Climate Change: It happens to be an emergency


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  • Climate change is probably the biggest threat facing humanity today. For decades, scientists have been warning of the problem, but the governments and corporations in the best position to do something have spectacularly failed to act. The longer the delay in taking action, the harder it will be to prevent dire disaster. There are solutions, and the Socialist Alliance is committed to working with others to build the political momentum for the changes that have to take place - sooner rather than later. In this presentation, I’ll summarise the scientists’ warnings, and present the Socialist Alliance’s proposals for action that can make a difference.
  • Climate Change: It happens to be an emergency

    1. 1. <ul><li>It happens to be an emergency: climate action now! </li></ul>
    2. 2. Climate science: warnings that mustn’t be ignored <ul><li>Basic science overview </li></ul><ul><li>Runaway climate change </li></ul>
    3. 3. Climate science – overview
    4. 4. Greenhouse gases and temperature, last 400k years
    5. 5. Earth’s temperature is rising
    6. 6. Runaway climate change <ul><li>“ We either keep the warming small or it is likely to be quite large.” </li></ul><ul><li>(James Hansen, NASA Goddard Institute ) www. carbonequity .info/PDFs/ Avoidingcatastrophe .pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Positive feedbacks: “everywhere scientists looked in 2006, they encountered feedbacks that will make things worse – a lot worse” </li></ul><ul><li>(Connor and McCarthy, “Independent”) www. carbonequity .info/PDFs/ Avoidingcatastrophe .pdf </li></ul>
    7. 7. Positive feedbacks <ul><li>Reduced reflection of sunlight from polar ice </li></ul><ul><li>Water vapour and methane </li></ul><ul><li>Decomposition of organic carbon in soils </li></ul><ul><li>Ocean warming and slowing Gulf Stream reduces CO 2 absorption/causes its release </li></ul><ul><li>Forest die-back and fires release more CO 2 </li></ul>
    8. 8. Greenhouse gas emissions still rising
    9. 9. US emissions
    10. 10. Australia’s emissions
    11. 11. Australia’s emissions 2005 Totals and percentages in table may not correspond exactly due to rounding. (a) All emissions from this sector are NMVOCs, which cannot be converted into CO2-e. (b) My calculations from these data - KE. Included because sector 5 emissions peaked for other reasons in 1990, giving artificially inflated total for the baseline year. 25.08% 106.1 529.1 423 Total emissions minus Land Use, Land Use Change & Forestry ( b ) 2.30% 12.8 564.7 551.9 Total net emissions -0.70% -0.1 19.1 19.2 6 Waste -72.50% -93.4 35.5 128.9 5 Land Use, Land Use Change & Forestry 2.20% 2 93.1 91.1 4 Agriculture NA NA NA NA 3 Solvent and Other Product Use (a) 18.00% 4.5 29.8 25.3 2 Industrial Processes 3.40% 1 31 30 Fugitive Emissions 23.40% 14.5 76.2 61.7 Transport 43.00% 84.2 279.9 195.7 Stationary Energy 34.70% 99.7 387.2 287.5 1 Energy MtCO 2 -e MtCO 2 -e Mt CO 2 -e % Change Change 2004 1990 Sector
    12. 12. We must make every effort <ul><li>Revolutionise global economy </li></ul><ul><li>People’s survival will depend on it </li></ul>February 08, 2005 A family climbs to safety when their house is hit by a king tide in Betio, on the South Pacific island of Kiribati, in February, 2005. Waves peaked at 2.87 metres.
    13. 13. Set the targets we need <ul><li>A target fails if reaching us still gives us runaway global warming </li></ul><ul><li>60%, 80% emissions reductions targets by 2050, while requiring much effort, would still leave global emissions well above carbon sink capacity to absorb </li></ul><ul><li>60% reduction by 2020, 90% reduction by 2030 – probably needs to be greater </li></ul>
    14. 14. Ratify Kyoto and push for a stronger treaty <ul><li>90% emissions reductions by 2030 </li></ul><ul><li>Rich countries to do more – repaying ecological debt (not charity). Help poor countries to develop sustainably. </li></ul><ul><li>Take in environmental refugees </li></ul>
    15. 15. Cut emissions in every sector
    16. 16. Eliminate inefficiency & waste <ul><li>Stop waste of materials and energy </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce demand – more efficient design </li></ul><ul><li>No inbuilt obsolescence </li></ul><ul><li>Zero waste economy </li></ul>
    17. 17. Say no to dirty fuel <ul><li>Phase out coal </li></ul><ul><li>No new coal mines – revoke Anvil Hill licence </li></ul><ul><li>No expansion of Newcastle’s export facilities </li></ul><ul><li>No nukes! </li></ul>
    18. 18. Yes to renewables! Large scale renewables could start cutting greenhouse pollution in as little as 15-20 months (Ian Lowe, Reaction Time, Quarterly Essay 27, 2007)
    19. 19. A new land use revolution <ul><li>Go organic </li></ul><ul><li>Save the forests </li></ul>
    20. 20. Revolutionise transport
    21. 21. Make the polluters pay
    22. 22. Public ownership and democratic control
    23. 23. Guarantee jobs, involve workers Ensure participation and involvement of workers and communities affected by the transition to a sustainable economy
    24. 24. Change the system, not the climate
    25. 25. Useful references <ul><li>SA dossier on climate change </li></ul><ul><li>Paul Baer and Michael Mastrandrea (High Stakes:Designing emissions pathways to reduce the risk of dangerous climate change) </li></ul><ul><li>www. carbonequity .info/PDFs/ Avoidingcatastrophe .pdf </li></ul><ul><li>The 2 ° target </li></ul>
    26. 26. <ul><li>Authorised by D Nichols, 23 Abercrombie St, Chippendale NSW. </li></ul>