Uh oh: Global CO2 emissions hit record high in 2018

(remember: CO2 emissions don’t need to just decline. They need to go to zero….and yet here we are….)
Tuesday, 26 March 2019

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) – Global energy-related carbon emissions rose to a record high last year as energy demand and coal use increased, mainly in Asia, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

Energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 1.7 percent to 33.1 billion tonnes from the previous year, the highest rate of growth since 2013, with the power sector accounting for almost two-thirds of this growth, according to IEA estimates.

The United States’ CO2 emissions grew by 3.1 percent in 2018, reversing a decline a year earlier, while China’s emissions rose by 2.5 percent and India’s by 4.5 percent.

Europe’s emissions fell by 1.3 percent and Japan’s fell for the fifth year running. Continue reading “Uh oh: Global CO2 emissions hit record high in 2018”

The deadly truth about a world built for men – from stab vests to car crashes

Not climate related, but vital for us as designers and planners to understand.

From The Guardian:

Crash-test dummies based on the ‘average’ male are just one example of design that forgets about women – and puts lives at risk

Going back to the theory of Man the Hunter, the lives of men have been taken to represent those of humans overall. When it comes to the other half of humanity, there is often nothing but silence. And these silences are everywhere. Films, news, literature, science, city planning, economics, the stories we tell ourselves about our past, present and future, are all marked – disfigured – by a female-shaped “absent presence”.

Read more here

Climate study warns of vanishing safety window—here’s why

From National Geographic:

A NEW SCIENTIFIC analysis of millions of possible climate futures found only a narrow window to keeping global warming to levels the international community has deemed safe.

Out of 5.2 million possible climate futures, carbon emissions must reach zero by 2030 in every country in the world if we are to stay at less than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) by 2100 of warming, the target set by the United Nations to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, from rising seas to deadly heat waves.


Read more here

The Rapid Decline Of The Natural World Is A Crisis Even Bigger Than Climate Change

Left top: A durian plantation in Raub, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Soaring demand for durians in China is being blamed

From Huffington Post:

A three-year UN-backed study from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform On Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has grim implications for the future of humanity.

Nature is in freefall and the planet’s support systems are so stretched that we face widespread species extinctions and mass human migration unless urgent action is taken. That’s the warning hundreds of scientists are preparing to give, and it’s stark.

The study from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform On Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), expected to run to over 8,000 pages, is being compiled by more than 500 experts in 50 countries. It is the greatest attempt yet to assess the state of life on Earth and will show how tens of thousands of species are at high risk of extinction, how countries are using nature at a rate that far exceeds its ability to renew itself, and how nature’s ability to contribute food and fresh water to a growing human population is being compromised in every region on earth.

Read more here

The Arctic Could Still Warm Over 15 Degrees This Century Even If We Meet the Paris Agreement Pledges

From Earther:

A new report from the United Nations shows that it’s basically game over for the Arctic as we know it.

Even if carbon pollution magically stopped tomorrow, the region’s winters would still warm an astonishing 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by century’s end, according to the UN. Meeting the Paris Agreement pledges—which do not get us to the two degree warming goal—would lead to that level of warming by midcentury and up to 9 degrees Celsius (16.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, along the way unraveling one of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet and displacing people who have done very little to cause the disruption.

Read more here

Will peak oil save us from the worst of climate change?

By Steve Austin

The IEA 2018 World Energy Outlook (executive summary here) suggests that peak oil – the time when oil returns begin an inexorable decline – is here and that a significant supply crunch could occur within the next 4 years. Alice Freidemann – the Energyskeptic – has reviewed the latest report which shows “a civilization crashing 8% decline rate that the IEA hopes will be brought to an also civilization crashing 4% rate with new oil drilling projects.”

This is very scary news. Our current growth oriented industrial economies cannot function with a dwindling supply of oil.  But that is precisely what is needed to mitigate the worst effects of the climate crisis. It is perhaps naive to expect that we will voluntarily end the industrial era by limiting our use of fossil fuels.  But it may be that nature will do that for us.

On page 159 of the IEA 2018 World Energy Outlook the following graph can be found:

What this shows is a gigantic gap between what we want – demand – and what will be available within 20 years.  In order to fill that gap, new discoveries would need to come on-line within that time frame. Those discoveries would have had to happen by now in order to enable the infrastructure to be in place to exploit them within the next 20 years.  Yet there have been no significant discoveries that would fill this gap, nor are any forecast.  (see chart below)

The gap between supply and demand will likely cause massive economic disruption, perhaps even sending the interlinked global economy into a ravaging depression.   Such a thing will be extraordinarily destructive, for we have no plans in place to deal with the end of the fossil fuel era – either voluntarily or forced.

While I do not welcome the pain and disruption we are facing, the silver lining may be that this forced end to the industrial era could also end the annual increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  This would be very welcome – nature’s way of keeping us from letting CO2 in the atmosphere get too far out of hand.   This would leave us at a manageable point to begin drawdown.  Ultimately, it would ensure that we would have a chance of building the next economy – an economy not predicated on ecocide and injustice – within a livable climate.  A livable climate in which to do this is not assured AT ALL under the current trends.