How scared are you about climate change at the moment?

I’m getting really worried now about climate change now. The stuff in New York feels like something out of a bad American thriller. After the months of climatic events from Athens being on fire, to the Somme breaking it’s banks through to load of other events I haven’t even proper seen in China and other places (link below), I’m starting to get really quite scared about what next year will bring.

How are you feeling about it all? Would be good to learn how people are processing this information. Do you forget about it, worry about it or take satisfactory action on the back of it?

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I thought it may make me feel better to read the latest IPPC report (below are some extracts). My worry is that it doesn’t talk enough about the likelihood of permafrost in the artic melting, which is a major feedback loop. From the reports of the Siberian wildfires and release of methane in that area, I think it is highly likely this is occuring but maybe no one knows to what extent? That my dear is a game changer.

Some headlines from the IPCC report (AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Phyical Science Basis)

  • The likely range of total human-caused global surface temperature increase from 1850–1900 to 2010–201911 is 0.8°C to 1.3°C, with the best estimate of 1.07°C.
  • Global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C will be exceeded during the 21st century unless deep reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.
  • Global mean sea level increased by 0.20 [0.15 to 0.25] m between 1901 and 2018. The average rate of sea level rise was 1.3 [0.6 to 2.1] mm yr–1 between 1901 and 1971, increasing to 1.9 [0.8 to 2.9] mm yr–1 between 1971 and 2006, and further increasing to 3.7 [3.2 to 4.2] mm yr–1 between 2006 and 2018 (high confidence). Human influence was very likely the main driver of these increases since at least 1971.
  • It is virtually certain that hot extremes (including heatwaves) have become more frequent and more intense across most land regions since the 1950s, while cold extremes (including cold waves) have become less frequent and less severe, with high confidence that human-induced climate change is the main driver14 of these changes. Some recent hot extremes observed over the past decade would have been extremely unlikely to occur without human influence on the climate system. Marine heatwaves have approximately doubled in frequency since the 1980s (high confidence), and human influence has very likely contributed to most of them since at least 2006.
  • The magnitude of feedbacks between climate change and the carbon cycle becomes larger but also more uncertain in high CO2 emissions scenarios (very high confidence). However, climate model projections show that the uncertainties in atmospheric CO2 concentrations by 2100 are dominated by the differences between emissions scenarios (high confidence). Additional ecosystem responses to warming not yet fully included in climate models, such as CO2 and CH4 fluxes from wetlands, permafrost thaw and wildfires, would further increase concentrations of these gases in the atmosphere (high confidence).

I agree it is very, very scary - and the speed of deterioration seems to be building rapidly as ecosystems start to collapse. There is some good news, I know - but almost every day seems to bring bad news too. I still think there are things we can do if we really have the will to improve climate and habitats, but it seems we will also have to take steps to deal with emergency situations. Are we, for example, going to need to build more reservoirs close to moorland and forests in order to deal with fires? Will we get to the stage when solar panels are ripped off their mountings by gales? I try to focus on just doing what I can - but, at the moment, that’s not very much. And, at the same time, the social fabric of this country is being ripped apart, and that demands attention, too.

It really feels to me that although all this awful stuff is happening and the cause of it isn’t sticking in the general public’s consciousness. It’s totally understandable that people don’t want to feel helpless, I just wonder what could be done about that.

I’m going to start some regular meetings here in Bicester and intend to form Carbon Club so that people can talk openly about actions they can take and what is stopping them take action. I’ve been reminded recently that thoughts lead to words that then lead to actions.

Bring on getting people to think about this stuff more and to talk about it.

Any thoughts on how to make a good conversation on climate change welcome!

Here in Abingdon a Climate Emergency Centre is opening on 25th September . The Town Council is allowing the use of a basement cafe in the town centre and a bunch of environmental groups are in the process of working out how to interpret the emergency to the general public. No doubt there will be a lot of learning by doing but we will have to avoid the temptation to ‘pull punches’ as the idea is to convince everybody that this is an emergency and that there are things that they could and should be doing (and stop doing). We are officially called One Planet Abingdon CEC and will be adopting Bioregional’s One Planet framework and logo.

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I’ll have to come and have a look - sounds great! Please do write a new topic on it and send some photos when it happens :pray: