September 30 (UPI) – The rich have a larger carbon footprint than their affluent neighbors, several studies have confirmed.
According to new research, published Thursday in the journal Nature Energy, they also have a greater ability to effect change.
For the new study, scientists have identified five ways rich and well-connected people disproportionately impact global greenhouse gas emissions.
Because those with higher socioeconomic status bear greater responsibility for warming trends and have greater potential to precipitate progress, the authors of the new study insist that it is imperative that governments and policymakers are finding ways to motivate behavior change among the upper echelons of society.
To identify people with high socioeconomic status, researchers looked at more than just a person’s paycheck. They also took into account a person’s profession, social status and social network.
“People of high socioeconomic status are not just those with more money, but those with stronger social networks,” said lead author Kristian Nielsen in a press release.
“Their connections can enable them to influence behaviors and policies to help mitigate climate change – and we need to find ways to encourage them to do so,” said Nielson, psychologist and postdoctoral researcher at Cambridge University. .
The carbon footprint of the richest people is mainly inflated by their consumption and travel habits.
Studies have shown that per capita energy consumption in wealthier neighborhoods is significantly higher. Recent research also suggests that only 1% of the world’s population is responsible for 50% of greenhouse gas emissions from air transport.
People with high socioeconomic status have the potential to effect change outside of their role as consumers, the researchers say in the new study.
“People of higher socioeconomic status could also serve as role models, making more climate-friendly choices that influence others – for example driving electric cars or following a vegan diet,” Nielsen said. “You don’t need a huge income to be a model, you just need to be well connected.”
In addition to implementing changes through their roles as consumers and role models, wealthy people can invest in climate mitigation technologies, directing capital to solar and other forms of energy. own.
Rich people can use more than money. They can also use their positions of power to influence companies’ purchasing decisions, as well as their large social networks to organize progress.
“Our study focused on people of high socioeconomic status, as they have generated many problems of fossil fuel dependence and associated climate change, which are affecting the rest of humanity,” Nielsen said.
“And they’re also in a good position to do something,” Nielsen said.
The media pay disproportionate attention to plane crashes, but just reporting many stories of plane crashes does not provide a good insight into transportation safety. You need statistics to realize that planes are much safer than cars.
Alarmist climate reports are now causing the same problem with ever-proliferating stories of extreme heat waves, floods and fires. This storm of appalling tragedy argues that uncontrollable climate change is now causing ever more deadly calamities.
Yet this narrative is contradicted by the data.
One of the most documented impacts of global warming is rising temperature extremes, which made headlines around the world this summer. Although rarely reported, the new report from the United Nations Climate Panel also tells us that “the frequency and intensity of extreme cold has decreased.” This is important because, in the world, more than 4.5 million people die of the cold against less than 600,000 of the heat.
A new study published in the medical journal The Lancet shows that the rise in temperature over the past two decades in the United States and Canada means 7,200 more heat deaths each year, far more than the 624 widely reported deaths due to the thermal dome this summer. But the study also shows that warming means we prevent 21,000 cold deaths each year. We are misinformed if we do not hear both sides of this story.
READ MORE: Don’t Buy Misfortune – We Can Always Change This Climate Pathway
The tragic floods in Germany and Belgium are also blamed on climate change. But the data does not support that river floods have increased. Globally, a large study of over 9,000 rivers shows that while some rivers are experiencing increasing flood trends, many other rivers are seeing decreasing flood trends. This is also true in Europe, where the new report by the United Nations Climate Panel studies all rivers and finds that most are less flooded.
Stories of rivers still overflowing will inevitably dominate, but that doesn’t help us understand the big picture. Most of the German flood deaths occurred on the Ahr River. Although it experienced a very high flow on July 14, 2021, it was still much lower than the flows of 1804 and 1910. What matters most to river flooding is that more and more people are building on them. flood plains, leaving water nowhere to go. This highlights the need for a well-functioning warning system.
Here, Germany has failed dramatically. Since the last deadly floods in 2002, Germany has put in place an extensive warning system, but last September, on a “national alert” day, most warning measures failed. worked. The models warned of flooding up to nine days in advance, but most people weren’t aware of it. The hydrologist who set up the European flood awareness system called it a “monumental fault of the system”.
But, of course, blaming the deadly floods on climate change comes in handy for the politicians who were responsible for the missing early warnings.
READ MORE: Carbon offsetting. If this sounds like an illusion, it is
Likewise, fires in the United States are often attributed to the climate, but the real reason is mainly poor forest management. And overall, the U.S. government’s own statistics belies the hype: The area burned in 2021 to date is the seventh lowest in 20 years. In 2020, only 11% of the annual area burned compared to the early 1900s. Contrary to climate clichés, the area burned globally has decreased considerably since 1900 and continues to decline in the age of satellites.
The world is big, and with cameras everywhere, there is a torrent of new fires, heatwaves and floods vying for attention every day. Websites are gaining clicks, politicians waving their virtue, and climate activists are raising money through these calamities. But just like plane crashes, a constant stream of bad news doesn’t inform well.
We have death statistics around the world from all climate related weather disasters such as floods, droughts, storms and fires from the International Disaster Database. In the 1920s, these disasters killed on average nearly half a million people each year.
The current climate alarm narrative would suggest that climate-caused disasters are deadlier, but this is not true. Over the past century, the number of climate-related deaths has fallen by 96% to around 18,000 deaths in an average year. Because the world’s population quadrupled, the global risk of climate-related death in the 2010s fell by more than 99%.
This does not deny that climate change is a real problem that we need to solve smartly. But contrary to the current narrative, our adaptability is far greater than changing climate risks.
Look at 2021, which seems to be the year of climate disasters. Add the 624 deaths from the North American thermal dome, the 358 deaths from flooding in Germany and Belgium, the 559 deaths from Indian climate disasters you may not have even heard of and an additional 1,378 deaths over 200 other disasters. Adjusted to a full year, and climate-related weather disasters are likely to cause around 6,000 deaths in 2021.
Every death is a tragedy, but many more tragedies are avoided. Globally, the Lancet study shows that climate change now causes an additional 116,000 heat-related deaths each year, but prevents nearly 283,000 cold-related deaths. Each year, global warming saves 166,000 lives. Today we no longer see half a million or even 18,000 lives lost due to climate-related weather disasters, but 6,000. The year 2021 could see a decline in the risk of climate-related death over a century of 99.7%.
For a smart climate conversation, we must insist on seeing all the data.
Bjorn Lomborg is Chair of the Copenhagen Consensus Think Tank and Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His latest book is False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet.
Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.
SEATTLE – Almost two decades ago, fishermen discovered a strange event off the coast of Oregon. They were collecting pots of dead or lethargic crabs.
At first they suspected a chemical spill or a red tide. But instead, they learned dangerously low levels of dissolved oxygen in ocean water were to blame.
The crabs had choked.
These bands of hypoxic areas have surfaced every summer on the coasts of the Pacific Northwest since they were first recorded in 2002. They are stimulated by natural coastal upwelling and algal blooms. , exacerbated by climate change, said Francis Chan, director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources. Studied at Oregon State University.
Similar to fire season, hypoxia season arrived earlier this year – the earliest start in 20 years, according to Chan. But unlike forest fires or other visible climate emergencies, it is largely unrecognized.
“It’s kind of a silent problem going on over there,” Chan said. “This year, I can look outside and see trees with a burnt side from the heatwave. As I drive the McKenzie Highway I can see Mount Jefferson has no snow on it. But when you drive towards the ocean, it looks exactly like last summer. “
The coasts of Washington and Oregon are part of the large California Current marine ecosystem that stretches from Mexico to Canada. The ecosystem is very dynamic because every spring and summer the northerly wind systems blow south and push the upper layer of the ocean out to sea. It is replaced by water from deeper depths which is rich in nutrients and helps fuel the productivity of the West Coast. This process is known as coastal upwelling.
Rise water has lower dissolved oxygen levels because deep water has spent so long isolated from the atmosphere. The nutrient richness encourages strong blooms of phytoplankton, also known as marine algae, which eventually decompose – a process that consumes more oxygen from the water – leaving coastal waters with high levels of oxygen. even lower which can result in suffocation of sea creatures.
“How long can you hold your breath?” Asked Jenny Waddell, research coordinator at the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. “Aside from the marine mammals that breathe on the surface, just about everything else in the ocean uses dissolved oxygen for its life. “
Typically, hypoxic conditions did not arrive on the shoreline until mid-June or July. This year, hypoxic conditions were reported in April, with the upwelling season starting in March. To understand why an early start to the upwelling season is concerning, Chan compared it to the summer drought season. “Let’s say we expected rainfall until March, but the rain stops in February. That’s all the water we have. We have to hold out until next year.
Likewise, if the upwelling begins a month earlier than usual, the quantity of oxygen, already low, must last until the fall when thunderstorms favor the mixture which adds oxygen to the system.
Chan said that at the end of September this year, upwelling was still happening and low oxygen levels persisted.
Climate change plays a role in worsening oxygen levels. Simply put, warmer water contains less oxygen because oxygen molecules move faster and are more likely to escape from the surface. A little more complicated, climate change is altering the structure of the oceans, as the warmer top layer is more buoyant than the cooler, deeper and already oxygen-poor ocean layer. The warmer top layer prevents the deeper layer from “breathing,” Chan explained.
Globally, the oceans are already losing oxygen. Take this and add in local factors like coastal upwelling and the decomposition of phytoplankton blooms off the coasts of Washington and Oregon, and you have a system with extremely low oxygen levels.
While upwelling ecosystems like the CCLME were once considered resilient to climate change due to their dynamic nature, they have quickly and quietly become places that scientists say will be hit hard by changing conditions.
Scientists are busy monitoring the problem and collecting as much data as possible. But the death of sea creatures has alarmed not only scientists, but also coastal tribes, whose livelihoods depend on the ocean.
There is no record of recurring low oxygen levels as scientists have observed since 2002, despite more than 50 years of ocean monitoring. Joe Schumacker, a marine resources scientist from the Quinault Indian Nation, said there was nothing in Quinault traditional knowledge about large-scale marine mortalities that would suggest oxygen levels were as low as we can see it today. In 2017, the hypoxic event was so severe that Schumacker remembers the shores regularly lined with dead fish and crustaceans that summer. The International Pacific Halibut Commission also found that there was no or very little catch of Pacific halibut during this hypoxic event.
The marine sanctuary, where Waddell works, has been collecting ocean data through anchorages for 22 years. Moorings are like buoys with special instruments that collect data such as temperature, salinity, water direction, chlorophyll and oxygen levels off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula.
Anchorage data is one of the longest records scientists have in this region of the world documenting many oceanic features. This dataset is one of many models used to verify two regional forecast models, J-SCOPE and LiveOcean, for the coastal waters of Washington and Oregon that Samantha Siedlecki, a former researcher at the University of Washington and currently a professor at the University of Connecticut, played a central role. in development. Forecasts predict important ocean characteristics such as the timing of upwelling to the amount of dissolved oxygen in the ocean.
Waddell and Schumacker both said they saw forecasts predict an early rise and low oxygen levels this summer.
“When I think about hypoxia, it makes me really, really worried to be frank because it’s something we’re still not sure about all the dynamics that go with it,” Waddell said. “We are trying to figure this out.”
She said she saw coastal treaty tribes like the Quinaults on the front lines of climate change. “There is no part of the marine sanctuary that is outside of the tribal fishing areas protected by treaty,” Waddell explained.
Schumacker said Indigenous ocean fishing rights in Washington do not exist anywhere else in the United States.
“These treaty rights to harvest 50% of the exploitable fish and shellfish are legally defined in these certain boxes here,” Schumacker explained, referring to the boundaries of the tribal fishing area. “So it’s not like they can go somewhere else to fish. If things go wrong, they are immediately limited by this box which defines where the treaty exists. “
The people of Quinault, he said, take seriously not only understanding the impacts of climate change, but also adapting.
To illustrate the direct link between the health of the ocean and the tribe’s livelihoods, the Quinaults organize a summer clam dig each year to harvest clams for sale. The clam dig is also called the “school clothes dig” because families usually buy clothes and school supplies for their children with the money earned from collecting the clams.
“They are fishermen. All of the tribes here in the Pacific Northwest are fishermen. They have to keep fishing, ”said Schumacker.
Waddell said she was encouraged by the number of concerned young people and undergraduates who have reached out to investigate the matter.
“I don’t want to be negative or depressing. But yes, it will take all of us to make an effort to solve this problem in a meaningful way, ”she said.
The Treasury has attempted to account for some of the costs of climate change in its long-term fiscal position report.
More severe droughts and storms due to climate change could cause New Zealand’s net public debt to be about 4 percentage points higher than otherwise, over the next 40 years, according to the Treasury.
The estimate contained in the report on the long-term fiscal position of the Treasury, Il Tirohanga Mokopuna 2021, seems moderate compared to broader concerns about climate change, such as the danger of further mass extinctions, sea level rise, resource conflicts and ocean acidification.
But Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen said the report probably went as far as it could from a “political and economic point of view.”
The Treasury said its modeling suggested the economy and the government’s fiscal position were “relatively resilient to natural disasters.”
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But he noted that extreme weather events were only one of the ways that climate change would affect the economy, and the impact they would have on debt could be greater than his modeling suggested.
“Climate change has started to impact New Zealand today, but the long-term effect is very uncertain at this point,” he said.
His model assumed that the frequency of droughts would roughly triple over the 40-year period and that occasional flooding would become 10 times more destructive.
Climate change was also just one of the long-term challenges for the economy identified in his report.
Others include an aging population.
Threats and historical trends meant governments had “important choices to make” to ensure that debt remains prudent and supports a higher standard of living for future generations, Treasury Secretary Caralee McLiesh said.
But current debt levels have remained cautious, the ministry also said.
Olsen said it was time to stop giving a helping hand to future generations “on everything from health care and social support, to climate change and economic resilience,” to avoid leaving future ones generations of New Zealanders with unbearable challenges.
Treasury analysis has shown that “the more we bury our heads in the sand, the more difficult the decisions we will eventually have to make,” he said.
The Minister of Finance responds to the concerns of Auckland companies “short of cash”.
Finance Minister Grant Roberson told Parliament’s Special Committee on Finance and Expenditure on Wednesday that he continued to expect public debt to peak in 2023 as a proportion of GDP, but warned it would only decrease gradually thereafter.
The Treasury forecast that the 2023 peak would see net government debt rise to 48% of GDP.
He said that in his judgment there is currently no need to reduce debt levels because the government’s budgetary response to Covid was “largely temporary”.
“Current debt levels are also unlikely to limit our ability to borrow more if needed,” he also concluded.
This is the first time that the Treasury has attempted to incorporate any of the budgetary implications of climate change into its long-term budget report.
“Climate change will have significant impacts on all aspects of our well-being – economic, social and environmental,” McLiesh said.
Part of a scientist’s duty in today’s disinformation environment is to persuade the public about how science works. Making precise and measured projections about the future is necessary to convince the public to believe in science. Is it possible to make accurate predictions about how the world will look 50 years from now?
(Photo: Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
Use of climate models
For more than 50 years, scientists have relied on climate models. The models produce representations of physical conditions on Earth and simulations of the current climate using mathematical equations and hundreds of data points. To create longer-term projections, climate models increasingly incorporate atmospheric, terrestrial and oceanic factors.
Climate models predict how the typical circumstances of a region will change over the next few decades and what the climate was like before people started recording it.
The first climate model was built over 50 years ago, at the very beginning of climate research. Increases in temperature and changes in oceanic and atmospheric currents are expected to contribute to climate change in the model. He helped scientists determine how the ocean and the atmosphere interacted to impact the climate.
Related Article: 2050 Earth Map Predicts Our Dark Future Brought By Climate Change
(Photo: Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images)
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, most Americans are already aware of the consequences of climate change on their environment. Individuals, businesses and governments, on the other hand, must “adapt to a fundamentally and dangerously changing climate,” according to Cascio.
People need to consider the climate in all of their important decisions, including whether or not to have children, which car to buy, how to invest, and when and where to buy a home. In addition, governments are making decisions that will significantly influence the future of entire countries, such as investing in alternative energies or limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate models are necessary for scientists to understand the future climate. Hausfather was the lead researcher in a study that examined the accuracy of early climate models. According to experts, the majority of models were quite accurate. Some of the findings were included in the report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
According to the researchers, 14 of the first 17 climate models are “substantially similar” to the warming observed in the real world. Given the lack of observable evidence of warming at the time, the accuracy is exceptionally unique. For example, the cooling impact of atmospheric aerosols was predicted by one of the first climate models established in 1971.
Develop better models
Despite the potential of climate models demonstrated by Hausfather’s work, these models continue to have shortcomings, especially with regard to the unpredictability of future emissions. Additionally, when climate models are pushed outside of their specified limits, accuracy issues arise. Climate models base their predictions on physical circumstances observed in nature rather than the statistical probability of countering it.
Cascio and other futurists place scientific facts in a larger framework, making predictions based on climate change, new technological advances, and political and social movements, while climatologists focus on physics to create projections for the future climate. Cascio defined Futurism as “a fundamentally anticipatory story”.
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The climate of our planet is an extremely complex subject. Of course, the underlying principles are simple, but incorporating the interaction between all the different elements is a very difficult task. To assess the situation on a large scale, researchers often turn to what are called climate models.
A climate model is a quantitative simulation of the elements of our planet’s climate. When researchers develop models, they divide the planet into a grid, apply known equations from the parameters they consider, and “run” the model to evaluate the results. Models can be more or less detailed, can span the past or the future, and can be localized or planetary.
Climate models are essential tools for climatologists as they attempt to make sense of the complex dynamics of Earth’s climate system. One of the reasons is that we don’t have access to all the data. We have started observing the planet’s climate relatively recently, we haven’t covered the whole planet with meteorological instruments, so there are a lot of gaps in our climate data. Models can help fill these gaps.
Official temperature records began in 1880 in the UK and surface observations developed over time to become the integrated system we have today with satellites, buoys, planes and stations around the planet.
But while our ability to collect data has improved dramatically, especially with the advent of satellite data, the planet is so big that even with all of these data points we have, there are still many gaps to be filled.
It is important to delve into the concept of climate. Officially, the World Meteorological Organization defines climate as “the measure of the average and variability of relevant amounts of certain variables (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) over a period of time, officially declared within 30 years “.
In other words, the climate is the reason why the inhabitants of the Caribbean hardly have warm jackets; time, on the other hand, is what happens today. Weather is an event, climate is a long term trend.
One of the reasons that models are so complicated is that they have to incorporate multiple types of data. Climate models should be a good representation of the physical world, which involves things like winds, currents, chemistry, and many more.
This means that we cannot use a model that approximates the oceans to giant swimming pools. Oceans have currents and other complex mechanisms that play a role in climate governance – and a comprehensive model should incorporate these elements. essential for understanding the climate.
Resolution is also a problem. Models can’t have rough representations, you can’t make a climate model that assumes the Andes are just a bunch of rectangular walls on the coast of South America – we need better resolution to that our model be precise.
It’s like Lego sculptures, if you have a lot of small bricks you can make a good Millennium Falcon, a few big bricks won’t be able to build the round shape of the ship. The resolution has increased over the years as we now have better computers to do the math.
However, this does not mean that the old models did not make good predictions, quite the contrary. Models from 1970 to 2007 were found to be consistent with observed global average surface temperatures. However, models that incorporate more parameters and have better resolution tend to produce better results.
Are they good enough?
No model is a perfect representation of reality. But they don’t need to be and can still help us understand how our planet’s climate will change.
One way to test a climate model is to use old data and see if it “predicts” climatic phenomena that we already knew occurred. Put simply, you claim to have built the model a few years ago and see if it successfully predicts something that has already happened. This is called a “hindcast” as opposed to a “forecast”. Here is an example.
In 1991, there was a worldwide impact eruption on Mount Pinatubo; its volcanic ash reached 35 km in the atmosphere. Scientists knew that the number of ashes would be enough to cool the atmosphere. James Hansen and his team took the opportunity to validate their climate model, to see if it was good enough to show the cooling effect.
With 6 months of actual data after the eruption, scientists were able to compare model temperatures and observations. The results were almost as expected – the model predicted a cooling effect; it wasn’t a perfect prediction, but it was good enough. Despite the complexity of simultaneous events on a global scale, the climate model has a definite cooling trend.
Models are a way to do an experiment, we can’t actually test whether the effects of CO2 emissions on the atmosphere by filling it with gas, we don’t have an atmosphere in a lab to test, so we model and simulate scenarios. You get the equation and add the amount of CO2 emissions per year, the model gets the number and works with it to tell you by how much the temperature will rise.
This is what the IPCC scenarios are for. These scenarios are the “ifs”: “if we continue to emit the same amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that we are currently emitting, what happens? “,” If we increase GHG emissions, what happens? “And” if we reduce GHG emissions, what happens? These scenarios are then used to predict different time periods, in almost 20 years, medium term in 40 years and longer term in 100 years.
With these scenarios, we can decide our actions for the future and find solutions to avoid extreme weather events like the recent ones. Since we have climate models to help us, we must act, because there is no doubt that humanity is the cause of the negative impact on the climate.
So what do the models tell us for the future?
We are in the midst of a global warming effect, and there is overwhelming evidence that we are the cause, through our greenhouse gas emissions. These gases heat the atmosphere, which in turn warms the entire planet.
Models can give us a lot of detail on how this will play out (spoiler alert: this is bad) and what we can do to stop it. For example, models suggest that if we do not act, our planet will experience a warming of more than 4 degrees Celsius. With current policies, we are heading towards around 3 degrees Celsius, and if all countries meet their current commitments and targets, we are heading towards 2.4 degrees.
However, the models also show that if we exceed 2 degrees, we are already causing catastrophic damage to the planet. Since we are already at one degree of heat since before the industrial age, our best bet would be to keep the heat below 1.5 degrees. The models also show how we can do it, but whether we as a society actually come together and do it is a whole different matter.
Basically, climate models are a tool. They are a tool to help us better understand the planet, the effects we have on it, and how we can remedy the damage we cause. They’re not perfect, but they’re extremely useful, and we’d do well to keep an eye on them as we navigate the dangers of a hot climate.