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Climate: Will We Lose the Endgame?


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New York Review of Books

Bill McKibben

July 10, 2014


We may be entering the high-stakes endgame on climate change. The piecestechnological and perhaps politicalare finally in place for rapid, powerful action to shift us off of fossil fuel. Unfortunately, the players may well decide instead to simply move pawns back and forth for another couple of decades, which would be fatal. Even more unfortunately, the natural world is daily making it more clear that the clock ticks down faster than we feared. The whole game is very nearly in check.




The team, by the time it finally pulled up its drills, had taken the worlds climate record back about 800,000 yearsthrough many ice ages and interglacial periods. And what it found was simple and unvarying:


Even when our climate was in some other phase, some different way of balancing the many subtle influences that make up the wind and weather and warmth we experience, temperature and greenhouse gases still marched in lockstep. Higher temperature always went with higher CO2. Lower temperature went with lower CO2.

Moreover, in all that long deep history, weve never had anywhere near as much CO2 in the atmosphere as we have today. According to Walker, through the entire [ice core] record, the highest value of CO2 was about 290 parts for every million parts of air. Now we are at nearly 400 and rising. That is to say, Antarctica, by virtue of being pristine, provides us the best glimpse were going to get of the bizarre geological moment we now inhabit.






In certain ways none of this really comes as news. A leading glaciologist, Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), has calculated that given the paleoclimatic record, our current atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases are probably enough to produce an eventual sixty-nine feet of sea-level rise.2 But its one thing to know that the gun is cocked, and another to see the bullet actually traveling; the news from the Antarctic is a turning point. It doesnt mean we should give up efforts to slow climate change: if anything, as scientists immediately pointed out, it means we should ramp them up enormously, because we can still affect the rate at which this change happens, and hence the level of chaos it produces. Coping over centuries will be easier than coping over decades.










My plan is working perfectly!

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Lord Christopher Monckton 6 questions



1. Does climate change?


2. Has the atmospheric concentration of CO2 increased since the late 1950s?


3. Is Man likely to have contributed to the measured increase in CO2 concentration since the late 1950s?


4. Other things being equal, is it likely that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will cause some global warming?


5. Is it likely that there has been some global warming since the late 1950s?


6. Is it likely that Mans emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases have contributed to the measured global warming since 1950?


At a conference of 600 climate change deniers, then, not one delegate denied that climate changes. Likewise, not one denied that we have contributed to global warming since 1950.


One of the many fundamental dishonesties in the climate debate is the false impression created by the Thermageddonites and their hosts of allies in the Main Stream Media (MSM) that climate skeptics would answer No to most if not all of the six questions.


9th International Conference on Climate Change

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