and Brazil it’s 67% of global emissions.

Will act when seen that the threat of inaction is greater than the threats posed by acting strongly.

Current efforts. Feeble, inadequate. Crisis will help do “what is necessary.”

Their view: before 2020.

War Plan:

1. Climate War, Years 1-5. Cut 10% a year for 5 years, or 50% cut. Shocking. But audacious. Get momentum going.

2. Climate Neutrality, Years 5-20. Lock in the 50% emergency reductions. Move towards zero climate emissions by 2038 (if start 2018).

3. Climate Recovery, Years 20-100. Need negative emissions. Carbon capture and storage.

CO2e peaks at 440 ppm, fall below 350 ppm by end of century.

Global temps rise above 1 degree C by mid-century, but back around 1 degree C by 2100.

Sea level rises to 0.5 m around 2100. Peak at 1.25 m around 2300.

In billions of tons of CO2e:
2018 = 56
2023 = 28
2038 = 0
2100 = −6

Phase 1: Climate War.
Disproportionate value in early actions. Urgent, dramatic actions.
Breaks the “tyranny of tradition.”

Cut deforestation and logging by 50%
Close 1,000 dirty coal power plants within 5 years
Ration electricity, launch massive and urgent mass retrofit, both residential and commercial.
Retrofit 1,000 coal power plants with carbon capture and storage.
We’ll need the understanding of how to do this later in century.
Erect turbine or solar plant in every town
Create huge wind and solar farms in suitable deserts
Let no waste go to waste. Recycling fanaticism.
Ration use of dirty cars. Cut transport emissions 50%.
Prepare for bio-power with carbon capture and storage.
Strand half the world’s aircraft. Reduce aircraft 10% a year. 50% by year 5.
Capture or burn methane.
Move away from climate unfriendly protein. Red meat. US gov’t ran “meat free Tuesday” during WWII.
Bind 1 gigaton CO2 in the soil. More advanced agriculture techniques.
Launch gov’t and community-led “shop less, live more” campaign

These will seem less dramatic on a war footing.

White Roofs Campaign. Increase planet reflectivity. Help back off potential tipping points. Excellent symbolic. Create many new jobs.

Establish Climate War Command controlled by countries participating in the war.
Introduce carbon tax of US $100 per ton of CO2. Start at $20 per ton, increase $20 per ton each year to five years.. Raise $800,000,000,000 each year, total $1,900,000,000,000 in Year 5. 1-3% of GDP. Less than cost to stabilize global economy during finance crisis of 2008.

Redistribute proceeds of carbon tax. Fund war effort. Alleviate global hardship. Split it 50/50?

Shift subsidies from fossil energy to human employment, in areas like renewable energy, carbon capture and storage, battery logistics.

Resettlement plan for millions of climate refugees.
Adaptation strategy for low lying coastal areas.
Strategy for large scale famine.

Phase 2: Climate Neutrality. Years 6-20.

Goal: to lock in advances of past five years. And to hit global CO2e neutrality by Year 20 (2038).

Possible geoengineering. Capture capture and storage with biofuels. They pull CO2 out of the air. Then when burned their CO2 is captured and stored underground.

Eliminate remaining deforestation. Promote re-forestation and growth of timber.

Move to composting of all organic matter. Prevents longer-term methane emissions.

Massive renewable energy initiative to fill supply left by closing 1,000 coal-fired power plants. Shut remainder of dirty coal generators at Year 10. Turn off gas generators by Year 15.

Phase 3, Climate Recovery. Years 21-100.

Move to a sustainable model of global economy. Launch geo-engineering projects considered safe. Remove CO2 from atmosphere. Closed loop, zero waste.


The sooner we act the safer we’ll be.

This plan is cheap compared to the costs of failure.

Predict a 5-10% decrease in disposable income. Significant dislocation for many people. But not compared to alternative of collapsing economy.

“Since it appears likely that humanity will not respond until the approaching damage is perceived as a true crisis, society should get to work on the crisis response plan now.”

The science IS settled. We’re 99.8% Sure.

A scientific researcher (geochemist and National Science Board member James Lawrence Powell) looked up how many peer-reviewed climate change articles were written in the past 21 years. And out of those how many supported the notion of global warming versus those that did not.

Here are the results:

“He looked up how many peer-reviewed scientific papers were published in
professional journals about global warming, and compared the ones supporting the
idea that we’re heating up compared to those that don’t. What did he find? This:”


We’re talking 99.8% versus 0.2%. It’s hard to find any scientific area of inquiry with such robust agreement.

Bottom line: those who say “the science isn’t settled” are reflecting a coherent, strategic, well-funded campaign by the fossil fuel interests to preserve the status quo. Our catchphrase must be: NO BUSINESS AS USUAL.

“The era…of half measures…”

So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent…. Owing to past neglect, in the face of the plainest warnings, we have entered upon a period of danger….  The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to its close.  In its place we are entering a period of consequences….  We cannot avoid this period, we are in it now….

– Winston Churchill, November 12, 1936, House of Commons

My favorite Winston Churchill quote. Strangely reminiscent of the Obama administration’s “all of the above” energy policy. We’re for wind tax credits, we’re for the Keystone XL pipeline, we’re for green retrofitting, we’re for clean coal. The era…of half measures…is coming to its close.