Methane - Still In Denial

My enviro listserve desk is busy this morning: combine the runaway climate change science with the financial instrument mitigation promises and other greenwashing of continuing accelerating emissions and you have to... get what?

Arctic Permafrost Leaking Methane at Record Levels, Figures Show
"This study does not show the Arctic has passed a tipping point, but it should open people's eyes. It shows there is a positive feedback and that higher temperatures bring higher emissions and faster warming."

The University of Edinburgh's Prof. Paul Palmer, who led the research, says: "The research results underline the fact that global warming is a complex process -- higher temperatures in turn speed up the warming process. Our research strengthens our conviction that satellites can accurately register changes in the emission of greenhouse gasses at specific locations on the earth. This makes it possible to accurately map the emission of greenhouse gases from a wide variety of natural and man-made sources."
Palmer said it was a "disgrace" that so few satellites were launched to monitor levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. He said it was unclear whether the team would be able to continue the methane monitoring in future.

So here we are and who is being precautionary? Runaway climate change is happening.

And as Dr. Palmer points out we are not even putting adequate resources into monitoring let alone the definitive scientific quantifying of climate change cause and effect and probabilities of danger that the scientific community could and must put together much faster and much less encumbered by politics than the too slow and faulted IPCC process - hey we have digital tech with which we could construct a global peer review process to build a much more robust consensus of danger much, much faster but we don't even try.

This is life and death for future generations maybe even humanity. The prime danger isn't sea level rise or biodiversity loss by 2100, grave though these dangers be, but crossing over a threshold, a tipping point to uncontrollable runaway warming, a tipping point we could already be over if Hansen is right about the need to get back under 350 ppm fast.

What are we doing about it? Check out this flaccid, all too everywhere on the business pages mis-education/denial. 'Are the vast majority of business people and activists who do recognize climate change as a danger STILL IN DENIAL about the scale of reductions required?'

Most certainly.

Carbon tax the best route: academic
A carbon tax is a far more effective means of shifting to a green economy than a cap-and-trade system, and Canada should follow this route if it wants to compete in environmental technologies, a top British academic and policy adviser says.

Paul Ekins, director of Britain's Green Fiscal Commission, told The Globe and Mail's editorial board yesterday that deciding how to cut greenhouse gases is one of "the toughest public policy calls" that governments have ever had to make, but if done right it can create huge opportunities.

"Those countries, regions or jurisdictions that develop the low-carbon technologies first, and are savvy about marketing them, will be the winners," said Mr. Ekins, who is also a professor of energy and environment policy at University College in London.

...Mr. Ekins praised British Columbia's broad-based carbon tax, implemented in 2008, as a breakthrough on this continent. It "has been done very intelligently, setting in place a low price to start with and then ramping it up over time."

....A carbon tax would provide a strong incentive for developing carbon capture and storage technology for the oil sands and other high-emission industries, he said.

Every word Dr. Ekins speaks or writes on his Canuck tour leads one to believe that his understanding of needed emission reduction is shallow and completely within the blinders of BAU.

He mouths the new conventional wisdom but there is demonstrably no time for puny carbon taxes - like the BC $10 carbon tax he celebrates - to be ramped up over time to effective levels - read the Anderson-Bows paper , the two seminal Nature papers ( Allen et al and Meinshausen et al ) on our global carbon budget from last year, and the Schellnhuber et al. WBGU report  Look at this graph and tell me there is time for a puny $10 carbon tax:

There is no time for thin edge of the wedge carbon taxes - Dr Ekins and many academics, business people and even activists remain in denial.

CCS is a dream, a crackhead lie that just allows expanding fossil fuel production now with not even a remote possibility of effective sequestering decades from now. The precautionary framework to protect future generations should at least insist upon no expansion of coal and dirty oil production or use
without working CCS - that would be a 'balanced' position and should provide lots of incentive to develop effective CCS quickly, if CCS is possible physically and economically.

And finally Dr. Ekins wrongfoots because restricting the mitigation conversation to financial instruments within BAU leaves out possibly effective and fair mitigation methods like rationing, relocalization (which may happen due to price signals from effective CTs but could also be legislated perhaps more effectively), much more Draconian possible governmental regulation, and other paths to keeping at least coal and dirty oil in the ground. There is, of course, nothing about powering down in economies not predicated upon growth.

We follow guys like Dr. Ekins and we go another decade pretending and wasting time - where's the full informing debate?

This is life and death for future generations maybe even humanity and we have all these time wasters and delayers STILL IN DENIAL about the scale of reductions required. We have deniers like our Premier Campbell posing as leaders working like the devil to keep the debate shoehorned within BAU where their personal agendas can come true. This is why Copenhagen failed. Supposed leaders in big denial at this crucial time as the Arctic warms, the icecap melts away and methane is released from melting permafrost.

What the fuck??!!! What now?

by Bill Henderson of Pacific Fringe.net

(Bill Henderson has written more than 40 op-eds on the science, politics and hopeful mitigation of runaway climate change over the past 10 years.)