Monthly Archives: June 2014

Climate change and peak oil : act now or else…

We speak about climate change a lot. But are we acting effectively ?

While scientists gather field data and run climate change simulations, time is running out. Our carbon budget is less than 900 GtCO2 (1 GtCO2 stands for one billion metric tons of carbon dioxyde). Past this threshold, chances are that anything that will happen will be far worse than what we can predict.

Problem is: we’ve already “spent” 600 out of those 900 GtCO2 ! At 20 GtCO2 per year, only 30 years to go…

But it won’t take that long to trash the climate, since CO2 emissions are not decreasing, but increasing fast instead.

Adverse consequences are already here: the average atmospheric CO2 level is beyond 400 ppm for the first time in human history. This trend towards higher carbon dioxyde concentrations in air wages several kinds of threats:

– the nutrient value of crops decreases, as shown in this study: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13179

– ocean level rise has sped up by over a factor two since 1990. In the long run, major worldwide damage to ecosystems from sea level rise is expected to become the major environmental crisis, worsening the currently ongoing reduction of biodiversity, freshwater resources and natural land.

The graph shows how sea levels will change for four different pathways for human development and greenhouse gas pollution. The green, yellow and orange lines correspond to scenarios where it takes 10, 30, or 70 years before emissions are stabilized. The red line can be considered to represent business as usual where greenhouse gas emissions are increasing over time.

Credits: http://takvera.blogspot.fr/2011/10/scientists-estimate-sea-level-rise-for.html

 

In the meantime, low lying land and islands will be destroyed (Kiribati, Marshall, Tuvalu, Tonga …). Pacific presidents all claim the party is over:
Incidentally, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has finally admitted to the reality of the peak oil. Dwindling oil extraction rate will soon end up in soaring oil prices :
Dependence on fossil fuels, initially a good bargain, is becoming a trap for people fighting to keep their independence from overwhelming oil and gas exporting superpowers.
Finally, the World Healh Organization (WHO) issued an alert on air pollution levels in 1600 cities, involving 7 million casualties each and every year:http://www.who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair/databases/en/

Let’s stop fossil fuels now ! 
By switching from fossil fuels to an optimal energy mix based upon affordable, clean carbon-free energy sources, including renewable and nuclear heat and electricity, we would at the same time:

– moderate and control energy costs
– create jobs everywhere
– improve air quality
– protect biodiversity, freshwater and other natural resources

– prevents conflicts and wars