Climate Letter #1121

A climate scientist addresses the common desire for hope with respect to climate change.  Kate Marvel is a trained theoretical physicist who specializes in studying the likely impact of human behavior on future climate conditions.  As a speaker and writer she does not back away from the reality found in her work, which, while unstated in detail, is apparently rather grim.  We can’t hope to go back to the way things were, which is not possible, but we can at least try to limit the damage.  Grief is permitted, while courage is an obligation.  I have no quarrel with her stance.
Edward O. Wilson writes about a practical way to preserve biodiversity (NY Times).  The plan he endorses, and has written a book about, basically calls for placing half the Earth in some form of protected zone.  Indigenous peoples would be protected at the same time, and even put to use as caretakers with the knowledge they have preserved.  “As we focus on climate change, we must also act decisively to protect the living world while we still have time. It would be humanity’s ultimate achievement.”
–Here is an example of a little-known type of creature, many species of which are facing extinction, which has an important role in support of healthy ecosystems:
Getting better control over human food supply is crucial to the mitigation of climate change.  We buy it and eat it but can’t see how much carbon is emitted in the process that brings this about, which is now being analyzed in great detail.  Many different kinds of changes are needed, each of which requires its own brand of leadership.
Follow-up to comments from Dr. Timothy Naish, which were reported in my previous Climate Letter as a sub-paragraph.  I thought It would be good to know what more was behind this man, and found quite a bit.  To begin with, he is a very distinguished scientist, as revealed by this resume:
–Next, this link contains a ten-minute video where Dr. Naish provides an introduction to the story of how the ice on Antarctica behaves and what we can learn about its history.  He has a keen interest in researching a time when the global CO2 level was at or above the 400 mark, which has now been exceeded and promises to go higher.
–Here is a second video, this one 13 minutes, with Dr. Naish speaking before an audience on the same general subject, with focus on comparisons between today and the warmer Pliocene period.  Included you’ll find a great chart of the best current estimates of CO2 levels all the way back to the time of the dinosaurs.
–Finally, assuming all of this has gotten your attention, I am throwing in a full-length scientific report covering the findings of the Andrill borehole project that Dr. Naish helped to plan and headed up operationally.  It provided critical information from the early days of the Miocene period over 20 million years ago, offering a preview of the kind of world we are heading into.  I don’t think there is any better source of information at this time.
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