Manmade Carbon Pollution Has Already Put Us On Track For 69 Feet Of Sea Level Rise

The bad news is that we’re all but certain to end up with a coastline at least this flooded (20 meters or 69 feet):

The “good” news is that this might take 1000 to 2000 years (or longer), and the choices we make now can affect the rate of rise and whether we blow past 69 feet to beyond 200 feet.

Glaciologist Jason Box makes this point in a Climate Desk interview with Chris Mooney, “Humans Have Already Set in Motion 69 Feet of Sea Level Rise“:

So what can we do? For Box, any bit of policy helps. “The more we can cool climate, the slower Greenland’s loss will be,” he explained. Cutting greenhouse gases slows the planet’s heating, and with it, the pace of ice sheet losses.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who follows the scientific literature. Just last year the National Science Foundation (NSF) reported on paleoclimate research that examined “rock and soil cores taken in Virginia, New Zealand and the Eniwetok Atoll in the north Pacific Ocean.” Lead author Kenneth Miller of Rutgers University said:

The natural state of the Earth with present carbon dioxide levels is one with sea levels about 70 feet higher than now.”

And that was only slightly less worrisome than a 2009 paper in Science that found the last time CO2 levels were this high, it was 5° to 10°F warmer and seas were 75 to 120 feet higher.

Now I tend to think that if the multiple, simultaneous devastating impacts we are headed toward by century’s end — from widespread Dust-Bowlification to 3 to 6 feet of sea level rise to 10°F warming (20°F in the Arctic) —  isn’t enough to motivate action, then just how much we are going to screw up the planet after 2100 won’t do the trick.

But there are some people who understand the staggering immorality of handing over to future generations seas rising as fast as 6 to 12 inches a decade for centuries on end. How precisely would people adapt to that? As one thoughtful person recently said, failure to act on climate change “would betray our children and future generations.”

Here is a short video of the Box interview:

If we were truly doubly wise, homo sapiens sapiens, as we cleverly named ourselves, the nation would join with the world in a WWII-scale effort to actually reduce the atmospheric CO2 level from its current 394 parts per million. That would not only lower the ultimate sea level rise, but would slow down the rate of change.

Tragically, we are headed for more than a doubling of CO2 concentrations from current levels. For those truly concerned about future generations, consider that on our current emissions path, CO2 levels in 2100 will hit levels last seen when the Earth was 29°F (16°C) hotter. So that not only means an ice-free planet with sea levels more than 200 feet higher than today, but a rate of sea level rise that is beyond imagining.

78 Responses to Manmade Carbon Pollution Has Already Put Us On Track For 69 Feet Of Sea Level Rise

  1. Jim Baird says:

    What can we do?

    Convert ocean heat to mechanical energy, electrolyze ocean liquids, capture melt water before it enters the oceans, move surface ocean heat to a depth where its coefficient of expansion is half that of the surface, throttle the movement of tropical heat to the poles by the conversion of ocean surface heat to mechanical energy and the movement of surface heat to the deep where it contributes less to sea level rise.

    The result of these actions can be the production of as much as 25 terawatts worth of carbon free power.

  2. Richard Miller says:

    This is why Revkin’s comment from the post earlier in the week on Greenland ice are immoral. His comment that ‘Greenland has no policy signficance’. If one’s only interest is self-interest, even as that self-interest is extended to your children and grandchildren, then I would suggest that the moral character of the person is seriously lacking. It is morally significant how our choices will radically effect the conditions of life for those who live 1000 plus years from now. I am tired of the focus on 2100, though I understand why it is used to motivate people, when the most damaging consequences will come centuries from now.

  3. terrifying! stop the tarsands pipeline; leave fossil fuels in the ground—

  4. Paul Klinkman says:

    A study in Mexico showed that the ocean once rose 30 feet in 50 years or less. We can’t tell anything about the “or less” part.

    We know that modern greenhouse gas pollution is a monstrous forcing mechanism, rarely seen on planet earth in geologic time.

    Only 69 feet in 1000 or 2000 years? I’ll take it if you can guarantee it.

  5. Mike Roddy says:

    Joe, thanks once again for your technical knowledge and gifts for simple and direct expression. I wish we could clone you x1000, and turn you loose in media companies and legislative staffs. Then we would see action.

    Greenland is one of the more obvious barometers of rapid climate change. Jason Box shares your ability to summarize scientific knowledge clearly. In a sane world, he would be the “climate man”, appearing nightly on network news.

  6. Kristyn says:

    I love how these kinds of articles never really ACTUALLY tell you what you can do except saying, in general, “reduce carbon output”. Yeah, ok. HOW?

  7. Kristyn says:

    I want to do my part, but I don’t know how. I recycle and I don’t drive. But that is about it.

  8. joe says:

    don’t get too upset, delaware. you had a good run.

  9. dam spahn says:

    If past performance is any indication, humanity errs badly on this one. Even the direst predictions have been below what actually occurs. Using that yardstick, the rise will be larger and faster than anyone predicted. It’s not that scientists are clueless, it’s that they’re afraid of ridicule, and of losing their jobs, if they sound too alarmist. Can’t upset things!

  10. Chris Merrill says:

    As far as I’ve seen, most people can’t even plan for retirement. Let alone future generations. Asking people to sacrifice for the sake of something abstract is not something that’s likely to get a lot of leverage. Is it the right thing to try to do? Sure. Do I think that its likely people will ever listen or take any of this to heart? No. Because, if they make light of it, they can continue living exactly as they have previously and that’s much easier. Homo sapiens sapiens is such a grandiose misnomer. I think though, perhaps we should get points for our optimism, misguided and naive as it may be at times. Maybe future generations will be able to pick up the mess that we are going to so ignorantly leave for them.

  11. I think big storms like Andrew and Sandy and ongoing farm belt drought will be better able to force change out political bodies than maps and figures like these, though they scare the hell out of me. Politicians only seem to want to take action when constituents care more about where the next meal is coming from and where they will sleep that night than they do about the end of this century, let alone this millennium. And it’s constituents that will have to drive the politicians to water, or the lack of it, because they are the only force that is big enough to counter those who have bought the politicians–i.e., big energy, big pharma, and the other large funders who draw money from industries that pollute. We saw this in microcosm with Sandy. It will also have to be well-to-do constituents. Look how much weight New Orleans has been able to swing.

    Also, without China and Africa, how much change will we be able to effect? I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try. I grew up in coal country before it was regulated by a Republican governor who didn’t care what his colleagues said. I remember a speck of coal dust in every pore of my skin no matter how I scrubbed and mine fire. I know there’s no such thing as clean coal and I support every initiative against mountaintop mining. But without the developing world and China, we may as well spit against the wind when it comes to slowing and/or stopping global warming.

  12. john atcheson says:

    The fact that we don’t/can’t seem to care about things that happen in the distant future is the devil we are wrestling with.

    It’s likely that we are hardwired in this way, so we are asking reason to trump tens of millions of years — or more — of evolutionary heritage.

    There’s a TED talk “What is a Skeptic?” that explains why that battle will always be lost.

  13. Joe Romm says:

    Read this blog, which has discussed this endlessly. Get involved with

  14. Pennsylvania Bob says:

    Be in DC on Feb. 17 and stand with to protest the Keystone Pipeline and push Obama to do the right thing.
    Also, there are seven steps we can all take on the Protect Our Winters website at

    Number one on this list is to get political. This is an excellent list that I’ve used to guide my actions and in various presentations. Take a look and do as many as you can.

  15. SecularAnimist says:

    Kristyn wrote: “I want to do my part, but I don’t know how. I recycle and I don’t drive. But that is about it.”

    Go vegan — and then make sure that as much of your food as possible is (1) organic and (2) locally produced. You will significantly reduce your greenhouse gas footprint, save money and greatly benefit your health.

  16. redrockraven says:

    We upgraded our insulation and converted our home to solar power in 2010. IN 2012 we purchased a Chevy Volt so that we now have a solar powered car to drive. We are slowly moving toward growing our own organically produced food. There are many things that you can do to lessen your individual carbon footprint. Those around you will notice, are anxious to learn and will make improvements toward independence in their lives also.

  17. Sasparilla says:

    There’s an issue with moving warm water to depth in the ocean, unfortunately – which is that it creates anoxic conditions (little or no oxygen – cold water holds much higher levels of oxygen than warm) and there have been many times in the geologic record where the oceans and or parts of them have become anoxic – starting from the bottom apparently. The downside of that is that certain bacteria love anoxic conditions and they emit hydrogen sulfide gas in large quantities (a poison).

    There are many things we could do to resolve this situation (above all first stop emitting CO2 on a country and global scale, then white building tops, roads, parking lots etc. (reduce albedo on global scale) & perhaps biochar on scale to help pull CO2 out of the atmosphere and on and on). There’s solutions out there waiting, but we have to take that first step which requires the governments (the U.S. in particular) to turn its back on the fossil fuel industry and its power and stick a stake through that industry’s heart – our current President couldn’t do something much more benign when he had the chance (2009 cap-n-trade bill). So that’s the challenge.

  18. Paul Klinkman says:

    Somebody should take each of these ideas into a bit of detail, one by one.

    One of the best places for a thermal gradient to take ocean heat into mechanical energy would be the Arctic Ocean in winter. The air is perhaps -40 (C or F, it’s the same) and the water is just below the freezing point of fresh water. No one would complain if we took heat out of the Arctic Ocean in winter, and in fact extra ice would be appreciated. Fairbanks could use more electricity all winter. There are minor issues building a HVDC (long distance, little power loss, no leukemia issues) power line to the top of Alaska or Canada.

    Not too bad.

  19. Paul Klinkman says:

    “capture melt water before it enters the oceans”. And then what do we do with all the melt water?

    Best guess for your concept, if the weather is above freezing we either store it in ponds or sometimes we have to dump the overflow. If the weather is below freezing we use wind power to pump the melt water up a nearby mountain and spray it, where it becomes snow and then it covers the ice sheet again.

    Well, it’s a horse in the race.

  20. Paul Klinkman says:

    throttle the movement of tropical heat to the poles by the conversion of ocean surface heat to mechanical energy and the movement of surface heat to the deep where it contributes less to sea level rise.

    If you shut down the Gulf Stream, Europe gets a bit colder. In a climate change world that might be acceptable to Europe.

    Sticking heat deep into the ocean sounds like a short term solution, definitely not a long term solution.

  21. Sasparilla says:

    An excellent, sobering article Joe. I’m stilling voting to call Southern Florida the Republican Shallows if we blow this and loose our coasts.

    It’s easy to look at this and want to throw in the towel – but its important not to give up. Our current CO2 level is not static and its moving in the wrong direction (accelerating in increases in the wrong direction actually), but that does not mean we won’t be able to change that – if/when we get serious in time.

    Until we get the Federal Govt here in the U.S. to move on this issue in a realistic way, its been and going to feel like we’re falling back to Dunkirk…but its important to savor the things that are going right (despite our govt.’s active ignoring of the problem) – 2012 biggest power generation technology deployed in the U.S. was Commercial Wind for the first time in history (not natural gas, not coal) – and it didn’t hurt a bit. We need to strengthen our resources, do what we can individually and bide our time – we will get opportunities to change this.

  22. Paul Klinkman says:

    Friends of mine helped to invent curbside recycling in the late 1970s. They got a neighborhood to put out bundled and bagged newspapers one Saturday a month. They came along with an old mail truck, picked up the papers and sold them at the recycler. I went on several runs with them. Then after several years they went to the state and said, why don’t you try this?

    Now we need a club of solar consumers to act like the AAA of solar, driving down consumer costs, certifying installers, smoothing the way.

  23. Jim Baird says:

    Paul, a counter-current heat transfer system for OTEC solves the Gulf Stream problem. U.S. patent applications 13/416,065

    Re melt water you obviously can’t catch it all but consideration has been given to freighting runoff from both the provinces of Alberta and Quebec to US markets and another thought was towing icebergs to the Middle East.

    Oil tankers deadheading to that region carry the equivalent in sea water ballast as all of the desalination the Saudis are currently producing. It seems to me shipping runoff back to them would be a wiser use of that capacity.

  24. Paul Klinkman says:

    Rhode Island will consist of the top of the state landfill.

  25. Jim Baird says:

    Typo – should read from British Columbia rather than Alberta – oil sands contamination of the brain cells.

  26. Superman1 says:

    “As far as I’ve seen, most people can’t even plan for retirement. Let alone future generations.”

    One of the best lines I’ve seen. But, if you believe that 5 C or 6 C is game over, as some authors have put into print and as some people have predicted for the end of this century, then for many people, it’s their grandchildren. So, not that abstract. Does that mean they will be willing to take action and make sacrifices? If the past is prologue to the future for climate change, not very encouraging.

  27. Paul Klinkman says:

    Find an ocean bluff. Buy a house one row back from the oceanfront. Sell when the house is oceanfront property.

  28. M Tucker says:

    “For Box, any bit of policy helps.”

    But I’m betting if you were to ask him about Obama’s “all of the above” policy he would say that sort of approach only leads to more warming.

    If you are looking for a WWII effort Obama is not our FDR.

  29. So could we avert this scenario if we move to a target 350 ppm scenario? I’ve been aware of the 2009 study since it came out, ironically read it visiting Venice and riding down the Grand Canal. But what if we actually stabilized at 450 ppm and then mobilized forests, farms and other natural resources to begin soaking CO2 from the atmosphere? Bring it down to 325 ppm, where Jim Hansen says we can avert radical ice loss, if I read his work correctly. We are forwarding this idea at Northwest Biocarbon Initiative, website listed. It’s no less wild an idea than 7 stories more water on the oceans.

  30. Merrelyn Emery says:

    I thought until recently that scientist bashing was the preserve of the deniers but now it seems it is becoming a popular sport. I suppose that is one way to solve your problems- just lash out blindly, ME

  31. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Absolutely. We are getting ‘soft denialism’ despite the facts growing more and more dire. I would bet the house on sea-level rise outrunning the most pessimistic prognoses, by orders of magnitude. And we have to plan for worse than the worst, just in case.

  32. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Who will buy it?

  33. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Sasparilla, by what magical mechanism is the SLR process to be reversed? As far as I can see, taking into account the forcings and feedbacks, the immense thermal inertia of the oceans and the fanatic determination of the elite to keep on burning hydrocarbons, how the blazes is massive SLR, and much more dreadful, besides, to be averted? I think it is only a question of the rate that the catastrophe will crash down on our heads. The Queenslanders who have just experienced their second, third or fourth ‘once in a century’ floods in the last dozen years know, now, that things are falling apart.

  34. Artful Dodger says:

    “Erring on the Side of Least Drama” (ESLD) to Avoid Alarmism

  35. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Do not be too sure about the rise taking thousands of years. True previous episodes of SLR have taken a prolonged period , but we have changed atmospheric forcing far more than an order of magnitude faster than anything before.

    We have this certainty that the Antarctic Circumpolar Current will be unscathed. But it would not have to wobble very much to see warm (if you call 2 to 3 degrees Celsius warm) water going under the Ross or Rhone Ice shelves.

    Then there is the Thwaites glacier whose buttressing ice shelf is about to back off it’s pinning point. This system alone is enough to blow the IPCC’s SLR projections out of the water.

  36. Merrelyn Emery says:

    The same ones that are buying condos on the beach at Surfers’ Paradise, going cheap, ME

  37. David Moore says:

    Agree totally with your comment about China’s coal consumption. Needs to be repeated a lot. We need to organize a boycott of Chinese goods if they don’t begin to change. India is a similar case. China should be helped to clean their current coal plants on condition that total coal use begins to stablize and they decline.

  38. drt says:

    A Fee and Dividend program that includes a fee on the imbedded GHG content of imports would help and be more fair. After all the atmosphere does not care if the CO2 came from China or Chile.

  39. Leif says:

    He could be if “We the People” make him. Hint Hint. What is missing here?

  40. What is missing here is having more people in Washington on Feb. 17 than will will watch a Football Game on Feb. 3.

  41. michelle says:


  42. Sasparilla says:

    Good point on Revkin, he’s as bad or worse than Watts for his disabling (relax…we don’t need to try to fix it) message and the spotlight it gets over on the NYTimes. Rex Tillerson over at Exxon, I’m sure, loves it.

  43. Jacob says:

    It’s not blindly lashing out when one points out that actual observations indicate scientists (as of late) have been far too conservative with their predictions. I don’t know how much faster such a rise of sea levels will actually happen, but given positive feedbacks this rise will probably be faster than one or two thousand years.

  44. Jacob says:

    If anyone can sport me a two way ticket from Sacramento. CA I’d be there. until then I am working on bettering my financial situation so I can actively participate in such events in the future on my own dime.

  45. Sasparilla says:

    Hey Mulga, I can’t give you a we just need to do X and we’ll solve it – I have faith (misplaced perhaps) that were humanity to confront climate change at say 2020 realistically (its long odds of us doing that of course – but if we did WW2 scale) we could turn things around – but of course just emissions eliminations won’t do it…it’ll be with alot of reckless, dangerous additional geo-engineering on a planetary scale (large scale albedo change and nearly anything else we could do – but when put to a task, in desperate times humans can come up with alot of ingenious solutions to problems).

    That said, as Joe has pointed out previously, the odds of us actually doing this appear long (and grow longer with each passing year), but I can’t give up on humanity yet – we’re blowing it, but we’re not over the cliff yet (when we loose the Arctic ice cap in the winter then I’ll grant the over the cliff destination being reached).

  46. Max1 says:

    move surface ocean heat to a depth where its coefficient of expansion is half that of the surface
    I hope you plan to address the risks to exposing frozen methane pockets at those depths. Over time, will this or won’t this warm deeper depths?

  47. dr2chase says:

    And if you can’t go totally vegan, go mostly vegan. Small fish (herring, sardines) are not a terrible choice. Chickens and eggs in moderation are not too bad if you can avoid the factory farms/feed (and you can raise your own in many places).

    Mammals are not a good choice, neither are deep sea fish, nor (apparently, sadly) shrimp. Not sure about crayfish.

    A good carbon tax would make all this obvious through the price of the food, but for now I have to go with what I read.

  48. Benny Belloes says:

    Ain’t that a hoot. I hope all climate change deniers move to the coast.

  49. Carol says:

    I had hoped that those who contribute to this blog would be able to rise above counterproductive sarcasm.
    Personal attacks on others (D.S. and Superman) who have differing views is disappointing to see here.

  50. Carol says:

    To clarify—-this is in response to M.E.’s post and the personal attacks have been directed at D.S. and Super.

  51. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    The Pliocene teaches us that a +2C rise will ‘eventually’ result in a 25m SLR due to the collapse of the Greenland and WAIS ice sheets. Unless we discover some Geoengineering magic this SLR is a lock-in leaving only timeframe as a matter for argument. “Posieden awakes from his 1000 year slumber, angered by the arrogant affronts of mere mortals like us.” -Mark Lynas (paraphrased)
    But in the endgame, don’t the oceans become still and rancid?

  52. Superman1 says:

    The SuperBowl of 2011 had a viewership of 111 million. The target for the 17 Feb demonstration is ~20,000. That’s approximately 1/5000.

  53. Icarus says:

    The current planetary energy imbalance is thought to be ~0.6W/m², which is around the same as the forcing from reducing atmospheric CO2 from 395 to 350ppm. In theory then, if we could instantly sequester 350 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, which would (coincidentally) reduce it to 350ppm, then global warming would stop where it is now – there would still be some impacts but we could probably cope. Ultimately we should get it back to ~300ppm in order to return to something resembling 20th Century climate.

  54. Merrelyn Emery says:

    I have spelt out why it is the method of part by part analysis then attempted synthesis via modelling that accounts for the underestimates, not any personal failings of the scientists. Brysse’s conclusions are based on opinions, surmise and speculation. He accepts reductionism and is left, therefore, with having to fault the people, ME

  55. Merrelyn Emery says:

    There is a difference between criticizing people personally and criticizing the comments they make. I guess you think it’s OK that people who have been tearing their hair out trying to warn you of the dangers you face are now subjected to this sort of opportunistic criticism by those who owe them gratitude, ME

  56. Steve Walsh says:

    Very interesting and thought provoking comments. Not sure about the importance of Greenland, as ice core samples show its less sensitive to warning than previously thought.

    Bad news is it means that Antarctica was responsible for sea level rise during the last inter-glacial.

    One more thing. There’s an indigenous people, the Kogi of northern Colombia, who made a film warning of clomate change back in 1990. No-one listened of course, so they made another one. Still to get picked up for general release though. In it they make a proposal on how to combat climate change, one I hadn’t heard in the CC debate so far.

    Here’s a link if you’re interested-

  57. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Thank you for the link to Aluna, ME

  58. According to
    The foundation base of the Statue of Liberty is 65 feet high. Presumably above sea level.

    SO – perhaps near the year 2100, Lady Liberty will appear to be walking on water. Appropriate comment for our age of magical denial.

  59. Steeve Walsh says:

    Thankyou in turn Merrelyn. Here’s one wee clip from the film.

  60. prokaryotes says:

    Good video with Richard Alley on SLR, mentioning abrupt developments (ice sheet disintegrating) a likelihood.

  61. Spike says:

    Gillis reports better for the NYT and isn’t a lukewarmist – this piece appeared in the UK press today, which is why I have only just seen it, and speaks correctly of the lessons we can learn from the Pliocene on sea level

    “I wish I could take people that question the significance of sea level rise out in the field with me,” Dr. Raymo said. “Because you just walk them up 30 or 40 feet in elevation above today’s sea level and show them a fossil beach, with shells the size of a fist eroding out, and they can look at it with their own eyes and say, ‘Wow, you didn’t just make that up.’ ”

  62. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Patrick – to provide some background in answering your question I’ve extrapolated the Mauna Loa CO2 record from its start in ’57 back to 280ppm in 1800. Not strictly accurate, but within a few ppm in the relevant later years.

    The goal of cutting CO2 to 325ppm seems to me deficient, and I don’t get why Hansen has proposed it as the safe alternative to the 350ppm goal. The difficulty lies in the record of warming three decades after these levels were passed (the 30yr timelag being due to ocean thermal inertia).

    For example, we passed 350ppm in 1986, and a 30 yr timelag means we’ll see its warming realized by 2016;
    we passed 325ppm in 1969 and saw its warming in 1999;
    the records show the start of cryosphere decline in 1955 (and thus the start of the albedo loss feedback) when we had 313ppm, whose warming we saw in 1985;
    and in 1925 we passed ~298ppm, whose warming we saw in 1955, with the start of cryosphere decline.

    From this perspective it would seem that a goal of anything more than 280ppm lacks prudence, as even 300ppm would leave the cryosphere diminished and the albedo loss feedback potentially operational.

    One feedback, raised water vapour, began with the first of the warming, then albedo loss started in ’55, microbial peat-bog decay by ’62, permafrost melt by ’75, rising forest combustion by ’82, soil desiccation emissions by ’95, and rising methyl clathrates reportedly in 2010.

    While I’d applaud the Northwest Biocarbon Initiative (and warmly recommend consideration of biochar as one uniquely effective focus), I don’t see even a massive global program of Carbon Recovery as cleansing the atmosphere before the end of the century, even using the optimum silviculture in widespread native afforestation for biochar sequestration.

    With the full cooling effect of that cleansing having the same 30yr timelag, even in addition to rapid global emissions control this would still allow many decades of continuous warming for the feedbacks to run amok (aka ‘become mutually self-re-inforcing). Notably several of them have the potential to dwarf anthro emissions, and the most advanced, albedo loss, was reported in GRL in 2010 to be already imposing a forcing equivalent to “about 30% of anthro-CO2 output”.

    To control them in timely manner I’ve yet to see any alternative to developing sufficient governance of the objectives, research and trials of Albedo Restoration techniques. This implies that a triple mitigation strategy of global Emissions Control, Carbon Recovery and Albedo Restorations is required both to control the feedbacks and to avoid the potential 69ft of SLR in question.



  63. Wes says:

    Yikes! But I don’t see SLR as a 1,000 year problem, and when it’s presented like that the average person can say, “Well, they’ll have plenty of time to work on fixes.”

    The facts seem to be that it’s really a 100 year problem. Nothing in this discussion covers loss of human population to starvation, multiple wars and mass migrations. What will the human population be in 2100? What’s your guess? I’d bet that the highest number, if we take real action soon, will still be no more than 2-3 billion due to the massive loss of life. Perhaps if we focus on that rather than feet of SLR we can get people’s attention. “3 Billion Dead BY 2100!! Will Your Grandchildren Survive?”
    might get folks off ESPN long enough to get properly worried.

  64. Solar Jim says:

    Today’s heat flux (0.6 W/m2 over the Earth’s total surface) should not be confused with total radiative forcing (of some 3 W/m2 due to all GHG atmospheric levels), although about half of total radiative forcing is presently masked by daily aerosol emissions.

  65. Solar Jim says:

    A “clear and present danger” that federal governments “can not see” except to accelerate the threat through tax and legal systems in favor of fossil carbon mining. This is like subsidizing “the enemy” of our demise if you ask me.

    All governments should cease and divest from a process that will kill their people (or at least destroy their “infrastructure”).

  66. Superman1 says:


    When people have to respond with invective and personal attacks, it is a tacit admission that their arguments have no substance.

  67. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Carol – the critique is of the conduct, not the person. As you may have noticed, an agenda of hyping defeatism is now rife across the threads of Climate Progress which, by demoralizing people and cutting their confidence of success, is greatly to the detriment of recruiting new activists to the cause of climate action as well as to the campaigning energy of current activists.

    The commenter in question has shown he is brazenly impervious to rational argument from a great many other commenters, including JR,
    is willing to use distortions of the reality,
    and the slander of scientists and politicians’ integrity,
    and wild generalizations impugning ordinary peoples’ ethics,
    and the promotion of both an eco-fascism strawman and McPherson’s ‘guaranteed extinction’ conspiracy theory,
    all for the sake of hyping defeatism.

    When another commenter made the point that his obsessive focus on hyping defeatism would generate depression, his grossly callous response was that people who get depressed probably wouldn’t be much use anyway. The example of Churchill, who endured terrible depression, shows that response to be misleading as well as callous.

    Personally I’m unable to distinguish such brazen conduct from that of a notably prolific concern troll with an unconventional brief from its sponsors.



  68. Icarus62 says:

    The net forcing to date is something like 1.7 Watts (taking aerosols into account, as you say) but some of that forcing has already been ‘realised’ as warming, so the remaining energy imbalance is lower than that figure. If you assumed (for the sake of argument) that the climate received no additional forcing, then a negative forcing of 0.6 Watts would be enough to ‘cancel out’ the existing energy imbalance and stop global warming.

  69. Icarus62 says:

    I think Hansen proposed 350ppm as an initial target to ‘cancel out’ the current planetary energy imbalance and halt further warming. We would then continue to reduce atmospheric CO2 to a ‘safe’ level.

  70. John McCormick says:

    Joe: “The “good” news is that this might take 1000 to 2000 years (or longer), and the choices we make now can affect the rate of rise and whether we blow past 69 feet to beyond 200 feet.”

    I’m more concerned about the first foot of sea level rise in my son and daughter’s lifetime! 1000 to 2000 years???

  71. Thnaks, Lewis. Very useful and insightful.

  72. Joe Romm says:

    I think the article made clear that most folks are like you. But people deserve to know anyway.

  73. Lex says:

    Also, the warmer the climate, the larger the reptiles. I’m just sayin’.

  74. PeterW says:

    Regarding eating animals, it would be interesting to actually see the greenhouse gas impact of eating Joel Salatin’s herbivores. When farming is done correctly large herbivores are very important in the growing of soil, a carbon sink. I believe almost all Joel’s inputs for his animals are local to his farm and the farm far exceeds standard production. Anyway it would be interesting if someone actually looked into this.

  75. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    When you see the trouble dished out to ‘whistle-blowers’ it certainly teaches ‘boat rockers’ a lesson in self-preservation.

  76. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Oh, I see. John Howard’s ‘aspirationals’ aka ‘upper middle bogans’.

  77. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Dennis, I do not like Lynas because he disinformed at Copenhagen to lay the blame with China, he has become a born-again nuclear freak, and, even worse and the coup de grace, has become a pusher of GE crops, replete with abuse of those opposed to that dangerous scam. QED.

  78. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    And the happier, which explains much denialist behaviour.