COP27 failure (first cut)

I tried to post a long comment on COP27 this morning, but the system got indigestion, so I’ll do it this way. It’s not finished to my usual standard for published posts.

COP27 is priding itself on setting up a “loss and damage” fund. I’ll just point out that it has no funds yet, and has all the work ahead of it in setting up the mechanisms for getting and distributing funds. So they have actually set up a talkfest. And China is not part of it.

Julian Cribb provides a blunt assessment of COP27 in The world votes for “climate hell”:

    Something of epochal importance happened in Egypt last week – the most significant event since Cheops shoved up his triangular monument, four thousand odd-years ago at the dawn of ‘civilisation’. But the world media, true to form, missed it almost completely.

    The nations of the world voted to terminate human civilisation and commit all our grandchildren to bake and starve on an uninhabitable ruin of a Planet.

    The failure of the UN Conference of the Parties 27, like the 26 which preceded it, is another fallen domino on the road to civilisational collapse – something the UN itself is now at last daring to voice out loud. (Though nobody is listening yet).

The Daily Beast tells us The White House Admits It: We Might Need to Block the Sun to Stop Climate Change.

They’ve established a research project looking at dimming the sun with sulphates. It’s put forward as a last resort, but it looks to me like the main plan if we continue to get the disasters we have been having in recent times, plus the gathering momentum of sea level rise.

The Daily Beast also asks, What Happens When Even Scientists Get Doom-Pilled?

    The U.N.’s yearly climate summit COP27 kicked off this week in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt with a shockingly bleak message from Secretary General António Guterres: “We are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing. Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing, global temperatures keep rising, and our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.”

    To underscore his dire point, he added, “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.”

Back in 2019 Johann Johan Rockström told us we had 10 years to transform the future of humanity — or destabilize the planet. COP27 dropped the need to peak emissions in 2025, and substituted “low carbon energy” for renewable energy in the cut and paste from the Glasgow COP, meaning gas is back as an acceptable transition fuel.

I’m not sure Rockström would still say, as he did at the end of the piece, that we have the technology to do the job, at least at scale. Also his predecessor at Potsdam, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, said around the same time that if we get 2°C we will get 4°C because of tipping points.

Speaking of which, some scientists are still talking about 1.5°C, whereas anyone who actually looks at where we are at would say 0.8°C.

Guterres told us going into COP27 that we were going into climate hell with our foot flat on the accelerator, and the UNEP Gap report told us there was no credible path to 1.5°C.

Time we mobilised against the looming climate catastrophe.

BTW, These three charts show who is most to blame for climate change.

In per capita we are up there with the worst.

39 thoughts on “COP27 failure (first cut)”

  1. The first link says the fossil fuel hegemony is based on the illusion that economic growth can continue even as Earth’s life-support systems begin to fail.

      But the true test of the fossil fuel hegemony will be how long this image can persist as the weather becomes more extreme and climate activism grows.

      Because as more people acknowledge the reality of the climate crisis, those seeking to maintain the fossil fuel hegemony will need to work harder to maintain their grip on climate politics.

    I keep wondering what it will take for the world to panic. Perhaps the Thwaites Glacier falling apart, or the Gulf Stream failing with Europe thrown into the cold that befits their latitude.

  2. We tend to talk as though global warming is a disaster for everyone. However, people in some cold areas may be actually be better off as a result of global warming (as long as they don’t lose their land to invaders trying to escape from parts of the world that can support fewer people that they do now.) Does it make sense for Russia and Canada to fight global warming?
    At the moment the case for climate action may be a consequence of starting to act to deal with climate warming. Things like banning development in areas that business as usual will stop because of sea level rising and…..

  3. John, I seem to remember that Gwynne Dyer in researching his book Climate wars in 2008 found that the Russians had already then been war-gaming what they would do if 100 million Chinese came across the border into Siberia.

    I’ve just read this in the IPCC6 WG3 report:

      Furthermore, even if warming is reversed by net negative emissions, other climate changes such as sea level rises would continue in their current direction for decades to millenia (WG1 Chapter 4.6 and Chapter 5.6).

    John Englander reckons high risk 100-yr planning should consider 6 metres. Try that out for your favourite city or town in Australia!

  4. Here’s two from grumpy old men on John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations. First Jeremy Webb with COP27: Australia promotes fossil fuels as pathway to carbon neutrality

      It seems the Australian media still has to be told: COP 27 was a disaster and the glaring flaws in Australia’s grab bag of climate change policies were there to be exposed – if any reporters cared to do so.

      The scandalous backsliding at COP 27 was all about gas – our policies about which represent a critical gap of logic in Labor’s pretence to have a consistent comprehensive and internally coherent climate change policy.

      So now engraved in COP27’s tablet of global wisdom is the following loophole ridden call to parties:

      “ ….. to transition towards low-emission energy systems, including by rapidly scaling up the deployment of clean power generation and energy efficiency measures, including accelerating efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies……”

      The inclusion of ‘low emission’ (read gas) fuels means gas is now promoted alongside renewable energy as a pathway to carbon neutrality. The driving force behind this blatant policy regression was middle eastern oil interests/ governments and a compliant Egyptian host (one wonders what extraordinary wisdom led to this choice of country and region for such a critically important meeting of COP which, not surprisingly, was besieged by regional carbon industry delegates).

  5. Larrisa Waters once pointed out to me that, when gas liquification is taken into account, Qld gas used to produce power in China generates more CO2 per kWh than Qld coal. I seem to remember that liquification and transport used 25% of the gases energy. Coals problem is that it looks dirty!!!

  6. Then Julian Cribb with The world votes for “climate hell”:

      Something of epochal importance happened in Egypt last week – the most significant event since Cheops shoved up his triangular monument, four thousand odd-years ago at the dawn of ‘civilisation’. But the world media, true to form, missed it almost completely.

      The nations of the world voted to terminate human civilisation and commit all our grandchildren to bake and starve on an uninhabitable ruin of a Planet.

      The failure of the UN Conference of the Parties 27, like the 26 which preceded it, is another fallen domino on the road to civilisational collapse – something the UN itself is now at last daring to voice out loud. (Though nobody is listening yet).

      The nations had gathered to try to develop a rational plan of action to prevent a Hothouse Earth and, again, failed to do so. The fact that the second largest contingent at the conference – over 600 delegates – was from the $7 trillion nation of Fossilfuels may have had something to do with it. The largest contingent was from the UAE, another oil lobby, with 1073 delegates!

  7. Cribb’s piece linked above ends:

      Let there be no doubt. Our leaders have together chosen catastrophe as our default future. Our grandchildren will be its chief victims.

      It is time to get angry.

  8. John, I believe that when fugitive emissions reach 4% or more gas becomes dirtier than coal. Gas leaks to some extent all along the way, finally in the kitchen with domestic use.

    So even if we don’t go through the LNG big compression and freeze, gas can be dirtier than coal.

    As you would know, when gas is burnt we get water and CO2. Around half of the CO2 remains as the ‘airborne fraction’. I suspect this is all that the gas proponents count.

  9. Brian: “John, I believe that when fugitive emissions reach 4% or more gas becomes dirtier than coal.

    Methane poses the greatest threat to the warming climate. If you leak more than 2% or 3% of methane, it is worse for the climate than coal. Methane survives in the atmosphere for a shorter period than coal’s carbon dioxide, but over 20 years has 86 times the planet-warming potential. Electricity produced from LNG is arguably even worse over a 20-year time frame.

    https://renew.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/IEEFA_Is-the-gas-industry-facing-its-Volkswagen-moment_March-2020.pdf

  10. COP27: Agreement by ordeal. And endless negotiation. Basic problem is that different solutions do different amounts of economic damage to different countries and the search for just solutions means different things to different countries.

  11. Brian: “I’m wondering what you make of the IEA World Energy Outlook 2022.

    The IEA is still referring to “a 1.5 °C stabilisation“. I’d suggest the overwhelming evidence/data indicates that horse has already bolted. The IPCC AR6 WG1 SPM, in Table SPM 1 (on page 14), indicates even under the most drastic emission reduction scenario the IPCC assesses, the Earth System will inevitably breach the +1.5 °C warming threshold. Climate scientists, like James Hansen & his team, suggest the +1.5 °C warming threshold could be breached within this decade (2020s).

    I don’t see how ongoing coal, oil and gas investments are compatible with avoiding catastrophic climate change, leading to consequent civilisation collapse.

    Data I see indicates the global oil (and associated gas) industry is probably already past the all-time peak oil production (at 84.5 Mb/d crude oil + condensate in Nov 2018). Global gasoil/diesel fuel production has declined from a peak of around 26 Mb/d during 2015-18 to below 23 Mb/d in mid-2021.

    USA (18.5% global share), Russia (12.2%) & Saudi Arabia (12.2%) were the world’s top three oil producers in 2021, per BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2022. These 3 countries represent more than two-fifths of total oil production.

    Most of US crude oil production in recent years has been sourced from ‘unconventional’ tight oil, which is unsuitable for producing gasoil & diesel fuels. See Fig 5 at: https://www.artberman.com/2022/10/13/energy-aware-3-u-s-energy-independence-and-other-dumb-memes/

    Data indicates Saudi Arabia’s crude oil production has already plateaued and it may be beginning to decline. It seems Saudi Arabia’s oil production can’t be sustained near or above 11 Mb/d for very long.

    Saudi Arabia’s (and the world’s) largest oil field, Ghawar, peaked production above 5 Mb/d, and has been steadily declining since about 2009.

    Data indicates the Russian Federation’s crude oil production may have also plateaued. It seems Russia’s oil production can’t be sustained above 11 Mb/d for very long as well. Western sanctions against Russia will likely stifle/disrupt further oil developments/production.

    See my comments at: https://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2022/11/unforced-variations-nov-2022/#comment-807605

    Also review my slides #34 through #43 in my pdf file attachment to my Submission to the IPCN re the Mt Pleasant Optimisation Project (referred in my comments on Sep 29 to the thread FAREWELLING THE GREAT BARRIER REEF).

    Most oil producing countries/regions are now in decline. There are some countries/regions at production peak and a diminishing number of pre-peak oil producing countries/regions. The world is fast running out of pre-peak oil producing countries/regions.

    Meanwhile, China’s thermal coal imports have been in decline, and Australia’s thermal coal exports to China were miniscule in 2021: https://twitter.com/crudeoilpeak/status/1594269777555755008

  12. Geoff, it seems that many oil and gas producers want to get the maximum out of what is left, and see offsets including carbon capture and storage as a way of claiming they are serious about net zero by 2050.

    To me ‘stabilisation’ at 1.5 °C is a contradiction in terms. The climate is never going to be stable at 1.5 °C with so many tipping points in play. I’m with David Spratt in ‘Biggest Scandal in Climate Policy’ – David Spratt on Tipping Points, IPCC, IAMs and Risks.

  13. According to the IPCC:

      Large-scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) methods is now “unavoidable” if the world is to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, according to this week’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

      The report, released on Monday, finds that in addition to rapid and deep reductions in greenhouse emissions, CO₂ removal is “an essential element of scenarios that limit warming to 1.5℃ or likely below 2℃ by 2100”.

    Santos are touting CCS as their contribution to climate change. A small problem is how do you get it to Moomba, and then they only have capacity, they say, for a few million tonnes per annum.

    Prof Kevin Anderson tells how many scientists felt back in 2015 after the famous Paris Agreement was won. See Talks in the city of light generate more heat.

  14. For the record, Sir David King in this interview with Hans van der Loo (2021 I think) says the we should go carbon negative by removing from the atmosphere 30 to 40Gt of CO2 every year until 2100 in order to reach 350ppm or lower.

    I think in order to do this I suspect we are going to have to try all available means, including CCS. Its record has not been good so far, but I’m not prepared to write it off just yet.

    He also says at the end that what we do in the next four or five years will determine the fate of humanity for the next 2000 years. In these terms COP27 was a massive failure, and by the time Australia gets to host in 2026 it could be game over.

  15. Brian: – “For the record, Sir David King in this interview with Hans van der Loo (2021 I think) says the we should go carbon negative by removing from the atmosphere 30 to 40Gt of CO2 every year until 2100 in order to reach 350ppm or lower.

    Sir David King also said in the Mar 2021 interview (from time interval 0:06:24):

    Today, we are emitting – if I count methane and NOₓ gases – over 51 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases a year into the atmosphere. I don’t believe we will be able to remove more than 30 or 40 billion tonnes in a year, but I believe that is doable, and if we do that even if we are at zero emissions, it’s going to take to the end of the century to get to 350 parts per million, which is manageable by human societies – we know that from our past. So, I think we are facing two challenges: One; how do we get deep and rapid emissions reduction? Two; let’s quickly develop these [atmospheric carbon removal at large scale] technologies; but three, in the meantime as you’re saying, what about the melting ice? We’re never going to catch that without actually focusing on the areas where ice is being lost.

    I’d suggest atmospheric GHG removal is futile without a concurrent deep and rapid reduction of current human-induced GHG emissions (CO₂ + CH₂ + NOₓ).

    Per NOAA, dated 7 Apr 2022:

    While there’s been scientific debate on the cause of the ongoing surge in methane levels, carbon dioxide pollution has always been the primary driver of human-caused climate change. An estimated 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide were emitted into the atmosphere last year by human activity; roughly 640 million tons of methane were emitted during the same period. The atmospheric residence time of methane is approximately nine years, whereas some of the carbon dioxide emitted today will continue to warm the planet for thousands of years.

    Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are now comparable to where they were during the mid-Pliocene epoch, around 4.3 million years ago. During that period, sea level was about 75 feet higher than today, the average temperature was 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than in pre-industrial times, and studies indicate large forests occupied areas of the Arctic that are now tundra.

    https://www.noaa.gov/news-release/increase-in-atmospheric-methane-set-another-record-during-2021

    I suspect Sir David King’s reference to 51 billion tonnes per year GHGs means CO₂-equivalent.

    See my IPCN submission attachment slide #17 headlined Climate reality check.

  16. The message seems to be that we will have to go cold turkey and find ways of living that, if anything, reduce the growth of green house gas equivalents in the atmosphere.

  17. Geoff, I don’t know how you turn talk into text, but thanks for making more explicit what king said.

    While I think his overall direction is good, I don’t find him utterly reliable in his data. I think he meant CO₂-equivalent, but he’s out of date. IPCC AR6 WG3 Summary for Policy Makers says:

      Global net anthropogenic GHG emissions were 59 ± 6.6 GtCO2-eq in 2019, about 12% (6.5 GtCO2-eq) higher than in 2010 and 54% (21 GtCO2-eq) higher than in 1990.

    When James Hansen said 350ppm as the first step he later added that his assumption was that the effect on the other greenhouse gases (the other 5 of the Kyoto 6) would be zero. So in effect Hansen was talking about 350 ppm CO₂-e.

    Hansen did not say that would be the end of the story. He said by the time we got there we would know better where the stabilisation/restoration point was. Sir David King is wrong in saying 350 parts per million was manageable by human societies. During the Eemian around 120K years ago we had 300 ppm which gave us temperatures around what we have now and sea level rise of 6 to 10 metres, from memory.

    NOAA’s statement that back in the mid-Pliocene sea level was about 75 feet higher than today, the average temperature was 7 degrees Fahrenheit higher than in pre-industrial times translates roughly to 25 metres and 4 degrees Celsius.

    See also Climate Reality Check by David Spratt, Ian Dunlop & Luke Taylor, Section 11.

    I think those guys give a better account of where we are than the IPCC reports, and have the imprimatur of Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Sir David King and Charlie Veron.

    John, yes start now, go for net zero ASAP, reducing emissions and drawing down as much as possible. At the same time, dispense with this soft ‘offset’ caper. Offsets should only be used to cover emissions which are genuinely unavoidable.

  18. Brian: – “Geoff, I don’t know how you turn talk into text…

    Listen & type; rewind & repeat until I think I have a reasonable representation of what was said. It can be time consuming if people don’t talk clearly, use terminology I’m not familiar with, use unfamiliar foreign language, and/or talk quickly.

    Brian: – “While I think his overall direction is good, I don’t find him utterly reliable in his data.

    I’d suggest the 51 billion tonnes figure was in the ballpark, highlighting the magnitude of the GHG emissions problem. It would be interesting to know where he sourced that number from, but interviews of that type usually don’t provide follow-up attribution. The IPCC AR6 WG3 report was published more than a year after Sir David King’s comments in the video.

    NOAA’s statement re: “Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are now comparable to where they were during the mid-Pliocene epoch…“; it seems to me isn’t consistent with the graph in my IPCN submission attachment slide #4 headlined Paleoclimatology: lessons from Earth’s climate history. I’d suggest CO₂-equivalent is the more relevant number to note, which reached 508 ppm in 2021, meaning that it appears the GHG concentrations are already apparently in mid-Miocene territory.

    Brian: – “I think those guys give a better account of where we are than the IPCC reports…

    Indeed. I’d suggest David Spratt, Ian Dunlop & Luke Taylor are not kowtowing to the current political agenda, or constrained by ‘scholarly reticence’. HJ Schellnhuber refers to the IPCC “erring on the side of least drama” in his Foreword to What Lies Beneath: The Understatement of Existential Climate Risk, published in Aug 2018.

  19. ICYMI, I recommend viewing the YouTube video titled Keynote Debate Can the Climate Emergency Action Plan lead to Collective Action_ (50 Years CoR), published 20 Nov 2018, duration 2:23:08. It’s a record of part of the proceedings of the Club of Rome’s 50th Anniversary Summit, of the afternoon session on 17 Oct 2018 (just over 4 years ago), including a keynote debate with John Schellnhuber, Anders Wijkman, Connie Hedegaard, Ian Dunlop, Camilla Born, and Yoshitsugu Hayashi.

    0:06:05 Schellnhuber’s keynote address “Climate, Complexity, Conversion”
    0:23:23 “And it turns out that there are two alternatives left, namely… either… if we… tried to park the Earth’s system, and it’s now very important… In spite of the dimming of the light, this is a moment where you should not sleep.
    0:40:43 Q&A session with Schellnhuber
    1:08:04 Anders Wijkman presentation
    1:18:41 Connie Hedegaard presentation
    1:32:57 Ian Dunlop presentation
    1:43:05 Camilla Born presentation
    1:57:14 Yoshitsugu Hayashi presentation
    2:08:30 Final Q&A

    In the YouTube video notes, there are links to other Club of Rome presentations.

  20. Thankyou, Geoff.

    To go back to your link you gave to Keynote Debate Can the Climate Emergency Action Plan lead to Collective Action_ (50 Years CoR), it contains a lot of interesting and important material.

    Bottom line is that as Prof Schellnhuber says, if we stop emitting fossil fuels and the aerosols thus produced clear away within weeks, then we already have 1.5°C . I’m inclined to think he’s right also about nation states, a recent invention in human affairs. He finds them by nature an impediment to global co-operation.

    I liked the honesty displayed all around, which contrast with the false hope that is being held out that all will be well with 1.5°C . The latest manifestation is an article by Imogen Zethoven – UNESCO calls on Australia to commit to 1.5°C limit to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

    It completely ignores research that tells us the reef will be devastated with 1.5°C. Actually you don’t need the new research. It has long been known the reefs need 10-15 years to recover. We’ve had four bleachings in 2016-2022, the last during a La Nina.

  21. Brian: – “Bottom line is that as Prof Schellnhuber says, if we stop emitting fossil fuels and the aerosols thus produced clear away within weeks, then we already have 1.5°C .

    Schellnhuber’s response to Jørgen Randers’ question, from time interval 0:46:12 (bold text my emphasis):

    Ja. OK, let me answer it directly, because it is such a rich question, ja? So I will not take others for the time being, but of course later. Now first of all, we are not mixing-up timescales. We have to consider all of them in parallel, unfortunately, ja? And I just introduced the Pliocene and the Miocene and all these, ah… stupid names, er… geologists have developed, ja, simply because this is our reality lab, ja? I mean, if I cannot see under comparable conditions, a major shift in the state of the planet, in the back, er… in the… in the… back in fifteen-million years, when I have no evidence, actually. So, this is just in order to underpin some of the things. And looking forward, I mean, I excuse for… I apologise for that, but… we have actually ended the ice age cycle, the, er… the glacial dynamics for good, or for bad, or for whatever – that’s how it is. But your question is of course extremely important, because… I… I once coined… We had a meeting at the Belgian Academy of Sciences and I coined this expression, which became quite… quite, er… sort of seminal, actually: ‘Avoiding the unmanageable and managing the unavoidable.’ So you see, avoiding the unmanageable would be three, four, five, six degrees. I’m, I’m pretty sure we cannot adapt to that. But if the world warms by one… it has warmed already by one degree, and actually half of a degree is masked by air pollution. So if you would clean the air over China and India and so on, you immediately would… you get another half degree. So, one-and-a-half degree – we are there already, ja? But if we stop it at two, er… two-point-five degrees maybe… and actually CO₂ stays within the carbon cycle for more than twenty-thousand years. People think this is a matter of a hundred years. Yes, it goes into the sediment, but it’s re-mineralised and goes back into the air, and so on. So it’s longer lived than plutonium, actually, ja? Atmospheric CO2!

    Brian: – “I liked the honesty displayed all around, which contrast with the false hope that is being held out that all will be well with 1.5°C .

    Indeed – IMO, this video in particular is an information rich, no BS resource, that refutes the ‘hopium’ still being propagated years later by politicians, business & media.

    Brian: – “It has long been known the reefs need 10-15 years to recover. We’ve had four bleachings in 2016-2022, the last during a La Nina.

    Even Graham Readfearn’s temperature check published in The Guardian on 1 Dec 2022 headlined Plibersek’s ‘determination’ alone won’t save the Great Barrier Reef – here’s what needs to happen, included:

    Keeping global heating as close to 1.5C as possible is critical for all ecosystems and societies, including the viability of Australia’s ocean jewel, the Great Barrier Reef.

    Evidence/data I see suggests the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is already beyond its viability threshold. Per the report published by Breakthrough – National Centre for Climate Restoration titled Climate Reality Check 2021: Impacts, Risks, Actions in Nov 2021, on page 9:

    Vital ecosystems including the Great Barrier Reef are facing devastation now at well less than 1.5°C warming

    • The Great Barrier Reef is in a death spiral: at the current level of global warming, it will bleach on average once every three-to-four years,¹⁴ whereas recovery takes a decade or more.

    I wonder what coral reef scientists, like Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, really think the GBR prognosis is – approaching or is already beyond its viability threshold? Will any journalist ask the question and have those responses published?

  22. Brian: What is the prognosis on the reef moving southwards? My guess is the fate of the kelp is worse because there is no space to move further south.

  23. This blog is playing up with me. Giving me they ‘internal server error’ warning when I tried to post.

  24. Geoff, on Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, if you ask him directly he will tell you, but he does not normally volunteer it or write it when he is doing ‘science’. In a lecture I heard last year be quite specific about the incompatibility or coral reefs and 1.5°C.

  25. Jo Chandler in her 2011 book Feeling the heat related how Hoegh-Guldberg published a paper in 1999 reviewing knowledge about coral bleaching. The result of his calcs were that coral bleaching would become annual sometime between 2030 and 2050. He published it in a minor CSIRO journal because he did not think a major journal would touch it.

    Even so the reaction he got from the scientific establishment and the media made him cautious. Not many institutions will employ people who cause controversy.

    As it happened another researcher, Joanie Kleypas published a few months ahead of him a report that found that changes in ‘ocean chemistry’ would endanger corals within 50 years. Three years later the term ‘ocean acidification’ was coined.

    Chandler sat on the beach with Hoegh-Guldberg, Heron Island, I think, and writes:

      The question can no longer be ducked or delayed. Perhaps liberated by the shared bottle of wine, and recalling the pithy prognosis of Geoff in the rainforest, I have to ask Hoegh-Guldberg: ‘Are we fucked?’ His response is rather more carefully calibrated than the question. In terms of coral reefs that have been his work and obsession throughout his career – very likely. Even a sudden surprise attack of political momentum, should it come now, might come too late. Unless the reefs confound all the models with some innate capacity or mechanism to cope with warming and compensate for higher CO2, ‘reef growth will slow until the reef begins to crumble’. He likens simultaneous bleaching and acidification to ‘having two rhinos run at you from different directions’. Maybe by some miracle you might escape, but the odds are not good.

      But by now, he’s worried about much more than corals. What’s under way will ‘affect the very capacity of our planet to support people’, says Hoegh-Guldberg. …

    His answer to her blunt question was an informal ‘yes, probably, but it is not my place to say’.

    She then asks him about his motivation to work. He says he is by nature optimistic, enjoys his work, so he continues to work on his science.

  26. John, my understanding is that it’s happening too quickly for large systems we call coral reefs to move south.

  27. Sorry to break it up, but the blog is being nasty to me. I’ll say more on what Schellnhuber has said tomorrow.

  28. Brian: – “Even so the reaction he got from the scientific establishment and the media made him cautious. Not many institutions will employ people who cause controversy.

    James Hansen coined the term “The John Mercer Effect“, meaning scientists are wary of being characterized as alarmists, particularly because of the effect it may have on future funding. Scientists that downplay the dangers of climate change (or other threats to the status quo) tend to fare better when it comes to funding.

    It’s interesting to note that some ‘maverick’ scientists were warning of the dangers decades (plural) ago, and now it seems their words are now being vindicated.

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