Episode 331. More Evidence and Solutions
This is The ChangeUnderground for the 20th of March 2023.
I’m your host, Jon Moore
Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil!
Following on from last week’s dire indications re: La Nina/El Nino phases comes a week of truly spectacular weather on the mainland.
I’ll come back to that in a moment.
La Nina/El Nino
From the Bureau of Meteorology, our national weather prediction service comes the ENSO Forecast page. ENSO stands for El Nino-Southern Oscillation.
From that page issued on the 14th of March:
The 2022–2023 La Niña has ended, following its declaration in September 2022. Oceanic and atmospheric indicators have returned to ENSO-neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña) values. Most models suggest ENSO will remain neutral during the southern autumn.
While the Pacific Ocean is currently ENSO-neutral, the criteria for El Niño WATCH have now been met, indicating around a 50% chance that an El Niño may develop later in 2023.
A significant amount of warmer than average water exists in the western and central tropical Pacific sub-surface, and warmer than average sea surface temperatures (SST) have emerged in parts of the eastern tropical Pacific in recent weeks.
And with the info from last week that neutral and El Nino present the same conditions of rainfall deficient in the eastern seaboard states of the mainland.
Back to the weather. In a message from my son today, Blackheath, a township in the Blue Mountains of NSW, 112 km west of Sydney Harbour and at an altitude of 1066 metres above sea level or 70 miles and 3500 feet for those non-metric types out in the wild. When I lived there back in the late 1980s summer temperatures ranged from 18 to 22 ish with one or two days above 27 but never hitting 30 that’s 65 to 70 and 80 to 85 f and those odd hot days would bring a thunderstorm that night and a cool day following.
Since last Thursday, 16th of March to Sunday 19th the temperature has risen from 27 to 35 c – 80 to 95 f and the humidity has been steadily falling to just 10% of Sunday 19th. The temperatures are bad enough but the humidity is terrifying. I’ve placed a google map pic in the transcript over at World Organic News.com for you to see just how forested the Blue Mountains are. All the rain over the past three years should have the fuels fairly damp but the entire area sits on a sandstone bedrock that leaks water like a sieve. It dries out quickly. And the mountains are known for their bushfires. A sister-in-law and her hubby lost their home back in the 2013 fires, it’s real and deprives me of sleep and did whilst I lived there too.
The point is Australia was considered a bellwether for climate change. Our early 21st century fires were harbingers of what hit the USA, Canada, Siberia, the Mediterranean, South America and many parts of Africa. The Black Summer Fires just prior to the world’s lockdown have been repeated elsewhere, again.
Things are Crook
So, more in hope than belief, I googled around and found this article from the Guardian by Mark Z Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford entitled: We don’t need ‘miracle’ technologies to fix the climate. We have the tools now from the 7th of February this year. He doesn’t start off in a comforting tone:
Nearly 7 million people die each year from air pollution. Moreover, global warming is already causing catastrophic damage. We have only seven years to eliminate 80% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – and 12 to 27 years to eliminate the rest – to avoid 1.5C global warming since the 1850 to 1900 period. We are already 1.1C above average.
The world also faces serious energy-security risks related to climate change: the economic, social, and political instability that will result when fossil fuels and uranium run out; blackmail by countries that control the supply of fuel to other countries; the high costs of shipping energy long distances; blackouts when a centralised fossil-fuel or nuclear power plant unexpectedly goes down; and health and environmental problems associated with continuous fuel mining, waste storage, nuclear reactor meltdown, and nuclear energy-related weapons proliferation.
But as you can tell from the title things aren’t as bad as they could be but we must act yesterday, well 50 years ago but today will do, just.
Now for the turn around.
Given the magnitude of these problems and the urgency of a solution to them, it is no surprise that the best solution is one that can be implemented quickly and at low cost. Enter wind, water and solar (WWS). WWS includes energy from the wind (onshore and offshore wind electricity), the water (hydroelectricity, tidal and ocean current electricity, wave electricity, geothermal electricity and geothermal heat), and the sun (solar photovoltaic electricity, concentrated solar power electricity and heat, and direct solar heat).
When combined with electricity storage, heat storage, cold storage and hydrogen storage; techniques to encourage people to shift the time of their electricity use (demand response); a well-interconnected electrical transmission system; and nifty and efficient electrical appliances, such as heat pumps, induction cooktops, electric vehicles and electric furnaces for industry, WWS can solve the ginormous problems associated with climate change at low cost worldwide.
That last point, at low cost worldwide links to an article from The Royal Society of Chemistry and I’ve left the link in the transcript if you want to have a read.
It’s A Wonderful Life
Given the gloom of the past half decade, the possible banking issues in the US, you really should watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart if you want to understand what a run on a bank really is, it is a genuine relief to come across info that the change is possible, nay inevitable once we pull our heads out of the sand and start doing what needs to be done.
I don’t know, something along the lines of:
Decarbonise the air, recarbonise the soil!
Thank you all for listening and I’ll be back, all things being equal, next week.
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We don’t need ‘miracle’ technologies to fix the climate. We have the tools now
“It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart