Important message on climate from AVAAZ

This arrived in my inbox this morn. Does anyone have any data on this topic? We know the albedo effect is true: as the ice melts the darkness of the ocean surface absorbs more radiated heat. We also know that methane is far more problematic as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Mike 🙂

From Ricken Patel – AVAAZ

“Dear Avaaz community,

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This may be the most important email I’ve ever written to you.

Some time ago, a scientist went on his biannual tour of the Russian arctic ocean, checking for toxic plumes of methane gas bubbling up from the ocean. He’d previously seen hundreds of these plumes, about a meter wide each, emitting gas 50 times more damaging to our climate than carbon dioxide. This time, as he came across the first plume, he couldn’t believe it. It was a KILOMETER wide. A vast column of gas entering our atmosphere. He sailed on and found another a kilometer wide, and another, and another. Hundreds of them.

This could be what the experts warned us about. As the earth warms, it creates many “tipping points” that accelerate the warming out of control. Warming thaws the Arctic sea ice, destroying the giant white ‘mirror’ that reflects heat back into space, which massively heats up the ocean, and melts more ice, and so on. We spin out of control. In 2014 everything was off the charts — it was the hottest year in recorded history.

We CAN stop this, if we act very fast, and all together. And out of this extinction nightmare, we can pull one of the most inspiring futures for our children and grandchildren. A clean, green future in balance with the earth that gave birth to us.

We have 10 months left until the Paris Summit, the meeting that world leaders have decided will determine the fate of our efforts to fight climate change. It might seem like a long time — it’s not. We have 10 months to get our leaders to that meeting, give them a plan, and hold them accountable. It’s us vs. the oil companies, and fatalism.

We can win, we must, but we need to blast out of the gate in 2015 with pledges of just a few dollars/euros/pounds to support our work this year — we’ll only process the donations if we hit our goal (10,000 new supporters). For the world we dream of, let’s make it happen.

Fatalism on climate change is not just futile, it’s also incompetent. The hour is late, but it is still absolutely within our power to stop this catastrophe, simply by shifting our economies from oil and coal to other sources of power. And doing so will bring the world together like never before, in a deep commitment and cooperation to protect our planetary home. It’s a beautiful possibility, and the kind of future Avaaz was born to create. Facing this challenge will take heart, and hope, and also all the smarts we have. Here’s the plan:

  1. Maintain Momentum — The People?s Climate March our community spearheaded was a massive game-changer in political momentum. It was magical, and we’ve seen concrete results in national policies. But the oil companies are gearing up, and we need to be ready.
  2. Make Hollande a Hero — French President Francois Hollande will chair the Paris summit — a powerful position. We need him to push for a high ambition agreement. Already, both he and much of his cabinet have met with Avaaz and he?s offered to name the Paris agreement after a young Avaaz member who delivered our petition to him! We need to make sure he doesn’t back down when things heat up.
  3. Take it to the Next Level — The scale of this crisis demands action that goes beyond regular campaigning. It’s time for powerful, direct, non-violent action, to capture imagination, convey moral urgency, and inspire people to act. Our climate march was step one. For step two, think Occupy.
  4. ?Out the Spoilers — Billionaires like the Koch brothers and their oil companies are the major spoilers in climate change – funding junk science to confuse us and spending millions on misleading PR, while buying politicians wholesale. With investigative journalism and more, we need to expose and counter their horrifically irresponsible actions.
  5. Define the Deal — Even in the face of planetary catastrophe, 195 governments in a room can be just incompetent. Amidst the thicket of complex policy talk, we need to define the red lines of the agreement and organize the press and politics around them. Our top focus – a clear commitment to a world without carbon, powered by 100% clean energy. That is what will put the fossil fuel industry on notice, and shift private investment massively into renewable energy.

We need tens of thousands of us to pledge small donations to blast out of the starting gate on this plan. The amount doesn’t matter as much as the choice — to hope, and to act:

At the last major climate summit in Copenhagen 2009, we played a pivotal role in German and Japanese ‘climate’ elections, in shifting Brazilian policy, and in helping win a major global deal on financing, with rich countries promising $100 billion per year to poor countries to help them address climate change. Back then, Avaaz was 3 million people. After Copenhagen, we reflected that we needed to be a lot bigger to meet the challenge posed by climate change. Now, we’re 40 million, and rising fast.

Climate change is the ultimate global collective action problem, requiring cooperation from every government in the world. And Avaaz is the ultimate collective action solution, with millions of us united in common vision across every nation. This is our time, to build a world for our children whose beauty matches our dreams. Let’s get started.

With hope and appreciation for this amazing community,

Ricken and the entire Avaaz team


2014 was the hottest year on record (Bloomberg)

“Vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor” discovered in Siberian Arctic Sea (Daily Kos)–Vast-methane-plumes-escaping-from-the-seafloor-discovered-in-Siberian-Arctic-Sea#

Five Reasons We Need a New Global Agreement on Climate Change by 2015 (Switchboard NRDC)

10 Signs the stars are aligning for a climate deal in Paris (The Guardian)

The Arctic Ice ?Death Spiral? (Slate) is a 40-million-person global campaign network
that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 18 countries on 6 continents and operates in 17 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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4 thoughts on “Important message on climate from AVAAZ

  1. Michael White Post author

    The link to the daily kos page gives some background information on the surveys.

    One thing I’ve considered for years ~ but it is NEVER mentioned in the media ~ is that if so much ice melts then surely the planetary axis of rotation will shift as the weight redistributes? In other words if the angle of tilt moves then the oceans, being fluid, will seek new levels. Submergence and emergence. We can forget about trying to limit sea level rise! Mike 🙂

    1. Janos

      Thanks Mike, interesting question. Another new topic we need to worry about? Just found on wikipedia that total mass of Oceans on Earth is estimated to be 0.023 percent of the mass of Earth with average depth of 3,800 meter. The sea level rise equivalent of the Ice Caps, both Arctic and Antarctic, is about 7 meter, so the Ice Cap mass is roughly 0.00184 percent of the mass of Oceans, being 0.000042 percent of the mass of Earth. Re-balancing this mass shift certainly can lead to some change in angle of tilt, however, as far as I can see in various writings the major concerns about Ice Caps melt down are the 7 meter see level rise itself, the change of albedo of the currently ice-covered are, the change in ocean salinity and ocean currents due to the disperse of fresh water into the ocean. I think these are already sufficient to worry about… 🙂 Janos

  2. Janos

    I attempted to imagine ‘a KILOMETER wide’ plum of methane gas and how it can be observed. A bit unclear, so I think Avaaz should be a bit careful with writing things like that. At the same time there is no question about the fact that methane escaping from previously frozen areas is something we have to be very concerned about. Again an accelerating factor for global warming.

    1. Michael White Post author

      Yes Janos, that is why I prefer real data & studies, rather than the media sound-bites. As far as seeps from the seafloor go, you can see them underwater: I’ve seen freshwater emerging from seeps too (you can see the difference from seawater), so you’d certainly know if this was over a huge area rather than just a small spring. I agree that AVAAZ needs to be more careful.

      Getting back to the ice. It’s heavy. This was always a problem for the polar explorers: their ships got top-heavy when the rigging & masts all froze over. So with our Earth. We know that the planet is at an angle, and that it rotates about this axis. Also that the axis angles changes through the year (it wobbles) giving us our seasons and differences between northern & southern summers/winters. So if a large chunk of ice disappears, say from the Arctic, would our world then shift ‘upright’ (vertical)? Many new coastlines.

      Agree too that the perma-frost melting is a known problem, releasing the trapped methane from the frozen peat bogs.

      I’ve mentioned before that at the end of the last Ice Age (12,000 years ago) the ice, which extended almost to our modern Equator, as it melted made the Irish Sea level rise by 140 metres. Take a look at a nearby mountain just to understand how high that is! Mike 🙂

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