Fifty Seven Reasons To Save Earth Now.
After reading The August 5, 2018 NYTimes magazine over the past two weeks, and camping in Harriman State Park, the sense of urgency and obligation has become stronger. So much must be done now, as stories of extreme weather dominates all news streams. Please read this and commit to ensure the future. We owe this to our grandchildren, No generation has had so much responsibility. This challenge is immense, and you may feel small. You may have been isolated from the truths, many of which are here. Every night we seen another truth in the form of a super storm, a new weather record, a species die off, or rising sea levels. Much is hidden by our preoccupation with daily survival, and consumption of goods and services and small screen obsessions which keep heads town instead of looking ahead. Now is the time to be carbon negative. Work with me and others, because complicit silence in not an option in 2019.
The first suggestion to Rafe Pomerance that humankind was destroying the conditions necessary for its own survival came on Page 66 of the publication Environmental Assessment of Coal Liquefacation: Annual Report (1978) EPA-600778019. It was a technical report about coal, bound in a coal-black cover with beige lettering that predicted “continued use of fossil fuels as a primary energy source for more than 20-30 years could lead to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Th green house effect, associate global temperature increase and resulting climate change could, according to NAS could be both significant and damaging”
Now is the decade to force Big Business from destroying our children’s future. Warning: Reading this NY Times magazine will disturb your sense of the world.
Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state. Risks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. This would lead to higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the last 12,500 years (Holocene). If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies.
The Primary Directive of Earthlobbyist is to meet people who deny climate change so we can talk with them about their beliefs, where they live and vote, which can be accomplished only by physical travel. An Earthlobbyist will visit public meetings, coffee-shop, beauty salon, diner, bar, house of worship, sports event or school and just talk with people. For this I seek sponsorship and others who will join me making this same commitment
Reason 1 of 57.
More carbon has been released into the atmosphere since the final day of the Noordwijk conference, Nov. 7, 1989, than in the entire history of civilization preceding it. In 1990, humankind burned more than 20 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. By 2017, the figure had risen to 32.5 billion metric tons, a record. Despite every action taken since the Charney report — the billions of dollars invested in research, the nonbinding treaties, the investments in renewable energy — the only number that counts, the total quantity of global greenhouse gas emitted per year, has continued its inexorable rise. (NYT Mag;8.5.18;pg64)
The world has warmed more than one degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. The Paris climate agreement — the nonbinding, unenforceable and already unheeded treaty signed on Earth Day in 2016 — hoped to restrict warming to two degrees. The odds of succeeding, according to a recent study based on current emissions trends, are one in 20. If by some miracle we are able to limit warming to two degrees, we will only have to negotiate the extinction of the world’s tropical reefs, sea-level rise of several meters and the abandonment of the Persian Gulf. (NYT Mag;8.5.18;Pg.9)
The inaugural chapter of the climate-change saga is over. In that chapter — call it Apprehension — we identified the threat and its consequences. We spoke, with increasing urgency and self-delusion, of the prospect of triumphing against long odds. But we did not seriously consider the prospect of failure. We understood what failure would mean for global temperatures, coastlines, agricultural yield, immigration patterns, the world economy. But we have not allowed ourselves to comprehend what failure might mean for us. How will it change the way we see ourselves, how we remember the past, how we imagine the future? Why did we do this to ourselves? (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.9)
Spring 1979 – The first suggestion to Rafe Pomerance, the first #earthlobbyist, that humankind was destroying the conditions necessary for its own survival came on Page 66 of the government publication EPA-600/7-78-019. It was a technical report about coal, bound in a coal-black cover with beige lettering. See it here. 600778019 will be found at ( NYT Mag;8.5.18;pg.11)
Some Arctic Ground No Longer Freezing—Even in Winter. New data from two Arctic sites suggest some surface layers are no longer freezing. If that continues, greenhouse gases from permafrost could accelerate climate change. Even in late spring, ground below the surface should be frozen solid. and has stayed frozen for millennia. Methane is a strong greenhouse gas that’s 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
During the spring of 1977 and the summer of 1978, the Jasons Group met to determine what would happen once the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubled from pre-Industrial Revolution levels. It was an arbitrary milestone, the doubling, but a useful one, as its inevitability was not in question; the threshold would most likely be breached by 2035. ( NYT Mag;8.5.18;pg. 11)
(Spring1979) The Jasons’ report to the Department of Energy, “The Long-Term Impact of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Climate,” was written in an understated tone that only enhanced its nightmarish findings: Even a minimal warming “could lead to rapid melting” of the West Antarctic ice sheet. The ice sheet contained enough water to raise the level of the oceans 16 feet. Global temperatures would increase by an average of two to three degrees Celsius; Dust Bowl conditions would “threaten large areas of North America, Asia and Africa”; access to drinking water and agricultural production would fall, triggering mass migration on an unprecedented scale.
Spring1979- The Jasons sent the report to dozens of scientists in the United States and abroad; to industry groups like the National Coal Association and the Electric Power Research Institute; and within the government, to the National Academy of Sciences, the Commerce Department, the E.P.A., NASA, the Pentagon, the N.S.A., every branch of the military, the National Security Council and the White House.
Spring1979 – MacDonald’s history concluded with Roger Revelle, perhaps the most distinguished of the priestly caste of government scientists who, since the Manhattan Project, advised every president on major policy; he had been a close colleague of MacDonald and Press since they served together under Kennedy. In a 1957 paper written with Hans Suess, Revelle concluded that “human beings are now carrying out a large-scale geophysical experiment of a kind that could not have happened in the past nor be reproduced in the future.” Revelle helped the Weather Bureau establish a continuous measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide at a site perched near the summit of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii, 11,500 feet above the sea. ( NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.14) l
Spring1979 – In 1974, the C.I.A. issued a classified report on the carbon-dioxide problem. It concluded that climate change had begun around 1960 and had “already caused major economic problems throughout the world.” The future economic and political impacts would be “almost beyond comprehension.” Yet emissions continued to rise, and at this rate, MacDonald warned, they could see a snowless New England, the swamping of major coastal cities, as much as a 40 percent decline in national wheat production, the forced migration of about one-quarter of the world’s population. Not within centuries — within their own lifetimes. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.14)
Spring1979 – Scientists at the highest levels of government had known about the dangers of fossil-fuel combustion for decades. Yet they had produced little besides journal articles, academic symposiums, technical reports. Nor had any politician, journalist or activist championed the issue. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.16)
Spring 1979 – Hansen turned from the moon to Venus. Why, he tried to determine, was its surface so hot? In 1967, a Soviet satellite beamed back the answer: The planet’s atmosphere was mainly carbon dioxide. Though once it may have had habitable temperatures, it was believed to have succumbed to a runaway greenhouse effect: As the sun grew brighter, Venus’s ocean began to evaporate, thickening the atmosphere, which forced yet greater evaporation — a self-perpetuating cycle that finally boiled off the ocean entirely and heated the planet’s surface to more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit. At the other extreme, Mars’s thin atmosphere had insufficient carbon dioxide to trap much heat at all, leaving it about 900 degrees colder. Earth lay in the middle, its Goldilocks greenhouse effect just strong enough to support life. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.16)
Summer 1979 – The difference between the two predictions — between warming of two degrees Celsius and four degrees Celsius — was the difference between damaged coral reefs and no reefs whatsoever, between thinning forests and forests enveloped by desert, between catastrophe and chaos. The publication of Jule Charney’s report, “Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment,” several months later was not accompanied by a banquet, a parade or even a news conference. Yet within the highest levels of the federal government, the scientific community and the oil-and-gas industry — within the commonwealth of people who had begun to concern themselves with the future habitability of the planet — the Charney report would come to have the authority of settled fact. ( NYT Mag;8.5.18; g.20)
Summer 1979 – When the doubling threshold was broached, as appeared inevitable, the world would warm three degrees Celsius. The last time the world was three degrees warmer was during the Pliocene, three million years ago, when beech trees grew in Antarctica, the seas were 80 feet higher and horses galloped across the Canadian coast of the Arctic Ocean. Three degrees would be nightmarish, and unless carbon emissions ceased suddenly, three degrees would be only the beginning. The real question was whether the warming trend could be reversed. Was there time to act? (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.20)
Summer 1979 – Before it changed its name to Exxon. In 1957, scientists from Humble Oil published a study tracking “the enormous quantity of carbon dioxide” contributed to the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution “from the combustion of fossil fuels.” (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.20)
Summer 1979 – Another A.P.I. study conducted by the Stanford Research Institute a decade later, in 1968, which concluded that the burning of fossil fuels would bring “significant temperature changes” by the year 2000 and ultimately “serious worldwide environmental changes,” including the melting of the Antarctic ice cap and rising seas. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.20)
Summer 1979 – Why take on an intractable problem that would not be detected until this generation of employees was safely retired? Worse, the solutions seemed more punitive than the problem itself. Historically, energy use had correlated to economic growth — the more fossil fuels we burned, the better our lives became. Why mess with that? (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.21)
October 1980 – The stakes couldn’t be higher: A failure to recommend policy would be the same as endorsing the present policy. Silence is complicit agreement (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.24)
October 1980 – “We have less time than we realize”, said an M.I.T. nuclear engineer named David Rose, who studied how civilizations responded to large technological crises. “People leave their problems until the 11th hour, the 59th minute,” he said. “And then: ‘Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?’ ” — “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.24)
October 1980 – The only way to avoid the worst was to stop burning coal. Yet China, the Soviet Union and the United States, by far the world’s three largest coal producers, were frantically accelerating extraction. Beyond the conference room, few Americans realized that the planet would soon cease to resemble itself. ( NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.24)
Nov1980-Sep1981 – After the 1980 election, Reagan considered plans to close the Energy Department, increase coal production on federal land and deregulate surface coal mining. Once in office, he appointed James Watt, the president of a legal firm that fought to open public lands to mining and drilling, to run the Interior Department. “We’re deliriously happy,” the president of the National Coal Association was reported to have said. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.26)
Nov1980-Sep1981 – Ronald Reagan appeared determined to reverse the environmental achievements of Jimmy Carter, before undoing those of R.Nixon, L.B.Johnson, J.F. Kennedy and, if he could, T. Roosevelt. Reagan’s violence to environmental regulations alarmed even members of his own party. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.26)
Nov1980-Sep1981 – Jule Charney’s “Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment,” conclusions were confirmed by major studies from the Aspen Institute, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis near Vienna and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Every month or so, nationally syndicated articles appeared summoning apocalypse: “Another Warning on ‘Greenhouse Effect,’ ” “Global Warming Trend ‘Beyond Human Experience,’ ” “Warming Trend Could ‘Pit Nation Against Nation.’ ( NYT Mag;8.5.18; Pg.27)
Aug. 22, 1981- The New York Times reported a forthcoming paper in Science “Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide” by James Hansen and six NASA scientists who found that the world had already warmed in the past century. Temperatures hadn’t increased beyond the range of historical averages, but the scientists predicted that the warming signal would emerge from the noise of routine weather fluctuations much sooner than previously expected. Most unusual of all, the paper ended with a policy recommendation: In the coming decades, the authors wrote, humankind should develop alternative sources of energy and use fossil fuels only “as necessary.” (pg NYT Mag;8.5.18; .27) . Science 28 Aug 1981: Vol. 213, Issue 4511, pp. 957-966
March 1982 – Harvard Professor Roger Revelle explained humankind was on the brink of radically transforming the global atmosphere, drawing Keeling’s rising zigzag on the blackboard, and risked bringing about the collapse of civilization. ( NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.30)
March 1982 – “If we don’t do something, we’re all going to be the victims. Albert Gore said. He didn’t say: If we don’t do something, we’ll be the villains too. ( NYT Mag;8.5.18; g.30)
March 1982 – The science was certain enough. Melvin Calvin, a Berkeley chemist who won the Nobel Prize for his work on the carbon cycle, said that it was useless to wait for stronger evidence of warming. “You cannot do a thing about it when the signals are so big that they come out of the noise,” he said. “You have to look for early warning signs.” (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.32)
1983 thru1984 – After the publication of the Charney report in 1979, Jimmy Carter had directed the National Academy of Sciences to prepare a comprehensive, $1 million analysis of the carbon-dioxide problem: a Warren Commission for the greenhouse effect. On Oct. 19, 1983, the commission finally announced its findings. a 500-page report, “Changing Climate.” It’s scope was impressive: It was the first study to encompass the causes, effects and geopolitical consequences of climate change. “We are deeply concerned about environmental changes of this magnitude,” read the executive summary. “We may get into trouble in ways that we have barely imagined.” William Nierenberg — a Jason, presidential adviser and director of Scripps, the nation’s pre-eminent oceanographic institution — argued that action had to be taken immediately, before all the details could be known with certainty, or else it would be too late. (Pg.34)
1983 – 1984, Rafe Pomerance believed the insubstantiality of- climate change made it difficult to rally the older activists, whose strategic model relied on protests at sites of horrific degradation like Love Canal, Hetch Hetchy & Three Mile Island. How did you protest when the toxic waste dump was the entire planet or, worse, its invisible atmosphere? Rafe was staring down the world’s largest problem while everyone else was distracted by the minutiae of daily life. (NYT Mag;8.5.18;Pg.38)
1985- The ozone crisis had its signal, which was also a symbol: a hole. But nobody was worried about CFCs because of their warming potential. They were worried about getting skin cancer. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.38)
Humanity lacks a collective mind to care for humanity, since people care about themselves and those closest with the most personal effect. #earthcancer
The speed of the ozone healing was the more remarkable because CFC regulation faced virulent opposition. Dozens of American businesses with the word “refrigeration” in their names, together with hundreds involved in the production, manufacture and consumption of chemicals, plastics, paper goods and frozen food — around 500 companies in total, from DuPont and the American Petroleum Institute to Mrs. Smith’s Frozen Food Company of Pottstown, Pa. — had united in 1980 as the Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy. The alliance hounded the E.P.A., members of Congress and Reagan himself, insisting that ozone science was uncertain. Over a year later DuPont, by far the world’s single largest manufacturer of CFCs, realized that it stood to profit from the transition to replacement chemicals, the alliance abruptly reversed its position, demanding that the United States sign a treaty as soon as possible.( NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.43)
1985- But in 1985, just several months after the bad news from the Antarctic, at an otherwise sleepy meeting in Villach, Austria, the assembled 89 scientists from 29 countries began to discuss a subject that fell wildly outside their discipline: politics. The formal report ratified at Villach contained the most forceful warnings yet issued by a scientific body. Most major economic decisions undertaken by nations, it pointed out, were based on the assumption that past climate conditions were a reliable guide to the future. But the future would not look like the past. Though some warming was inevitable, the scientists wrote, the extent of the disaster could be “profoundly affected” by aggressive, coordinated government policies. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; Pg.39)
1986, Curtis Moore, a Republican staff member on the Committee on Environment and Public Works, was telling Rafe Pomerance that the greenhouse effect wasn’t a problem. But it wasn’t a political problem. Know how you could tell? Political problems had solutions. And the climate issue had none. Without a solution — an obvious, attainable one — any policy could only fail. No elected politician desired to come within shouting distance of failure. Pomerance had become the nation’s first, and only, full-time global-warming lobbyist. ( NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.39)
1986 – Pomerance met with Senator John Chafee, a Republican from Rhode Island, to hold a double-barreled hearing on the twin problems of ozone and carbon dioxide on June 10 and 11, 1986. F.Sherwood Rowland, Robert Watson, a NASA scientist, and Richard Benedick, the administration’s lead representative in international ozone negotiations, would discuss ozone; James Hansen, Al Gore, the ecologist George Woodwell and Carl Wunsch, a veteran of the Charney group, would testify about climate change. The three-minute video showed every day of October — the month during which the ozone thinned most drastically — for seven consecutive years. As the years sped forward, the polar vortex madly gyroscoping, the hole expanded until it obscured most of Antarctica. The data represented in the video wasn’t new, but 32 years ago, nobody had thought to represent it in this medium. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.42)
June 1986 – For the first time since the “Changing Climate” report, global-warming headlines appeared by the dozen. William Nierenberg’s “caution, not panic” line was inverted. It was all panic without a hint of caution: “A Dire Forecast for ‘Greenhouse’ Earth” (the front page of The Washington Post); “Scientists Predict Catastrophes in Growing Global Heat Wave” (Chicago Tribune); “Swifter Warming of Globe Foreseen” (The New York Times). On the second day of the Senate hearing, devoted to global warming, every seat in the gallery was occupied; four men squeezed together on a broad window sill. (Pg.42)
In 1987 alone, there were eight days of climate hearings, in three committees, across both chambers of Congress; Senator Joe Biden, a Delaware Democrat, had introduced legislation to establish a national climate-change strategy. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.42)
1988 -John Topping was an old-line Rockefeller Republican, a Commerce Department lawyer under Nixon and an E.P.A. official under Reagan. Topping was amazed to discover that out of the E.P.A.’s 13,000-person staff, only seven people, by his count, were assigned to work on climate, After leaving the administration, he founded a nonprofit organization, the Climate Institute < http://climate.org/john-topping/ > to bring together scientists, politicians and businesspeople to discuss policy solutions ( NYT Mag;8.5.18; g.42)
1988 – John Topping didn’t have any difficulty raising $150,000 to hold “Preparing for Climate Change”; Major sponsors included BP America, General Electric and the American Gas Association. Exxon, the Gas Research Institute, electrical-grid trade groups, silent since “Changing Climate.” were joined by General Electric, AT&T and the American Petroleum Institute,. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.43)
TWEET 8/18/18——- Now it the time to STOP burning carbon producing material. We are 30 years behind schedule. Earth will not be what you know in 30 years if global temps rise a total of 3 degrees. Be Afraid. Be Woke. Be Ready ) https://www.osti.gov/biblio/5944384-preparing-climate-change
Oct 27, 1987- After DuPont, by far the world’s single largest manufacturer of CFCs, realized that it stood to profit from the transition to replacement chemicals, the alliance abruptly reversed its position, demanding that the United States sign a treaty as soon as possible. Richard Barnett, chairman of the Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy, the campaign to defeat an ozone treaty, was speaking about how “we bask in the glory of the Montreal Protocol ”(on August 29, 1987) while quoting Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” to express his hope for a renewed alliance between industry and environmentalists (Pg.43)
Preceding a Nov 9, 1987 testimony, James Hansen had to send his formal statement to NASA headquarters, which forwarded it to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for approval. “Major greenhouse climate changes are a certainty, By the 2010s [in every scenario], essentially the entire globe has very substantial warming.” before his appearance that Monday, he was informed that the White House demanded changes to his testimony. he refused to make the changes. If that meant he couldn’t testify, so be it. The White House had insisted he utter false statements that would have distorted his conclusions. (NYT Mag;8.5.18;Pg.46)
In March 1988, Timothy Wirth, a senator from Colorado on the energy committee, joined 41 other senators, nearly half of them Republicans, to demand that Reagan call for an New Deal international treaty modeled after the ozone agreement. Because the United States and the Soviet Union were the world’s two largest contributors of carbon emissions, responsible for about one-third of the world total, they should lead the negotiations. Reagan agreed. But a pledge didn’t reduce emissions. Despite the efforts of Wirth, there was still no serious plan nationally or internationally to address climate change.
Summer 1988 was the hottest and driest summer in history. Everywhere you looked, something was bursting into flames. Two million acres in Alaska incinerated, Yellowstone National Park lost 793,880 acres. Smoke was visible from Chicago, 1,600 miles away. Nebraska was suffering its worst drought since the Dust Bowl, logging days when every weather station registered temperatures above 100 degrees. Harvard University, for the first time, closed because of heat. New York City’s streets melted, its mosquito population quadrupled and its murder rate reached a record high. The 28th floor of Los Angeles’s second-tallest building burst into flames; the cause, the Fire Department concluded, was spontaneous combustion. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.46)
June 23, 1988 – By 2:10 p.m. it was 98 degrees when James Hansen testified “The global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause-and-effect relationship to the greenhouse effect.1988 so far is so much warmer than 1987, that barring a remarkable and improbable cooling, 1988 will be the warmest year on record. The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now. The warming trend could be detected with 99 percent confidence,” he said. “It is changing our climate now.” But he saved his strongest comment for after the hearing, when he was encircled in the hallway by reporters. “It is time to stop waffling so much,” he said, “and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here.” (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.47)
James Hansen’s June 23, 1988 testimony prompted headlines in dozens of newspapers across the country, including The New York Times, which announced, across the top of its front page: “Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate.”
By the end of 1988 , 32 climate bills had been introduced in Congress, led by Wirth’s omnibus National Energy Policy Act of 1988. Co-sponsored by 13 Democrats and five Republicans, it established as a national goal an “International Global Agreement on the Atmosphere by 1992,” ordered the Energy Department to submit to Congress a plan to reduce energy use by at least 2 percent a year through 2005 and directed the Congressional Budget Office to calculate the feasibility of a carbon tax. On April 14, 1989, a bipartisan group of 24 senators, led by the majority leader, George Mitchell, requested that Bush43 cut emissions in the United States. “We cannot afford the long lead times associated with a comprehensive global agreement,” (NYT Mag;8.5.18; pg.51)
1988 – Margaret Thatcher, who had studied chemistry at Oxford, warned in a speech to the Royal Society that global warming could “greatly exceed the capacity of our natural habitat to cope” and that “the health of the economy and the health of our environment are totally dependent upon each other.” (NYT Mag;8.5.18;pg.51)
In 1975, Margaret Mead convened a symposium on the subject at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “Unless the peoples of the world can begin to understand the immense and long-term consequences of what appear to be small immediate choices,” Mead wrote, “the whole planet may become endangered.” Her conclusions were stark, immediate and absent the caveats that hobbled the scientific literature (NYT Mag;8.5.18; Pg.51).
On May 8, 1989 James Hansen did not see the newspaper until he arrived at Dirksen, where Gore showed it to him. The front-page headline read: “Scientist Says Budget Office Altered His Testimony”. Hansen wanted to make one major point that had been misunderstood in 1988. Global warming would not only cause more heat waves and droughts like those of the previous summer but would also lead to more extreme rain events. This was crucial — he didn’t want the public to conclude, the next time there was a mild summer, that global warming wasn’t real. In the crowded hearing room, the cameras fixed on Hansen. He held his statement in one hand and a single Christmas tree bulb in the other — a prop to help explain, however shakily, that the warming already created by fossil-fuel combustion was equivalent to placing a Christmas light over every square meter of Earth’s surface. (NYT Mag;8.5.18; Pg.54)
Fall 1989 -The United States was the only Western nation on record as opposing climate change negotiations. John Sununu decided the models promoted by Jim Hansen were a lot of bunk, horribly imprecise in scale and underestimating the ocean’s ability to mitigate warming. Sunu thought these findings were “technical poppycock” that didn’t begin to justify such wild-eyed pronouncements that “the greenhouse effect is here.” “I don’t want anyone in this administration without a scientific background using ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ ever again,” Sununu said. “If you don’t have a technical basis for policy, don’t run around making decisions on the basis of newspaper headlines.” (NYT Mag;8.5.18;pg.55)
Nov. 6, 1989, on the coast of the North Sea in the Dutch resort town of Noordwijk. The delegations from 60 nations would review the progress made by the I.P.C.C. and decide whether to endorse a framework for a global treaty. When the beaten delegates finally emerged from the conference room on the final day, Becker and Pomerance learned what happened. Bromley, at the urging of John Sununu and with the acquiescence of Britain, Japan and the Soviet Union, had forced the conference to abandon the commitment to freeze emissions. (NYT Mag;8.5.18;Pg.59)
Everybody knew. In 1958, on prime-time television, “The Bell Science Hour” — one of the most popular educational film series in American history — aired “The Unchained Goddess,” a film about meteorological wonders, produced by Frank Capra, a dozen years removed from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” warning (at 50:00 ) that “man may be unwittingly changing the world’s climate” through the release of carbon dioxide. “A few degrees’ rise in the Earth’s temperature would melt the polar ice caps,” says the film’s kindly host, the bespectacled Dr. Research. “An inland sea would fill a good portion of the Mississippi Valley. Tourists in glass-bottomed boats would be viewing the drowned towers of Miami through 150 feet of tropical water.” Capra’s film was shown in science classes for decades. (NYT Mag;8.5.18;pg66)
One commercial airliner creates more carbon than I could eliminate in years (convert fuel burn into CO2 by multiplying 3.157 kg CO2 per kgfuel) Simply put, the carbon in the jet fuel combines with the oxygen in the air to produce CO2. CO2 also gets its mass from the air. Not just the jet fuel. The carbon has a mass of 12 and makes up a certain percentage of the jet fuel mass (you can find out using science you learned in 9th grade). Oxygen has a mass of 16. Since there are 2 oxygen atoms for every carbon atom in CO2. That means the ratio of mass between those is 12:32. So if you burn 12 grams of carbon. You end up with 44 grams of CO2. Does it make sense? Assuming about 2 hydrogen atoms per carbon atom in the fuel, then 12/14ths of the mass is carbon. When you burn it, each carbon sticks to 2 oxygens, multiplying the mass by 44/12. You must multiply the mass of fuel by (44/12) * (12/14) = 44/14 = 3.14. <
Between 1986 and 1992, Ken Croasdale, senior ice researcher for Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary, looked at both the positive and negative effects that a warming Arctic would have on oil operations. In 1992 He told an audience of academics and government researchers that “potential global warming can only help lower exploration and development costs” in the Beaufort Sea. Since the late 1970s and into the 1980s, Exxon had been at the forefront of climate change research, funding its own internal science as well as research from outside experts at Columbia University and MIT.
In 2015, as Exxon’s scientists predicted 25 years ago, Canada’s Northwest Territories has experienced some of the most dramatic effects of global warming. While the rest of the planet has seen an average increase of roughly 1.5 degrees in the last 100 years, the northern reaches of the province have warmed by 5.4 degrees and temperatures in central regions have increased by 3.6 degrees
James Hansen’s most recent paper, published in 2017 announced that Earth is now as warm as it was before the last ice age, 115,000 years ago, when the seas were more than six meters higher than they are today. He and his team have concluded we must find our way to “negative emissions,” extracting more carbon dioxide from the air than we contribute to it. If emissions, by miracle, do rapidly decline, most of the necessary carbon absorption could be handled by replanting forests and improving agricultural practices. If not, “massive technological CO₂ extraction,” using some combination of non- existent technologies will be required. Hansen estimates that this will incur costs of $89 trillion to $535 trillion this century, and may even be impossible at the necessary scale. He is not optimistic. . <
If the burning of coal, oil and natural gas could invite global catastrophe, why had nobody told you about about it?
In Closing, this compilation is a testament of my carbon negative commitment to the seventh generation from today, a witness of learning and sharing, and a compliment to the artists. It took me a while to read everything and review the documents, which I have added as my contribution to this work. My inspiration was to share this with more people in a way that would be accessible while authentically condensed, since the depth of the narrative requires an investment of precious reading time in a world that likes 3-minute videos. We must find ways to force change.
Nathaniel Rich, whose narrative is a work of history, addresses the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change. Nathaniel is the author of three novels, including “King Zeno,” which was published in January. George Steinmetz is the photographer who specializes in aerial imagery which can be seen in the links. Additional reporting by Jaime Lowe, who is a frequent contributor to the magazine.
David Carr, Earthlobbyist