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  • I’m just hanging on like grim death to the simple truth that giving up is just lazy. We have a commitment to life, because that’s all there is, and that’s all about it.Susan Anderson

Engage

  • Whither Planet 3.0?

    So what other notable online efforts are there to build a responsible conversation about the future? What role should Planet3.0 play in the new context? What other internet-based projects can we contemplate to advance public understanding and engagement in the complexities we face? [more]

Open Thread

  • July Open Thread

    Anything goes. Suggested topic: if energy storage prices come down far enough, is carbon-fueled electricity a dead business model?

Beyond Planet Three

Conversations about worthwhile sustainability readings from elsewhere on the web

  • But Volcanoes

    Andy Lacis provides an interesting framework for a response to the common But volcanoes:

    The several hundred million tons of CO2 that volcanic eruptions may be injecting into the atmosphere is indeed a large number – probably more than what the entire fleet of trucks in the UK could handle. [more]

  • 99% of the Ocean’s Plastic is Missing. Did Fish Eat It?

    Science reports:

    Millions of tons. That’s how much plastic should be floating in the world’s oceans, given our ubiquitous use of the stuff. But a new study finds that 99% of this plastic is missing. One disturbing possibility: Fish are eating it.

    If that’s the case, “there is potential for this plastic to enter the global ocean food web,” says Carlos Duarte, an oceanographer at the University of Western Australia, Crawley. [more]

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  • Carbon budget arguments

    A slightly more complicated graph following up on the previous one showing how much carbon is left to burn, showing that even that one is unreasonably optimistic.

    The curve plots a reasonable estimate of the (Bayesian) probability, given available knowledge, of staying within 2 degrees C above the preindustrial global mean surface temperature. Normally, we base our estimates on the 50% line; to have a 50/50 shot of staying under 2 C, we have used up a bit over half of our available emissions.

    Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 11.06.28 AM

    As David Spratt explains, we don’t fly in an airplane with a 1 in 100,000 chance of falling out of the sky. (We have government regulations for that!) But the usual carbon budget is based on a 50% chance of staying within 2 C of warming. If we take a more, ahem, conservative approach, and stick to only a 10% chance of failure, there is no carbon budget left.

    I think there are things that mitigate Spratt’s position. But we shouldn’t forget that in the limit of having perfect information about the system, there’s a something on the order of a 10% chance that we may have already passed the 2 C mark by any reasonable definition.

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