Climate Change: From Solving It to Surviving It


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Presented by Sue Boudreau at Orinda Community Church on September 20, 2009.

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  • There can no longer be any doubt that man-made sources of pollution are causing the temperature of the planet to rise. One example: Since Sir Edmund Hillary climbed Mt Everest, the glacier where he started and had his first base camp has receded 5km!
  • This is a typical prediction slide—there are many I could have used to make this point. The details are a lot less important than the general trends, upon which all of the prediction slides basically agree. At some point, we do run out of fossil fuels. The main issue is not elimination of our use o fossil fuels, but has much more to do with the way in which we uses these resources efficiently, understanding their value and their related costs. China has come on-line a lot faster than this slide predicted, and so the demand scenario is even higher than shown on this 20 year old prediction.
  • Climate Change: From Solving It to Surviving It

    1. 1. Moving on Climate Change: from solving it to surviving it. Forum 1: Fear and Despair – The Science of Climate Change and it’s effects. Forum 2: Hope and Inspiration – Technology, efficiency, policies and behavior changes that can save civilization. Forum 3: Faith and Action – Eco-theology, interdependence, community and discerning our calls to action. For Orinda Community Church Learning Community by Sue Boudreau, B.Sc., M.Ed. September, 2009
    2. 2. The Format <ul><li>Bulletin Boards and Post-its: </li></ul><ul><li>Add your thoughts and prayers, images, references, quotes and questions to the bulletin boards during, after the forums. </li></ul><ul><li>Fear and Despair </li></ul><ul><li>Hope and Inspiration </li></ul><ul><li>Faith and Community </li></ul><ul><li>Action – discern your calling. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Questions and Discussion afterwards. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Where does this go next? – It’s up to us. </li></ul>
    3. 4. Source: “Basic Research Need for a Hydrogen Economy”, Report of DOE BES Workshop on Hydrogen Production, Storage, and Use May 13-15, 2003 (available on the DOE BES web site) Prof.R.Newton from Prof. Dan Kammen Even Better Evidence of Climate Change - temperatures and CO2 levels are the highest they’ve been for at least 400 years, but annual fluctuations can fool us.
    4. 5. We can no longer stop it:
    5. 6. All kinds of other problems are also increasing: (from a New Scientist editorial) population N.Hemisphere ave.surface temp. GNP CO2 conc. Loss tropical forest Species extinctions Water use Motor vehicles
    6. 7. Our beautiful Earth will be okay without us. <ul><li>It has been here for over 5 billion years. </li></ul><ul><li>Civilization has been around for no more than 10,000 years. </li></ul><ul><li>That’s equivalent to 1mm on a string 150 ft long. </li></ul>
    7. 8. And life of some kind will probably survive – after all, it’s survived mass extinctions in the past
    8. 9. But can civilization and humanity survive? <ul><li>Apocalyptic fear is all around us: </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Road” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Children of Men” </li></ul><ul><li>“ 2012” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Day After Tomorrow” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Mad Max” </li></ul><ul><li>And doomsday predictions. </li></ul>
    9. 10. <ul><li>Could modern civilization collapse like Easter Island, the Roman Empire, the Mayas and Sumer? </li></ul><ul><li>“ My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: </li></ul><ul><li>Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” </li></ul><ul><li>Nothing beside remains of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare </li></ul><ul><li>The lone and level sands stretch far away.” </li></ul><ul><li>- Percy Bysshe Shelley </li></ul>The ancient city of Ur, Iraq
    10. 11. Are there already warning signs? <ul><li>Rwandan refugee camp in Tanzania </li></ul>
    11. 12. And will failing states like Somalia affect other countries in our globalized world?
    12. 13. 2099 – The world 4 deg.C warmer, New Scientist, Feb. 2009 If this map is true….
    13. 14. 300 200 100 0 1860 1900 1940 1980 2020 2060 2100 Source: John F. Bookout (President of Shell USA) ,“Two Centuries of Fossil Fuel Energy” International Geological Congress, Washington DC; July 10,1985. Episodes, vol 12, 257-262 (1989). Global Energy Usage in Millions of Barrels per Day (Oil Equivalent) Prof.R. Newton from Prof. Richard Smalley
    14. 15. … Then what will our children and grandchildren’s lives be like?
    15. 16. The situation is genuinely urgent “ If we want to limit temperature increase to no more than 2-2.4 deg.C, we have to peak global emissions no later than 2015. We have 6 years to bring about a major change in the way we have been doing business all over the world” R.Pachauri, chair, UNIPCC, July 2009. “… the less warming we allow, the lower the risk that we trigger runaway warming, or sudden sea level rise as ice sheets disintegrate. Such tipping points almost certainly exist above 2deg.C of warming.” F.Pearce, New Scientist , July 18, 2009
    16. 17. or panicked into ill-considered action. We have to know and understand the chaos that threatens us, but not get ‘target fixated’…
    17. 18. We are not alone – millions of good-hearted people are already acting. <ul><li>And we have </li></ul><ul><li>each other, </li></ul><ul><li>a powerful </li></ul><ul><li>faith and </li></ul><ul><li>community. </li></ul>
    18. 19. <ul><li>The real challenge is to sort out what actions are effective, and to mobilize in time. </li></ul>Understanding what’s going on from a reliable source – the International Panel on Climate Change - is the first step.
    19. 20. Who is the IPCC? <ul><li>The IPCC is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences. </li></ul><ul><li>The IPCC is a scientific body. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. </li></ul><ul><li>Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis. Review is an essential part of the IPCC process, to ensure an objective and complete assessment of current information. Differing viewpoints existing within the scientific community are reflected in the IPCC reports. </li></ul><ul><li>The IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. </li></ul>
    20. 21. What is “The Greenhouse Effect’?
    21. 22. The Global Greenhouse Effect
    22. 23. Natural Climate Changers
    23. 24. Natural Orbit Wobbles Change Amount of Sunlight…. <ul><li>Milanković theorized that variations in eccentricity , axial tilt , and precession of the Earth's orbit resulting in 100,000-year ice age cycles of the Quaternary glaciation over the last few million years. </li></ul>… but the natural effects not enough to explain away current climate change
    24. 25. And changing the amount of long wave (infra red or heat) radiation reflected back to the surface by greenhouse gases:
    25. 27. What affects the levels of Carbon Dioxide? – The basics
    26. 28. Other processes also add or remove atmospheric CO2 Forest fires and volcanoes add CO2 CO2 acidifies oceans. Warm water absorbs less CO2 The concentration of CO2 is a balance of all these processes, some with feedback loops.
    27. 29. Methane is also a powerful greenhouse gas – responsible for 1/3 of the current warming trend. Melting tundra releases methane. Frozen methane hydrate below it threatens to burp up huge bubbles as the ice melts. Digestive processes of animals and bacteria release methane. The largest source is from cattle. in so many ways …
    28. 31. This is where greenhouse gases come from – most are from human activities. Which human activities have the greatest greenhouse impact?
    29. 32. And this is IPCC’s projections for global surface temperature with 3 scenarios. 2deg.C is considered to be a ‘tipping point’
    30. 33. The moderate scenario from the IPCC for 2090-99 (compared to 1980-99)
    31. 34. 2099 – The world 4 deg.C warmer, New Scientist, Feb. 2009 So this map is likely to be true
    32. 35. What are the most urgent effects of warming?
    33. 36. Rising Sea Levels as Ice Melts Kiribati ‘King’ tide
    34. 37. When most of us live near the coast
    35. 38. Melting Glaciers threaten the Yangzi and Ganges Rivers, used by over 1 billion people. Rongbuk Glacier, Mt.Everest, Greenpeace
    36. 39. Droughts and Lack of Water for Food And the Colorado River in SW United States Sudan Australia
    37. 40. Desertification of Crop Lands The advancing Gobi desert in China threatens millions in Bejing. The Sahel
    38. 41. Crop Yields Will Fall as Temperature and Oil Prices Rise: By 2050, if we reduce emissions by 50%, yields of maize will fall 30-46% in the US. If we don’t, yield could fall by 82%. Oil is used for fertilizer, farm machinery, pesticide manufacture and application and transport to market. Source: W.Schlenker, Columbia U, NY, M.Roberts, N.Carolina State U, in New Scientist Aug.29,09
    39. 42. Fires – As forests dry out they burn more easily. The burning releases more CO2 AND the photosynthetic carbon sink is lost. About 80% of the world’s forests have been destroyed since 1947 levels (WRI) by logging, fires, agriculture and cattle grazing. Deforestation results in species extinctions, loss of aquifer re-charge, soil erosion, and loss of rain especially in drought-prone areas like west Africa.
    40. 43. Loss of Coral Reefs from Ocean Acidification and Temperature Rise The most spectacular stretch of coral reefs on the planet is in danger of collapse from climate change, overfishing and pollution, according to a report being presented today at the World Oceans Conference in Indonesia. Scientists consider the region known as the &quot;coral triangle&quot; to be the centre of marine life on Earth, teeming with fish and almost one-third of the world's coral reefs. Covering 1 per cent of the planet from South-East Asia to the Pacific, the area also supports about 100 million people. But in the past 40 years, 40 per cent of the coral reefs and coastal mangroves in the coral triangle have been lost because of pollution, coastal development and overfishing, said a University of Queensland professor, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who led the study commissioned by WWF. MARIAN WILKINSON, ENVIRONMENT EDITOR May 13, 2009 Sydney Morning Herald Fish, a primary source of protein for millions, are disappearing at an alarming rate worldwide.
    41. 44. Here in California by 2050… August temp. change, IPCC moderate scenario Annual precipitation change, IPCC moderate scenario
    42. 45. The hotter, drier Ca climate will stress our water resources Lake Shasta, 3/12/2009. Ca Dept Water Resources
    43. 46. Population is the Driver for Climate Change.
    44. 47. As is per capita consumption Bri Bri tribe, Costa Rica Monte Carlo
    45. 48. It’s easy to forget how connected we are to the natural world in the wealthy West: - We depend on the natural world for food, shelter, oxygen, ores, energy and medicines. - We depend on the wild world for fish and bees for pollination of most of our produce. Both are threatened. - One of us consumes as much oil as 9 Chinese or 18 Indians.
    46. 49. Population x Per capita Consumption - the role of the US, China and India for future carbon emissions. Source: World Resource Institute
    47. 50. Environment and poverty are also inter-connected: Desperate people have to destroy their environment to survive tomorrow. Poor people are disproportionately affected by global warming, even though they are the smallest contributors. Bush meat for sale, DCR. Slash and burn agriculture
    48. 51. The effects of climate change are interconnected:
    49. 52. The worst of these is ‘food insecurity’ And that could so easily be us…
    50. 53. Climate change and Environmental Damage are important factors in the collapse of civilizations. The Pentagon warns “climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions” (Aug 2009). This divides which collapsed, and which didn’t
    51. 54. Final Notes… <ul><li>By defining the problems and causal links scientifically, root causes can shake out of the webs of interdependence. And then we’ll know how to act effectively. </li></ul>
    52. 55. Within the webs of life,
    53. 56. Are the seeds of hope
    54. 57. And some measure of forgiveness. Plant succession after a clear cut, Olympic Peninsula, Wa.
    55. 58. Taking it Further…. <ul><li>Take a carbon footprint survey: for kids: , for adults, search for carbon footprint calculator and take your pick. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for quotes, images, poems, bible passages, prayers and references, graphs and statistics about climate change. </li></ul><ul><li>Start the discernment process for what you are called to do. </li></ul>
    56. 59. Bibliography <ul><li>Plan B 3.0 Mobilizing to Save Civilization, (2009) by Lester Brown </li></ul><ul><li>Inter-govenmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>An Inconvenient Truth – Al Gore </li></ul><ul><li>Collapse – Jared Diamond </li></ul><ul><li>Fight Global Warming Now – Bill McKibben, 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Deep Economy – Bill McKibben, 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>New Scientist July 18, Sept.19,2009 and others </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific American “Earth 3.0”, Summer 2009 and others </li></ul>