Dirty Energy has created a world of dirty weather -- this is the message former U.S. vice-president Al Gore will deliver to the world on the 14th of November 2012 as part of his Climate Reality Project dubbed 24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report, highlighting the implications of fossil fuels on our planet's climate, and the need to curb fossil fuel production and consumption.
This comes on the heels of a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) released this Tuesday. In the executive summary of its annual flagship publication, the World Energy Outlook the IEA made the boldest declaration yet,
No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal", the internationally recognized limit to average global warming in order to prevent catastrophic climate change"
The topic of climate change is coming to the forefront after Hurricane Sandy pummeled the eastern parts of the United States. Speaking of Hurricane Sandy, on bloggingheads.tv, atmospheric scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, an Associate Professor and Director of Climate Science at the Texas Tech University, and author of A Climate for Change -- global warming facts for faith based decisions, said although we can't directly link climate change to the manifestation of hurricane Sandy, climate change has certainly exacerbated the effects of Sandy. So what does this mean?
Well first of all our sea level is currently seven to eight inches higher than it would've been 100 years ago. So when those storm surges come along, they're coming along on top of slightly higher background conditions that add a just little bit to the sea surge. If we're talking about sea surges of 14 feet, seven or eight inches doesn't sound like much. It's just an extra four percent, but four percent is more than zero. So there is some, little part of flooding that would not have occurred were it not for the increasing global sea level.
In addition, according to Dr. Hayhoe, Sandy picked up more energy from the warm ocean water, which has already increased by two degrees Fahrenheit off the coast of the eastern United States.
In the aftermath of Sandy, Gore wrote an opinion piece in The Huffington Post that said, "Hurricane Sandy is a disturbing sign of things to come...We must heed this warning and act quickly to solve the climate crisis. Dirty energy makes dirty weather."
The unprecedented warming of our planet and the oceans has been linked to human activities caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions from industries such as fossil fuel and agriculture. A 2010 summary of climate science by the Royal Society says,
There is strong evidence that the warming of the Earth over the last half-century has been caused largely by human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use, including agriculture and deforestation.
And the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever" according to the most thorough analysis (in 2011) of the world energy infrastructure by the IEA. It says the world is likely to build so many fossil-fueled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels.
Just last week the IEA initiated a dialogue with a select group of companies on the energy-security impacts of climate change. Executive Director Maria Van der Hoeven said,
Much has been said about the ways in which our energy system is affecting the climate, yet very little has been said about the opposite: the effects of a changing climate on our energy system. As the IEA's core mission is enhancing energy security, we think it's imperative to jump-start a conversation about this issue ... Our discussions today showed that active dialogue between industry and governments around this issue can improve our future resilience to climate impacts.
Meanwhile, a global dialogue on the urgent need to tackle the "climate crisis" will be the focus of the "24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report," which will take place tomorrow and is the second annual online event showcasing how global climate change is connected to the extreme weather events. The entire 24-hour event will comprise live presentations and will be broadcast on the internet from New York City, with "each region of the world, bringing voices, news and multimedia content across all 24 time zones," while also featuring stories from communities around the globe that are moving forward with solutions.
The Climate Reality website says,
We'll always have to live with bad weather sometimes. But we don't have to live with Dirty Weather. We can make the switch from dirty to clean energy ... and together, we can stop the pollution that's disrupting our climate.