It is impossible to plan for prevention of global climate catastrophe,
mitigation of global climate change and adaptation to global climate change
without basing plans and policies on today’s committed global warming and
However, committed global warming is not being made
the basis of climate change policy or planning.
characteristic of the climate system is its great ‘inertia’.
committed global warming is in much greater degree of warming that will happen
even if all emissions were rapidly reduced to virtually zero.
commitment to future global warming and the impacts of the future warming are
several times greater than the global warming and impacts of today.
They are also irreversible because global warming lasts over 1000
Committed Global Temperature Increases
Today's full committed globalwarming
due to climate science is 2.4°C
(Ramanathan, Feng Avoiding
Dangerous Climate interference ...
and warming will continue for over
•0.8°C today's surface temperature increase
•0.7°C 'hidden' deferred warming from
the oceanheat lag.
The ocean heat lag commits any
temperature increase before 2100
to almost double after 2100 at
•0.9°C 'hidden' deferred warming due to
aerosol cooling that will be 'unmasked'
when fossil air pollution or fossil energy
• Plus another 1.0°C which is the
fastest time from emergency emissions
reduction to atmospheric GHG stabilization.1. Absolute future commitments due to the
a. Climate system inertia due to the ocean
b. Extremely slow removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
c. Deferred additional warming due to the aerosol air pollution cooling
d. Absolute future commitment due to time required to
stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.
e. The commitment to
global warming climate change and ocean acidification is practically for ever.
2. Policy commitments resulting from the delay in implementing
policies effective enough to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas
3. Economic commitment due to the market failure that
the economics does not make atmospheric greenhouse gas polluters pay any of the
cost of the pollution. Until polluters are charged by governments for the cost
of pollution it is economically impossible for greenhouse gas emissions to
This future commitment is due to
the fact that there are very long delays (lag times)
a change to the climate system and a resulting effect from the climate
This also results in small changes to the
climate system causing very large climate change impacts.
This most important
aspects of the climate science are due to the following:
1.The ocean heat lag - the
delay between the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) to the added heat from the
increased atmospheric GHG registering as a temperature increase at the surface
of the planet. This delay (lag) is 30 to 50 years.
2. The transfer of this heat
from the increased amount of atmospheric greenhouse takes place extremely
slowly over a time frame of hundreds of years.
3. The main greenhouse gases
last in the atmosphere for a long-time and are called ‘long-lasting atmospheric
gases.' In particular 20% of all carbon dioxide emissions last for 1000 years
in the atmosphere.
4. As a result of the above global warming will last for
over 1000 years.
IPCC 2001 graphic
illustration showing the
very long time frame of atmospheric
global temperature and
sea level responses to reducing carbon
emissions to virtually zero.
Since the publication of this IPCC graph
in 2001 (IPCC TAR SYR Ch 4) scientists
have determined that
the global temperature will not stabilize
for over 1000
years following the stabilization
of atmospheric carbon dioxide (S Solomon
PNAS Irreversible global warming due to
carbon dioxide emissions).
cannot afford to take 100 years
now to stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide- but
it will still take a long time. In 2007 the IPCC said that for atmospheric
to stabilize long-term carbon dioxide emissions had to
to zero (IPCC AR4 FAQ 10.3.
Until atmospheric carbon dioxide is stabilized, ocean
continue to increase.Climate system inertia due to the ocean heat lag
It takes 30-50 years for the heat from an emission greenhouse gas into the atmosphere to register as a temperature increase at the surface of the planet. This is because most of the planet is water, so most of the heat is taken up by the oceans. The heat is stored as it circulated and distributed throughout the oceans before it can register as a surface temperature increase.
The temperature can not stop increasing (stabilize) until the
atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs)
stabilize (stop increasing).
Carbon dioxide cannot stabilize unless
carbon emissions stop (zero carbon).
With atmospheric stabilization of GHGs the
temperature almost stops increasing
('transient' temperature increase)- but not
The temperature very slowly continues to increase, as the ocean continues
to slowly transfer the stored to the planet's surface (even with no more
heat being added to the climate system) for hundreds of years, finally
stabilizing at the 'equilibrium' temperature increase. The eventual equilibrium
temperature is almost double the transient temperature increase.
2010 National Research Council Climate Stabilization Targets.
The ocean heat lag and
The graphical part of the
diagram shows how
atmospheric concentrations of carbon
corresponded to temperature.
Transient or near-term warming (in blue)
only a fraction of the total warming
the equilibrium warming
to occur (in red).
time lags inherent in the
Earth’s climate, warming that occurs
to a given increase in the concentration
of carbon dioxide (“transient climate change”)
reflects only about half the eventual total warming
(“equilibrium climate change”) that would occur
for stabilization at the same
(see Figure Syn.4).
For example, if concentrations reached
550 ppmv, transient warming would be
1.6°C, but holding concentrations
at 550 ppmv would mean that
continue over the next several centuries,
reaching a best estimate of an equilibrium
warming of about
The ocean heat lag and inertia
Today's temperature increase of 0.8°C,
because of the ocean heat lag , is an
absolute commitment of 1.5°C .Global temperature increases reached by 2100
are absolutely committed by the climate system
inertia (ocean heat lag) to almost double over
the long term after 2100.
Fossil fuel air pollution aerosol cooling
Deferred committed additional global warming 0.9°C
Fossil fuel air pollution aerosols (tiny particles suspended
in the atmosphere) reflect solar energy back out space.
This is an additional global warming or deferred warming
The fossil fuel air pollution will be stopped for two reasons.
1. AIR POLLUTION CONTROL
To improve air quality and reduce the damaging health
effects of fossil fuel air pollution.
2. ZERO CARBON
A more certain reason is that all industrial fossil fuel combustion
has to stop because the science is definite that so long as industrial
carbon dioxide is being emitted, the global temperature , climate
change and ocean acidification cannot stop increasing.
Reducing or stopping the aerosol containing air pollution unmasks the degree
of global warming being avoided by the aerosol cooling effect.
Aerosols or tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere
that can come
from air pollution,
volcanoes dust and ocean spray.
They can reflect or
absorb sunlight directly.
They can seed cloud droplets and brighten
Research is indicating that the air pollution cooling
aerosols exert a very substantial cooling effect,
that is masking a
lot of the global warming radiation
from the lower atmosphere by the
in atmospheric greenhouse gases.
Air pollution from
burning fossil fuels include
tiny particles of acid, which exert a global
The latest models indicate this cooling effect
as high as nearly 1°C.
Time from start of emergency emissions
reductions to atmospheric GHG stabilization
To totally decarbonize the world energy economy
is an essential and vast undertaking.
This Climate Interactive scenario matches the most
rapid proposals, and it takes 50 years to
The rate of warming since 1980 has been almost
0.3° C per decade (IPCC says 0.2° C /decade).
This makes at least another 1°C.
Stabilization of atmospheric carbon dioxide requires that all industrial carbon dioxide emissions be stopped.
Therefore it is impossible that the global temperature climate change and ocean acidification will stop
increasing unless all industrial carbon dioxide emissions are completely stopped.
The bottom line is that world powers are committing the world to global climate catastrophe.
Unless governments adopt a policy of reducing carbon emissions to zero by charging greenhouse gas polluters the cost of pollution, the world is committed to increasing greenhouse gas emissions resulting in accelerating atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations that can only lead to global climate catastrophe.
The Basic Science Behind Today's
Global Warming and Climate Change
"Even the most aggressive CO2 mitigation steps as envisioned now can only limit further additions
to the committed warming, but not reduce the already committed GHGs warming of 2.4°C." (Ramanthan, Feng 2008)
Today we are absolutely committed to a global temperature increase above 3°C and global warming will last over 1000 years
At a global temperature increase of 3C all crops in all regions have declined below today's baseline productivity
(IPCC 2007 UK Met Office 2009 NRC 2010) . We must know commitment to plan avoidance of catastrophic impacts.
CLIMATE SYSTEM EMERGENCY INSTITUTE
The health and human rights approach to climate change