Last chance!

The United Nations Climate Change Conference is having its 21st meeting in Paris towards the end of 2015. (Hence COP21 or conference of parties)

We’ve been told this is the ‘last effective opportunity’ to keep global warming to ‘a limit safe for humanity’.

However we are reassured by the fact there have been previous last chances, and this website predicts that COP21 will not be the last ‘last chance’.

Last chance! – Montreal, 2005

In an open letter to delegates at the Montreal environmental summit, beginning today, campaigner Mark Lynas explains why action on climate change can no longer be stalled.

“I’m scared. For 15 years I’ve watched international progress on climate change get slower and slower, even while the pace of global warming seems to get ever more rapid. With time running out for the global climate, your meeting in Montreal represents a last chance for action.”
The Independent, 28 Nov 2005

Last chance! – Bali, 2007

World leaders will converge on Bali today for the start of negotiations which experts say could be the last chance to save the Earth from catastrophic climate change. Bali could be the last chance to avoid the worst effect of global warming, said Tony Juniper, executive director of Friends of the Earth.
The New Zealand Herald, 3 Dec 2007

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Philip Clapp, head of the Washington-based National Environment Trust, says: “Fifteen years of international negotiations have not yet produced a comprehensive agreement that will get developed countries to begin serious reductions.”

He adds: “The framework for such an agreement must come out of the Bali meeting. The scientists are telling us that this is the world’s last shot at avoiding the worst consequences of global warming.”
The Independent, 2 Dec 2007

Last chance! – Poznan, Poland, 2008

The world will “suicide” if it cannot strike a strong climate pact soon, Australian environmental scientist Tim Flannery has warned. Professor Flannery, who is attending a UN climate summit in Poland, expressed dismay at the slow progress.

“Resistance is a suicidal tactic,” the former Australian of the year, scientist and author told reporters in Poland. “This round of negotiations is likely to be our last chance as a species to deal with the problem.”
The Age, 9 Dec 2008

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Humanity is approaching the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change, according to WWF’s analysis of the latest climate science.The warning comes during UN climate talks in Poznan, Poland.

“Governments in Poznan must agree to peak and decline global emissions well before 2020 to give people reasonable hope that global warming can still be kept within limits that prevent the worst,” said Kim Carstensen, leader of WWF’s global climate initiative.
WWF, “Poznan provides last chance to curb climate change” 5 Dec 2008

Last chance! – Copenhagen, 2009

The world faces a final opportunity to agree an adequate global response to climate change at a U.N.-led meeting in Copenhagen in December, the European Union’s environment chief said on Friday.

It is now 12 years since Kyoto was created. This makes Copenhagen the world’s last chance to stop climate change before it passes the point of no return, European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told a climate conference in Budapest on Friday.
Reuters, Feb 27 2009

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Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, has warned of “catastrophic consequences” unless a new international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions is reached.

Climate change is “simply the greatest collective challenge we face as a human family”, Mr Ban said in a speech on Monday in Seoul. He urged international leaders to reach a deal to limit their countries’ carbon emissions at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December.
The Telegraph, 10 Aug 2009

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“No one said the road to Copenhagen would be easy. But the agreement we all hope to reach in Copenhagen next year represents the last chance to bring climate change under control before it is too late. There is progress, but we need to step up the pace. With resolve, cooperation and imagination, we can conclude an agreement at the end of next year, delivering the ambitious global action that is needed.”
Speech by Stavros Dimas, European Commissioner responsible for environment at a Climate Change Conference, 31 October 2008, Prague
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The Copenhagen summit is the world’s last chance to save the planet from “catastrophic” global warming, according to a major study led by Lord Stern of Brentford, the country’s leading authority on climate change.

Without an international agreement to limit global warming, temperatures are likely to rise by 9F (5C) by the end of the century – triggering mass migration, warfare and world hunger, according to the report.
The Telegraph, 2 Dec 2009

Last chance! – Cancun, 2010

A sense of foreboding is one of the few points of general agreement among the 15,000 participants congregating for the next two weeks on this long thin strip of land, marooned between a wide lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. Jairem Ramesh, the Indian environment minister, sees it as the “last chance” for climate change talks to succeed; Connie Hedegaard, the EU’s climate chief, believes a disappointing outcome would “put the whole process in danger”.
The Telegraph (UK), 29 Nov 2010

Last chance! – Durban, 2011

Rev. Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit, who leads the World Council of Churches, says the upcoming climate conference in South Africa is mankind’s ‘last opportunity’ to address climate change. This week the World Council of Churches general secretary, Reverend Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, called the United Nations UNFCCC COP 17 meeting a “last opportunity for the international community to be responsible in addressing climate change”, and called on the meeting to “act now for climate justice.”
Spero News, 27 Nov 2011

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Durban climate change meeting is “the last chance”. Attended by over 200 countries, this week’s major UN conference has been described by many experts as humanity’s last chance to avert the disastrous effects of climate change.

Together with around 20 000 delegates from nearly 200 countries, Ferrial Adam, the climate change and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Africa, will be attending the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which gets under way in Durban in the next two weeks, towards negotiating a new climate regime.
UCANews, 28 Nov 2011

Last chance! – Doha, 2012

Tomorrow: the earth’s last chance with climate change? Tomorrow, the whole world talks about irreversible global warming as this year’s international climate change summit begins. Participating are 195 countries (almost all of the United Nations).

There are two concurrent meetings: the 8th Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol; and the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. They will take place from Monday, November 26, 2012 to Friday, December 7, 2012 at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar.
The Examiner, 25 Nov 2012

Last chance! – Warsaw, 2013

Is the Warsaw Climate Change Conference a last-chance summit? The Warsaw Climate Change Conference opened on Monday 11th November. After the 2012 failure of Doha, this summit could represent a turning point in the fight against global warming.

“Global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak this decade, and get to zero net emissions by the second half of this century,” announced Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC in a press release dated 8th November. “We have the money and technology, the knowledge and the new economic models to get the job done in time,” she confirmed before describing the next two years as “a critical period to act faster on climate.”
Sustainable Mobility, 14 Nov 2013

Last chance! – Lima, 2014

Last chance: Change needed for climate negotiations in Lima 2014. WWF issued the following statement today from Samantha Smith, Leader of WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative, as the UN climate talks drew to a conclusion:

“A repeat performance next year would be disastrous, not just for the progress of these negotiations, but more importantly for vulnerable communities everywhere and the natural world on which we all depend…By the time we get to next year’s meeting in Lima, we urgently need to have political will, real commitments, and a clear path to a comprehensive and fair agreement in Paris 2015, where a new global agreement on climate change has to be signed.”
WWF Global, 23 Nov 2013

Last chance! – Paris, 2015

Scientists are calling on world leaders to sign up to an eight-point plan of action at landmark talks in Paris. The key element is the goal to limit global warming to below 2C by moving to zero carbon emissions by 2050. The UN meeting in December is “the last chance” to avert dangerous climate change, according to the Earth League.
BBC News 22 Apr 2015

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for new category – last chance!

Arctic sea ice – 2008

Ice at the North Pole may disappear completely within the next few months for the first time in 20,000 years. “There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole – not water,” said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Colorado. “The Centre has been predicting that the Arctic Ocean could be virtually ice-free by 2012 but that point may be reached within months rather than years.”
The Telegraph, (UK) 27 Jun 2008

canstockphoto5170167

ice free planet

The world could be tracking towards irreversible climate change as warming takes place much quicker than previously thought, an Adelaide academic has warned. Climate change expert Barry Brook, of Adelaide University, told a Canberra conference — Imagining the Real Life on a Greenhouse Earth — atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were headed towards 600 parts a million, and forecast global temperature increases of up to six degrees.

Professor Brook said a global temperature increase of three degrees might result in the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, a four-degree increase would lead to the displacement of hundreds of million of people and the extinction of up to half the world’s species, and a five-degree increase would create an ice-free planet and sea-level increases of 80 metres.
The Age, 12 Jun 2008

Arctic sea ice – 2013

“For the record; I do not think that any sea ice will survive this summer. An event unprecedented in human history is today, this very moment, transpiring in the Arctic Ocean. The cracks in the sea ice that I reported on my Sierra Club Canada blog and elsewhere over the last several days have spread and at this moment the entire sea ice sheet (or about 99% of it) covering the Arctic Ocean is on the move. Clockwise. The ice is thin, and slushy, and breaking apart.”
Arctic News 18 Mar 2013 – Paul Beckwith, Sierra Club Canada, 23 Mar 2013

canstockphoto24747784

…and the solution is?

The importance of the speed and magnitude of recent population growth in boosting future greenhouse gas emissions is well recognized among scientists… Each birth results not only in the emissions attributable to that person in his or her lifetime, but also the emissions of all his or her descendents. Hence, the emissions savings from intended or planned birth multiply with time…

No human is genuinely “carbon neutral,” especially when all greenhouse gases are figured into the equation. Therefore, everyone is part of the problem, so everyone must be part of the solution in some way.
“Facing a Changing World: Women, Population and Climate,” UN Population Fund, 2009

Doomsday – 2012

“If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late,” said Rajendra Pachauri, a scientist and economist who heads the IPCC. “What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.” He said that since the IPCC began its work five years ago, scientists have recorded “much stronger trends in climate change,” such as a recent melting of polar ice that had not been predicted. “That means you better start with intervention much earlier.”
New York Times 17 Nov 2007

climate change as an imaginative idea

Rather than try to ‘solve’ climate change I suggest in Section 10.3 that we need to approach climate change as an imaginative idea, an idea that we develop and employ to fulfil a variety of tasks for us. Because the idea of climate change is so plastic it can be deployed across many of our human projects and can serve may of our psychological, ethical and spiritual needs This section offers four mobilising narratives to climate change; narratives rooted in our human instincts for nostalgia, fear, pride and justice.
Dr. Mike Hulme, Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity, Cambridge University Press, 2009, p. 341

Let them all out?

There is no population more captive to the effects of global warming than the incarcerated. A new study from Daniel W. E. Holt of the Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law explains over 144 pages what the climate-change toll truly is on the two-million-plus bodies caged in our prison system.

“The correctional sector may be alone in facing the prospect of viable constitutional litigation if it does not effectively adapt to the changing climate,” reads the report. The legal and fatal consequences of failing to adapt to climate change and overheating prisons are yet more rationale for reducing the incarcerated population, reads the report.
Mother Jones: Environment, 2 Oct 2015

thanks to David Mulberry

more snow

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Looking back at 65 years’ worth of statistics, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist David Phillips noted that since 1948, winter temperatures in the prairie regions have increased by an average of four degrees Celsius. Ironically, warmer weather can mean greater snowfall.

“As we warm up, we may see more moisture, we may see more moist air masses, and therefore we could very well see more snow rather than less snow, because the air masses are going to be more moist and so therefore you’re going to be able to wring out more snow than you would be if it was dry air,” Phillips said.
Prince Albert Daily Herald, 29 Jan 2013

less snow

Under climate change scenarios and current snowmaking technology, the average ski season at the case study ski area in Canada (Lakelands tourism region) was projected to reduce by 0-16% in the 2020s, 7-32% in the 2050s and 11-50% in the 2080s. Without snowmaking the season would decline substantially by 37 – 57% in the 2050s.
5th World Conference on Sport and Environment, Turin 2-3 December 2003 (IOC/UNEP) Rolf Bürki, Hans Elsasser, Bruno Abegg
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The incredible shrinking butterfly!

It has often been demonstrated that the ongoing rapid climate change in the Arctic region is causing substantial change to Arctic ecosystems. Now Danish researchers demonstrate that a warmer Greenland could be bad for its butterflies, becoming smaller under warmer summers.

“Our studies show that males and females follow the same pattern and it is similar in two different species, which suggests that climate plays an important role in determining the body size of butterflies in Northeast Greenland,” says senior scientist Toke T. Hoye, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Aarhus University.
Science Daily, 7 Oct 2015

thanks to David Mulberry

Doomsday – 2016

Dismissing the possibility of a Republican win in November,(former Senator) Wirth called a second Obama administration term “the last window of opportunity” to enact policies that can avert a catastrophic rise in global temperatures. “It’s the last chance we have to get anything approaching 2 degrees Centigrade,” he said. “If we don’t do it now, we are committing the world to a drastically different place.”
Climate progress, 23 Dec 2011

Doomsday – 2012

Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama’s first administration, he added.
The Guardian, 18 Jan 2009

see also – Doomsday

This means……

Combating climate change should be seen as a “war” that must be won for the sake of future generations, the Prince of Wales said as he received his Global Environmental Citizen award last night. “We should see this as a war we simply have to win. Our successors will pay dearly for our inaction and we surely owe it to them to take urgent steps now.”
The Telegraph, 12 Apr 2008

Hopeful news at last – the U.N. is becoming irrelevant!

After another U.N. climate conference gave only modest results, European Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard says the process needs to provide a “substantial answer” to global warming in two years to remain relevant. I think that it has to deliver a substantial answer to climate change in 2015, Hedegaard said. “If it fails to do so, then I think this critical question will be asked by many more.”
USAToday, 24 Nov 2013

Arctic sea ice – 2019

The Arctic ice cap has melted so much that open water is now just 560km from the North Pole, the shortest distance recorded, ­according to scientists. Satellite observations last week from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre coincide with a prediction by a leading polar researcher that the summer ice cap is likely to disappear within five years, possibly even next year.

“The Arctic ice cap is in a death spiral,” said Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University. He has just returned from a research voyage in which the thickness of Arctic sea ice was measured by sending a mini-submarine under the floes.
The Australian, Arctic ice cap in ‘death spiral’, 22 Sep 2014

too many black sheep in the family

Scientists have discovered milder winters are turning the dark coats of Soay sheep on Hirta in the St Kilda archipelago lighter. Dr Maloney, of the University of Western Australia, said: “Our finding that the proportion of dark-coloured Soay sheep decreased over the past 20 years as ambient temperature increased could be interpreted in several ways, the most parsimonious being that dark colouration has provided an energetic advantage in winter that is being attenuated in a warming climate.
The Telegraph, 22/7/09

sudden sea level rise needed!

In an email exchange, I asked Dr. Somerville what he thought was needed in order to spark the changes the letter seeks.

He responded, “I think a dramatic shocking surprising climate event that is unambiguously due to global warming may be the only thing that motivates people and governments. Maybe a big chunk of ice sheet destabilizing and producing a significant sudden sea level rise. Unfortunately, then it may be too late, because it’s essentially irreversible; you can’t cool the world enough to make the ice re-form quickly.”
Richard C.J.Sommerville, a climatologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography near San Diego, New York Times, 9 Jan 2008

prepare to meet thy doom!

The Hawaii team, led by biologist and geographer Camilo Mora, took an alternate approach—they assumed, in the absence of a global mitigation agreement, greenhouse gas levels will keep rising at a steady rate, and used climate models to track how long it would take for weather events that are currently thought of as extreme to become typical.

“The results shocked us. Regardless of the scenario, changes will be coming soon,” Mora said in a press statement. “Within my generation, whatever climate we were used to will be a thing of the past.” For all locations on Earth, the average year of departure is 2047, but for some places concentrated in the tropics, that date will come much sooner, in the 2030?s, or in some extreme cases, the 2020?s.

In just a few decades, in other words, the coldest day you experience in January will be hotter than the warmest days your parents had in January—and the hottest day you get in July (in the Northern hemisphere) will simply be hotter than any day anyone has ever felt in your city to date.
Smithsonian.com 9 Oct 2013

invasion – shell-crushing king crabs

King crabs may soon become high-level predators in Antarctic marine ecosystems where they haven’t played a role in tens of millions of years, according to a new study led by Florida Institute of Technology.

Lead author Richard Aronson, professor and head of Florida Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences, said the rising temperature of the ocean west of the Antarctic Peninsula — one of the most rapidly warming places on the planet — should make it possible for king crab populations to move to the shallow continental shelf from their current deep-sea habitat within the next several decades.

“Because other creatures on the continental shelf have evolved without shell-crushing predators, if the crabs moved in they could radically restructure the ecosystem,” Aronson said.
Science Daily, 28 Sep 2015

thanks to ddh

Comment – new category – “in their own words”

The time when global warming / climate change was a purely scientific question has long since passed.

Calls for criminal sanctions on people who hold a different scientific opinion are as clear an indication as any that we are no longer in the realm of the objective search for scientific truth.

In this light we’ve created a new category – “in their own words”.

For those who wish to place the quotes in context then as far as is possible we will provide either a link to or details of the original source.

the only hope?

“What if a small group of these world leaders were to conclude that the principle risk to the Earth comes from the actions of the rich countries and in order to save the planet this group decided, ‘Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsiblity to bring that about?’”
Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme in a 1990 interview about a book he’d like to write – Environmentalism: Ideology and Power, Donald Gibson, Nova Science Publishers,Inc, 15 May 2012, p95

Doomsday – 2030

More than 100 million people will die and global economic growth will be cut by 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments said on Wednesday.

As global average temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the planet, such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels, will threaten populations and livelihoods, said the report conducted by humanitarian organisation DARA.
Reuters, 25 Sep 2012

shake-up call

New research compiled by Australian scientist Dr. Tom Chalko shows that global seismic activity on Earth is now five times more energetic than it was just 20 years ago. The research proves that destructive ability of earthquakes increases alarmingly fast and that this trend is set to continue, unless the problem of “global warming” is comprehensively and urgently addressed. “Consequences for inaction can only be catastrophic. There is no time for half-measures.”
CBS News, 18 Jun 2008

too many people

When it comes to climate change population matters, particularly for countries in South Asia, Africa and some Arab countries, says Prof. Khalid Rashid. A mathematician and physicist in Pakistan, he has long been studying the phenomenon of global warming and views the uncontrolled population explosion with much trepidation.

“Deep down human population is the main cause. If the world population would stay around 100 million, this population could afford an energy-intensive, yet sustainable, lifestyle. The effect on the planet would be small,” says Prof. Rashid.Inter Press Service, 31 Jul 2007

Doomsday – 2200

The 14 scientists, all experts in their fields of climate research, were asked about the probability of a tipping point being reached some time before 2200 if global warming continued on the course of the worst-case scenarios predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Nine of the fourteen scientists said that the chances of a tipping point for the high scenario were greater than 90 per cent, with only one saying that the chances were less than 50:50. At current rates of CO2 emissions, the world is on course for following the higher trajectory on global warming suggested by the IPCC.

The survey, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was carried out by a team led by Granger Morgan of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to try to assess the level of consensus among climate scientists over some of the uncertainties about future predictions.The Independent, 28 Jun 2010

eco-dictatorship

Jorgen Randers was a fresh-faced PhD student in physics at MIT when he co-wrote The Limits to Growth, the short but seminal work for the Club of Rome on resource depletion, spawning the sustainability movement.

In 40 ”deeply demotivating years” in academia, the professor of climate strategy at the Norwegian business school has lived every failed phase of the effort to inspire action to head off climate change and resource depletion.

Professor Randers supports ”eco-dictatorship” in the form of a global executive body with the authority to tell nations how much greenhouse gas they are permitted to emit.Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Nov 2012

Doomsday – 2010

“During Earth Hour 2008, we created community. Not just a virtual community but a real sense of how many people behind curtains in homes for blocks around felt the same. That community needs to make a commitment this Earth Hour to deeper resolve and action. The countdown to reverse dangerous trends has begun. Before Earth Hour 2010, one year from now, we must have turned the corner. Time is not on our side.”
Elizabeth E. May, O.C., is leader of the Greens in Canada. The Star 24 Mar 2009

They’re invading!…but then again maybe not

Ancient viruses have been lying dormant in Siberian permafrost for centuries. But global warming is about to change that. Scientists have made another massive discovery of ancient (and giant) viruses hidden dormant in the permafrost. As the planet warms, finding these things—and waking them—is going to become more commonplace.

….. the distant possibility does exist, and as more and more polar thawing occurs, our statistical chance of finding something will grow. But Dr. James Van Etten, a professor at University of Nebraska-Lincoln thinks that a viral outbreak is a worry you can put out of your head. “Certainly,” he says, “I would not lose any sleep over this issue.” The Daily Beast, 27 Sep 2015

thanks to ddh

it’s all in the mind

This week 2,500 of the world’s leading environmental scientists warned politicians of the drastic global warming which will result if governments fail to reduce greenhouse gases. Scientists have warned that the early arrival of Spring may lift people’s spirits but can also trigger migraines. A study has shown temperature rises increase the number of people requiring hospital treatment for debilitating headaches.
The Telegraph (UK), 14 Mar 2009