The current crisis between Russia, the Ukraine and the West has escalated so far to pose a threat to the energy security of Germany. The New York Times noted: “Germany is now heavily reliant on Russia for its energy needs, importing more natural gas from Russia than any other country in Europe.” Further is the situation a problem for plans by fossil fuel companies such as Chevron (Ukraine signs $10 billion shale gas deal with Chevron).
What a broiling tragedy for gas consumers and businesses! But wait a minute! Wasn’t there more to this? Indeed, since the world is on the brink to a food crisis ( and models do not even include impacts from extreme weather), driven by – get this c l i m a t e change.
So how serious is Russia about combating climate change? Recently Russia outlined plans to meet 2020 climate goals – but this won’t be enough, just a drip on the tip of an iceberg and soon the devastating wildfires and droughts from 2010 could repeat, with all the national security implications on a global scale when grain import/exports come to a halt – again.
Meanwhile world governments prepared a non binding agreement to keep the global mean temperature below a 2°C target. However, it becomes more clear that we will likely surpass this boundary. And besides, science cautions us that the target is a recipe for disaster.
NBC: “Yet we are going in exactly the wrong direction in the sense that we are encouraging searching for every fossil fuel that can be found,” James Hansen, a retired NASA climate scientist now affiliated with Columbia University in New York, told NBC News.
To reverse course, Hansen proposes to hit the biggest carbon polluters where they feel it most — their bank accounts.
Hansen says a carbon fee could be charged to fossil fuel companies. Those companies that reduce their fossil fuel use will make more money, spurring innovation in carbon-free energy. In case the counter argument is that the fossil fuel companies would just pass the charge along to their customers, Hansen says that funds (raised from the fee) could be distributed back to the public to offset the higher costs.
A 2°C target that everyone seems to accept now is actually a recipe for disaster.” If the world warms 2 degrees, it would spur so-called “slow” feedbacks in the climate system such as methane release from melting permafrost and ice-free oceans absorbing more heat.
These slow feedbacks could lead to actual warming of 4 to 6 degrees Celsius (7.2 to 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit) — a scale that could disintegrate the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to the point “that the dynamics and momentum of the process take over,” the team writes in PLoS One. Further Reading: Isaac Asimov Explains The Carbon Tax
Among the solutions, such as a carbon/Co2 tax, above all else we’ve to phase out fossil energy burning immediately and embrace clean energy technologies, such as the Electric car, more energy efficient solutions and help to preserve natural carbon sinks. If we do not take the chances we have left today, the future will not offer us a second chance. The climate is reacting very slow and we only just begun to experience the emissions we helped to emit 40 years ago.
SkepticalScience: Implications of the 40 Year Delay
The estimate of 40 years for climate lag, the time between the cause (increased greenhouse gas emissions) and the effect (increased temperatures), has profound negative consequences for humanity. However, if governments can find the will to act, there are positive consequences as well.
With 40 years between cause and effect, it means that average temperatures of the last decade are a result of what we were thoughtlessly putting into the air in the 1960’s. It also means that the true impact of our emissions over the last decade will not be felt until the 2040’s. This thought should send a chill down your spine!
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