New Climate Lie: Magical CO2 Stop Possible

I went to a concert depicting climate change, past and future. Trust Californians to be innovative. The climate change had driven the composition of the music.

Several of the musicians sat behind computers, three sat behind real instruments, one some sort of electric piano, the other two a bass guitar, and a violin. On the planetarium screen, one could see the Earth, and then, starting in the Eighteenth Century, three graphs: CO2 Parts Per Million, Land-sea Temperature Rise, and the Earth Watts per square meters imbalance.

The, laudable, general idea is to put to music the drama of our destruction of the biosphere, and thus to make it more real to skeptics Americans. The USA is the general quarters of those who deny that burning fossil fuels is adverse to the health of the biosphere. The average American is deeply conservative, and does not perceive “climate change” as an urgent anxiety. However, the average American knows he, or she is supposed to feign interest, while going to buy its next truck.

To Stay Below 2C, CO2 Emissions Have To Stop Now. We Are On The Red Trajectory: Total Disaster

To Stay Below 2C, CO2 Emissions Have To Stop Now. We Are On The Red Trajectory: Total Disaster

Tempo depended upon the CO2 concentration, pitch upon the Earth global temperature, distortion upon the energy balance on land in watts per square meter. The numbers used were past and anticipated. After 2015, the graphs became two: one was red, the bad case scenario, the other was blue, and represented the good scenario.

As I looked at the blue graphs, the optimistic graphs, I got displeased: the blue CO2 emissions, the blue temperature, and the blue power imbalance, had a very sharp angle, just in 2016. First a sharp angle is mathematically impossible: as it is now, the curves of CO2, and temperature are smooth curves going up (on the appropriate time scale). It would require infinite acceleration, infinite force. Even if one stopped magically any human generated greenhouse gases emissions next week, the CO2 concentration would still be above 400 ppm (it is 404 ppm now). And it would stay this way for centuries. So temperature would still rise.

The point is this: at 400ppm of CO2 (and nearly 500 ppm with the other man-made greenhouse gases) the atmosphere is being forced: more energy piles up in the lower atmosphere, and the temperature will rise, until the losses to outer space get progressively in balance with the forcing.  If we stopped the CO2 emissions, magically, which is completely impossible, the CO2 would stay at 400ppm, the forcing would go on, and the temperature would still grow.

The composer, who was on stage, had been advised by a senior climate scientist, a respectable gentleman with white hair, surrounded by a court, who got really shocked when I came boldly to him, and told him his blue graph was mathematically impossible.

I told the distinguished mandarin that one cannot fit a rising, smooth exponential with a sharp angle bending down and a line. Just fitting the curves in the most natural, smooth and optimistic way gives a minimum temperature rise of four degrees Celsius. (There is a standard mathematical way to do this, dating back to Newton.)

The silvered hair, tall and dignified senior climate scientist, told me, with consumed gravitas, that this was not the forum to address such concerns, and, anyway, he disagreed. I was expecting this sort of answer, and this is why I was fast and brutal, as composer and scientists, organizers, impresarios and plutocrats and the adoring public were thick about. As it turns out, it is the head of a new very important government laboratory.

 The Culprit: Distinguished Gentleman Says Climate Catastrophe Can Stop On A Dime. Perfect Say The Fossil Fuel Plutocrats

The Culprit: Distinguished Gentleman Bill Collins From Berkeley Was Seen Preaching to the Public That The Climate Catastrophe Can Stop On A Dime. Perfect Say The Fossil Fuel Plutocrats: We Will Stop On A Dime Whenever We Want. And this is a mass murderous lie.

This is a bit as if a high level official in the anti-Nazi struggle claimed not to worry too much about Nazism, because we can stop it any time we want (the climate crisis will probably ending killing many times the 100 millions dead victims the Axis made…)

When all wisdom can give is shock, shock wisdom shall give. The alternative being respectful  silence… for infamy. Is there, indeed, a greater infamy than the disintegration of the biosphere  in the name of American coal and SUVs?

So what’s the game of these American scientists? Very simple: there were plutocrats in the audience, it was a fund-raiser. I was the only one to raise a ruckus, naturally. Everybody else was very admiring, in love. What did they admire so much?

That graph, that blue graph. The message of the (impossible) blue graph was that the effect of greenhouse gases can be instantaneously stop, should America will it. You can imagine Uncle Sam’s poster: “Earth, you shall stop acting funny, if the US wills it!” So, in the end, this was all a celebration of American righteousness: we are right to do what we are doing, because we can stop it anytime. (That’s how drug addicts feel, said Rolling Stone Keith Richards, in a self-reflective mood : they go on and on, because they think they can stop, if they want, anytime. I never do.)

The truth is much more sinister. The supremacy of the USA does not just come from owning an entire temperate continent (after destroying the Natives). It also comes from oil, coal and gas. The USA has plenty of them, cheap and available. As Obama says all the time: “God willed it” (OK, he says: “God bless the USA”).

The ongoing supremacy of the USA rests on oil, coal, and gas. This is why the Supreme Coal of the US, I mean, the Supreme Court of the US, just decided that burning coal was just, and so was bad air (and thus Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency crackdown on coal pollution was unjust, and should cease).

American plutocrats are always one step ahead of the propaganda game. After spending decades claiming the Earth was not warming, now they are pretending, thanks to this impossible blue graph, that we stop the deleterious effects on the biosphere on a dime, should the USA want it.

And the scientists are playing along… because they want the money. And the influence. And the plutocrats in the audience. And the American population confusedly feel that the USA is better off with cheap gas.

As I explained, the Moral Imperative is to think correctly, and the first imperative of scientists should be to teach what is impossible. It’s impossible to stop the nefarious effects on the biosphere on a dime. There is huge inertia in the world climate and geophysics. Right now, climate change is happening at a rate 100,000 times the rate of the preceding great extinctions (they probably had to do with huge, sustained volcanism, direct from the core).

In the best scenario of business as usual, most of energy from fossil fuels, we are on 4 degree Centigrade global warming scenario. And that means the poles will melt entirely. That will make the present Middle East disarray feel as if it had been a walk in a pleasant park.

Patrice Ayme’

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16 Responses to “New Climate Lie: Magical CO2 Stop Possible”

  1. Gmax Says:

    What was the scientist’s name?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      I thought about it. He has to live with his responsibilities. He is a public figure, with a very prominent position in climate science and ecology, in the US government, LBL. Bill Collins. I added reference and his picture in the essay… I also talked with a few scientists of influence about the incident, and they agreed with me. (They know Collins and were very surprised!)


  2. Paul Handover Says:

    What price do I hear for Venice (the Italian version)?

    (I’ve said this too many times before but can’t resist it once again: “Why have we never been visited by a alien species? Because they have seen no signs of intelligent life on this planet!”)

    Seriously, Patrice, do you any confidence at all that humankind will come up with an 11th hour (aka 23:59) solution?


    • Gmax Says:

      Seems clear it will happen the old fashion way: WAR. Temperature will shoot up, large scale disaster ensue, and war start. Tech will then advance quickly, wanton destruction may lower CO2


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      As Gmax said. The rise of alternative energies will weaken the US and Russia (let alone the Arabs, and others). We don’t have those alternatives yet, although the combination wind-solar-hydrogen could do. That’s probably why the administration Obama dropped hydrogen research: without hydrogen, solar PV can’t work very much.


  3. John Rogers Says:

    Well, this seems the right place to insert my favorite quote:

    “As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in?”
    Alexis de Tocqueville
    letter to Ernest de Chabrol. June 9, 1831


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Excellent quote! Thanks! I was not aware of it (at least at this point; I read Tocqueville’s samples long long ago).

      I have an essay semi-ready on something related, the genocidal philosophers of Anglo-Saxonia (Locked, Hobbes, Hume, Mandeville, and, for good measure, the related Kant; Kant is related because England financed Prussia as a war machine against France and Austria, mid eighteenth century… Prussian racism and Kantism resulted, until its full blossoming with Nazism, Kant being the Nazis de facto work day philosopher…).

      Genocidal, enslaving philosophy rose because of greed and justifying English plutocracy. That justification in turn brought its publication, diffusion and advocacy. Thus, overall, the most domineering system of thought in Anglosaxonia was intrinsically plutocratic, no holds barred. This, in turn means that the American elite, far from trying to restrain the greed of the commons, urged it on (see the US Supreme Court’s decisions such as Citizens United, or the recent green light on coal). I guess, I should get that essay out…


  4. SDM Says:

    Alternative energy – that threat is being attacked quite regularly. Fracking industry runs a strong and persistent TV and print campaign and the corporate media generally follow along. When 2016 is warmer than 2015 will we the people be alarmed? will the deniers be quieted by the too obvious facts?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      2016 is, so far, much warmer than 2015, which was much warmer than 2014, which had been the warmest so far. In France, winter 2016 is the warmest winter ever. So far.
      Deniers don’t care. They are paid by the same Pluto crowd which has crashed the price of fossil fuel… prices will augment again when investments in renewables has also collapsed, that’s the whole idea.

      The solution is known: taxing carbon, giving it a price. But there is no leadership in the US but for the plutocrats. So Obama will suggest nothing.


  5. None so blind … – Learning from Dogs Says:

    […] But before getting to that essay let me refer to a recent Patrice Ayme post. It is called: New Climate Lie: Magical CO2 Stop Possible. […]


  6. Paul Handover Says:

    Patrice, as you probably noticed I borrowed a few paragraphs from today’s post in support of my latest:

    However, I thought you and your readers might appreciate the comment left over on LfD by John Zande, “Truly, it infuriates me that there are climate (science) deniers across the US. Yes, let’s be frank, this madness is located predominantly in the US, and it is focused in the right-wing evangelical population… and these people influence the politicians. Wayne Swan, former Finance Minister and Deputy PM of Australia put it perfectly when he said:

    “Let’s be blunt and acknowledge the biggest threat to the world’s biggest economy are the cranks and crazies that have taken over the Republican Party.”


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Paul: I am most grateful that you thought some of my prose was worth quoting. I intended to go to Learning From Dogs, to participate, but life and work and child rearing got in the way (and I still have a waning pneumonia…).

      What was very grave, this time, is that the denier himself was one of the US’s top climate scientists. That’s why I put his picture on the essay (after thinking about it carefully, and prodded by Gmax). I know several of his US colleagues and contacted them during the weekend. I also shamed him in public, and he was a bit ashamed, but clang to his line… Because he wants the MONEY… The plutocrats swarming around were aghast from my rudeness…


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Posted on LfD:
      Dear Paul: Thanks for republishing me.
      Bill should use the term “iceshields”, not just “icesheets”. “Shields” means: THICK. The Greenland iceshield is more than two miles thick over large areas. The Antartic iceshield is around FOUR (4) kilometers thick. Much of both of them has the potential to be flooded quickly.

      As I have detailed, an area of Antarctica larger than Western Europe is more than a mile, kilometers, below sea level. Similarly, for the center of Greenland… Those areas are protected by THRESHOLDS presently water-tight. However, at least in one well documented case (in December 2015, in SCIENCE magazine), the threshold of one of the two major glaciers draining Northwest Greenland gave way, and the glacier disintegrated gigantically in a few months on a depth of half a mile, and by dozens of miles. The threshold had been exposed to an ocean current warmer by ONE degree Centigrade above the long term average. It’s that sensitive.

      The WAIS, Wilkes and Aurora basins of Antarctica will disintegrate, and they could do so in a few years, not millennia. I will put a link to my essays (made before the case of waning threshold I alluded to above)


  7. Patrice Ayme Says:

    [Sent to Supertopo, June 3, 2017…]

    Bill Collins is extremely esteemed as a climate scientist and warns against the CO2 crisis. However he misinforms with extreme subtlety about the severity of the crisis. At least so did he, before I excoriated him once in public for doing so (it caused a far ranging scandal, I lost friends).

    What Bill Collins said and presented in misleading graphs was that the augmentation of temperature would stop if we stopped the CO2 production. That’s denial of the highest order. In truth not only the temperature would keep on rising, even if human CO2 production stopped, but that rise could well accelerate, and take a life of its own.

    That’s the crux.


  8. ianmillerblog Says:

    I understand the “red states” in the US political map are going to have a seriously scorching summer. Will that not persuade some?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Really they know, deep down inside. They are just playing a comedy to themselves… It was 46 CENTIGRADES in Phoenix, Arizona, last week, third of june 2017. They had to close the airport because of the heat… And this is just the beginning…


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