Why is the Climate Crisis so much worse than we were told?

I think it is partly because the thinking has been based on global averages. We have been working to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5 C, and we have been told that we had time to do that.

But the global average is influenced by the oceans (about 70% of the earth’s surface); the oceans have absorbed 90% of the excess heat from the greenhouse effect (so far), but they have so much water that this has reduced the immediate effects on the climate. That is why we have seen an average rise of about 1.2 C so far.

This hides rises in important areas. The Arctic and Antartic have seen much larger rises; perhaps 4 to 7 C for the Arctic and 2 to 5 C for the Antarctic. Piemonte, in northwest Italy, has seen a rise of about 2 C. The Siberian permafrost region has seen rises of 3 to 5C.

These rises in temperature lead to increased greenhouse gases (from permafrost melting and bacterial decomposition of stored organic matter, for example); to increased local fires; and to new, uncertain weather behaviour.

To conclude: we have no time to waste in greenwashing, delay and further lies from oil companies, banks, or governments. We have to act now, to keep the coal, oil and gas in the ground. We need to shift investment to renewable energy and energy-saving. And we need to shift 95% of investment right now, not in 2 or 5 or 10 years, but now.

David Bowen 03/03/22