Three decades after NASA scientist James Hansen made headlines by telling the US Congress global warming had begun, evidence of its dire impacts is so overwhelming that "climate denier" is synonomous with insisting the Earth is flat Photo: AFP
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Zero-hour on climate, but U.N. talks in another time zone

42 Comments
By Marlowe HOOD

Global talks tasked with neutralising the threat of global warming get underway in Madrid Monday, but their narrow focus on rules and procedures remains out of sync with the world's climate-addled future.

Mindful of this gap, U.N. chief Antonio Guterres warned on Sunday that a "point-of-no-return" in the climate crisis is "in sight and hurtling towards us."

Indeed, three decades after NASA scientist James Hansen made headlines by telling the US Congress global warming had begun, evidence of its dire impacts is so overwhelming that "climate denier" is synonymous with insisting the Earth is flat.

Guterres lambasted the world's major economies, describing their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions overheating the planet as "utterly inadequate".

He didn't name names, but he didn't have to.

"Some countries like China and Japan are signaling their unwillingness to increase ambition," said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and, as a former negotiator for France, a main architect of the Paris Agreement.

Nor have India, Russia or Brazil expressed any enthusiasm for ratcheting up carbon-cutting pledges submitted under the 2015 treaty.

Donald Trump has taken things a step further by yanking the US out of the Paris deal entirely.

But even if all the world's nations honored their pledges, the planet would still heat up at least three degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, a sure-fire recipe for calamity, scientists say.

Nations have agreed to cap warming -- already up by one degree Celsius -- at "well below" 2C.

Beyond the 2C threshold, "we are at risk of unleashing self-reinforced warming," Johan Rockstrom, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told AFP. "This is what Earth system scientists fear most."

The talks in Madrid -- the 25th "COP", or conference of the parties, in as many years -- will focus on finalizing rules for global carbon markets, and setting up a fund to help countries already reeling from climate-enhanced heatwaves, droughts, floods and storms made worse by rising seas.

Poor and vulnerable nations are set to receive $100 billion annually from next year to prepare for future impacts, but no concrete provisions exist yet for "loss and damage" already incurred.

Frontline negotiators here describe COP25 as "technical talks" setting the stage for next year's meeting in Glasgow, where countries must confront the yawning gap between the Paris targets and current emissions.

But events outside the conference hall in Madrid may change the agenda.

"A key question will be to what extent the growing social movements throughout the world will be factored into decisions of the COP 25," said Tubiana.

Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, agreed.

"How to address the inadequate political response is the elephant in the room," he told AFP.

Under the European Commission's new president Ursula von der Leyen, Europe has emerged as a key player in pushing for a more rapid drawdown of carbon pollution.

Nearly a decade ago, the European Union engineered 2015 as the deadline for a climate deal. But the bloc ceded much of its leadership after that role to China and the United States under Barack Obama.

Today it may once again finds itself thrust onto the center stage.

"The EU Commission is the new political element," Tubiana said. "The EU will clearly signal its intention to increase ambition by 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2050."

For the world's most vulnerable nations, that kind of action can't come soon enough.

"Anything short of a vastly greater commitment to emission reduction through new national plans ... will signal a willingness to accept catastrophe," said Lois Young, an ambassador from Belize and chair of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS).

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
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Evidence of its dire impacts is so overwhelming that "climate denier" is synonymous with insisting the Earth is flat

So true. Shameful all the time has been allowed to be wasted by the ignorant minority - debating the existance of human made climate change.

Now hopefully we can finally start playing catch up to solve the problem.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Now hopefully we can finally start playing catch up to solve the problem.

It's too late already. We are beyond the point of catching up. We are over the edge and all we can do is make sure the drop is not that swift. But even that will take more that just simple recycling etc, we need heavy measures but that can only come from the top which is unwilling to do anything about it. Better buckle up, because its going to be a bumpy ride.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I'd say it's one minute after the point of no return!

And it didn't take scientists to understand this.

When will the human race, when will those, who are responsible for making decisions finally learn?

Denying, terminating agreements and stuff like this just doesn't work, at least not for future generations!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

But, what if the "science" is faulty?

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/12/01/what-if-there-is-no-climate-emergency-2/

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Just came from another article about one-day-delivery from companies like Amazon, which have bought jets to keep up. This kind of consumerism will need to stop, people will have to accept sacrifices like that.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The best thing to do is to stop buying!

However, the desire to have the latest, newest consumer goods will eventually lead to a planet mired in waste and pollution- this civilization is going to fail...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

However, the desire to have the latest, newest consumer goods will eventually lead to a planet mired in waste and pollution- this civilization is going to fail...

Unfortunately seems that way...human greed is a curse to us all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But, what if the "science" is faulty?

Yes, the whole thing could be a hoax concocted by the Chinese. The globalists are probably up to no good as well and put the Chinese up to it. The MSM are no doubt in cahoots with a sprinkling of deep state.

Best go with the consensus of climate scientists. The alternative is a circus.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

How can someone be so stupid as to believe people who go to school to study this subject, dedicate their lives to studying this subject, and are in unison that our planet is a mess?

Oh wait...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

We have already passed the point-of-no-return and now entering a period of damage control.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I will enjoy my life before life expires next year.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

bass4funk

I will enjoy my life before life expires next year.

What kind of environment do you want to leave your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and your future descendants?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

People who are making money off the status quo are doing their best to convince the frog in the pot that the water isn't hot, or that even if it is, too bad. They make more money that way.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The clock is ticking, guess it’ll be all over soon.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The clock is ticking, guess it’ll be all over soon.

No one has said it will be over soon.

It's not like one day everything is all good, and the next day it's horrendous. It's a process we're in the midst of.

Kind of like the frog boiling in the pot.

And he has people sitting next to him saying 'whatever, it won't matter when we boil. I'm going to enjoy the water'.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The clock is ticking, guess it’ll be all over soon.

You can make light of a serious situation. It won't be over for many hundreds of years unless the planet is hit by a meteorite. But the sufferings by people will increase. Like droughts. Future wars will be about water.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I don’t think that far, sorry. I just enjoy my life and do what I can, other than that, I don’t stress out like AOC or Greta.

Very selfish. Typical conservative thinking.

What do you think about the view of the consensus of climate scientists? I don’t think you’ve ever commented on Trump’s view of climate change as a hoax created by the Chinese.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

You can make light of a serious situation.

I do.

It won't be over for many hundreds of years unless the planet is hit by a meteorite.

If I live that long to see, but I have strange feeling I won’t...

But the sufferings by people will increase. Like droughts. Future wars will be about water.

Hmmmm...

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Very selfish. Typical conservative thinking. 

Ok

What do you think about the view of the consensus of climate scientists? I don’t think you’ve ever commented on Trump’s view of climate change as a hoax created by the Chinese.

I think the world will be just fine. This old bird has been through a lot for the last few billion years. It’ll rectify itself, life finds a way.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

a "point-of-no-return" in the climate crisis is "in sight and hurtling towards us."

Apparently a whole lotta people actually believe that if people drastically cut CO2 emissions worldwide now, we will

Be able to alter the Earth's natural climate change enough that we'll be able to prevent our extinction, and

If we don't we will become extinct.

It's possible, just not probable. Obama's not buying it either, heck, he just bought a house in Martha's Vineyard that will be underwater soon unless he stops using stuff that requires fossil fuel burning, which he's not.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Apparently a whole lotta people actually believe that if people drastically cut CO2 emissions worldwide now, we will

What are your sources which back up your ideas about climate change?

You are generally fond of posting links. Let’s all get educated. No Fox News sock puppets or extras from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Serious stuff only.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Jimizo

Does Wikipedia qualify as serious or are they cuckoo?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_conspiracy_theory

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

A somewhat less hysterical viewpoint:

https://judithcurry.com/2019/12/02/madrid/#more-25458

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Klausdorth:

I'd say it's one minute after the point of no return!

In that case, why do you waste your energy clamouring for some kind of climate policy?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I will enjoy my life before life expires next year.

If you think you will be expiring next year, you should consult a doctor.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Very selfish. Typical conservative thinking. 

Ok

Thank you for accepting that you, and all conservatives, are selfish.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Jimizo

Does Wikipedia qualify as serious or are they cuckoo?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_conspiracy_theory

Do you think if something has a Wikipedia article that makes it real? If so, do you believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy and Big Foot? Do you think the Power Rangers are real?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Is there no neutral ground on this? Is it a fair cop?

Are there no degrees of agreement and disagreement, i.e. only extreme positions, like anyone not in Camp A must be in Camp B. “If you are not for us then you are against us.”

Although I trust science, from long experience I do not always trust science people’s readings or interpretations of the data, on either side. I get that there’s no time, but I like to come to my own conclusions. Oh and no, I have no vested interest in the result either way.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

PS In the meantime I try to live happily, making small adjustments towards doing as little harm as possible. It’s a slow process and will never be perfect as long as humans inhabit this planet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is there no neutral ground on this?

No. There is no "neutral" in denying reality.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In that case, why do you waste your energy clamouring for some kind of climate policy?

You are going to die one day. As am I. We are all going to die.

In 100 years, you will be merely a memory. In 200, less than that.

But that doesn't mean you should stop trying to improve your life, community or planet.

If you think it does, what memories people have of you will be bad ones.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Does Wikipedia qualify as serious or are they cuckoo?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_conspiracy_theory

I'm embarrassed for you. You didn't actually read that Wiki article did you? You just googled it and pasted it.

If you had actually read it, you would see how it dismantles the weak oil-funded nonsense that you believe.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm embarrassed for you. You didn't actually read that Wiki article did you? You just googled it and pasted it.

If you had actually read it, 

Let me stop you right there,

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How can someone be so stupid as to believe people who go to school to study this subject, dedicate their lives to studying this subject, and are in unison that our planet is a mess?

It does appear they are in unison, only because you only hear one side of the argument.

Regarding the planet being a mess, I guess scientists are united.

But regarding global warming, they are not united. Some of us are aware that many of those people who dedicated their lives to studying this subject say that humans have very little or no effect on climate.

Some of us also remember the Climate Gate scandal, which exposed some of the intentions of climate scientists.

Dept-based banking, pollution, and corrupt governments are real and serious problems; global warming isn't.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

It does appear they are in unison, only because you only hear one side of the argument.

Regarding the planet being a mess, I guess scientists are united.

But regarding global warming, they are not united. Some of us are aware that many of those people who dedicated their lives to studying this subject say that humans have very little or no effect on climate.

Some of us also remember the Climate Gate scandal, which exposed some of the intentions of climate scientists.

None of this is true

Dept-based banking, pollution, and corrupt governments are real and serious problems; global warming isn't.

Yes it is.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

But regarding global warming, they are not united. Some of us are aware that many of those people who dedicated their lives to studying this subject say that humans have very little or no effect on climate.

I think all of us are aware that there are dissenters in the scientific community but the overwhelming majority believe humans are negatively affecting the climate.

Your decision to go with the small minority is very questionable. I can refer you to science trained people who think the planet is 6,000 years old.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Jimizo:

Best go with the consensus of climate scientists. The alternative is a circus.

Can you tell us what consensus you are talking about? Which climate scientists were asked, and what was the question they were asked?

Also, can you tell us since when scientific issues are resolved by a vote?

Hope I can get an answer.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Additional question to Jimizo:

I am sure you are aware of the open letter by 500 climate scientists to the United Nations Secretary-General stating that there is no "climate emergency". How does that fit into your claim of a "consensus"? Does "consensus" not mean an agreement about something by everybody?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Does "consensus" not mean an agreement about something by everybody?

Erm, no. It does not.

Tell you what, look up what it means, and come back later. I think we are talking past each other.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Jimizo:

Erm, no. It does not. Tell you what, look up what it means, and come back later. I think we are talking past each other.

Definition from McMillan dictionary: "agreement among all the people involved".

Maybe other dictionaries have a different definition. In which case, I would like to know again if you think that science question are to be decided by a vote?

And I am still curious about the content of the consensus you were talking about. You did not tell us the question they were asked. Are you avoiding an answer?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

None of this is true

If that's what you believe, I'd say it makes you a "denier" but on the other side. The Climategate scandal exposed motives among some scientists that could hardly be described as scientific.

There is a range of opinions among scientists about the causes, seriousness and consequences of global warming. The "consensus" notion that is often put forward is not very clearly explained. I have memories of at least two sources of that consensus. One involved a survey of scientists that had five or six questions. Two of these were along the lines of "Is CO2 a greenhouse gas? and "Has the atmospheric concentration of CO2 increased?" One of the "97% of scientists" figures came from answers to only those two questions. Yet there are scientists who would have answered "yes" to those questions but who have been described as "deniers" by others.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@WilliB

This is the definition from Collins:

“A consensus is general agreement among a group of people.

The consensus amongst scientists is that the world will warm up over the next few decades.”

That is the actual example they used and how we should be using that word in this case.

As for deciding science by a vote, the idea of scientific consensus is an accepted principle in science. What intrigues me is why you accept the the views of a minority of scientists here. Does it involve globalists, the deep state and CNN? Please tell me you are objecting to the consensus of scientists on scientific grounds.

This from NASA:

“Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree : Climate warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations...

American Scientific Societies

American Chemical Association

American Geophysical Union

American Physical Society

US National Academy of Sciences”

This is just a sample.

What you need to do now is provide data that shows this claim of a consensus is not actually the case, why you support the minority view if you believe it to be a minority and perhaps add your reasons why these climate scientists are mistaken, or given your predilections, who is pulling the strings of these puppets.

Throw a few ‘globalists’ in if you like, but I like hard evidence.

By the way, I’m aware that others put the number at lower than 97% ( in the low nineties ).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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