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Below is my (late) comment on Bill Mckibben's JULY 19, 2012 article in the Rolling Stone.  Please feel free to take anything from it where you see fit.

Maggie

Global Warming's Terrifying New
Math
Three simple numbers that add up
to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719 


My comments:

565 more gigatons of CO2 that we can
"safely" put in the atmosphere?  Why adopting the bogus language
of "safely emitting", when he acknowledges that: A) Two degrees C is
NOT safe - prescription for disaster, actually; and B) 1 in 5 chance of
exceeding 2 degrees C is worse odds than playing Russian roulette? (In fact, the
range of odds according to the original study is up to 37% exceeding 2 degrees
, with 20% being sort of the average odds.)

The authors of the original study (Meinshausen et al
2009) that the Carbon Tracker Initiative took their numbers from never said we can "safely
emit" anything!  In
fact, we've already put out way too much carbon into the atmosphere, that
McKibben himself, famously advocating 350 ppm, should have known that we've already
long passed the "safety" zone of atmospheric carbon, and must draw
down, not emit further (preindustrial "safe" level was 280 ppm).

And, all those models agreeing with each other means NOTHING!
 They all suffer from the same omissions and simplifications, they all don't model dynamic
processes including Arctic
methane feedback, ice sheet breakups/non-linear melt feedback, ocean biological
feedback including response to ocean acidification, land ecosystem feedbacks to
changes in temperature, precipitation, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, oxygen
cycle, other human impacts, etc...  All the biggest feedbacks that are
likely to produce dramatic sudden changes (for the worse) are not modeled,
simply because they're not well understood.  So, scientists who say we can
still "safely" emit  565 more
gigatons of CO2  is irresponsibly optimistic.  Ecologist and
conservation biologists, who understand the state of the biosphere better than
anyone on this planet, are already in the "triage" mode, debating
which ecosystems/species are most critical to save (and if saving them is even
still possible), while others are sadly let go, on a planet that's going to
hell.

BTW, McKibben mixes gigatons of CO2 with gigatons
of carbon in the same sentences - they're different by a ratio of 3.66.

As for McKibben's solutions, we have to remember
that all our problems have to do with a profit-driven capitalist system, so
simply fighting the fossil fuel industry means even if we're successful, all
kinds of false solutions will be (and already have been) advanced, to drive up
profits elsewhere, that are equally detrimental to the planet and the people.
 The ones we've already seen include: planet-wrecking scale of
biomass/biofuel for energy, genetic engineering combined with pesticide/herbicide
use on steroids, deadly nuclear power, land and forest grabs by the global
capital in the name of forest protection (while converting even more rain
forests into monoculture plantations), carbon credit trading schemes that Wall
Street traders and polluters love, that only reduce emissions compared to a
hypothetical future invented for the scheme, on paper...

And even without the oil driver, if we don't
dismantle the capitalist/imperialist system, wars (possibly nuclear) will still
be provoked by the US imperialists in order to achieve, in their words,
"total dominance" (land, ocean, space, economic, political, scientific, cultural), e.g., to control all the major producer regions of rare earth
minerals (encircling China - wait, they're already doing that!), or, the last
viable fisheries on a dying planet.  The military-industrial complex, and
the Wall Street, are all in cahoots with the fossil fuel industry, and even
without the latter (dream!) will see no reason to stop driving over half the
federal budget into military spending (and their pockets), and global
destruction.

Here are some good criticisms from:

1.  Keith
Brunner, titled "The Dangers of Divestment
Campaigns":
http://climate-connections.org/2012/07/24/three-responses-to-bill-mckibbens-new-article-global-warmings-terrifying-new-math/ 

Excerpt: "Yes, the fossil fuel
corporations are the big bad wolf, but just as problematic is the system of
investment and returns which necessitates a growth economy (it’s called
capitalism).  That Harvard University endowment fund manager has a
“fiduciary responsibility” to get a certain annual return, which means they
have to put their money into growing, profitable funds or firms or states
(what’s the difference anyhow), which grow through exploiting people and
dismantling ecosystems.  We aren’t going to invest our way to a livable
planet."

2. Dr. Rachel Smolker, titled "Fighting
Fossil Fuels must Include Opposing False Solutions" (at the same link).