(Don't wait for a more favorable climate, someday...) :-}
Here are the three numbers you shouldn’t forget:
- 2 degrees C — Almost every government in the world has agreed that any warming above a 2 degree C (3.6F) rise would be unsafe. We have already raised the temperature .8 degrees C, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the climate dice are loaded for both devastating floods and drought.
- 565 gigatons — Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees. Computer models calculate that even if we stopped increasing CO2 levels now, the temperature would still rise another 0.8 degrees above the 0.8 we’ve already warmed, which means that we’re already 3/4s of the way to the 2 degree target.
- 2,795 gigatons– The Carbon Tracker Initiative, a team of London financial analysts and environmentalists, estimates that proven coal, oil, and gas reserves of the fossil- fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies, equals about 2,795 gigatons of CO2, or five times the amount we can release to maintain 2 degrees of warming.
This budget has been pretty well accepted by science as agreeing
with 2 degrees C of warming, and 2 degrees of warming is seen as the
maximum before probable major risks. It does NOT guarantee
that major problems will not be provoked before we get
there. It simply has become the accepted boundary between
"ouch" and "wow".
EDGAR (database created by European Commission and Netherlands
Environmental Assessment Agency) released 2013 estimates.
The following table lists the 2013 estimate of annual CO
2 emissions estimates (in thousands of CO
2 tonnes) from these estimates along with a list of emissions per capita (in tonnes of CO
2 per year) from same source.
2 emissions (kt)
|Emission per capita (t)|
So, the annual carbon footprint of the world's humans is about 35
GigaTons of CO2. About 5 GigaTons of that is from the U.S.
Combining the carbon budget from 350.org tells us that if we were to keep on at 2013 footprint, we would use up 565 GigaTons in 565/35 = 16 years. That would mean that if we did nothing for 16 years, we would have to immediately shut off all use of fossil fuels to prevent expected catastrophic warming.
Frog in the Pot
Quoted from the Wikipedia:
The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually, such as climate change.Evidence is that the water has to be heated VERY SLOWLY for this the frog not to jump out of the pot. So, you can take the story as metaphorical, or just recognize that we do have a very slow phenomena relative to heating of pots.