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Arctic Sea Ice - Methane Release - Planetary Emergency
The Arctic is in meltdown. Uniquely and fearlessly AMEG has studied key non-linear trends in the Earth-human System and reached the stunning conclusion that the planet stands at the edge of abrupt and catastrophic climate change as a result of an unprecedented rate of change in the Arctic. This contrasts sharply with the linear prognostications of the models on which governments rely. Unlike the conventional view that climate change will impact gradually over many decades, AMEG acknowledges the impact is now, therefore requiring action now to prevent the situation spiraling out of control.
Climate extremes are all too apparent resulting in food prices rising ominously towards a level which could put over a billion people into starvation next year and provoke food riots all over the world.
Governments must get a grip. Planetary catastrophe is inevitable without geoengineering to cool the Arctic. AMEG estimates that 0.4 petawatts of cooling power is required in 2013 to prevent an even worse collapse than in 2012. This is a tremendous geoengineering challenge, but the AMEG strategic plan shows how it might be met. Countries must support such a plan with immediate action, or disaster is inevitable.
Rapid action is needed because of the speed of deterioration of the situation both in the Arctic where summer sea ice could disappear this decade, and in the rest of the world, where the repercussions of Arctic warming on climate are growing alarmingly.
The situation is deteriorating so rapidly that almost all countries will be affected by a food security crisis by 2015. If this is not addressed, many countries will be affected by social unrest. This will have a knock-on effect to the rest of the world, as supplies to valuable resources, including oil and gas, will be curtailed.
For the billion people already on the starvation line, there may be no chance of survival, and a humanitarian disaster can be expected before 2015 unless the impending food crisis is tackled straightaway. For the billions of people where the average spending on food is 80% of income, the probable 25% rise in cost of food by 2015 will inevitably push people onto the starvation line. The unrest that will be caused in most countries should be of major concern to the leadership. For the most developed countries, there is the prospect of stagflation even next year.
All world leaders need to sit up and take note. The deteriorating food security will affect their ability to retain power and win elections, almost certainly by 2015.
What is happening will seriously impact food, agriculture and the insurance industry in 2013, with the negative impact growing inexorably from then onwards.
If there is no action to cool the Arctic, the food situation will continue to deteriorate until there is a collapse of civilisation as we know it. But, even if the food situation were recovered, the impact from methane release and disintegration of the Greenland Ice Sheet would ensure that collapse.
But every cloud has a silver lining. This situation can be considered a golden opportunity, unique in the history of our civilisation, for all nations to work together towards the common goal of survival. Each and every one of us has an interest in that.
The latest UN climate change conference in Doha continues to discuss greenhouse gas reduction over decades, as if there were no immediate global crisis with a billion people already on the
edge of starvation. The root cause of this deteriorating situation lies in the vicious cycle of Arctic warming and sea ice retreat. Nobody seems to connect the dots. Nobody seems to realize that mankind has to intervene to break this cycle by cooling the Arctic.
Why is there no risk assessment of the imminent dangers we face? Where is the awareness program to inform the public of the severity of these dangers? Where are the plans to deal with events that may well overwhelm our ability to respond effectively? What’s happened to the precautionary principle? Why is there no outcry by the public demanding answers from governmental authorities whose primary responsibility is the safety of their citizens?
It is astounding that governmental authorities and politicians have not questioned scientific advisors who claim that we don’t have an urgent problem, in spite of the fact that physical evidence and observable trends demonstrate the opposite.
AMEG is forthright and asserts that mankind now stands on the very edge of a planetary catastrophe. Over the next few years there will be progressive world hunger, leading directly to widespread societal unrest, resource conflicts, and geopolitical chaos. Meanwhile the warming Arctic will release copious amounts of the potent greenhouse gas, methane, into the atmosphere. This will aggravate global warming and could lead directly to thermal runaway – a hothouse planet.
The World Bank and the UN recently warned of a world food crisis for 2013, potentially intensifying into 2014; this is completely contrary to previous proclamations that food insecurity would decline in the 21st century. Those expectations were based on food models that projected an increase in the food supply throughout the 21st century, in-line with UN Millennium Goals to reduce world hunger.
These warnings are supported by the analysis of the Rabobank Report that forecasts the UN FAO Food Price Index (“FPI”) to reach 244 by June 2013.
Everyone should be concerned about this situation but, as matters stand, it is receiving astonishingly little attention. Complex Systems Institute (“CSI”) recently analyzed the FPI, relative to food riots and revolutions. They concluded that the threshold for their initiation is an FPI level of 210. This was based on a detailed analysis of the widespread food riots of 2008 and the Arab Spring of 2011.
A detailed trend line extrapolation of the work of CSI, in tandem with FPI data, reveals that the world is on track for an ever-intensifying food crisis. This crisis will not abate unless the fundamental cause is attacked immediately and with the intensity, determination and urgency of a war effort.
Decline of the Arctic sea ice is the root cause of climate extremes and the resultant food crisis. The world is ill prepared because leading authorities rely on theoretical models that predict there will not be a seasonally sea-ice-free Arctic for several decades. This conflicts with AMEG’s analysis of the PIOMAS sea ice volume trend, indicating that September will be free of sea ice by 2015. Professor Peter Wadhams, of Cambridge University, a world expert on sea ice, has publicly stated that the PIOMAS data is reliable and derived from observations of sea ice thickness, including inspection from submarines. Data from the CryoSat-2 satellite further strengthens this evidence, and invalidates projections of sea ice survival made from theoretical models.
Is it reasonable to ask why physical evidence and observable trends are being ignored in favor of theoretical models? AMEG believes this to be an unrealistic approach to the stewardship of the planet and the responsibilities that our leaders should undertake. Is it also reasonable to ask how anyone could claim to have authored a model that would accurately predict extremely complex interacting systems such as the climate?
How is the change in weather patterns related to the sea ice retreat? Dr. Jennifer Francis, of Rutgers University, has established that the path, position, and the strength of the polar jet stream have been impacted by the decline of the sea ice. The reason is that the normal temperature differential between the equator and the pole has declined as the temperature in the Arctic has increased. This has allowed the jet stream to meander further north and south, but also to get stuck in so-called ‘blocking patterns’. The former behavior of the polar jet stream allowed society to develop mass agriculture and continually increase the volume of food during the past 160 years.
A primary reason for the accelerated warming in the Arctic is that, as the sea ice retreats, the open sea absorbs more heat, which exacerbates the retreat in a vicious cycle. The sea ice has been acting as a giant mirror, reflecting the majority of the sun’s energy back into space and cooling the planet. This effect is declining dramatically in a non-linear, or exponential, manner.
The entire focus of the leading world powers is on emissions reduction. However, there is no conceivable reduction plan that will prevent the rapid descent into chaos that we face. Emission reductions are required for the long-term sustainability, along with atmospheric drawdown of CO2, but neither will resolve the immediacy of the problem.
AMEG has repeatedly called for action, with letters sent to world leaders. There is now only one course of action that will begin to have a sufficient impact in the available time and that is to cool the Arctic significantly in 2013. This means we must intervene rapidly. We must geoengineer with great urgency. There is widespread resistance to geoengineering yet we do not have any alternative. For those who say that geoengineering is unnatural, the reality is that mankind has been geoengineering our climate since the onset of the industrial revolution. For those who say geoengineering is dangerous, AMEG claims that not to geoengineer would be catastrophic.
The world has two options. One is to passively rely on the world changing slowly, taking comfort from ‘experts’ who base their entire evaluations on theoretical models and linear-based reasoning. The other is to take action immediately and seize the opportunity for international collaboration, bringing countries together in a massive effort to overcome a common problem.
AMEG is the only group to connect all the dots and propose a definitive plan of action. The proposed actions are outlined in a ‘Strategic Plan’. The timeframe within which this plan can be enacted, and thereby start to halt the non-linear decline of the climate, is a matter of months. Any delay risks passing a point of no return, when no conceivable effective action can be taken to avoid ultimate calamity.
Arctic Methane: Why The Sea Ice Matters
Methane Hydrates: Hazard or Resource
Paul Beckwith at Ecoshock
Saving the Arctic Ice
Nathan Currier describes responses to the emergency in the Arctic in the post Saving the Arctic Ice: Greenpeace, Greenwashing and Geoengineering (#1), concluding that geoengineering will have to be part of the action.
AMEG issues policy brief
AMEG issues policy brief, urging immediate government action.