By Dr Gideon Polya
14 December, 2015
14 December, 2015
The weak, non-binding and dishonest Paris Climate Agreement will have delighted climate criminal and war criminal nations like
According to the BBC: “The measures in the agreement included: (1) To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century. (2) To keep global temperature increase "well below" 2C (3.6F) and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C. (3) To review progress every five years. (4) $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future” .
The BBC pointed out that the temperature rise by 2100 would be 4.5C (if countries do not act), 3.6C (following current policies), or 2.7C (based on
As summarized below, the
1. Zero net carbon emissions in 2050 –2100 but this ignores sequestration costs and methane emissions from agriculture and the warming
Largely absent from Mainstream media, politician and academic discussion of global carbon emissions is methane (CH4) from leaking gas systems, the melting tundra, sea bed clathrates, rotting vegetation from deforestation and from livestock. Methane (CH4) (about 85% of natural gas) is 105 times worse than CO2 as a greenhouse gas (GHG) on a 20 year time frame and taking aerosol impacts into account. Methane leaks (3.3% in the US based on the latest US EPA data and as high as about 8% for methane from “fracking” coal seams) and a 2.6 % leakage of CH4 yields the same greenhouse effect as burning the remaining 97.4% of CH4. Using this information one can determine that gas burning for electricity can be much dirtier than coal burning greenhouse gas-wise (GHG-wise). While gas burning for power generates twice as much electrical energy per tonne of CO2 produced (MWh/tonne CO2) than coal burning, and the health-adverse pollution from gas burning is lower than for coal burning, gas leakage in the system means that gas burning for power can actually be worse GHG-wise than coal burning. Yet the
A re-assessment of global GHG pollution taking livestock production into account has found that annual GHG pollution is 64 Gt CO2-e rather than the previously determined 42 Gt CO2-e, with livestock production contributing over 51% of the bigger figure  i.e. we must stop methanogenic livestock production if we want to get to zero carbon emissions. A looming problem is methane leakage from the melting tundra and from
CO2 sequestration via re-afforestation has limited applicability for zero net carbon emissions in a hungry world, and CO2 sequestration via biochar production or through carbon capture and storage can cost much more than the financial benefit from burning fossil fuels in the first place. The present low cost of burning fossil fuels is because the huge environmental and human costs are not considered – if they were then the true cost of power from burning coal could be 4 times greater than the highly subsidized present market price.
2. Keep warming to 1.5C to 2C - yet plus 1C is already catastrophic for some and 2C is catastrophic and unavoidable.
The present plus 1 degree C temperature rise is already catastrophic for some island and megadelta communities and the Paris-declared goal of a 1.5 to 2 degree C temperature rise is catastrophic and also inevitable. Thus the IPCC ( UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) “Climate Change 2014 [AR5] Synthesis Report, Approved Summary for Policy Makers” stated: “About 450 ppm CO2-eq, likely to limit warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels”  but unfortunately Professor Ron Prinn (Professor of Atmospheric Science in 85-Nobel-Laureate MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Director of MIT's Center for Global Change Science (CGCS), Co-Director of MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change (JPSPGC)) stated (2013): “In the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE), we continuously measure over 40 of these other GHGs [greenhouse gases] in real time over the globe. If you convert these other GHGs into their equivalent amounts of CO2 that will have the same effect on climate, and add them to the NOAA measurements of CO2, you find that we are actually at 478 ppm of CO2 equivalents right now” . Many scientists now think that it is too late to avoid a catastrophic 2 degree C warming [10, 11] as exampled below:
Jay Gulledge (Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Todd Sanford (Union of Concerned Scientists), Peter Frumhoff (Union of Concerned Scientists), Amy Luers (Skoll Global Threats Fund) (2014): “It is time to acknowledge that global average temperatures are likely to rise above the 2 degree C policy target and consider how that deeply troubling prospect should affect priorities for communicating and managing the risks of a dangerously warming climate” .
Dr. T. Goreau (President of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, an international NGO for restoration of coral reefs, and a member of the Jamaican delegation to UNCCC; previously Senior Scientific Affairs Officer at the United Nations Centre for Science and Technology for Development, in charge of Global Climate Change and Biodiversity issues, where he contributed to the original draft of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change): “The long-term sea level that corresponds to current CO2 concentration is about 23 meters above today's levels, and the temperatures will be 6 degrees C or more higher. These estimates are based on real long term climate records, not models” .
Dr Andrew Glikson (an Earth and paleoclimate scientist, a Visiting Fellow at the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, an Honorary Professor at the Center for Excellence in Geothermal Research, The University of Queensland, and affiliated with the Climate Change Institute and the Planetary Science Institute, Australian National University) (2012): “Greenhouse gases have increased by near 40% since 1750 (from ~280 to 392 ppm CO2 at a rate increasing to ~2.6 ppm/year by 2010). At the current rate of increase, the climate could return to greenhouse Earth conditions within 50 to 200 years… Earth may be committed to an ice-free state… As atmospheric CO2 is reaching a level unknown for the last three million years, the disconnection between science and the human response is growing. Despite warnings over the last 30 years, we are still developing global infrastructures to extract every economically accessible ton of coal, barrel of conventional or shale/sand oil and cubic meter of natural gas and coal-seam gas… Good planets are hard to come by” .
Professor Michael E. Mann (Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, contributor to the International Panel on Climate Change work that received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, and author of “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines” (2014): ".Although the earth has experienced exceptional warming over the past century, to estimate how much more will occur we need to know how temperature will respond to the ongoing human-caused rise in atmospheric greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide. Scientists call this responsiveness “equilibrium climate sensitivity” (ECS). ECS is a common measure of the heating effect of greenhouse gases. It represents the warming at the earth's surface that is expected after the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere doubles and the climate subsequently stabilizes (reaches equilibrium)… An ECS of three degrees C means that if we are to limit global warming to below two degrees C forever, we need to keep CO2 concentrations far below twice preindustrial levels, closer to 450 ppm. Ironically, if the world burns significantly less coal, that would lessen CO2 emissions but also reduce aerosols in the atmosphere that block the sun (such as sulfate particulates), so we would have to limit CO2 to below roughly 405 ppm. We are well on our way to surpassing these limits. In 2013 atmospheric CO2 briefly reached 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history—and perhaps for the first time in millions of years, according to geologic evidence. To avoid breaching the 405-ppm threshold, fossil-fuel burning would essentially have to cease immediately” .
3. Review progress every 5 years – yet plus 2C is catastrophic and now unavoidable.
As discussed above, the present plus 1 degree C temperature rise is already catastrophic for some megadelta and island communities  and the Paris-declared goal of a 1.5 to 2 degree C temperature rise is catastrophic and also inevitable. Indeed , based on a Carbon Price of only $100 per tonne CO2-e and assuming a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 105 for CH4 relative to CO2 (on a 20 year time frame and considering aerosol impacts), it can be estimated that in a mere 2 years the whole world will have exceeded its 2010-2050 Terminal Carbon Pollution Budget of 600 Gt CO2-e that must not be exceeded if we are to have a 75% chance of avoiding a catastrophic 2C temperature rise [12-14].
The Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator (which provides measures of seriousness of the climate emergency based on data from the latest UN IPCC AR5 report) describes itself thus “You can use it to calculate and visualize the risk our planet is facing with regards to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. Choose parts per million (PPM) of greenhouse gases in the menu to the left, and the average temperature rise in degrees Celsius in the menu to the right. In the third menu you can compare the probability for climate change with other events, such as fatal flight accidents, and display them both on the meter”. Thus, for example, the latest IPCC Summary for Policymakers (2014) offers a RCP2.6 scenario that will “limit greenhouse gas concentrations to low levels (about 450 ppm CO2-eq, likely to limit warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels)”. However, using the Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator one finds that the Exceedance Probability for a 2C temperature rise with an equilibrium greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration of 450 ppm CO2-eq (CO2-equivalent) is 58.4% , and that if this were the annual probability of fatal flight accidents there would be 17,520,000 fatal flight accidents per year instead of 30 per year. Similarly, the Exceedance Probability for a 2C temperature rise with an equilibrium greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration of 500 ppm CO2-eq is 72.5% , and that if this were the annual probability of fatal flight accidents there would be 21,750,000 fatal flight accidents per year instead of 30 per year .
The Exceedance Probability for a 1.5C temperature rise with an equilibrium greenhouse gas (GHG) concentration of 450 ppm CO2-eq is 77.6% , and that if this were the annual probability of fatal flight accidents there would be 23,280.000 fatal flight accidents per year instead of 30 per year – indeed if this were the annual probability of being killed by lightning there would be 53,723,077 such strikes per year instead of 9,000. The atmospheric CO2-eq is currently in excess of 478 ppm CO2-eq .
4. $100 billion per year in climate finance for Developing Countries.
This was an area in which the
A variety of political and economic figures have “spun” and lauded the failed
Julie Bishop (Foreign Minister of an
Barack Obama (President of the
Jean-Claude Juncker (president of the European Commission, noting that EU countries are major GHG polluters): “Today the world is united in the fight against climate change. Today the world gets a lifeline, a last chance to hand over to future generations a world that is more stable, a healthier planet, fairer societies and more prosperous economies. This robust agreement will steer the world towards a global clean energy transition”  (pigs might fly).
John Kerry (
Christine Lagarde (International Monetary Fund chief) stated : “Governments must now put words into actions, in particular by implementing policies that make effective progress on the mitigation pledges they have made. That is why my key message is to price carbon right and to do it now”  (one notes that Dr Chris Hope of 90-Nobel-Laureate
Jim Yong Kim (World Bank Group president): “We welcome the historic agreement that has just been reached in
Prakash Javadekar (Indian environment minister): “We have opened a new chapter of hope in the lives of 7 billion people on the planet. We have [the planet] on loan from future generations. We have today reassured these future generations that we will all together give them a better earth” .
Paul Polman (chief executive of Unilever, historically a major GHG polluter via rain forest destruction for palm oil production): “Today's agreement demonstrates without question that it is possible for us to come together in common cause to address the greatest challenges we face, preventing tragedy for the many millions of people vulnerable to the effects of climate change and securing the economic prosperity of the world in the 21st century. The result is an unequivocal signal to the business and financial communities, one that will drive real change in the real economy. The billions of dollars pledged by developed countries will be matched with the trillions of dollars that will flow to low carbon investment”  (but “zero carbon” is needed not “low carbon”) .
Even some climate activists have responded positively to the
Tim Flannery (Australian Climate Council): “We have witnessed something incredible today. Finally, we can feel hopeful that we are on a path to tackling climate change. In the first ever universal climate agreement, leaders the world over have marked the end of the fossil fuel era and provided a catalyst for what could be the greatest period of technological innovation in the history of mankind. The era of renewable energy is upon us" 
Kelly O'Shanassy (CEO of the Australian Conservation Foundation): "It's a historic day today... for the first time humanity has united around a goal to reduce pollution, ultimately to zero, so that we can actually have a safe climate for all life on Earth. So it's going to mean a better future, and it's also going to mean a better future for our children and for things that we love like the Great Barrier Reef that will die off with global warming if we let too much more pollution up into the atmosphere" .
Kumi Naidoo (executive director of Greenpeace International): "The wheel of climate action turns slowly, but in
May Boeve (executive director of 350.org): “This marks the end of the era of fossil fuels. There is no way to meet the targets laid out in this agreement without keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground. The text should send a clear signal to fossil fuel investors: divest now" .
Erwin Jackson (deputy CEO of the Australian Climate Institute): "Much will be written over the days, weeks and years ahead about today and what got us here. At its heart is about people. Communities around the world have been embracing clean energy. This has driven down costs, accelerated policy change and allowed business to invest with confidence in the now unstoppable transition away from traditional fossil fuels” .
Kellie Caught (of WWF Australia): “By including a long-term temperature goal of well below 2C of warming with a reference to a 1.5C goal, the latest draft text sends a strong signal that governments are committed to being in line with science. What we need now is for their actions, including emission reductions and finance, to add up to delivering on that goal" .
But others have condemned the betrayal of Humanity and the Biosphere by the
Nick Dearden (director of Global Justice Now): "It's outrageous that the deal that's on the table is being spun as a success when it undermines the rights of the world's most vulnerable communities and has almost nothing binding to ensure a safe and liveable climate for future generations" .
Naomi Klein (anti-racist Jewish Canadian activist, author and board member of 350.org): “[The] agreement, as we knew it would, puts us on a course towards disastrous levels of warming. We heard our leaders say many of the right things over the last two weeks in beautiful speeches and yet despite their words, they remain trapped in a broken system and a crashing worldview based on dominance of people and the planet. That world view simply does not allow them to align their words with their actions. And so the gap is immense between the rhetoric and the goal of safety, and the reality of the epic danger they are allowing to unfold” .
Thom Mitchell (environment reporter for New Matilda,
What should betrayed Humanity do?
The Paris Climate Agreement has delighted climate criminal and war criminal nations like
The Paris betrayal of Humanity and the Biosphere now requires a peaceful but resolute world-wide Climate Revolution for climate justice and intergenerational equity [32-34] demanding rapid cessation of carbon pollution , rapid implementation of 100% renewable energy , rapid cessation of the obscene “food for fuel” biofuel genocide  and the carbon fuel burning that kills 7 million people annually .
Humanity must demand a rapid reversal of climate change with a return of atmospheric CO2 to the pre-Industrial Revolution level of about 300 ppm CO2 from the present dangerous and damaging circa 400 ppm CO2 [39-41] and a full carbon price reflecting the full environmental and human cost of carbon fuel burning , as advocated by scientists, science-informed activists and indeed by scientifically-trained Green Left Pope Francis .
Crucially, Humanity must utterly reject the lies and slies (spin-based untruths) of the corporate climate criminals and their politician lackeys, and urge and apply Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against all people, politicians, parties, companies, corporations and countries disproportionately involved in climate criminal and terracidal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution.
A guide to the bad nations is given by (a) the latest Climate Change Performance Index Results ranking 58 countries from Denmark (1, best) to the worst, including Canada (53), Korea (54), Japan (55), Australia (56), Kazakhstan (57) and Saudi Arabia (58) ; (b) annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution (thus “annual per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution” in units of “tonnes CO2-equivalent per person per year” is 0.9 (Bangladesh), 0.9 (Pakistan), 2.2 (India), less than 3 (many African and Island countries), 3.2 (the Developing World), 10 (China), 7 (the World), 11 (Europe), 16 (the Developed World), 24 (Canada), 27 (the US) and 25 (Australia; or 90 if Australia's huge Exported CO2 pollution is included) [27, 29]; and (c) annual GDP per capita in the context of a global carbon economy with the worst per capita GHG polluters like the US and Australia having very high annual GDP per capita .
Our leaders have failed us at
. COP21 climate change summit reaches deal in
. Melissa Clarke, “
. ABC News, “
. Sara Phillips, “
. “Gas is not clean energy”: https://sites.google.com/site/gasisnotcleanenergy/ .
. Robert Goodland and Jeff Anfang, “Livestock and climate change. What if the key actors in climate change are … cows, pigs and chickens?”, World Watch, November/December 2009: http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf .
. Gail Whiteman, Chris Hope and Peter Wadhams, “Vast costs of
. Natalia Shakhova, Igor Semiletov et al, ““The East Siberian Arctic Shelf: towards further assessment of permafrost-related methane fluxes and role of sea ice”, Royal Society Philosophical Transactions A, 7 September 2015: http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/373/2052/20140451 .
. John James, “Methane, the Gakkel Ridge and human survival”, Planet Extinction, 2014: http://www.planetextinction.com/documents/Methane,%20the%20Gakkel%20Ridge%20and%20human%20survival.pdf .
. “Are we doomed?”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/are-we-doomed .
. "Too late to avoid global warming catastrophe": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/too-late-to-avoid-global-warming .
. “Carbon Debt Carbon Credit”: https://sites.google.com/site/carbondebtcarboncredit/ .
. "Years left to zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to 2013": https://sites.google.com/site/carbondebtcarboncredit/years-left-to-zero .
. WBGU, “Solving the climate dilemma: the budget approach”: http://www.ecoequity.org/2009/10/solving-the-climate-dilemma-the-budget-approach/ .
. IPCC, “Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report, Approved Summary for Policy Makers”, 1 November 2014: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/SYR_AR5_SPM.pdf .
. Ron Prinn, “400 ppm CO2? Add other GHGs and its equivalent to 478 ppm”, Oceans at MIT, 6 June 2013: http://oceans.mit.edu/featured-stories/5-questions-mits-ron-prinn-400-ppm-threshold .
. Dr James Hansen interviewed by ABC RN's Fran Kelly, “Two degrees of global warming is not “safe”: Hansen”, ABC RN Breakfast, 5 May 2015: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/two-degrees-of-global-warming-is-not-safe/6444698 .
. Todd Sanford, Peter C. Frumhoff, Amy Luers & Jay Gulledge, “The climate policy narrative for a dangerously warming world”, Nature Climate Change 4, 164–166 (2014): http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/full/nclimate2148.html .
. T. Goreau, “What is the right target for CO2?: 350 ppm is a death sentence for coral reefs and low-lying islands, the safe level of CO2 for SIDS [Small Island Developing States] is 260 parts per million”, Scientific & Technical Briefing To the Association of Small Island States United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen, Denmark, December 7-18 2009: http://www.globalcoral.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/aosis_briefing_2009.pdf .
. Andrew Glikson, “As emissions rise, we may be heading for an ice-free planet”, The Conversation, 18 January 2012: http://theconversation.edu.au/as-emissions-rise-we-may-be-heading-for-an-ice-free-planet-4893 .
. Michael Mann, “Earth will cross the climate danger threshold by 2036”,Scientific American, 18 March 2014: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-will-cross-the-climate-danger-threshold-by-2036/ .
. Pacific Islands Development Forum 4 September 2015 "Suva Declaration on Climate Change": http://pacificidf.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/PACIFIC-ISLAND-DEVELOPMENT-FORUM-SUVA-DECLARATION-ON-CLIMATE-CHANGE.v2.pdf .
. Gideon Polya, "
. Global Risk and Opportunity Indicator: http://global-risk-indicator.net/ .
. Chris Hope, “How high should climate change taxes be?”, Working Paper Series, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, 9.2011: http://www.jbs.cam.ac.uk/fileadmin/user_upload/research/workingpapers/wp1109.pdf .
. “In quotes: World reacts to new climate accord”, ABC News: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-13/world-reacts-to-new-climate-accord/7024030 .
. “List of countries by greenhouse gas emissions per capita”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_greenhouse_gas_emissions_per_capita .
. “Climate Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/ .
. Climate Change Performance Index Results 2016: https://germanwatch.org/en/download/13626.pdf .
. “List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita”, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita .
. Thom Mitchell, “Activists promise civil disobedience in face of failed Paris climate compact”, New Matilda, 13 December, 2015: https://newmatilda.com/2015/12/13/activists-promise-civil-disobedience-in-face-of-failed-paris-climate-compact/ .
. "Climate Revolution Now": https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-revolution .
. “Climate Justice & Intergenerational Equity”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/climate-justice .
. “Stop climate crime”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-climate-crime .
. “Cut carbon emissions 80% by 2020”: https://sites.google.com/site/cutcarbonemissions80by2020/ .
. “100% renewable energy by 2020”: https://sites.google.com/site/100renewableenergyby2020/ .
. “Biofuel Genocide”: https://sites.google.com/site/biofuelgenocide/ .
. “Stop air pollution deaths”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/stop-air-pollution-deaths .
. “Nuclear weapons ban , end poverty & reverse climate change”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/nuclear-weapons-ban .
. 300.org: . https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org .
. “300.org – return atmosphere CO2 to 300 ppm CO2”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/300-org---return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm .
. “Science & economics experts: Carbon Tax needed NOT Carbon Trading”: https://sites.google.com/site/300orgsite/sciennce-economics-experts-carbon-tax-needed-not-carbon-trading/ .
. Gideon Polya, “Green Left Pope Francis Demands Climate Action “Without Delay” To Prevent Climate “Catastrophe””, Countercurrents, 10 August, 2015: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya100815.htm .
Dr Gideon Polya has been teaching science students at a major Australian university for 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis,
) and “Ongoing Palestinian Genocide” in “The Plight of the Palestinians (edited by William Cook, Palgrave Macmillan,