Clean Energy Act

At last Australia has passed a Clean Energy Act to begin addressing the mammoth threat posed by climate change. I visited the PM Julia Gillard earlier this year with an interfaith delegation from Australian Religious Response to Climate Change. She assured us that this Act was merely the first step, a beginning of the process of addressing what she recognized as a tremendous problem. The year previous I also spoke with Tony Abbott as a member of ARRCC, and he was very clear that he regarded climate change as unsupported by science, and that a sea level rise of 1 meter would be manageable for Australia. Little wonder he has vowed a ‘blood oath’ to repeal the legislation.

Here’s a response to this legislation from Al Gore:

History is Made in Australia November 7, 2011 : 9:00 PM

This is a historic moment. Australia’s Parliament has put the nation’s first carbon price into law. With this vote, the world has turned a pivotal corner in the collective effort to solve the climate crisis. This success is the result of the tireless work of an unprecedented coalition that came together to support the legislation, the leadership of Prime Minister Gillard, and the courage of legislators to take a vote that helps to safeguard the future of all Australians.
I have spent enough time in Australia to know that their spirit of independence as a people cannot be underestimated. As the world’s leading coal exporter, there’s no doubt that opposition to this legislation was fierce. But through determination and commitment, the voice of the people of Australia has rung out loud and clear.
Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we do everything we can to ensure that this legislation is successful.

Just in case you thought we could get, you know, happy, the global picture on climate change looks worse than ever. Despite the financial crisis, levels of CO2 continue to rise. The International Energy Agency warns that the current rate of production of carbon-expensive infrastructure means that we are becoming locked into a pattern of increasing carbon levels and the inevitable global warming that that entails. From today’s Guardian:

“The door is closing,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said. “I am very worried – if we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever.”

Astonishingly, the IAE claims that the fossil fuels industry is being subsidised to the tune of $400 billion/year! With such figures demonstrating the shallowness of true commitment to change, it is difficult to remain optimistic. Just remember: kamma is kamma! Do the best you can, that’s all you can do.

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12 thoughts on “Clean Energy Act

  1. I do find it very distressing. What does the Buddhist teachings say about dealing with impending large scale disruption?

  2. Good question! There is a precedent in the Agganna, Cakkavattisihanada, and a few other places, that speak of the widespread decline in society and the environment, prompted by excessive greed. Unfortunately, these don’t actually give any prescriptions how to change things, except by remembering to stick by the Dhamma.

    What I reckon is this: Keep talking, keep doing. Don’t believe the propaganda. Don’t waste time arguing with denialists. Sign petitions. Annoy politicians. Get rid of patio heaters. Don’t eat meat. Investigate post-growth economics (Interesting if contested fact: Britain’s economy has been growing while its material usage has been shrinking for a decade or more).

    Oh, and best of all: Ordain as a monastic.

  3. There is no question about saving the environment, but the question is at what cost we are going to achieve this? I personally do not believe this law is being a ‘moderate’ way of saving the environment or the Australian people. I guess my resistance comes from my ‘Steel Industry’ background (or I could be delusional) , as we directly get affected. This is hurting jobs, and we have already lost more than 2000 jobs across all players in the industry. I’m telling myself it’s kamma of those families to suffer …
    I believe this a $23 a tonne carbon tax is too HIGH. Specially when we only generate around 1.5% of the global greenhouse emissions, while in last ten years China has added more than 1 billion tonnes of CO2 ( which is 100 times more than our national emissions) .I’m not blaming China. Thanks to Europe and America off-shoring some of their emissions, China appears to be one of the biggest polluters. HIGH carbo tax is fine, if countries like China,Korea ,Japna ,India,Russia ,America, Brazil are paying a similar tax rate but they only have pledged to help with no action .
    I wonder if positive kamma through job booms in other countries could set off the negative kamma one may creates through job cuts in Australia ? I also wonder if it would be part of my kamma to live in a country that could go ‘bankrupt’ because it has no manufacturing industry in future ?
    I’m trying to follow your advise , kamma is kamma! Do the best I can.
    Bhante, where can I locate this research you have mentioned about Britain’s economy? I wonder if the ‘material’ they are referring to are ‘raw materials’ not ‘consumables’ ?

  4. Hi Krish,

    I feel for your concern over the families that will lose jobs. But the reality is, the economy has to change, and however it changes, some people will suffer. Sorry, but I can’t see any other way. I don’t know all the details of the proposed bill, but I do believe some effort has been made to minimize the structural damage it will bring. Australia has lagged behind the 8-ball for far too long on climate change. There’s a planned investment of €400 billion in solar energy for Europe – while Australia spends $25 billion to expand coal production in Queensland.

    Anyway, regarding the shrinkage of material use in Britain, the article is here, and you can read Monbiot’s response here. It does seem like a startling claim, but the analyst seems to have credibility, and there is no obvious mistake. Perhaps we have already reached a point where the economy grows without increasing resource use. I wonder what the figures for Australia would be?

  5. Sadly, there IS a question of saving the environment. That is precisely the question that we must not beg.

    Thanks Australia! Please make it stick. Our world doesn’t have a lot of other options right now.

    Please read this:

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/11/09-0

    Published on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 by Environment News Service

    Irreversible Climate Change Looms Within Five Years

    LONDON – Unless there is a “bold change of policy direction,” the world will lock itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system, the International Energy Agency warned at the launch of its 2011 World Energy Outlook today in London.

    Coal-fired power generating station in Shanxi, China. (Photo courtesy Skoda Export) The report says there is still time to act, but despite steps in the right direction the door of opportunity is closing.

    The agency’s warning comes at a critical time in international climate change negotiations, as governments prepare for the annual UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa, from November 28.

    “If we do not have an international agreement whose effect is put in place by 2017, then the door will be closed forever,” IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol warned today.

    “Growth, prosperity and rising population will inevitably push up energy needs over the coming decades. But we cannot continue to rely on insecure and environmentally unsustainable uses of energy,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.

    “Governments need to introduce stronger measures to drive investment in efficient and low-carbon technologies,” she said.

    “The Fukushima nuclear accident, the turmoil in parts of the Middle East and North Africa and a sharp rebound in energy demand in 2010 which pushed CO2 emissions to a record high, highlight the urgency and the scale of the challenge,” van der Hoeven said.

    Some key trends are pointing in worrying directions, the agency told reporters today. CO2 emissions have rebounded to a record high, the energy efficiency of global economy worsened for second straight year and spending on oil imports is near record highs.

    In the World Energy Outlook’s central New Policies Scenario, which assumes that recent government commitments are implemented in a cautious manner, primary energy demand increases by one-third between 2010 and 2035, with 90 percent of the growth in non-OECD economies.

    In the New Policies Scenario, cumulative carbon dioxide emissions over the next 25 years amount to three-quarters of the total from the past 110 years, leading to a long-term average temperature rise of 3.5 degrees C.

    “Were the new policies not implemented, we are on an even more dangerous track, to an increase of six degrees C.

    The IEA projects that China will consolidate its position as the world’s largest energy consumer. It consumes nearly 70 percent more energy than the United States by 2035, even though, by then, per capita demand in China is still less than half the level in the United States.

    The share of fossil fuels in global primary energy consumption falls from around 81 percent today to 75 percent in 2035.

    Renewables increase from 13 percent of the mix today to 18 percent in 2035; the growth in renewables is underpinned by subsidies that rise from $64 billion in 2010 to $250 billion in 2035, support that in some cases cannot be taken for granted in this age of fiscal austerity.

    By contrast, subsidies for fossil fuels amounted to $409 billion in 2010.

    “As each year passes without clear signals to drive investment in clean energy, the “lock-in” of high-carbon infrastructure is making it harder and more expensive to meet our energy security and climate goals,” said Birol.

    The World Energy Outlook also presents a 450 Scenario, which traces an energy path consistent with meeting the globally agreed goal of limiting the temperature rise to two degrees Celsuis above pre-industrial levels.

    Four-fifths of the total energy-related CO2 emissions permitted to 2035 in the 450 Scenario are already locked in by existing capital stock, including power stations, buildings and factories, the report finds.

    Without further action by 2017, the energy-related infrastructure then in place would generate all the CO2 emissions allowed in the 450 Scenario up to 2035.

    “Delaying action is a false economy,” Birol warned, saying that for every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would need to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions.

    Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2011

  6. Yes well becoming a monastic will have to wait until next life time!

    Sticking by the Dhamma is the best way to go, I agree.

  7. I admit I haven’t done any research on this topic but as far as I can see the only real solution is to cut back on consumption in general. Unless there is a reduction in consumption and or reduction in population (which is not happening as per the latest news of 7 billion people on earth now) irrespective of what smart technologies we come up with we are walking towards self-destruction. Sure, new technologies may help defer this outcome but a radical change in consumption MUST happen to avert any disaster and there are no signs that this is going to happen at all – in fact, on the contrary, the consumption levels are escalating at a frightening rate. Sorry to be all doom and gloom but practical solution is in what Schumaker outlined in ‘Small is Beautiful’ or what the Bhante mentioned above – more people to becoming monks and nuns and more people living a simpler life than what they are used to now.

  8. Hi Bhante, agree with most of your comments. .What I do not agree is the way whole ‘clean energy act’ is been structured. I do hope the so called structural protections (such as carbon credits ) will stable the economy and this will help to protect the environment not become another means of revenue generation tool to the government…There are so many green things we can do ,but somehow everything revolves around ‘revenue’ ..
    The link on Britain’s diminishing consumption patterns was very interesting. It was a good read and many merits for sharing. It would have been a compelling argument if there was some work around,
     Relationship between consumption patterns and population – % growth of population with purchasing power against the % reduction in consumption
     Demography of the sample population – as far as I know Britain has an aging population . This automatically reduce the demand t
     Inflation rate –how this has changed in last 15 years . As we all know with the inflation, purchasing power decreases ,which automatically reduces the demand for material things
    Another argument I noticed was reference to technology and innovation –how this results in efficient & long lasting equipment, which I think is spot on .
    It would be interesting to do a study on Buddhist practitioners and see what consumption patterns we hold -excluding monk and nuns of cause
    ) This study certainly made me think of analyzing my own consumption patterns, with the hypothesis that it’s in a diminishing trend …. Many merits for a great topic Bhante !!

  9. I agree absolutely, i don’t like the way the approach to helping the environment is based on market mechanisms. To me, this is giving more power to what caused the problems in the first place. I’d rather see direct action to help the environment (not Tony Abbott’s kind of direct action, I mean things that will actually help, like phasing out coal-fired electricity plants), and let the market take care of itself. But the carbon tax, for all its imperfections, is something, so let’s see what we can do from here.

    All those are valid questions about the consumption study. It would be even more interesting if we were to directly introduce quality-of-life parameters in relation to consumption. For all its uncertainties, this study is the first thing that I have really seen that realistically suggests that ever-increasing consumption is not merely inessential, or undesirable, but is actually behind us already, a paradigm of the past…

  10. For further evidence that Australia’s efforts are important and why an individual’s modifying his behavior isn’t enought, read http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/11/2011111653856937268.html

    World’s oceans in peril

    Climate change is causing our oceans to become increasingly acidic, threatening to alter life as we know it.

    Dahr Jamail Last Modified: 16 Nov 2011 08:31

    The MV Rena, stuck on Astrolabe Reef in Tauranga, New Zealand has spilled 350 tonnes of oil, and many of its shipping containers, severely polluting and damaging the surrounding marine environment [GALLO/GETTY]

    “From a climate change/fisheries/pollution/habitat destruction point of view, our nightmare is here, it’s the world we live in.”

    This bleak statement about the current status of the world’s oceans comes from Dr Wallace Nichols, a Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences. Al Jazeera asked Dr Nichols, along with several other ocean experts, how they see the effects climate change, pollution and seafood harvesting are having on the oceans.

    Their prognosis is not good.

    Dr Nancy Knowlton is a marine biologist at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. Her research has focused on the impact of climate change on coral reefs around the world, specifically how increasing warming and acidification from carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have affected oceans.

    While she is unable to say if oceans have crossed a tipping point, Dr Knowlton offered this discouraging assessment, “We know it’s bad and we know it’s getting worse, and if we care about having coral reefs, there’s no question we have to do something about CO2 emissions or we won’t have coral reefs, as we do now, sometime between 2050-2100.”

    Since at least one quarter of all species of life in the oceans are associated with coral reefs, losing them could prove catastrophic.

    “Coral reefs are like giant apartment complexes for all these species, and there is intimacy,” Dr Knowlton explained. “If that starts breaking down, these organisms, which include millions of species around the world, lose their homes. Even if they aren’t eating coral, they depend on it.”

    CO2 is the main greenhouse gas resulting from human activities in terms of its warming potential and longevity in the atmosphere, and scientists continually monitor its concentration.

    In March 1958, when high-precision monitoring began, atmospheric CO2 was 315.71 parts per million (ppm). Today, atmospheric CO2 is approaching 390 ppm.

    350 ppm is the level many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments say is the safe upper limit for CO2 in the atmosphere.

    “You see evidence of the impact of climate change on the oceans everywhere now,” Dr Nichols said. “The collapsing fisheries, the changes in the Arctic and the hardship communities that live there are having to face, the frequency and intensity of storms, everything we imagined 30 to 40 years ago when the environmental movement was born, we’re dealing with those now … the toxins in our bodies, food web, and in the marine mammals, it’s all there.”

    Bleak scenario

    The Zoological Society of London reported in July 2009 that “360 is now known to be the level at which coral reefs cease to be viable in the long run.”

    In September 2009 Nature magazine stated that atmospheric CO2 levels above 350 ppm “threaten the ecological life-support systems” of the planet and “challenge the viability of contemporary human societies.”

    In their October 2009 issue, the journal Science offered new evidence of what the earth was like 20 million years ago, which was the last time we had carbon levels this high. At that time, sea levels rose over 30 metres and temperatures were as much as 18 degrees C higher than they are today.

    According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, carbon emissions have already risen “far above even the bleak scenarios.”

    Oceans absorb 26 per cent (2.3bn metric tonnes) of the carbon human activities released into the atmosphere annually, according to a 2010 study published by Nature Geocience and The Global Carbon Project.

    Unfortunately, global carbon emissions, rather than slowing down in order to stem climate change, are continuing to increase.

    At a 2008 academic conference Exeter University scientist Kevin Anderson showed slides and graphs “representing the fumes that belch from chimneys, exhausts and jet engines, that should have bent in a rapid curve towards the ground, were heading for the ceiling instead”.

    He concluded it was “improbable” that we would be able to stop short of 650 ppm, even if rich countries adopted “draconian emissions reductions within a decade”.

    That number, should it come to pass, would mean that global average temperatures would increase five times as much as previous models predicted.

    According to the National Climate Data Centre in the US, 2010 was the warmest year on record. September 2011 was the 8th warmest September on record since 1880. At 15.53°C, August’s global temperature is 0.53 C higher than the 20th Century average for that month.

    Even if CO2 emissions were completely stopped immediately, ongoing impacts from climate change would take centuries to stop.

    The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a study in 2009 showing that a new understanding of ocean physics proved that “changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level are largely irreversible for more than a thousand years after carbon dioxide emissions are completely stopped”.

    Increasing acidification

    Many factors concern Knowlton and Nichols, but one in particular, the increasing acidification of the oceans, has been gaining more attention as of late.

    Historically, oceans have been chemically constant, but less than 10 years ago oceanographers were shocked when researchers noticed the seas were acidifying – 30 per cent more acidic – as they absorbed more of the carbon dioxide humans have emitted into the atmosphere, a process that Britain’s Royal Society has described as “essentially irreversible.”

    The oceans are already more acidic than they have been at any time in the last 800,000 years. At current rates, by 2050 it will be more corrosive than they have been in the past 20 million years.

    Atmospheric CO2 levels above 350 ppm “threaten the ecological life-support systems” of the planet and “challenge the viability of contemporary human societies” [AP]

    Acidification occurs when CO2 combines with seawater to form carbonic acid.

    Sarah Cooley, a marine geochemist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, wrote this about acidification:

    “As CO2 levels driven by fossil fuel use have increased in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, so has the amount of CO2 absorbed by the world’s oceans, leading to changes in the chemical make-up of seawater. Known as ocean acidification, this decrease in pH creates a corrosive environment for some marine organisms such as corals, marine plankton, and shellfish that build carbonate shells or skeletons.”

    Already ocean pH has slipped from 8.2 to 8.1, and the consensus estimate is that the pH will drop to 7.8 by the end of this century.

    Acidification has been the research focus of biological oceanographer Dr Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez with the National Oceanography Centre at Britain’s University of Southampton. She has researched how phytoplankton, which are the major contributors to sinking carbon in the oceans, are able to absorb carbon now and into the future when human impact on the atmosphere is changing the chemistry of the oceans and how this will affect the oceans ability to sink carbon in the future.

    “The oceans are becoming more alkaline now and this will affect marine life and marine animals and plants,” Iglesias-Rodriguez told Al Jazeera. “The chalk producing calcifying organisms are introducing chalk into these increasingly acidic conditions, and it is dissolving.”

    These chalk produced by these organisms traps and stores carbon, so when increasing acidification decreases the amount of calcium carbonate, it decreases the ocean’s ability to store carbon.

    “Calcification affects fisheries because many fish’s diet is based on these organisms, so this has food security impacts as well,” added Iglesias-Rodriguez. “The changes we are seeing now are happening faster than they have for 55 million years. The worry is that these organisms may not be able to keep up with these changes.”

    In this kind of environment, shellfish cannot produce thick enough shells. By 2009, the Pacific oyster industry was reporting 80 per cent mortality for oyster larvae due to the corrosive nature of the water.

    “Acidification has the potential to change food security around the world, so I think it’s incumbent upon the entire world to recognise this and deal with it,” Cooley told Al Jazeera.

    Cooley said that less developed countries that are more dependent on seafood will have less to eat as acidification progresses, and they will be forced to migrate somewhere where there is a better food supply.

    Further complicating the situation, rising sea levels, also caused by climate change, will affect migration patterns from island nations as well.

    In addition to food security issues, increasing acidification will also cause coral reefs to be degraded, which will affect tourism, coastal protection, and heritage values of coastal regions.

    Prof Matthias Wolff is a fisheries biologist and marine ecosystem ecologist working for Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Ecology, as well as a research professor and professor at university of Bremen, Germany.

    “Plankton, organisms that produce much of the carbon in the sea and coral, are dying off,” he told Al Jazeera. “So people believe that CO2 level may double from the pre-human times to more than 400-500 ppm by the end of the century, which would be a unique situation in history. This would have a tremendous effect on these organisms that would affect the whole ecosystem.”

    Cooley points out that while some species will benefit from increasing acidification, others like corals and molluscs will suffer, along with others that are pH sensitive that cannot control their intercellular biology as well.

    “We think there will be shifts in ecosystems, and the current array of species present in an ecosystem is going to shift and there will likely be a new dominant species,” she said. “Past studies have shown us that any real decrease in species in an ecosystem can be a bad thing. On land, we see that monoculture fields are really susceptible to a virus or bug. So if acidification decreases diversity, it creates a less stable system in the future. We’re anticipating, if things go as they are going now, we really could be seeing some profound shifts in what we know and what we currently benefit from.”

    Myriad problems

    In addition to climate change and acidification, there are many other problems that concern scientists as well.

    “Probably every sea turtle on the planet interacts with plastic at some point in its life” [GALLO/GETTY]

    “Marine pollution, this is a big issue,” Dr Iglesias-Rodriguez said, “There is this idea that oceans have unlimited inertia, but the effect of nano-particles of plastic getting into marine animals and the food chain and these are affecting fish fertility rates, and this effects food security, and on coastal populations. Pollution is having a huge impact on the oceans, and is urgent and needs to be dealt with.”

    Dr Nichols describes the crisis of the oceans as a three-fold problem.

    “We’re putting too much in, in all forms of pollution, we’re taking too much out by fishing, overfishing, and bi-catch, and we’re destroying the edge of the ocean – these places where there is the most biodiversity like reefs, mangroves, sea grass, etc.”

    Nichols said he finds plastic on literally every beach he visits across the globe, and added, “Probably every sea turtle on the planet interacts with plastic at some point in its life.”

    Nichols believes that, rather than the polar bear, sea turtles should be the “poster species” for climate change.

    “The sex of sea turtles is temperature dependent, so as temperature warms more males are produced, cooling produces more females, and obviously you need the right mix to maintain numbers,” he explained, “We’re seeing some eggs literally cooking on beaches now because the temperature has moved out of the tolerable range.”

    Prof Wolff explained another issue complicating the situation.

    “The oceans warm up, and this affects spatial distribution of fish,” he explained, “Those needing colder waters need to migrate and change the distribution, other fish can extend their distribution greatly when the water warms, so now they can reach polar regions where they weren’t before. So there is a great change in distributional patterns of the resources of the fisheries to be expected in the future.”

    Wolff points to Greenland fisheries as an example of how an area warms up, there are longer periods for fish production, while in other areas like Brazil and Indonesia, productive areas are shrinking and there will be a great decrease in fishing potential.

    “This is already happening,” said Wolff.

    Dr Knowlton is concerned about how increasing ocean temperatures are causing the bleaching of coral reefs.

    Increasing ocean temperatures are causing the bleaching of coral reefs [AP

    “Bleaching causes a lot of problems for corals, because if it’s severe and prolonged the algae starves to death because the amount of nutrition coral needs is not there,” she said. “The 1998 El Nino bleached 80 per cent of the corals in the Indian Ocean and 20 per cent of them died.”

    She is concerned by the fact that high temperature events like the 1998 El Nino are becoming increasingly common, and added, “We’ve been having bleaching for close to 30 years now.”

    Like others, Knowlton sees poor water quality from pollution, overfishing and other problems that are causing ocean conditions to become increasingly unfavourable for corals.

    She believes if there is not a major shift to correct the pollution problem, the next 10 years are going to be bleak.

    “Increasing numbers of dead zones and collapsing fisheries,” Knowlton says is what we can expect, “Then ultimately the collapse of these deep ecosystems that are dependent on things like coral reefs.”

    What to do?

    Despite these grave concerns, Knowlton feels there is something that can be done.

    “Even though the long term prognosis with business as usual is pretty grim, we know there are smaller areas where reefs are protected and those are very healthy, and we can reduce local stresses and that builds resilience in ecosystems.”

    Prof Wolff pointed out that, while more than 75 per cent of fish stocks are overfished or already depleted, there are a number around the globe that are regenerating.

    “In 2009 we saw that more than 50 per cent of overfished areas are being rebuilt because they responded to the situation of heavy over-exploitation, so I’m a little more optimistic than many other scientists. By reducing fishing, we can allow the stocks to rebuild.”

    But he believes that in order for this to happen, we need to create more protected areas in the oceans.

    According to Wolff, roughly 10 per cent of our lands are protected, but far less than 1 per cent of oceans are protected.

    “We need to aim for 10 to 20 per cent of oceans being protected, because that is what is needed to maintain ecosystem functioning and to rebuild the stocks,” he said.

    Wolff has been working in the Galapagos Islands on conservation, and cites them as an example of what can happen with protected areas, since there has been no fishery there since 1998.

    “If you go diving there you see an abundance of large fish and sharks, which I’ve never seen anywhere else, you see 200 to 300 sharks in one dive,” he said. “To me, this is a promising example of the way we need to go. We need more money for this than for subsidies for fisheries, which is ridiculous. Right now, they are getting as much money as we’d need to manage protected areas of 15 per cent of the oceans.”

    Nichols believes it is no longer about trying to avert disaster, but more along the lines of mitigating the problems that are already upon us.

    “I think we’re in it right now,” he said, “So it’s not about, here’s how much time we have. The clock in many ways has already run out. We’re still growing our use of fossil fuels, we’re not even in a mode of trimming them down, same with our use of plastic and the plastic pollution generated from it. There’s more conversation about this than ever, but it’s not translating into societal change or evolution.”

    Nichols makes his point by way of example of ocean types.

    “If ocean 1.0 is the pristine natural ocean, 2.0 is the ocean we have now under the petroleum product regime of 100 years of use, and 3.0 is the future ocean,” he said. “It can either be a dead ocean, or we can come up with some very innovative solutions that right now people aren’t even talking about.”

    He said we can come up with new ways of getting food from the oceans that don’t involve long line fishing and bottom trawling, as well as eliminating packaging and taking a zero-waste approach to consumer goods, both of which he says are possible, “if we can muster the political and personal motivation.”

    “We could have a healthy ocean in 50 years if we make some bold moves, it wouldn’t be 1.0 or 2.0, but it would be a cleaner from a more responsible set of actions for how we get energy from the oceans and how we use them as a source of food.”

    If that is not done, then we most likely will face a future predicted in a 2008 report co-authored by NASA’s James Hansen, a leading climate scientist, titled, Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?

    “Humanity today, collectively, must face the uncomfortable fact that industrial civilisation itself has become the principal driver of global climate,” reads the report, “If we stay our present course, using fossil fuels to feed a growing appetite for energy-intensive lifestyles, we will soon leave the climate of the Holocene, the world of prior human history. The eventual response to doubling pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 likely would be a nearly ice-free planet, preceded by a period of chaotic change with continually changing shorelines.”

  11. Excellent peer-reviewed scientific article:

    In recent decades, there have been a number of debates on climate warming and its driving forces. Based on an extensive literature review, we suggest that (1) climate warming occurs with great uncertainty in the magnitude of the temperature increase;
    (2) both human activities and natural forces contribute to climate change, but their relative contributions are difficult to quantify; and (3) the dominant role of the increase in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (including CO2) in the global warming claimed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is questioned by the scientific communities because of large uncertainties in the mechanisms of natural factors and anthropogenic activities and in the sources of the increased atmospheric CO2 concentration. More efforts should be made in order to clarify these uncertainties

    Global warming, human-induced carbon emissions, and their uncertainties published in Science China: Earth Sciences last month: October 2011
    http://climategate.nl/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/fangetal.pdf

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