Friday, November 23, 2018

Climate change: Still rising

California is burning down. Australia's ongoing drought has seen Sydney blanketed in a huge dust storm. Here in New Zealand, the Taieri plain has flooded for the second year in a row. And meanwhile, greenhouse gas concentrations just keep on rising:

The main greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change have all reached record levels, the UN’s meteorology experts have reported.

Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are now far above pre-industrial levels, with no sign of a reversal of the upward trend, a World Meteorological Organization report says.

“The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5m years ago, when the temperature was 2-3C warmer and sea level was 10-20 metres higher than now,” said the WMO secretary general, Petteri Taalas.

“The science is clear. Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth. The window of opportunity for action is almost closed.”

We're now at 405.5 parts per million - more than 50 ppm above safe levels, and over a hundred more than pre-industrial levels. And this is not only warming the planet, it is driving our weather to more violent extremes. While its difficult to connect any particular event to climate change, its easy to connect the trend. And that trend is one of increasing damage and devastation. If we want to stop it, that means stopping warming, and that means cutting emissions as quickly as possible, focusing on those which will make the most difference. Sorry cows, your time is up.