What does “net zero CO2 emissions” mean?

Net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are achieved when anthropogenic CO2 emissions are balanced globally by anthropogenic CO2 removals over a specified period.

Example: The second of Extinction Rebellion’s three demands states that “we must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero CO2 emissions by 2025 and reduce consumption levels.”

Greta Thunberg’s most powerful TED talk

The following TED talk is Greta’s most powerful and moving speech. In fact, it is the most powerful TED talk I have ever experienced. She understands that many TED talks are little more than intelligent and highly finessed pep talks, and she will have none of it. Watch her expressions, her facial expressions and her body language. Is there any word or bodily expression that is not sincere and deeply felt. There is simply nothing superficial about her. Everything is direct and up front. She seems utterly free of the cultural and ego baggage that concern most of us most of the time. Listen, watch, and weep – and then ACT!

Thanks to Lynette McCain for pointing me to this talk.

Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene

I realize most readers of Our Gallant Ship may not want to read all of the following scientific paper, but they may want to read the introduction and conclusion. I offer three quotes from Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene, PNAS, 2018, Will Steffen, Johan Rockström, Katherine Richardson, Timothy M. Lenton, et al:

“We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene.”

“This suggests that the risk of tipping cascades could be significant at a 2 °C temperature rise and could increase sharply beyond that point. We argue that a planetary threshold in the Earth System could exist at a temperature rise as low as 2 °C above preindustrial.” (my emphasis)

“We suggest that a deep transformation based on a fundamental reorientation of human values, equity, behavior, institutions, economies, and technologies is required. Even so, the pathway toward Stabilized Earth will involve considerable changes to the structure and functioning of the Earth System, suggesting that resilience-building strategies be given much higher priority than at present in decision making.”

This paper was published by PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. PNAS strives to publish only the highest quality scientific research, and papers undergo rigorous peer review and approval by an NAS member before publication.

Thanks to Nick Garland for pointing me to this paper.

Chris Hedges interviews Dahr Jamail

The following interview is one of the best I’ve seen on climate change. Chris Hedges interviews author and journalist Dar Jamail who recently published a book entitled “The End of Ice.” It is very powerful, informative and moving, especially the discussion toward the end when Hedges asks him “How do you cope with that?”

“We may be watching earth dying, so we each get to ask ourselves what am I called forth to do at this time. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has written how the most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When our mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. . . . We are already facing mass extinction. There is no removing the heat we have introduced into the oceans nor the 40 billion of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere every single year. There may be no changing what is happening and far worse things are coming. How then shall we meet this?”

How to Cut U.S. Emissions Faster? Do What These Countries Are Doing.

This is a really interesting graphic from the New York Times, showing what would happen to US CO2 emissions if we were to adopt seven ambitious climate change policies from around the world.

“The United States is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions far too slowly to help avert the worst effects of global warming. But what would happen if the country adopted seven of the most ambitious climate policies already in place around the world?” Read more . . .

CLIMATE CHANGE: Why we are heading for extinction and what to do about it

This is perhaps the most succinct Extinction Rebellion presentation to date (34 minutes), with significantly better audio quality than Gail Branbrook’s 50 minute presentation. Marcus Carambola from Extinction Rebellion Ōtautahi Christchurch (NZ) talks about the latest climate science and where our planet is headed, and including a good introduction to Extinction Rebellion.