Skip to main content

Once all those fossil-fuels are burnt....

 In a conference call with reporters last month, NASA scientists expressed alarm about the pace at which both Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice.

Now almost daily, scientists, around the world, come out with predictions of how climate change is already, and will at apace, disrupt our world in all manner of ways - floods, rising oceans, challenges to growing food, increased bush fires, etc. etc.    And then there have also been challenges to countries allowing the continued use of fossil fuels not being curtailed.       As against that politicians seem incapable, or unwilling, to take up the challenges confronting mankind - that is, our planet.

The New Yorker reports in "If We Burned All the Fossil Fuel in the World" on a new report on fossil-fuels.

"What would happen if we burned through all of the fossil-fuel resources known to exist? In a paper published today in the journal Science Advances, a quartet of German, American, and British researchers take on this question. The answer, not surprisingly, is grim. If mankind managed to combust the world’s known conventional deposits of coal, gas, and oil, and then went on to consume all of its “unconventional” ones, like tar-sands oil and shale gas, the result would be emissions on the order of ten trillion tons of carbon. Average global temperatures would soar, and the world would remain steamy for millennia. After ten thousand years, the planet would still be something like fourteen degrees Fahrenheit hotter than it is today. All of the world’s mountain glaciers and the Greenland ice sheet would melt away; Antarctica, too, would eventually become pretty much ice free. Sea levels would rise by hundreds of feet.

The new paper, a sort of climate modeller’s version of “Waterworld,” arrives amid a steady drip of bad news from the poles. Though so far we’ve succeeded in burning only a small fraction of the world’s known fossil-fuel resources—“resources” includes fuels that are currently considered too costly to extract—sea levels, it seems, are already rising quickly. They are climbing by 3.2 millimetres per year, which comes to an inch and a quarter a decade, and the rate appears to be accelerating. One of the major contributors to sea-level rise right now is what’s known as thermal expansion: as water warms, it takes up more space, so as sea temperatures increase the volume of the oceans also grows. Thermal expansion will continue, but in the coming decades its effect is likely to be dwarfed by the volume of water melting off the ice sheets. In a conference call with reporters last month, NASA scientists expressed alarm about the pace at which both Greenland and Antarctica are losing ice. They suggested that the sea-level-rise forecasts in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—up to 3.2 feet by the end of the century—may soon be overtaken, or inundated, by events."


Popular posts from this blog

Whatever democracy the Palestinians had is dying

Almost a desperate cry from a well-known, respected and sober moderate Palestinian.

Mustafa Barghouthi is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was a candidate for the Palestinian presidency in 2005.

He writes in a piece "The Slow Death of Palestinian Democracy" on FP:

"Palestinian municipal elections were supposed to be held last week. Instead, they were canceled. A statement released by the Palestinian Authority claimed the cancellation was "in order to pave the way for a successful end to the siege on Gaza and for continued efforts at unity" between Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, and the government in the West Bank.

The cancellation of this election was an unjustified, unlawful, and unacceptable act. It damages democratic rights and makes a mockery of the interests of the Palestinian people.

But this is far more than an internal Palestinian issue. The only lasting peace between Isr…

Big Brother alive and well in the USA in 2007

The so-called "war on terror" has shown itself up in a multitude of manifestations. The most dangerous thing has been governments using the "excuse" of the war to restrict certain civil liberties, allowing government agencies to pursue a variety of things that they would otherwise would not - and should not - be allowed to do and gathering, and retaining, a variety of information on its citizens.

The Washington Post reports on the latest incursions into civil liberties of all Americans:

"The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as lo…