The last line came with a jolt unexpected from a Guardian article:
At the risk of losing objectiveness but keeping candor, we are fucked.
That from John Abraham, a professor of thermal sciences and a very busy climate monitor.
According to recent reports, Trump has picked long-time climate denier and spokesperson for the fossil fuel industry Myron Ebell to head the Environmental Protection Agency transition. This basically means the EPA will either cease to function or cease to exist. It also appears that the US will pull out of any agreements to limit greenhouse emissions.
It means we have missed our last off-ramp on the road to catastrophic climate change. That may sound hyperbolic, but I study the rate that climate change is happening – the amount of heat accumulating in the Earth’s system. We didn’t have any time to waste in implementing Obama’s aggressive plans, and Trump will result in a decade of time lost.
If there has been one failure worse than all the others in the climate story we get from our mass media, it's been their near total failure to convey the time factor, the urgency in shutting down the fossil energy industry before the window closes on us for good.
Our leaders, Canada's included, act as though we're still in the 80s. That's why so much of their climate change narrative is preposterous, utter fantasy. Trudeau's EnviroMin, Dame Cathy, bleats about holding global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius. That's over. We've already locked in 1.5C. The GHG, greenhouse gases, that will propel us through 1.5C are already in the atmosphere and every gigatonne of GHG we emit from here on in will only increase that 1.5C.
Did I mention that atmospheric CO2 is persistent? It lasts a very long time and just continues warming the atmosphere until it finally dissipates. How long? The stock answer is somewhat more than a hundred years. A recent article in Nature, contends that the lifetime is a few centuries but 25% essentially lasts, and warms, forever.
We all know the line about how, if you want to get out of a hole, the first rule is to stop digging. When it comes to catastrophic climate change, we're already in a very deep and difficult hole and we have to get out fast. But we're still in digging mode and we're making that hole deeper by the day. The deeper we dig this hole the harder it is going to be to get out if we can get out in time. Which is the way you have to start thinking of Canada as a petro-state and our governments, federal and provincial, so insistent on speeding up their shovel work.
Maybe professor Abraham is right. Maybe with Trump headed for the White House we are well and truly fucked.