A banquet of consequences – abrupt climate disfigurement

Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences.
(Robert Louis Stevenson – Scottish Essayist, Poet, Author, 1850-1894)


First, the good news:

“Good News- Solar Storage Plant Gemasolar Sets 36-Day Record 24/7 Output, by Emma Fitzpatrick, Reneweconomy, Oct. 8, 2013: The Gemasolar, a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) facility, is the world’s first large scale power plant that uses molten salt to capture heat during the day so it can produce energy at night. The plant can operate up to 15 hours without any solar feed. For 36 days straight the plant continuously provided power to 27,000 homes near Seville, Spain while avoiding emissions of 30,000 tones of CO2.”


This quote is from the US magazine, Counterpunch, and its article on 26 December 2013, headlined:

Inevitable Surprises

Looming Danger of Abrupt Climate Change


I like the style and content of this magazine, particularly its practice of giving citations to support assertions, in similar style to George Monbiot’s columns in The Guardian.

The article reviews a report from The National Research Council of the National Academies (NRCNA),  “Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change, Anticipating Surprises.”

As the article reports, “The goal of the report is to prepare society to anticipate the ‘otherwise unanticipated’ before it occurs, including abrupt changes to the ocean, atmosphere, ecosystems and high latitude regions. The NRCNA timescale for “abrupt climate change” is defined as years-to-decades.”.

The NRCNA report mentions three primary areas of risks of abrupt climate change this century, as follows:

  • Arctic Sea Ice- Abrupt Climate Change Already Underway
  • Marine and Terrestrial Life  - of this one the article says:

“The National Research Council of the National Academies’ report also foresees eventual mass extinction of several species, sans further climate change, due to habitat destruction, fragmentation, and over-exploitation. This, they claim, would be equivalent in magnitude to the wipe out of the dinosaurs, but it would probably be centuries away.”

 And the third area of risk is:

  • Destabilization of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet


Of this third risk, the report is quoted as saying:

“The NRCNA report further states: “… a large part of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet (WAIS), representing 3-4 m [10-13 feet] of potential sea-level rise, is capable of flowing rapidly into the deep ocean basins. Because the full suite of physical processes occurring where ice meets ocean is not included in comprehensive ice-sheet models, it remains possible that future rates of sea-level rise from the WAIS are underestimated, perhaps substantially.”

There follows a readable and interesting description of this icy part of Earth with some very useful and not heartening recent research there.

This is the time for banquets, isn’t it?

Well worth a read – for me there were lots of things I found interesting about ice on Earth.

Which brings me to one of the conclusions I’ve reached during this marvellous quiet time of the year when I look at where I’ve been this year and where I’d like to go next year.  This is how I’m seeing others and how I’m  setting my priorities:

I’ve decided the real climate deniers are greenies.



For this reason; they faff on about green buildings, codes, projects, electric cars and bikes which, they say, will cut future pollution.

But they say almost nothing, and most say nothing ever, about existing pollution and their projects or solutions for it.

It seems when choosing where to direct their creativity and projects that most alarmists, greenies, policy-makers and pundits ignore, and seem to deny, the existing pollution.

Existing pollution has broken the climate with the one degree of additional temperature its given our Earth.  It’s still got another one degree of heating up to do.  Until we get it out of Earth’s atmosphere we’re bound to get that second degree.

In 1998 the UN’s 2000 scientists said unless we get rid of existing pollution by 2015 we’re going to get more than two degrees.

That’s next year.

This recent month I’ve taken a ‘helicopter view’ of media articles, twitter, facebook and internet magazines.

Over this month all but one of the articles speak of reducing future pollution.  There are interesting articles which count trends of decline in car numbers, trends of increase in public transport, growing number of solar panels, reducing costs of renewable energy sources . . .  Not one mention of existing pollution, of existing climate decline.

I just don’t get this bias.  Is it head in the sand stuff?  Or just loose thinking, of the type we find in people who march in step with the majority?


One Response to “A banquet of consequences – abrupt climate disfigurement”
  1. Bev says:


    We DO need to deal with existing pollution. I don’t know how this is done. There may be others who also do not know. Planting MANY more trees is the only sustainable way I can think of to reduce CO2 levels. Are you able to enlighten us? Thank you in anticipation.

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  • Michael Mobbs

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