January 8, 2009 Heat waves as strong as 2003 when 30,000 died in Europe will occur every other year by the year 2030 says the Met UK Office, the United Kingdoms government climate modeling program. The Earth today is 0.2 degrees warmer than the 1990 to 1999 average and the warming will continue to accelerate. Even if it were to only increase as fast as it has increased since the turn of the century, we are already in the worse case scenario estimates projected by the IPCC. And our climate today is operating on greenhouse gas concentrations from the 1970s because of the climate lag. Earth’s population was about half of what it is today back then and our per capita CO2 emissions were five times less. This means that today, our society emits 10 times more CO2 than it did just a decade ago, and our climate is reacting to atmospheric gas concentrations from the 1970s. This is just another example of the grossly conservative climate models projection for our future. We will be extremely lucky to have our climate limited to the worse case scenario of 6 degrees C increase in temperature.
CO2 Emissions today are astonish rising at 3.1% per year having drastically increased in less than the last decade from the long standing 1.1% increase rate that we have seen from at least the late 1950s. This 3.1% rate is worse than the worse case scenario emission rate used in the IPCC models projected for the year 2100.
I just can’t emphasize enough the extreme disconnect between climate science and actual climate change and the understanding of our leaders and the general public. There is a reason why James Hansen used the Venus Syndrome as the centerpiece of his presentation to the AGU last month. That reason is that our climate is out of control and current mitigation efforts are likely insufficient to prevent dangerous changes to our climate. Those dangerous changes are on the order of magnitude of the loss of our Earth’s habitable environment in a Venus Syndrome-like cascading series of events.
At the rate that actual climate change is beating the supercomputer model projections, this could happen in just a couple of centuries. Which would obviously mean that life on Earth would be having huge problems much sooner than that.
UK Met – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/jan/08/summer-aid
CO2 increase – http://www.earthportal.org/forum/?p=229
Venus Syndrome, Hansen’s AGU presentation –
December 20, 2008 Berknes Lecture http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/