A climate of Insanity

As the emission of greenhouse gases continues, new fossil fuel projects are subsidized, global warming acceerates, bushfires and floods engulf the planet, climate science is ignored, climate change projections are kept away from the public eye, nations invest in killer submarines rather than water spraying aircraft and other fire fighting equipment, politicians talk about clean coal, radioactive waters are spilled into the ocean, nuclear weapons are readied for a MAD escenario, the media reports sugar-coated semi or untruths, politicians routinely betray their original pledges and playboy billioaires fire rockets at space with plan to settle on Mars.

Inherent in the nature of insanity is the fact that those inflicted by it are unaware of their mental state, nor do crowds of people or for that matter political parties, and business elites, leading populations to catastrophe, from the scale of the Johnstown all the way to Aushwitz and Berlin to Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan

Which has now reached a planet-wide scale. According to James Hansen, NASA’s former chief climate scientist, global temperature in the current El Nino is exceeding previous El-Nino (2015-16) temperature rise rate of 0.18°C/per decade, representing the current increase of the Earth’s Energy Imbalance (EEI) and accelerated heating (Figure 1). The change is related to the cooling effect of human-emitted aerosols. Despite consequent acidification of the oceans, atmospheric geoengineering using sulphur aerosols, reflecting solar radiation, is touted as a last defence from extreme temperature rise,

El Nino Years

Figure 1. Global temperature (relative to 1880-1920 mean for each month) during the El Nino origin year for the 1997-98, 2015-16 and 2023-24 El Ninos. The impact of El Nino on global temperature usually peaks early in the year following the year when the El Nino originated. Hansen et al., 2023.

To date no effective method has been applied to draw-down greenhouse gases on a scale required to compensate for the emission and rise in atmospheric CO2, (Figure 2) a rise to a mean global temperature to 3oC and 4oC this century may is projected by the IPCC. Possibly even before such temperatures are reached the flow of cold ice melt water from Greenland and Antarctica would lead to transient regional to global temperature reversals (Hansen et al., 1998; Bronselaer et al. 2018). These authors state: “Meltwater from the Antarctic Ice Sheet is projected to cause up to one metre of sea-level rise by 2100 under the highest greenhouse gas concentration trajectory (RCP8.5) considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). However, the effects of meltwater from the ice sheets and ice shelves of Antarctica are not included in the widely used CMIP5 climate models, which introduces bias into IPCC climate projections.”

The habitability of Earth and the future of life are issues to a large extent avoided by the largely privately owned corporate media and even by state media, occupied as they are by advertisments, sports contests, fashion parades, cooking shows and popular frenzies such as recently generated by the kissing of a football cup winner.

Annuanl Co2 Emission

Figure 2. Source: Global Carbon Budget (2022). OurWorldInData.org/co2-and-greenhouse-gas-emissions • CC BY

surface temperature

Figure 3. A. Model surface air temperature (◦C) change in 2055–2060 relative to 1880–1920 for modified forcings representint the rise of temperatures in the tropics and decline in subpolar latitudes. B. Surface air temperature (◦C) relative to 1880-1920 for several ice melt scenarios, representing stadial (cooling) episodes related to the effects of ice melt  (Hansen et al., 2016) and associated with increased.

According to Hansen et al. (2012) ‘‘Burning all fossil fuels would create a different planet than the one that humanity knows. The palaeoclimate record and ongoing climate change make it clear that the climate system would be pushed beyond tipping points, setting in motion irreversible changes, including ice sheet isintegration with a continually adjusting shoreline, extermination of a substantial fraction of species on the planet, and increasingly devastating regional climate extremes’’.

Is there a way out for humanity and much of nature?

If the multiple $trillions spent by Sapiens on the military and war were directed to environmental defence, including down-draw of atmospheric greenhouse gases, the possibility exists?

A/Prof Andrew Glikson, Earth and Climate scientist

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