[Discussion] Climate Change

This thread is just to post interesting news, thoughts, opinions about climate change.

Oh, I have a tiny sliver of hope, but broadly I think we're fully in the "won't do anything about it until the sh*t hits the fan" place now.

The sh*t has already hit the fan and is coating the blades, but just hasn't flung back down onto us yet. We're just watching in suuuuuper slow motion in horror now.

Yeah. The nature of this sh*t is too slow for them to realize that it's already too late to prevent it, the best we can hope for is to make it not as bad, to do something to prevent getting hit full on in the face, but they won't even do that until they actually feel the presure of the sh*t hitting their face.

They won't do it then, either... "It's too late now, might as well use the cheapest energy sources we can find!"

Robear wrote:

They won't do it then, either... "It's too late now, might as well use the cheapest energy sources we can find!"

"It's the brown people's fault!"

Fall looks different this year

Japan is experiencing an unprecedentedly warm fall. Weather officials say most of the snow on the summit of Mount Fuji has now melted away.

The Meteorological Agency on Wednesday said most of the snow on the top of Mt. Fuji has melted due to unseasonably warm weather over the past few days.

In the eastern part of Japan, temperatures have been higher than usual since the beginning of this month due a flow of warm air. On Wednesday, central Tokyo marked the highest temperature for November since records began being kept in 1923.

Temperatures have also been unseasonably high at the summit of Mt. Fuji. Since Tuesday, temperatures at the top of the mountain haven't fallen below zero. This has only happened seven times since record-keeping began in 1932.

Cool-biz for most businesses ended in October (a relaxing of office dress codes where short sleeves without jackets or neckties are the norm, usually accompanied by higher settings on thermostats in offices). They should probably extend it to the end of November.

World facing ‘hellish’ 3C of climate heating, UN warns before Cop28

The world is on track for a “hellish” 3C of global heating, the UN has warned before the crucial Cop28 climate summit that begins next week in the United Arab Emirates.

The report found that today’s carbon-cutting policies are so inadequate that 3C of heating would be reached this century.

Temperature records have already been obliterated in 2023 and intensifying heatwaves, floods and droughts have taken lives and hit livelihoods across the globe, in response to a temperature rise of 1.4C to date. Scientists say far worse is to come if temperatures continue to rise. The secretary general of the UN, António Guterres, has said repeatedly the world is heading for a “hellish” future.

The UN Environment Programme (Unep) report said that implementing future policies already promised by countries would shave 0.1C off the 3C limit. Putting in place emissions cuts pledged by developing countries on condition of receiving financial and technical support would cut the temperature rise to 2.5C, still a catastrophic scenario.

To get on track for the internationally agreed target of 1.5C, 22bn tonnes of CO2 must be cut from the currently projected total in 2030, the report said. That is 42% of global emissions and equivalent to the output of the world’s five worst polluters: China, US, India, Russia and Japan.

Anti-green backlash hovers over COP climate talks

LONDON — World leaders will touch down in Dubai next week for a climate change conference they’re billing yet again as the final off-ramp before catastrophe. But war, money squabbles and political headaches back home are already crowding the fate of the planet from the agenda.

The breakdown of the Earth’s climate has for decades been the most important yet somehow least urgent of global crises, shoved to one side the moment politicians face a seemingly more acute problem. Even in 2023 — almost certainly the most scorching year in recorded history, with temperatures spawning catastrophic floods, wildfires and heat waves across the globe — the climate effort faces a bewildering array of distractions, headwinds and dismal prospects.

“The plans to achieve net zero are increasingly under attack,” former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, who set her country’s goal of reaching climate neutrality into law, told POLITICO.

The best outcome for the climate from the 13-day meeting, which is known as COP28 and opens Nov. 30, would be an unambiguous statement from almost 200 countries on how they intend to hasten their plans to cut fossil fuels, alongside new commitments from the richest nations on the planet to assist the poorest.

But the odds against that happening are rising. Instead, the U.S. and its European allies are still struggling to cement a fragile deal with developing countries about an international climate-aid fund that had been hailed as the historic accomplishment of last year’s summit. Meanwhile, a populist backlash against the costs of green policies has governments across Europe pulling back — a reverse wave that would become an American-led tsunami if Donald Trump recaptures the White House next year.

And across the developing world, the rise of energy and food prices stoked by the pandemic and the Ukraine war has caused inflation and debt to spiral, heightening the domestic pressure on climate-minded governments to spend their money on their most acute needs first.

Even U.S. President Joe Biden, whose 2022 climate law kicked off a boom of clean-energy projects in the U.S., has endorsed fossil fuel drilling and pipeline projects under pressure to ease voter unease about rising fuel costs.

Add to all that the newest Mideast war that began with Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

On the upside, investment in much of the green economy is also surging. Analysts are cautiously opining that China’s emissions may have begun to decline, several years ahead of Beijing’s schedule. And the Paris-based International Energy Agency projects that global fossil fuel demand could peak this decade, with coal use plummeting and oil and gas plateauing afterward. Spurring these trends is a competition among powers such as China, the United States, India and the European Union to build out and dominate clean-energy industries.

But the fossil fuel industry is betting against a global shift to green, instead investing its profits from the energy crisis into plans for long-term expansion of its core business.

The air of gloom among many supporters of global climate action is hard to miss, as is the sense that global warming will not be the sole topic on leaders’ minds when they huddle in back rooms.

“It's getting away from us,” Tim Benton, director of the Chatham House environment and society center, said during a markedly downbeat discussion among climate experts at the think tank’s lodgings on St James’ Square in London earlier this month. “Where is the political space to drive the ambition that we need?”

There's a reason the word "Reactionaries" contains the word "Reaction". This was predictable.

Here is an anecdote from my trip to see the polar bears.
When they first started recording how many days polar bears were off the ice (not eating) it was around 107 days. Polar bears don't hibernate. They are off ice or on ice and they can't really change their diet of ring seal because they get a large percentage of hydration from eating the seal blubber.
In the early 2000's it had increased to 120 days. And when we were there at the beginning of November it was 143 days off the ice. The scientists expect that when it approaches 180 days, polar bears will starve to death.

The researcher that told us this said that she gets people all the time saying it is a natural cycle of warming and cooling. She said that not only is it very real, but we are causing it to happen faster than evolution can adapt.

The Unequal Impacts of Climate Change

Cop28 president denies on eve of summit he abused his position to sign oil deals

Sultan Al Jaber, the president of the UN Cop28 climate summit, has hit back strongly at reports he abused his position to try to sign oil deals with other governments, as the United Arab Emirates prepares to host the biggest Cop meeting yet.

Al Jaber’s role is to act as an “honest broker” for the 190-plus governments gathering at the global climate talks, charged with leading them to a successful conclusion. He is also the chief executive of UAE’s national oil company, Adnoc, and campaigners say the two roles are in conflict.

This week the Centre for Climate Reporting, an investigative journalism group, and the BBC released documents that appeared to show that meetings the Cop28 presidency had with other governments included “talking points” about the potential sale of oil and gas by Adnoc.

Speaking to a small group of journalists in Dubai on the eve of the conference on Wednesday, Al Jaber said: “These allegations are false. Not true, incorrect, not accurate. It’s an attempt to undermine the work of the Cop28 presidency … Never ever did I see these talking points or ever used such talking points in my discussions.”

He added: “Do you think the UAE or myself need the Cop or the Cop presidency to go and establish better deals or commercial relationships? This country over the past 50 years has been built around its ability to build bridges and create relationships and partnerships.”

Campaigners were unsatisfied with the response. Alice Harrison, the fossil fuel campaign lead at Global Witness, said: “The international climate process has been hijacked by the oil and gas industry. This leak must be the final nail in the coffin of the long debunked idea that the fossil fuel industry can play any part in the solution to the crisis that it created.”

More than 160 heads of state and government are expected to arrive in Dubai on Thursday and Friday to try to put the world on track to meet the target of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C (2.7F) above preindustrial levels. King Charles will give an opening speech on Friday, and the UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, will also attend, as will Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, and presidents including Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and India’s Narendra Modi.

The pope has cancelled his visit for health reasons, while Joe Biden and Xi Jinping of China are expected to stay away, leaving their envoys John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua to meet in Dubai instead.

Nearly 100,000 delegates are registered to Cop28, and 400,000 visitors are expected at the “green zone” area of business and technology exhibitions adjoining the summit.

Al Jaber said the Cop was the most important since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015. From next Monday, when the world leaders will have departed, ministers and high-level officials will carry on a further eight days of negotiations over climate finance for poor countries, making the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions needed to stay within the 1.5C limit, and whether to phase out fossil fuels.

Having over 100,000 people fly to a climate summit in the desert hosted by the CEO of one of the largest oil companies in the world is very on brand for this hellscape of capitalism the world is in.

My thought exactly, and better put than I could.

Cop28 president says there is ‘no science’ behind demands for phase-out of fossil fuels

The president of Cop28, Sultan Al Jaber, has claimed there is “no science” indicating that a phase-out of fossil fuels is needed to restrict global heating to 1.5C, the Guardian and the Centre for Climate Reporting can reveal.

Al Jaber also said a phase-out of fossil fuels would not allow sustainable development “unless you want to take the world back into caves”.

The comments were “incredibly concerning” and “verging on climate denial”, scientists said, and they were at odds with the position of the UN secretary general, António Guterres.

Al Jaber made the comments in ill-tempered responses to questions from Mary Robinson, the chair of the Elders group and a former UN special envoy for climate change, during a live online event on 21 November. As well as running Cop28 in Dubai, Al Jaber is also the chief executive of the United Arab Emirates’ state oil company, Adnoc, which many observers see as a serious conflict of interest.

Al Jaber says comments claiming there is ‘no science’ behind demands for phase-out of fossil fuels were 'misinterpreted'

The Cop28 president and oil chief gave an extraordinary response to a question from a reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald who directly addressed the Guardian report. He claimed he had been misrepresented and gave an impassioned defence of his background and belief in the science.

Al Jaber said he had “incredible respect for Mary Robinson” after he was accused of being arrogant towards the former Irish president when he said there was no scientific need to phase out fossil fuels, adding: “I was very honoured to receive her invitation to speak in a discussion around climate and gender.”

Then he came on to the media reports of his comments (which are in this blog on camera at 08.57):

“Let’s just clarify where I stand on the science … I honestly think there is some confusion out there and misrepresentation. Let me first introduce myself to you. I’m an engineer by background. It’s the science and my respect for the science and my conviction for the science and the passion for the science that have allowed me to progress in my career.”

Said he has supplemented this with “business and economic skills” to progress in his career.

He added:“The phase-down and the phase-out of fossil fuels … is essential. It needs to be orderly, fair, just and responsible.”

Al Jaber accused those who reported his comments on phasing out fossil fuels of “undermining” his message: “Allow me to say that I am quite surprised at the constant attempt to undermine this message.”

Oh look, another COP conference proving to be little more than greenwashing photo-ops for rich people and politicians (yes, that's mostly two overlapping circles in a Venn diagram).