Ben See Profile picture
Ben See. Literature Teacher informing pupils of the scientific reality of the Ecological Catastrophe & urging action. See also @urgenceclimatiq & @ClimateHound
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2 Aug

1. Soils are being destroyed at an order of magnitude faster than they are replenished

2. Pollinators face extinction

3. Arctic sea ice loss causes extreme weather across the N. Hemisphere

4. Droughts will last for years not months as the Earth is heated

The science is clear: some/much of the destruction can be stopped, and actions to limit/slow/avoid damage are possible.

1. 'Soils are being lost at an order of magnitude faster than they are being replenished. This imperils our future food security.'…
The science: it's possible to stop industrial agriculture killing of pollinators immediately: shift to agroecology.

2. 1000 bee species face extinction……

One million species face extinction. Most are…
Read 5 tweets
6 Jul
Q and A:

1. Do over 90% of climate scientists expect 1.7 - 2°C by 2042? YES

2. Will 1.7 - 2°C of global warming threaten to wreck basic crops? YES

3. Do over 90% of climate scientists expect temperatures high enough to be crop-wrecking to hit by '2038 or so'? YES


The vast majority of climate scientists would expect 1.7 - 2°C (or more, but not less) by ~2040.

I'd say this isn't a terribly controversial statement as temp rise seems to be 0.25- 0.3C per decade, and we're at 1.2/1.3/1.4C depending on the baseline.

It's worth grasping that crops are already beginning to be really severely affected *now* at 1.2/1.3/1.4C (depending on your baseline choice), before looking at how 1.7 - 2C will be enough to wreck key crops.

'In the last 5 years...enormous problems'…

Read 11 tweets
4 Jul
Did you know that over 90% of climate scientists think global warming will be so severe by 2038 or so that we'll hit temperatures shown to be hot enough to wreck the basic crops humanity relies upon for decent survival, or do you get your information from ad-dependent newspapers?
90% of experts predict +2°C.

64% project catastrophic 3-7°C by 2065-2095.

New climate models show 2°C by 2038-2050.

2°C is catastrophic for basic crops (wheat, corn).

(graphic from The Economist)
"Ben, what should we do?"

Learn about the Ecological & Climate catastrophe, and how to respond:

1. Investigate what Climate Justice means.

2. Consider what action suits you.

3. Will you focus on local action, global action, both?

4. Face reality.

Read 7 tweets
23 Jun
The Arctic:

1. all time heat record June 2020
2. 95% of old ice gone
3. ice free by 2021-2031
4. fastest warming place on Earth
5. no evidence sea ice will recover
6. vast wildfires mean carbon bursts
7. melting is destabilising the climate
8. permafrost collapse is irreversible
See this thread (with another thread at the end) for details :

Read 5 tweets
20 Jun
Correction: emissions would have to keep rising into the 2030s to hit 4C by 2055-2070.

Clarification :

Few scientists would predict ~1.8C by 2030, but as far as I can tell it's a possibility (3.6C relates to the Pliocene. The earliest we may hit 3.6C according to peer-reviewed science would be the end of the 2040s (2050s more plausible).
Additional info:

Despite a smattering of papers/reports suggesting 3C by the 2040s is possible, 2- 2.5C would appear far more likely (according to the climate scientists I have talked to, and climate models).

Read 3 tweets
6 Jun
Did you know?

1. If greenhouse gas emissions don't peak and fall sharply by soon after 2025, climate change will likely be severe enough to kill many billions by 2055.

2. Governments and corporations plan on increasing fossil fuel production well beyond 2025.

Let that sink in.
'The Met Office ran 17 different models with these feedbacks. All concluded a 4°C world by 2055 was likely if emissions continue to rise. Even if we are lucky, we are still likely to hit 4°C by 2070.'…
'a 4°C world might only support one billion people'.…
Read 15 tweets
5 Jun
Climate Change by Numbers

a) average global temperature rise:

1.5°C not safe
2°C very dangerous
3°C most species wiped out
4°C huge death toll likely billions

* today: 1.3°C

* by 2030-2045: 2°C

* by 2050-2150: 2.5- 4°C

b) years left to act: 0
1/ 'for the MAJORITY of animals and plants, 3.2°C of warming would mean having most of their habitat wiped out entirely.'

We'll most likely go over 3°C at some point between 2050 and 2150. I suspect this will happen before 2070, but of course I can't…
2/ Some scientists suggest fewer than one billion people could survive on a 4°C Earth:…
Read 9 tweets
2 Jun
Dear Journalists & Editors

1. the rate of climate change in the coming decades will be at least 10 times quicker than any shift in the past 65 million years

2. it's possible no trees will survive

3. the public should be made aware our desperate predicament

Will you inform us?
*aware of
'Most trees alive today won't be able to survive in the climate expected in 40 years, Brodribb said.'…
Read 4 tweets
1 Jun
Global warming hasn't happened this fast in 65 million years:

1. Czech Republic worst drought in 500 years

2. Siberian heat waves +30-35°C

3. UK: driest May in 124 years

4. Arctic Ocean above freezing

The Biggest Event in Human History still isn't front page news every day.

Take action now while it's still too late.

Worst drought in 500 years:

'Climate change is exacerbating drought in many parts of the world—increasing its frequency, severity and duration. With 2020 expected to be one of the hottest years on record, drought monitoring is crucial.'

Action is crucial!…
Read 6 tweets
31 May
How do experts feel about the many mainstream media articles which breezily inform the world that we can limit temperature rise to 1.5C if human-caused emissions drop 7.6% each year from now to 2030?

Shouldn't journalists explain why this doesn't reflect reality?

Scientists are aware that 7.6% isn't enough.

Journalists must make clear that extraordinary radical changes are now required for a 15% (or even 7.6%) reduction in emissions.

Journalists should be highlighting the reality of feedbacks, aerosol loss and risk (even in theory, what kind of chances do 7.6% cuts give us?).

** The context is that climate scientists are clear that we're heading rapidly to 1.8C - 3.2C or more. **

Read 4 tweets
30 May
Dear Journalists,

1. "If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change" @AntonioGuterres

*self-reinforcing feedbacks causing a lot of continued warming even with emissions reductions

2. It's June 2020

This is the context.
'Runaway' is a very tricky word in the context of climate change as it is used in different ways.

This conversation sums things up quite nicely, I think:

I was told to delete this tweet because the article says 'runaway' means that at 2C (by ~2035) warming to 3C- 5C becomes inevitable. Looking at Arctic, forest and other feedbacks this looks plausible to me (particularly 3C) but I wouldn't state it as fact.
Read 4 tweets
26 May
@queenofpeat @PermafrostCN @thermokarst @cdkoven @DavidOlefeldt @tedschuur @CarolynG_22 @DaveLaw82031625 @MiriamCJones @NatureGeosci Hi @queenofpeat, Thanks so much for this detailed answer.
I hadn't picked up on the plants/biomass uncertainty before, and it's very helpful to have confirmation that there is still much to be investigated (I struggle to accept the uncertainties, I must confess).
@queenofpeat @PermafrostCN @thermokarst @cdkoven @DavidOlefeldt @tedschuur @CarolynG_22 @DaveLaw82031625 @MiriamCJones @NatureGeosci The thermokast findings are intriguing/unnerving.
(I'm a little surprised that some scientists say that permafrost isn't near the top of their list of concerns. It strikes me as being of great concern in the coming decades!)
As always thanks for all your work.
All the best, Ben
Read 3 tweets
26 May

1. We're set for massive, rapid releases of carbon from 2035

2. A catastrophic boost in global warming of 0.4 - 0.8°C within decades is feared

3. Thawing is occurring 70 years earlier than expected in some areas

4. Slashing emissions immediately is our only hope
“We may start to see widespread degradation in permafrost … somewhere in the timescale of 20–30 years,” Vladimir Romanovsky, a permafrost expert at the University of Alaska, said.

From April 2017.…
'Thawing permafrost will release carbon to the atmosphere that will have an appreciable additional effect on climate change, adding at least one quarter of a degree Celsius by the end of the century and perhaps nearly as much as one degree.'…
Read 6 tweets
25 May
I think a number of climate scientists consider the disappearance of summer Arctic sea ice as relatively unlikely before 2035 - 2045, but I would suggest we could well hit 1.6C - 1.9C around 2027 - 2034.

Two recent reports from the last few months suggest summer Arctic sea ice disappearance by the 2020s or 2030s is more likely than the 2039-2044 suggested here.

The critical question: will this lead to a rapid boost in global warming & extreme weather?

If ice-free Arctic summers became common this could lead to a staggering and obviously catastrophic 0.5C of additional global warming. It'd also influence permafrost thawing which could lead to an equally terrible ~0.2 to ~0.9 of warming by the 2090s.

Read 5 tweets
24 May
Harold Wanless, director of the University of Miami’s geological sciences department and a leading expert on sea level rise, fears that a variety of feedback loops will contribute to a dramatic increase in sea level in the coming decades.

“My work on ancient climate shows we have these rapid pulses of rise that are rather dramatic, up to 10 meters of sea level rise certainly within a century, and that’s a really rapid disintegration of ice,” Wanless said.…
“We’re just seeing the beginning of ice melt and the beginning of the warming of the waters reaching up to the Arctic, in what is most certainly going to be the beginning of one of these rapid pulses.”…
Read 3 tweets
24 May
“We may start to see widespread degradation in permafrost … somewhere in the timescale of 20–30 years,” Vladimir Romanovsky, a permafrost expert at the University of Alaska, said.'

That is to say as early as 2036.…
'Thawing permafrost will release carbon to the atmosphere that will have an appreciable additional effect on climate change, adding at least one quarter of a degree Celsius by the end of the century and perhaps as much as one degree.' ⚠️…
'Our analysis points out that the permafrost carbon feedback adds to this another 0.4 to 0.8°C warming'

From 2012:…
Read 8 tweets
24 May
“I would think of the summer ice disappearing as the true tipping point we’ve all been afraid of..."

Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, discoverer of role of CFCs in amplifying global warming and destroying the ozone layer

'The reason Arctic ice is shrinking so fast, and why scientists are worried about it continuing, is one and the same.

There is a well-known feedback loop in the Arctic, caused by the reflectivity of ice and the darkness of the ocean.'

'When the Arctic Ocean is covered by lighter, white ice, it reflects more sunlight back to space. But when there is less ice, more heat gets absorbed by the darker ocean — warming the planet further. That warmer ocean then inhibits the growth of future ice...'

Read 19 tweets
22 May
Did you know?

1. “Temperature increases beyond 1C may elicit rapid, unpredictable and non-linear responses that could lead to extensive ecosystem damage.”

2. '2C would be enough to threaten life as we know it.'

3. We're set to go over 2C of global warming by the 2040s

The quotes come from this 2017 article.

“The consequences of failing to keep the temperature below 1.5C will be to wilfully condemn hundreds of millions of the poorest citizens of Earth to certain deaths from the severe impacts of climate change.”…
From 2016: "I think it is fair to say that there is literally no chance of making the 1.5C target".

'Earth is on track to sail past the two degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) threshold for dangerous global warming by 2050'.…
Read 4 tweets
22 May
Emissions from permafrost thaw could raise global temperatures by 0.3C (including 0.2C before 2100) by the next century.

However, some of the coldest permafrost (expected to remain stable until the 22nd century) now looks likely to degrade more quickly than previously thought.
The Arctic

'If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at current rates, this warming will lead to the widespread thawing of permafrost and the release of hundreds of billions of tonnes of CO2 and billions of tonnes of CH4'…
'Emissions from melted permafrost could raise global temperatures by 0.2 C' by 2100, and 0.3C by the 22nd century.

However, permafrost has been thawing far more quickly than expected since this 2015 study (in some cases 70 years earlier).…
Read 4 tweets
22 May
Mesoamerican Coral Reef:

1. world's second largest reef
2. stretches 1,000 km from northern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula toward the Bay Islands in northern Honduras
3. critically endangered; high risk from mass bleaching
4. collapse at 1.5- 2°C global warming (2020s--2030s)
'The condition of the world’s second-largest coral system, the Mesoamerican Reef stretching from Mexico to Central America, has taken a turn for the worse and faces further threats from climate change, according to a report by a group of scientists.'…
'The ecosystem is at high risk from mass bleaching in the coming decades, with compounding effects of ocean acidification, hurricanes, pollution and fishing. The overall status of the ecosystem is Critically Endangered'…
Read 6 tweets
21 May
NEW - Tropical forests are set to release vast amounts of carbon at ~1.9C of warming by around 2035 - 2039.

One of the first things I learnt on Twitter was that many climate scientists have been saying for years that we're sure to go over 2C.

In 2019 I realised a number of climate scientists think it likely we'll go over 3C, even 4C.

This study confirms 1.9C or less is too much.
"add drought on top of that, that there will be a little bit more of an effect.”

So, it's worse.

'the CO2 fertilisation effect may not be as large as some estimates suggest..."If that is the case, then the carbon losses from tropical forests will be larger.”'

So, it's worse.
Read 4 tweets