- April 23, 2021
- Posted by: Art Berman
- Category: Presentations & Publications
Art, you say in the MacroVoices podcast transcript:
“So you know, back to your question, can we somehow retire 350 million gasoline and diesel burning vehicles in the United States in the time frame that people think we can? No way! And, and if you’re right, Erik, and that the supply diminishes because there’s no investment than gasoline and diesel become very expensive, and people are gonna be pissed for a different reason.”
Compelling evidence I see indicates if humanity doesn’t rapidly and drastically reduce GHG emissions within this decade (i.e. 2020s) then we risk civilization collapse later this century. I’d suggest your “No way” means likely civilization collapse before 2100.
You may already be aware of the following information/data, but my intent is to convey my perspective of some of the urgent and critical challenges facing humanity.
Atmospheric CO2 levels are already nudging/breaching the 420-ppm threshold now.
NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory posts an Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI) that tracks yearly changes in the warming influence of long-lived, trace GHGs. Reported on 14 May 2020, the combined influence of all GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere reached the CO2-equivalent of 500 ppm in 2019.
Per ERA5 data, the Earth System was already at +1.3 °C global mean warming (relative to Holocene Epoch pre-industrial age) in 2020.
+1.3 °C warming is already dangerous, as we know, because we are already experiencing it.
Barring super-volcanic eruption, major meteor impact, and/or global thermonuclear war event(s), the Earth System is ‘locked-in’ to surpass the +1.5 °C global mean warming threshold, likely before 2030, and on current GHG emissions trajectory, is likely to surpass +2.0 °C global mean warming threshold before 2050.
See Table 1 in: https://esd.copernicus.org/articles/12/253/2021/esd-12-253-2021.pdf
Per the table, a business-as-usual GHG trajectory (SSP5-8.5) scenario means:
• 1.5 °C warming threshold crossed in 2026 (best estimate), range 2020–2040;
• 2.0 °C warming threshold crossed in 2039 (best estimate), range 2030–2055;
• 3.0 °C warming threshold crossed in 2060 (best estimate), range 2048–2083;
• 4.0 °C warming threshold crossed in 2078 (best estimate), range 2062–2100+;
• 5.0 °C warming threshold crossed in 2094 (best estimate), range 2075–2100+
Scientists know from the paleo-historical record, there was the so-called Mid-Pliocene Warm Period around 3–4 million years ago, where atmospheric CO2 levels were in the range of 400–450 ppm, global mean temperatures were +2.0–3.0 °C (above Holocene Epoch pre-industrial age), and sea levels were +10–22 m higher than today (stabilized over centuries).
See/hear from time interval 0:24:51 to 0:26:45 in the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QK2XLeGmHtE
Risks of simultaneous crop failure will increase disproportionately between 1.5 and 2 °C, so surpassing the 1.5 °C threshold will represent a threat to global food security.
Inadequate global food supplies mean global famine, and if that continues long enough, then billions will likely die. These are ‘threat multipliers’ for geopolitical conflict, and ultimately civilization collapse.
Within 50 years, under a high emission (RCP8.5) scenario, areas that could be home to 3.5 billion people would be essentially uninhabitable.
Above +2 °C warming may trigger a “Hothouse Earth” scenario of self-reinforcing warming that would be beyond human control. There are also increasing risks ‘tipping points’ could begin to manifest between +1.5 to +2 °C warming.
During WW2, the US Government spending on military outlays rose to 42% in 1943 and 1944.
Great Britain allocated for military spending more than 50% from 1941 to 1944. Germany reached up to 70% in 1943. Japan: 43% in 1943, and 76% in 1944.
“If we moved this fast to build a global machine to kill people, why can’t we move this fast so that the climate crisis doesn’t kill a lot more?” – David Spratt, Research Director, Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration.
See from time interval 0:23:11 in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyLgCr3Drh4
Art, what would be your answer to David Spratt’s question?