To stay under 2°C, this number must remain under 450.
When I was born in 1958, it was 316.
When my kids were born in the mid 1980s it was 345.
When my first grandkids were born in 2016, it was 403.
You can do the math.
(Models of how much CO2 will result in 2°C planet generally have a range of outcomes, from low to high probability. No amount of warming is safe, but 450 ppm of CO2 is considered the upper limit with a reasonable chance of limiting global temperature rise. But whatever the models tell us, we are already in very dangerous and costly territory)
We must prepare for change. Not just major change, but civilizational change
Serious Climate Disruption:
Here, Now and Urgent
"It is, I promise, worse than you think"
Climate disruption is now the greatest threat to humanity. We have lots of other issues of course (nuclear instability, ecologically extinctions), but climate change will, if not acted on and prepared for decisively, overrun our economic, political, civic, health and security systems. This is not a prediction for a century from now. It is now here, today.
Unfortunately, climate science keeps on bringing bad news; each new report from the world's leading climate science organisation, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), shows rapid planetary heating, rising carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, and larger storms, more severe flooding, increasingly dangerous bush fire seasons and the rate sea level rise doubling since the 1970s.
The worst case scenario is an uninhabitable earth that is too hot for humans. Governments of the world agreed in Paris in 2015 to limit global heating to well below 2 degrees C (this means 2 degrees C above the long term average for the 20th Century). The aim was for 1.5 degrees.
Yet, emissions keep rising and with them, global temperatures. Most scientists have now given up any chance of staying under 1.5C. Without simply unprecedented action we risk exceed 2C mid-century. But the heating will not stop there; currently the world is on track for a 3 degree or more world.
This would be catastrophic. All the climate related events (Australian and Californian bush fires of 2019/20, the longest ever drought, record breaking storms, coastal erosion and the death of the Great Barrier Reef) are all taking place with only 1 degree of average temperature increase.
While 1 degree is barely noticeable in terms of daily weather, it has enormous implications for the climate system. Consider what doubling that to 2 degrees means. Life as we knew it will be no longer possible. Every part of the world will be much more difficult to live in, and some not longer possible. Add in the financial, political and cultural costs; sea levels will keep rising, Insurance is already unaffordable for many living in vulnerable zones and heat waves, which already kill many more people than bush fires, will cripple cities and there infrastructure.
Prof John Holdren from Harvard University and former President Obama Science advisor says that:
"the difficulty in a problem like climate change is the time lag.
By the time there are dead bodies in the street, you’re
already way down the road. At any given time,
we’re not experiencing everything that we’re already committed to".
The world we grew up in no longer exists
We can no longer return to the 'normal' climate many of us knew. We can no longer 'solve' climate change. We now have to learn to live with it, adapt the best we can and, most of all, not make the future any worse.
Acting urgently is now mandatory; we can reduce emissions, we can move to clean energy, we can create a climate-safer future and we can adapt to the changes that are increasingly felt. There is a lot of good news here, especially with the unanticipated growth of renewable energy.
But even more importantly we must prepare for change. Not just major change, but civilizational change. Everything will change. We will lose things we love. There may well be some level of environmental and societal collapse. A number of scholars are considering this risk. But the choice is not between solving the 'problem' (too late for that) or an apocalypse (worst case scenario and currently unlikely). Rather, it will be a rapid, unpredictably messy unravelling of our ways of life, and, depending on how fast we act and the resources we have, changing how we live.
This reality is now here. It is not a future problem but a current, present reality.
Therefore we cannot face the future in the same way that we have been doing. We must do what we can to open our imaginations up to a radically different set of future possibilities.
We can still create a future even if we have no more than a glimmer of what that might look like.
We can still create a future well worth living for!
This is why we have created this concert. We must act, force our leaders to act, challenge those corporate leaders who are placing private profit over community well-being, divest from fossil fuels and reinvest urgently in green technology.
We must become the type of people a safer future needs.
And we must find joy and reassurance in our solidarity, action and creativity.
And that is one thing music can help with!
Join with us in playing a role in changing our future
Carbon and the Warming of the Earth
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas that that affects global temperatures, and while it is not the only greenhouse gas, it is the most significant. It plays an important role in the earth's atmosphere, that thin blanket of gases that surround out planet, moderating the planet's temperature by trapping just the right amount of heat from the sun.
For at least the past 800,000 years the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was between 230-280 parts per million (ppm). From about 12,000 years ago until today, the climate was unusually stable (as reason why the global agriculture revolution got kick started). CO2 levels did not fluctuate much until the start of the Industrial Revolution when we started burning coal (and later oil) in huge amounts.
Then the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere started to rise, causing the earth's average temperature to rise. Some of that heat goes into the oceans, which is one reason Australia's great barrier reef is threatened and unlikely to survive another next decade of warming.
Some of that heat makes drought more likely in some parts of the world, and when it does rain, because there is more water in a hotter atmosphere, those floods will be increasingly devastating.
Australia is seeing hotter and hotter summers with new temperature records being broken regularly. And the heat waves that follow are often deadly. There is a serious risk that parts of Australia will become unliveable in a few decades due to dangerous temperatures and humidity.
The solutions now are tough; we have to slow down and quite quickly stop greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere and the oceans. The atmosphere belongs to everyone, including future generations.
Music for a Warming World believes that this is now a global crisis. This is not a happy message but it is a real message. Continually dumping carbon into our atmosphere will create an unliveable world for most people, let alone the cost to other species, what is being called the 'sixth extinction'.
Join with us in playing a role in changing our future.