Roll Call of Doom
The research demonstrating the essential problem:
Global warming disaster could suffocate life on planet Earth, research shows - University of Leicester Press Office, UK - December 2015 - 400 words
‘ The team developed a new model of oxygen production in the ocean that takes into account basic interactions in the plankton community, such as oxygen production in photosynthesis, oxygen consumption because of plankton breathing and zooplankton feeding on phytoplankton. ’
A link to the paper ‘Mathematical Modelling of Plankton–Oxygen Dynamics Under the Climate Change’ published in the Bulletin of Mathematical Biology is at the end of the article.
From Now You See It: How to write about the natural world when it's vanishing before your eyes. by Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker, October 15th, 2018:
He gives the perennial sea ice until 2030 or so. 'That the Arctic Ocean will become free of sea ice in late Summer to early Autumn is a given.' he writes.
Both Wadhams and Serreze anticipate the loss will have disastrous and, as it were, snowballing consequences. Sea ice reflects sunlight, while open water absorbs it, so melting ice leads to further warming, which leads to more melt, and so on. (This past winter, parts of the Arctic saw temperatures of up to forty-five degrees above normal, even as parts of the United States and Europe were being buried under snow; some scientists believe the two phenomena are related, though others note that the link is, at this point, unproved.) Arctic soils contain hundreds of billions of tons of carbon, in the form of frozen and only partially decomposed plants. As the region heats up, much of this carbon is likely to be released into the atmosphere, where it will trap the heat---another feedback loop. [emphasis mine] In the Arctic Ocean, vast stores of methane lie buried under frozen sediments. If these stores, too, are released, the resulting warming is likely to be catastrophic. "The risk of an Arctic seabed methane pulse is one of the greatest immediate risks facing the human race," Wadhams writes [original emphasis].
"This is definitely disaster movie material" is how Serreze puts it.
XKCD: Earth Temperature Timeline - Randall Munroe - September 2016
Oxygen is Disappearing from the World's Oceans at an Alarmingly Rapid Pace - Sydney Pereira - Newsweek - January 2018 - 950 words
“The decline in ocean oxygen ranks among the most serious effects of human activities on the Earth’s environment,” Denise Breitburg, lead author and marine ecologist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, said in a statement. But, Breitburg said, people can solve the problem. “Halting climate change requires a global effort but even local actions can help with nutrient-driven oxygen decline.”
Fossil Fuel Subsidies Cost $5 Trillion Annually and Worsen Pollution - Daniel Cusick - Scientific American - May 2015 - 1150 words
‘ IMF reports that post-tax global energy subsidies rose $3 billion each year from 2011 to 2014, and are projected to reach $5.3 trillion this year, or roughly 6.5 percent of global gross domestic product. That’s significantly more than emerging and low-income countries spend on public health and other core social and economic priorities, according to IMF. ’
It is my understanding that 90% of energy subsidies go to fossil fuels. Detangling the conflicting sets of terms, data, and definitions used by various writers is beyond the scope of what I can do today (3.20.2018). But here is another quote:
" "Source: Giles Parkinson February 2016.
He said the oil depletion allowance had been in place for the oil industry since 1926, and would be ongoing, despite the fact it was one of the most profitable industries in the world. He cited insurance costs for nuclear plants – met by taxpayers – “without which there would be no nuclear plants”.
For natural gas, it was the drilling, or fracking, which had been made exempt from compliance with the safe drinking water act: “That is subsidy,” he said. And he pointed to taxpayer funded rail networks that have helped coal.
By contrast, the large-scale wind and solar industries in the US have had to content with repeated changes to their federal support mechanisms. The tax credits have been changed seven times in a decade.
“How can you plan a wind turbine factory or project in those types of conditions,” he asked.
And he used this graph to illustrate the short-term nature of the subsidies that renewable energy does get. And the biggest benefit. “You put subsidies in renewable energy and costs go down” to the point where they are not needed any more. That has not happened with fossil fuels and nuclear." "