worse than we thought – greenhouse gas levels!

Conservation scientist and Australian of the Year Tim Flannery has warned that huge industrial and economic changes need to be implemented quickly to slow the growth of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Speaking on the ABC’s Lateline program, Professor Flannery has revealed the contents of a crucial Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which will be released in November.

He says the report shows that greenhouse gas levels are at levels far higher than has ever been publicly admitted before.

yourdemocracy.net.au, 15 Nov 2007

Arctic Sea ice – 2022

Prof Flannery said the clearest example of the IPCC’s conservatism was its prediction the Arctic ice cap could disappear in summers by 2100.

“The actual trajectory we’ve seen in the Arctic over the last two years, if you follow that, that implies that the the Arctic ice cap will be gone in the next five to 15 years. This is an ice cap that’s been around for the last three million years,”” he said.

“Those predictions tell you a little bit about the conservatism of the IPCC, how rapidly the science is moving and how rapidly events in the real world are moving, far in advance I think of even the most sombre warnings by scientists working in this area.”

Sydney Morning Herald, Temperature predictions conservative: Flannery, 2 Feb 2007

truly catastrophic!

UN predictions of a rise in global temperatures would be a disaster for all life on earth, resulting in widespread extinction of many species, Australian of the Year Tim Flannery says.

The respected scientist said the UN’s prediction of a three degree Celsius temperature rise was conservative and in fact could be double that figure resulting in “truly catastrophic” conditions for all life on earth.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) releases its report in Paris tonight, with its strongest warning yet that human activities are causing global warming that may bring more drought, heatwaves and rising seas.

Professor Flannery said the UN climate report’s predictions on the consequences of global warming are “middle of the road” but will still provide a useful benchmark for the world to tackle climate change.

Sydney Morning Herald, 2 Feb 2007

see also – just plain scary

worse than we thought – heatwaves in Australia!

The government has been urged to better articulate the dangers of climate change after a report that shows the frequency of heatwaves in parts of Australia has already surpassed levels previously predicted for 2030.

The Climate Council report highlights that Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra all experienced a higher average number of hot days between 2000 and 2009 than was expected to occur by 2030. Tim Flannery, of the Climate Council, told Guardian Australia that heatwaves were the “most dangerous natural hazards in Australia”.

“They kill hundreds of people and the fact they are accelerating beyond the predicted trends is a concern,” he said.

“Heatwaves are coming earlier, they are lasting longer and they are hotter. They build up for days and before you know it, elderly people, infants and the homeless are in danger.”

The Guardian, 18 Feb 2014

see also new category – the tendency for news stories about climate change to be not only bad news but “worse than we thought”

climate change reaches cut off point!

At the remote camp of Sarara, north of Nairobi, I asked village elders about the drought…That evening I learnt a most remarkable consequence of the drought. The Samburu circumcise their youths in grand ceremonies which are held every seven years or so, when enough cattle and other foods have accumulated to support such celebrations.

Circumcision represents transition to manhood, until a youth has passed it he can’t marry. But it’s been 14 years since a circumcision ceremony has been held here. There are now 40,000 uncircumcised young men, some in their late 20’s waiting for their turn. All the eligible young women, tired of waiting, have married older men (multiple wives are allowed), so there are no wives for the new initiates.

I could never have imagined that climate change would have such an effect on an entire society. On reflection though, cultures such as the Samburu are intimately linked to their environment, so as these pressures increase it becomes more difficult to maintain long-held traditions.

Tim Flannery, The Age (Australia) 3 Nov 2007 – screen copy held by this website

physician, heal thyself!

“The truth can be terrifying, so terrifying that often we prefer avoidance or lies. So it is with the reality of climate change. Like a diagnosis of terminal cancer, how I wish it wasn’t so. If only we could go on and on, with the dream of endless abundance and growing prosperity.”

“The problems of disease, poverty, and even war, seem dwarfed and solvable, compared to global warming. I am a psychologist, trained to help others with anxiety, depression, and despair, but I too wrestle with these demons. I have worried about the past and the ills that may befall my loved ones. Worries and doubts have kept me awake at night, and reduced my enjoyment of life.”

“I first realised how we were careening towards our doom nine years ago. I read The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery and viewed Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I felt traumatised.”

Lyn Bender, a Melbourne psychologist, Eureka Street, 2 Mar 2014

We’re all doomed!

In a world of celebrity filled with sportsmen and actors, Tim Flannery is a rare breed indeed; a celebrity scientist, explorer and writer dubbed the “Indiana Jones of science”.

“We were sliding into a crisis, without anyone knowing. It’s a dire situation which could lead to the collapse of our global civilisation. If we don’t get on top of the problem this decade, we won’t.”

Although he says his book has been well-received by the Australian public, he is disappointed at the lack of political action. “There’s a moral paralysis in both parties,” Flannery says, in typically outspoken fashion. “In the absence of legislative change, we’re doomed.”
The Sydney Morning Herald 24 May 2006 (Tim Flannery was Australia’s first (and last) Climate Commissioner)

over the top

Australia needs a new “industrial revolution” to come up with an effective strategy against global warming, the Australian of the Year, Tim Flannery, will tell one of the country’s largest unions this week.

He will tell members of the Autralian Workers Union that climate change has occurred so quickly that the Government needs to think of it as like going to war.

While stopping short of endorsing either party, Professor Falannery’s speech tomorrow says: “We need a government willing to truly lead on the issue, one willing to get on a war footing, and willing to dip into our surplus to help fund a new industrial revolution that will give Australia’s industry and environment a new lease of life.”
Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Feb 2007 – screen copy held by this website

Doomsday – 2029

“One problem facing humanity is now so urgent that, unless it is resolved in the next two decades, it will destroy our global civilization: the climate crisis.”
Now or Never: Why We Must Act Now to End Climate Change and Create a Sustainable Future, by Tim Flannery (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2009), p. 14

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

to someone with purple-tinted glasses, everything looks purple

The local inhabitants along the river Dyak had a lot to say about climate change….Raimie, our wildlfe guide has also noticed that the heat arrives earlier in the dry season and that the season lasts longer.

One of the consequences of this shift is a greater prevalence of fire, and Raimie mentioned that a year earlier, in neighbouring Kalimantan, 1000 orang-utans burned to death — a significant proportion of the world’s population.

Such catastrophes are reported occasionally in the media but the link with climate change is almost never made.
The Age, 3 Nov 2007, “Seasons of change” an edited extract from An Explorer’s Notebook by Tim Flannery

edge of abyss

Mankind is at the edge of an abyss, its very survival dependent on urgent action, warns Tim Flannery. The hurricanes devastating the American coast are the wake-up call the world needs. Do nothing about climate change, and the collapse of civilisation is “inevitable”, according to Dr Tim Flannery.

Do too little, the Australian scientist says, and society will “hover on the brink for decades or centuries”. Action needs to be taken now to slow global warming, says Flannery, the director of the South Australian Museum. The delay of even a decade is far too much, he says.Sydney Morning Herald, 24 Sep 2005

more dam statistics

Climate change is working against Sydney. “There’s only two years supply in Warragamba Dam”, says Professor Tim Flannery, “yet Frank Sartor [NSW Minister for Energy and Utilities] is talking about the situation being stable….If the computer models are right then drought conditions will become permanent in eastern Australia.”Sydney Morning Herald, Running Out Of Water And Time, 25 Apr 2005

(admin note: Warragamba dam was 93% full at 22 Jul 2015)

dam statistics

“Over the past 50 years southern Australia has lost about 20 percent of its rainfall and one cause is almost certainly global warming. Similar losses have been experienced in eastern Australia and although the science is less certain it is probable that global warming is behind these losses too.

But by far the most dangerous trend is the declines in the flow of Australian rivers; it has fallen by around 70 percent in recent decades, so dams no longer fill even when it does rain. Growing evidence suggests that hotter soils caused directly by global warming have increased evaporation and transpiration and that the change is permanent.

I believe the first thing Australians need to do is to stop worrying about “the drought” – which is transient – and start talking about the new climate.”
Tim Flannery, New Scientist, 16 Jun 2007
(admin note: at July 2015 Australian dams are 68 to 97% full, apart from Perth and Adelaide)

now that’s “Sky Blue Thinking”!

Professor Flannery says climate change is happening so quickly that mankind may need to pump sulphur into the atmosphere to survive. The gas sulphur could be inserted into the earth’s stratosphere to keep out the sun’s rays and slow global warming, a process called global dimming.

“It would change the colour of the sky,” Professor Flannery said. “It’s the last resort that we have, it’s the last barrier to a climate collapse.” The gas sulphur could be inserted into the earth’s stratosphere to keep out the sun’s rays and slow global warming, a process called global dimming.

Sydney Morning Herald, 19 May 2008

charcoal on ebay

As well as a global dimming plan, Professor Flannery said carbon should be taken out of the air and converted into charcoal, then ploughed into farmers’ fields. Wealthy people should pay poor farmers in tropical zones to plant forests – possibly through a direct purchase scheme such as the eBay website.

And all conventional coal-fired power stations – which did not have “clean coal” technology – should be closed by 2030.
Sydney Morning Herald, 19 May 2008

no brides for brothers

“That evening I learnt of a most remarkable consequence of the drought. The Samburu circumcise their youths in grand ceremonies, which are held every seven years or so, when enough cattle and other foods have accumulated to support such celebrations. Circumcision represents a transition to manhood, and until a youth has passed it he can’t marry.

“But it’s been 14 years since a circumcision ceremony has been held here. There are now 40,000 uncircumcised young men, some in their late 20s, waiting their turn. All of the eligible young women, tired of waiting, have married older men (multiple wives are allowed), so there are no wives for the new initiates.

“I could never have imagined that climate change would have such an effect on an entire society.”

The Age, 2 Nov 2007, re Professor Tim Flannery, An Explorers Notebook

speak for yourself, thank you

Australia’s Climate Commissioner, Professor Tim Flannery, believes we must move towards a global ant’s nest, regulated by a global intelligence, and sharing all resources equally. In this world there will be no room for individual choice, individuals will have their specialised roles defined and limited and world population will be massively reduced.
interview 2011- link – – see also BBC News article

thanks to mervyn

more rain

Climate change ”cannot be ruled out” as a factor in recent heavy rainfalls, such as the flash flooding in Sydney on March 8, the wettest March day for more than 25 years, a report by the federal government’s Climate Commission says. The chief commissioner, Tim Flannery, said NSW was highly vulnerable to climate change.
Sydney Morning Herald, Environment, 14 May 2012
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thanks to Firey

2029

Tim Flannery, the well-known Australian environmentalist, was on CBC Radio the other day to issue more alarms about global warming. “It’s now or never,” he said. “We have about 20 years to address climate change or else our entire future is in jeopardy.” He painted an apocalyptic picture of drought, flooding, famine and war.
The Globe and Mail, Oct. 14 2009.

2054

The next 50 years offer Sydney the last chance to avoid catastrophic climate change that would devastate south-eastern Australia, the scientist Tim Flannery has warned. Speaking last night at the State Government’s Sydney Futures forum, Dr Flannery warned of a city grappling with up to 60 per cent less water. As temperatures around the world warmed by 2 to 7 per cent Sydney could glimpse its future by looking at the devastating impact that global warming had already had on Perth, which he said was likely to become a “ghost metropolis”.
Sydney Morning Herald 19 May 2004