Oh noes! State of the planet: We saw a 'Great Acceleration'.

From the Earth System Science Partnership where they feel licensed to tell the rest of us about the “state of the planet” we have this press release admonishing an “unequivocal warning”. The video seems to indicate that we should blame the British for starting it all.

State of the planet

Scientists describe humanity’s global impact as ‘The Great Acceleration’ and offer ominous outlook: An uncertain future on a much hotter world

Time is running out to minimize the risk of setting in motion irreversible and long-term climate change and other dramatic changes to Earth’s life support system, according to scientists speaking at the Planet Under Pressure conference, which began in London today.

The unequivocal warning is delivered on the first day of the four-day conference opening with the latest readings of Earth’s vital signs.

In subsequent days at the meeting, nearly 3,000 experts spanning the spectrum of interconnected scientific interests, will examine solutions, hurdles and ways to break down the barriers to progress. The conference is the largest gathering of experts in development and global environmental changes in advance of June’s UN “Rio+20” summit in Brazil.

“The last 50 years have without doubt seen one of the most rapid transformations of the human relationship with the natural world,” says speaker Will Steffen, a global change expert from the Australian National University.

“Many human activities reached take-off points sometime in the 20th Century and sharply accelerated towards the end of the century. We saw a ‘Great Acceleration’.”

“It is the scale and speed of the Great Acceleration that is truly remarkable. This has largely happened within one human lifetime.”

Key indicators of the planet’s state, according to the speakers: higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, phosphorus extraction and fertilizer production causing many large dead zones in coastal areas; rising air and ocean temperatures; melting sea ice, polar ice sheets and Arctic permafrost; rising sea levels and ocean acidification; biodiversity loss; land use changes; and growing consumption of freshwater supplies and energy by a growing global population, of which billions of people still lack even the most basic elements of well-being.

At a planetary level, humanity is altering the global carbon cycle, water cycle and nitrogen cycle, says Professor Steffen. Indeed, humans now produce more reactive nitrogen artificially than all natural processes on land.

“Where on Earth are we going?” he asks, underlining several potentially dangerous environmental “tipping points” foreseen, among them the melting of the polar ice sheets and the thawing of perennially frozen northern permafrost soils.

Current research estimates the permafrost alone stores the equivalent of roughly twice the carbon in the atmosphere, he says. Under a “high warming scenario,” projected releases of greenhouse gas emissions from melting Arctic permafrost are the equivalent of 30-63 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide by 2040, 232-380 Gt by 2100, and 549-865 Gt by 2300. By comparison, fossil fuel emissions today are roughly 10 Gt per year.

“The key point is: Either we turn around a lot of these trends – the carbon dioxide trend, deforestation and so on – or we allow them to continue and push beyond critical thresholds.”

“There are signs that some drivers of global change are slowing or changing,” says fellow speaker Professor Diana Liverman, co-Director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona and visiting Oxford University academic.

“Population growth is slowing and will level off; the intensity of energy and carbon required for a unit of production is declining; agricultural intensification is slowing and forests are starting to expand in some regions.”

“On the other hand, average resource consumption per person, already high in some regions, is growing steeply in emerging economies even as many poor people cannot meet basic human needs.

“In some countries people are consuming far too much, including carbon, water and other resources embodied in trade. We have a long way to go to turn things around.”

Liverman notes a time lapse animation offering vivid evidence that Earth has entered a new geological epoch hallmarked by the profound ecosystem impacts of one species – humans – so much so that it marks an entirely new geological timespan: the “Anthropocene.”

Online at www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEMse22h8c8, it illustrates the dramatic growth of carbon dioxide emissions from the start of the industrial revolution — spreading from the UK in 1750 across Europe, North America and to Japan by 1900.

“By the end of the 20th Century we have high emissions in China, India, Europe and eastern North America but relatively little across Latin America and Africa. Here lies the core of the debate about responsibilities for climate change in relation to historical and per capita emissions.”

She also refers a recent UK study showing the highest income earners are responsible for three times the level of emissions compared with lowest income earners.

“In countries with high income inequality, the richest 10% of the population may be responsible for more than 50% of the greenhouse gas emissions – and the growing middle classes of many developing or transitional countries are developing consumption habits that add to the burden on the earth system.”

Says conference co-chair and UNESCO director of the science-policy division, Dr Lidia Brito: “If you like, our presenters today are akin to doctors saying ‘look, you may not feel too sick at the moment but you’ve got high blood pressure, your cholesterol is going up, and your lifestyle is not conducive to good health.'”

“There is time to turn these trends around and promising, more positive messages will be delivered by colleagues in days to come. We look forward to discussions of our most promising options, the barriers to change and to a prescription for the future.”

###

NOTE TO EDITORS

The research discussed in the press release, the conclusions drawn and the opinions offered are those of individual speakers or research teams at the Planet Under Pressure conference.

More information about Planet under Pressure Conference

The international science conference will be the biggest gathering of global environmental change specialists in advance of the United Nations Rio+20 Summit: 2,500 scientists, policymakers, industry and media representatives will meet to hear the latest research findings on the state of the planet and discuss concepts for planetary stewardship and societal and economic transformation towards global sustainability.

More information on the web: http://www.planetunderpressure2012.net

Follow the conference via RSS: http://www.planetunderpressure2012.net/xml/news.xml

Live web streaming, daily news show and live audio feeds: http://c3379912.workcast.net/planetunderpressure.html

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Alvin

My tomatoes approve this message

Curiousgeorge

Sooo, what they’re saying is we need to turn humanity back to the early 20th or late 19th century. I presume that means reducing the population to something around 1.5 to 2 billion, with 70% doing subsistence farming. Right. That’s what they call ‘progress’?
Here’s a scary phrase: “planetary stewardship and societal and economic transformation towards global sustainability”.

R. Shearer

More importantly, Tim Tebow joins the Jets. /sarc

Stark Dickflüssig

Will Steffen, a global change expert

My total bill comes to $183.46(US), I hand Will Steffen three fifties, two twenties, and a penny . . .

kramer

The video seems to indicate that we should blame the British for starting it all.
It’s right there in Tragedy and Hope by Professor Carroll Quigley…

Dreadnought

Hmmm, this sounds suspiciously like another taxpayer-funded knees-up for the sandal-wearing, holier-than-thou, hairy-armpit brigade – getting the old juices flowing, ready for the full enchilada in Rio.
It must be fun to be one of these teat-suckers, living high on the hog at everyone else’s expense, and rubbing shoulders with all the other party-goers every few weeks.
I bet their excitement can hardly be contained, while they’re holding forth with their ever-more dire predictions of a dystopian nightmare of doom.
Nothing like a good old rent-seeking, nest-feathering session to raise the spirits, eh?!
}:o(

I love the way they always put “scientists” right behind the expected numbers of attendees:
“The international science conference will be the biggest gathering of global environmental change specialists in advance of the United Nations Rio+20 Summit: 2,500 scientists, policymakers, industry and media representatives”
Instead of…”2500 media representatives, industry representatives, policymakers and scientists” which is probably a more accurate version.

Geoff Sherrington

At a glance, this paper should be filed under Earth Sciences-Geochemistry and not Global Warming, on its way to the circular filing bin.
For example, if we mine phosphate deposits, we should also ask how they were originally emplaced; and whether that was good or bad for the planet; and whether the phosphate cycle is a repetitive, ever-present process.
There seems to be confusion about redistribution of global materials, confusion with irreversible consumption or production – when we often do not even know the long term norm, or even if there is one (pH of the oceans?). We are simply told that change is evil and people must starve and die to combat it.

Richdo

I wish I could make a substantive comment or rebutal to this but the material is frankly just too disgusting. Perhaps a short video reviewing the highlights of previous Fascist/Communist/Solcialist/Progressive accomplishments would be informative.

Latitude

Time is running out to minimize the risk……..
======================
You guys have been saying this for decades….and centuries
Can we please get a date and time?

William Martin in NZ

The only acceleration I see,is the number of snouts in the trough.And their funding.

M. Seward

Will Steffen is perhaps Australia’s leading AGW alarmist, easily up there with Hansen et al. He still has the ear of government.
As an Australian taxpayer, I apologise for his ravings and only ask that you be patient with us, please.

Ben Wilson

Wow. . . .time is immediately running out!!
The only solution is for people who would waste vital resources attending crap conferences like this to
1) Immediately transfer all their assets to me, and
2) dispose of yourself in the most carbon dioxide friendly way possible
Otherwise Mother Gaia just might throw a hissy fit or something. . . . . . .

Steve from Rockwood

NOTE TO EDITORS
The research discussed in the press release, the conclusions drawn and the opinions offered are those of individual speakers or research teams at the Planet Under Pressure conference.

It in no way represents the consensus or the prevailing thoughts of the skeptics. And now, back to your regularly scheduled programme…

Bruce of Newcastle

“In subsequent days at the meeting, nearly 3,000 experts spanning the spectrum of interconnected scientific interests, will examine solutions, hurdles and ways to break down the barriers to progress.”
Ah, yes, the ‘B’ ark… 🙂

RoyFOMR

‘Planet under Pressure’ aka ‘If it’s not, then who will pay our salaries?’
Aliter, ‘If the naysayers are right then who will pay our salaries?’
‘Listen you dumb, fossil-funded, tobacco-fuelled, anti-climate, anti-post-normal scientific and anti-global governancing planet haters get your way then that means we’ve just spent more than two decades of juvenile bed-wetting episodes, billions of wasted dollars and the setting up of countless reputations and agencies that all ended up as diddly squat.
Would you mind explaining who’s going to pay our salaries in the future? Hope you can explain why Daddy (Moma) now has to make a living by asking ‘Do you want fries with that’
Clearly you guys have no compassion!

Ted G

This is the two millionth warning – your all gonna die – Snarc off

I think that Australia is coming out of their delima. Not today’s
election results..This guy will not have the government’s ear soo.
But why do owe never see the results of the benificial results
of added CO2? Why earlier warmer periods were always
better for Homo sapiens?

RoyFOMR

Errata:
I omitted the word ‘if’ and the \sarc tag. Forgive my inexactitudes but, in my defence, I received no funding from my efforts. As always. Sigh….

Ted G

Will Steffen is perhaps Australia’s leading AGW alarmist who will be out of a job next year, perhaps sooner of the ALP starts to collapse under a gillardton, LOL. Hee, Hee. Hee – Pleeeease!!!

“The last 50 years have without doubt seen one of the most rapid transformations of the human relationship with the natural world,”
Does this sentence actually mean anything? Please define “human relationship with the natural world”. A relationship sort of implies two distinct parties. Have humans not always been part of the natural world? What have humans transformed from or to? Super-natural? Extra-terrestrial? Unnatural? I have been alive for the last 50 years and I have clearly missed this transformation.
I’m confused

Ally E.

So… The first to the wall would be all the “deniers” followed by all the rich. Oh, and don’t forget fat people because they use “more resources” than thin folk. Oldies will go, too, of course, as will criminals, presumably. Then civilization.
By the way, I don’t think they want to knock us back into the Stone Age. It might be worse than that. My neighbour collects wood from his own land and sells it. He has been harassed by Greenies who tell him they will stop him. They don’t like people burning wood either.
At least cavemen could enjoy a good fire. Looks like we won’t be able to do even that.
Not that it will bother me, of course. If they get their way, I’ll be first to the wall, along with all you good folk.

Pat Frank

Geoff, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that Will Steffen is a Ph.D. chemist.
His publication list, at least since 2001, is short on science, longer on modeling, and longest on we’re-in-big-trouble overview pieces.
His paper in PNAS modeling global water vapor, includes estimates of neither error nor uncertainty; exhibiting the promiscuous neglect typical of AGW science.
Wonder what he did for his Ph.D.

Chicken Little

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!

Dave Worley

“The last 50 years have without doubt seen one of the most rapid transformations of the human relationship with the natural world”
Based on survivability rates, the relationship has never been better!

BradProp1

I wonder if these people have ever added up the total carbon they produce with these boondoggles? If they are so worried about the planet; maybe they should start with themselves. Based on the way these people live I could live 20 life times and still produce less GHGs than one of them!

Gail Combs

Richdo says:
March 26, 2012 at 6:34 pm
I wish I could make a substantive comment or rebutal to this but the material is frankly just too disgusting. Perhaps a short video reviewing the highlights of previous Fascist/Communist/Solcialist/Progressive accomplishments would be informative.
____________________________________
And here you are: “…a short… reviewing the highlights of previous Fascist/Communist/Solcialist/Progressive accomplishments…..” DEMOCIDE = murder by government

….total 1900-1999 = … 262,000,000.[people murder by government]
Just to give perspective on this incredible murder by government, if all these bodies were laid head to toe, with the average height being 5′, then they would circle the earth ten times. Also, this democide murdered 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century. Finally, given popular estimates of the dead in a major nuclear war, this total democide is as though such a war did occur, but with its dead spread over a century….
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/welcome.html

From an answer to Myrrh @ March 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm in another thread.
Professor Carroll Quigley documented the cabal. You can start with his Wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carroll_Quigley
This links a lot of the goings on together starting with Quigley From Carroll Quigley to the UN Millennium Summit

R Barker

How can the world “climate” be in such bad shape without any humanly detectable indication of it? I have been around 3/4 century and I would not know anything was wrong without the alarmists telling me two things I did not know; 1) The climate has changed. 2) It is bad. Actually, I have tried cold and I have tried warm and I have decided warm is better. :<)

Andrew

Pity Guy Fawkes isn’t still knocking about….

jones

I’m a Brit and I deeply apologise for absolutely everything……The extinction of the dinosaurs…….Shoemaker-Levy………Just everything…..
I apologise…..
So sorry……
I’m enjoying the self-loathing I must say….

Gail Combs

In subsequent days at the meeting, nearly 3,000 experts spanning the spectrum of interconnected scientific interests, will examine solutions, hurdles and ways to break down the barriers to progress. The conference is the largest gathering of experts in development and global environmental changes in advance of June’s UN “Rio+20″ summit in Brazil.

It should read “The conference is the largest gathering of regulating class aka rent seekers, expert in development of bafflegab and global governance agendas in advance of June’s UN “Rio+20″ summit in Brazil.
I do wish the News Media would report these things correctly. Journalists really should be more careful how they use words.

Patrick Plemmons

Oh shut up, you boring windbags.

Sorry, but I really like this video. It’s a neat, precise illustration of where and when various populations began to live longer, eat better, and improve their shelters. You can actually SEE health and prosperity spreading across the globe. The only thing negative about it is also being able to see how many regions are still suffering disease and poverty.

D Caldwell

To jones,
10 merits for providing a great laugh this evening – good for my well being.

observa

Meanwhile after the rout of the rentseekers in the Queensland election the great deceleration gathers pace-
http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/victoria-dumps-carbon-target/story-e6frfku0-1226311051893
It’s all yours Prime Minister and Co.

DirkH

Murray Grainger says:
March 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm
““The last 50 years have without doubt seen one of the most rapid transformations of the human relationship with the natural world,”
Does this sentence actually mean anything? Please define “human relationship with the natural world”. A relationship sort of implies two distinct parties.”
The natural world has become less successfull in killing us than it used to be.

DirkH

Hey, we (Germany) were second after the Brits!

Frank K.

…And in the final day of the conference, the scientists will join hands, sing , and dance in an event they call “P.U.P. With People”. /sarc
R. Shearer says:
March 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm
More importantly, Tim Tebow joins the Jets. /sarc
Actually, that IS more important than this conference…heh!!

tango

Will steffen is a big goose ask any australian he gets a big fat grant from the Gillard no carbon tax labour gov’t we all wish he would just stay there

pat

Murdoch’s Sun Newspaper:
26 March: Sun: Tim Spanton: Epochalypse now
HUMANS have so changed the planet that we have now entered a new geological epoch…
Confirmation of the Anthropecene is expected this week at the Planet Under Pressure conference in London. The argument is not if the period has begun but when it did. Some say very recently and others hundreds or thousands of years ago.
The former stress that humans now move more rock and sediment than all the world’s rivers do.
Prof James Syvitski, a US geologist, said: “Humanity is the equivalent of an ice age in its impact. This took off around the Industrial Revolution, accelerating after the Second World War.” …
There are three ideas about when the Anthropecene began…
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/4219133/Were-entering-a-new-geological-time-the-Anthropecene.html
25 March: NYT Dot Earth: Andrew C. Revkin: Managing a Planet Under Pressure
I’m heading to London overnight to engage in panel discussions on the roles of communication and governance in sustaining a thriving planet in this century. (To my mind, there’s enormous potential for progress testing new ways to share and shape ideas, and far slimmer prospects for using environmental treaty-making and other tools of global governance.)…
http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/managing-a-planet-under-pressure/
26 March: Financial Times: Pilita Clark: Shell risks losing out in green energy drift
Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies, could “wither away and die” if it acts too slowly to address global climate pressures, one of its executives warned on Monday…
But it faces equally stark risks if it tries to tackle environmental risks too fast, he said, explaining to the Financial Times later that it had invested in loss-making wind and solar businesses “maybe a bit early”, which made it hard to continue such efforts.
“The timing is very difficult,” said Mr Haigh, whose earlier comments were interrupted by applause for two protesters who climbed on to the conference stage as he was speaking and unfurled a banner demanding Shell stop “green washing” – a claim that Shell is not as green as its marketing suggests.
The interruption was a rare moment of drama in a sombre series of presentations at the Planet Under Pressure conference being held to provide “scientific leadership” to the UN’s Rio+20 environmental summit in June…
But several speakers were gloomy about the Rio+20 summit’s prospects. The agenda countries had produced so far was “vague” and “weak”, said Carlos Joly, director of policy in Brazil’s science and technology ministry. And it was still unclear how many heads of state from large economies would attend.
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2f9c6a86-7752-11e1-827d-00144feab49a.html#axzz1qHflkA5f

John West

M. Seward says:
“I apologise for his ravings and only ask that you be patient with us, please.”
No need to apologize, at least y’all didn’t produce Gore, Hansen, Mann, etc…..
Most of this [stuff] started right here with US, so we’re the ones that should be apologizing.

JohnH

@Murray Grainger:
You ask what this sentence means:
“The last 50 years have without doubt seen one of the most rapid transformations of the human relationship with the natural world,”
Please allow me to translate for you. For millennia, the human race was at the mercy of Mother Nature. If the Greensheviks want to anthropomorphize our planet, then they should do it accurately. She’s a total bitch. Just when you think you’re safe in a mud hut somewhere, you get a flood, or an earthquake, or years of drought. Your beloved family starves, your village becomes a vine-infested jungle, and just to make sure that none of you escape alive, you get cholera for dessert.
For the last 50 years we have successfully found some measure of protection from her whims. Almost entirely through the use of readily available and energy-dense fossil fuels, we have created areas of the Earth that are relatively safe. Using concrete and steel, we have built cities that house millions of people who work and live in relative peace. Throughout the western world we have agricultural technology that has accomplished two amazing things: it’s managed to produce surplus food that can be shipped around the globe to feed people who haven’t yet developed their own defenses against that vicious Harpy, and they have vastly reduced the amount of labor that food production historically required.
While it’s sad that not everyone has embraced the economic system that produced these gains, everyone in the world has reaped huge benefits. When we speak of “rapid transformations”, there are none that are quite as significant as our advances in medical care. What’s almost never acknowledged is that without the technological advances in energy and transportation, it wouldn’t have been possible to produce enough vaccines and antibiotics to ameliorate the scourges that our Wicked Stepmother sends against us.
Sorry to rant, but for anyone who thinks that our new relationship with the planet is somehow inferior to our old arrangement, I pray for a time machine to accommodate their preference. I think their current affection with wind power will fade when they try to cross the ocean with nothing else to propel them.

“The last 50 years have without doubt seen one of the most rapid transformations of the human relationship with the natural world,” says speaker Will Steffen>>>
Nearly all of it good Will, nearly all of it.
In fact Will, the only bad part is that we haven’t figured out how to keep charlatans from extracting money out of our pockets while telling us that it is for our own good.

jaypan

I’d call it 256 years of progress.
How must these green fanatics hate mankind.
Let us be very cautious.

Neville

Here is Steffen talking to Andrew Bolt on the Bolt Report just after our idiot govt passed the co2 tax.
IMO Bolt was too easy on him and should have pulled him up more on some of his silly nonsense.
One glaring fault is his insinuating that el nino causes more rain. In OZ el nino tend to lower rainfall and sometimes drought.

Peter S

One has to wonder about the size of the emissions of all these 2500 jet setting attendees, and how many times that of high income earners they are.

Goldie

Now where have I heard this before? As far as I can tell and at least for the 50 + years that I have been on the planet mankind has been on the verge of wiping itself out in one way or another. In truth there have been credible risks in that time, but it really is hard to take this seriously.
Let me see if I have got this right – We need to minimise the risk of reaching a tipping point. So what tipping points are we talking about? Well we have a long list of possible tipping points, none of them proven because no one has adequate data and at the end of the day many of them are mere speculation. And as far as I can tell we have very little evidence that tipping points actually exist. Now, because we don’t have adequate data, we don’t know under what circumstances a tipping point might be reached. So when we talk about minimising risk we also don’t know what actions would really be suitable.
All we think we know is that it would be a good idea to backtrack to a mythical point in our history when things were better and hope that the weather gods didn’t notice that we’d crossed the line, or got close to it.

John F. Hultquist

“Many human activities reached take-off points sometime in the 20th Century. . .”
Did I miss something, or is this a new ‘scary’ phrase?

Interstellar Bill

The Left has always been the champions of psychological projection,
projection of their own filthy evil, upon their opponents,
but now they spin climate fairy tales that describe only themselves.
The planetary damage they imagine is the actual historic damage
their ilk have wrought on their world for decades already.
Their fantasies of planetary peril are grim metaphors
for the horrible doom they’re bringing to our freedom and prosperity.
Forget rising sea levels and fear rising government oppression.
Forget rising climate extremes and fear rising economic disasters.
Forget resource depletion and fear social depletion,
depletion of marraige, depletion of the next generation’s numbers.
It is not Gaia that is getting killed today but the Nobility of the West.

JohnH says:
March 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm
I think their current affection with wind power will fade when they try to cross the ocean with nothing else to propel them.
Quite a few years ago, someone with more enthusiasm than actual experience computer-modeled a boat powered by a *tall* Coanda-effect turbine and claimed it would revolutionize sea transportation. The only drawback to it was that, in order to prevent it from capsizing in winds stronger than 15 knots, the counterweight would have to extend almost 200 feet below the keel…