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12 Simple & Important
Things to Know About
Climate Change
Dan Miller
Managing Director
The Roda Group
Revelation #1
You may not be interested in climate change,
but climate change is interested in you.
Tom Friedman
Climate change is your issue
Revelation #2
Climate change is not a new idea
“On the Influence of
Carbonic Acid
in the Air upon
the Temperature
of the Ground”
By Prof. Svante Arrhenius
April 1896
1958 (55 Years Ago)...
Revelation #3
Climate change is not a
scientific controversy
97% of climate scientists and every major scientific academy agree
that global warming is real,
is mostly cause by humans,
and requires urgent action
Extremely Hot Summers Now
Occur 50 Times More Often
Extremely Hot Summers
Revelation #4
Carbon pollution is not like other
kinds of pollution
Everything You Need to
Know About CO2 Emissions
• The peak warming is proportional to
the cumulative carbon emitted
• It doesn’t matter much how rapidly
the carbon is emitted
• The warming you get when you
stop emitting carbon is what you
are stuck with for the next
thousand years
• The climate recovers only slightly
over the next ten thousand years
• A trillion tons cumulative carbon gives
you about +2ºC global mean warming
above the pre-industrial temperature.
A Trillion Tons
• We have emitted about
500 GtC so far
• About 500 GtC to go to
have a chance to stay
below +2°C...
• BUT permafrost melt
may itself add ~250 GtC
by end of the century
Revelation #5
Continuing “business as usual”
emissions is not OK
Extreme Drought
Drought Index: -3 to -6 = Dust Bowl
Source: University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
Sea Level Rise
MIT Temperature Study
2009 MIT Study:
95% chance that
temperature increase
will exceed 3.5ºC
(6.3ºF) in 2095
MIT Temperature Study
and a 50% chance
that temperature will
exceed 5ºC (9ºF)!
What Does +4°C (+7°F) Mean?
• “Incompatible with an organized global community
• Likely to be beyond ‘adaption’
• Devastating to the majority of ecosystems
• High probability of not being stable
– i.e., temperatures will keep going higher on their own
• Must be avoided at all costs.”
From Prof. Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Energy Centre, UK
But We Can Do Something!
Methane Release from Lake
Other Dangers:
All Already Happening
• Reduction of ocean’s ability
to absorb CO2 & acidification
• Collapse of forests /
increased wild fires
• Spread of deserts
• Mega-droughts and floods
• Mass extinctions
• More extreme weather
• Reduction in global food
Future Impacts
• Wars over resources
• Abandonment of many
major cities
• Massive shortages of
food and water
• Collapse of economies
Revelation #6
We are all in denial.
Failure of the “Risk Thermostat”
We respond strongest
to threats that are:
With historical precedent
With simple causality
Have direct personal impacts
Caused by another “tribe” (enemy)
George Marshall, Climate Outreach Information Network
Climate Change is:
Drawn out
With complex causality
Unpredictable & indirect impacts
Caused by all of us
Denial Strategies
Displaced commitment “I protect the environment in other ways”
Condemn the accuser “You have no right to challenge me”
Denial of responsibility “I am not the main cause of this problem”
Rejection of blame “I have done nothing wrong”
Ignorance “I didn’t know”
Powerlessness “I can’t make any difference”
Fabricated constraints “There are too many impediments”
After the flood “Society is corrupt”
Comfort “It’s too hard for me to change my behavior”
S. Stoll-Kleemann, et al, Global Environmental Change 11 (2001) 107}117
Other Denial Strategies
• We think of it as an environmental issue
• We deliberately maintain a level of ignorance
• We wait for someone else to act first the “passive bystander effect”
• Societies develop strategies to avoid action
– We place it outside our “norms of attention”
– Define it as “far away” - global - not local;
future - not now
What to Do?
Revelation #7
First Law of Holes
If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
Denis Healey
What about fracking, tar sands,
Arctic drilling, and “All of the
Above” energy policies?
Revelation #8
To the surprise of almost everyone,
it turns out that you cannot decrease
fossil fuel emissions by increasing them!
Revelation #9
2 Years Left to Reverse the Trend
Revelation #10
We can
make it
What Can YOU Do?
1. Believe, learn, engage
2. Reduce your carbon footprint
3. Talk to your family, friends & colleagues and get them engaged.
4. Talk to your elected leaders and demand policy changes
5. Commit to taking specific actions and make a list
Good Ways to Get Engaged
• Join
• Join
What Can Governments Do?
1. Move to 100% carbon-free electricity
generation in 10~20 years (i.e., ban coal)
2. Keep tar-sands and oil shale in the ground
3. Expand research into “geo-engineering”
4. Put a price on carbon...
Clean Energy Credit
• Put an increasing fee on CO2
– Enough to eventually increase gasoline by $1/gal
• Distribute 100% of the money collected to
every legal resident on an equal basis
• Most people will earn more each year
than they pay in higher energy costs!
• Put a Border Duty on products coming from
other countries that don’t have a carbon fee
What Else Can Governments Do?
• Stop subsidizing fossil fuels
• Provide low-cost financing for clean energy
• Increase R&D spending on cleantech
• Plan for climate impacts
We must manage the unavoidable
and avoid the unmanageable
Revelation #11
Cost of acting is cheap compared to
the cost of not acting
An Economic Boom
• Putting a price on CO2 will drive innovation
and investment in renewable energy and
energy efficiency
• Will trigger an economic boom that will put
the Internet revolution to shame
• Will also improve energy security and
eliminate the need to fight wars over oil
Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.
• We’ll keep the $500B+ we
send to the Middle East in
this country, creating
millions of jobs.
• From 1998 to 2007, clean
energy economy jobs grew
9.1% vs. 3.7% for
traditional jobs
(Pew Charitable Trusts research)
• Cleantech is currently one
of the few growing areas in
the California economy
Revelation #12
When it comes to action on
climate change, we are going to go
from impossible to inevitable
without stopping at probable
But you need to make it happen soon!
For More Information
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