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Sunday, January 30, 2011

For Many Species, No Escape As Temperatures Rise

Ed Ou/The New York Times

The long-tailed widow bird was once far more common but is now a threatened species. More Photos »

KINANGOP, Kenya — Simon Joakim Kiiru remembers a time not long ago when familiar birdsongs filled the air here and life was correlated with bird sightings. His lush, well-tended homestead is in the highlands next to the Aberdare National Park, one of the premier birding destinations in the world.
Ed Ou/The New York Times

Simon Joakim Kiiru, a beekeeper in Kinangop, Kenya, has seen the area’s birds decline. “So many today are gone,” he said. More Photos »

Ed Ou/The New York Times

A tacazze sunbird, which lives in high altitudes, spread its wings while perched on a branch in Aberdare National Park, in Western Kenya. More Photos »

The New York Times

More Photos »

When the hornbill arrived, Mr. Kiiru recalled, the rains were near, meaning that it was time to plant. When a buzzard showed a man his chest, it meant a visitor was imminent. When an owl called at night, it foretold a death.

“There used to be myths because these are our giants,” said Mr. Kiiru, 58. “But so many today are gone.”

Over the past two decades, an increasing number of settlers who have moved here to farm have impinged on bird habitats and reduced bird populations by cutting down forests and turning grasslands into fields. Now the early effects of global warming and other climate changes have helped send the populations of many local mountain species into a steep downward spiral, from which many experts say they will never recover.

Over the next 100 years, many scientists predict, 20 percent to 30 percent of species could be lost if the temperature rises 3.6 degrees to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If the most extreme warming predictions are realized, the loss could be over 50 percent, according to the United Nations climate change panel.

Polar bears have become the icons of this climate threat. But scientists say that tens of thousands of smaller species that live in the tropics or on or near mountaintops are equally, if not more, vulnerable. These species, in habitats from the high plateaus of Africa to the jungles of Australia to the Sierra Nevada in the United States, are already experiencing climate pressures, and will be the bulk of the animals that disappear.

In response to warming, animals classically move to cooler ground, relocating either higher up in altitude or farther toward the poles. But in the tropics, animals have to move hundreds of miles north or south to find a different niche. Mountain species face even starker limitations: As they climb upward they find themselves competing for less and less space on the conical peaks, where they run into uninhabitable rocks or a lack of their usual foods — or have nowhere farther to go.

“It’s a really simple story that at some point you can’t go further north or higher up, so there’s no doubt that species will go extinct,” said Walter Jetz, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale, whose research last year predicted that a third of the 1,000 mountain birds he studied, or 300 species, would be threatened because warming temperatures would decimate their habitats.

Birds are good barometers of biodiversity because amateur birdwatchers keep such extensive records of their sightings. But other animals are similarly affected.

Two years ago, scientists blamed a warming climate for the disappearance of the white lemuroid possum, a niche mountain dweller in Australia that prefers cool weather, and that was cute enough to be the object of nature tours. Many scientists, suspecting that the furry animal had died off during a period of unusually extreme heat, labeled the disappearance the first climate-related animal extinction.

Since then, biologists have found a few surviving animals, but the species remains “intensely vulnerable,” said William F. Laurance, distinguished research professor at James Cook University in Australia, who said that in the future heat waves would probably be the “death knell” for a number of cold-adapted species.

For countries and communities, the issue means more than just the loss of pleasing variety. Mr. Kiiru regrets the vastly diminished populations of the mythic birds of Kikuyu tribal culture, like buzzards, owls and hawks. But also, the loss of bird species means that some plants have no way to pollinate and die off, too. And that means it is hard for Mr. Kiiru to tend bees, his major source of income.

Current methods for identifying and protecting threatened species — like the so-called red list criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a conservation gold standard — do not yet adequately factor in the impact of probable climate shifts, and the science is still evolving, many scientists say.

Some species that scientists say are at most risk in a warming climate are already considered threatened or endangered, like the Sharpe’s longclaw and the Aberdare cisticola in Kenya. The cisticola, which lives only at altitudes above 7,500 feet, is considered endangered by the international union, and research predicts that climate change will reduce its already depleted habitat by a further 80 percent by 2100.

Other Kenyan birds that are at risk from climate warming, like the tufted, brightly colored Hartlaub’s turaco, are not yet on watch lists, even though their numbers are severely reduced here. A rapid change of climate can quickly eliminate species that inhabit a narrow niche.

On a recent afternoon, Dominic Kimani, a research ornithologist at the National Museums of Kenya, combed a pasture on the Kinangop Plateau for 20 minutes before finding a single longclaw. “These used to be everywhere when I was growing up,” he said.

He added: “But it’s hard to get anyone to pay attention; they are just little brown birds. I know they’re important for grazing animals because they keep the grasses short. But it’s not dramatic, like you’re losing an elephant.”

As the climate shifts, mountain animals on all continents will face similar problems. Scientists at the University of California at Berkeley recently documented that in Yosemite National Park, where there is a century-old animal survey for comparison, half the mountain species had moved their habitats up by an average of 550 yards to find cooler ground.

Elsewhere in the United States, the pika, the alpine chipmunk and the San Bernardino flying squirrel have all been moving upslope in a pattern tightly linked to rising temperatures. They are now considered at serious risk of disappearing, said Shaye Wolf, climate science director of the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco, which in 2010 applied to protect a number of American mountain species under the United States’ Endangered Species Act.

Last year, new research in the journal Ecological Applications and elsewhere showed that the pika, a thick-furred, rabbitlike animal that takes refuge from the sun in piles of stones, was moving upslope at about 160 yards a decade and that in the past decade it had experienced a fivefold rise in local extinctions, the term used when a local population forever disappears.

On the Kinangop Plateau in Kenya, Mr. Kimani exults when he finds a Hartlaub’s turaco, once a common sight, near Njabini town, in a stand of remaining of old growth forest, after engaging local teenagers to help locate the bird. The turaco could lose more than 60 percent of its already limited habitat if current predictions about global warming are accurate, Dr. Jetz said.

“Even substantial movement wouldn’t help them out,” he said. “They would have to move to the Alps or Asian mountains to find their mountain climate niche in the future.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 21, 2011

An earlier version of a photo caption with this article misidentified a bird that was pictured. It is a Tacazze sunbird, not a sandbird.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

End Subsidies For Dirty Energy

From Renewable Energy World via our friend Madhava Ghosh


The new Congress roared into Washington this week with what it sees as a mandate to cut government spending. Required reading for all its new members should be Washington Monthly’s excellent new piece, “Get the Energy Sector off the Dole.” And, if you work in, invest in, or support scaling the clean economy, this important piece is worth your time to read as well.

America’s clean energy advancements are under a concerted propaganda and lobbying attack, underwritten by the dirty energy lobby, which wants Americans to think that clean energy is too “expensive,” or “dependent on subsidies.” Cleantech needs your help to get the laugh track going on such claims, and this article can equip with you the foundation for doing that.

Some highlights from the Washington Monthly piece:

Energy subsidies are the sordid legacy of more than sixty years of politics as usual in Washington, and they cost us somewhere around $20 billion a year. To put that sum in perspective, that’s more than the State Department’s entire budget. It’s also enough to send half a million Americans to college each year with all expenses paid. Energy subsidies undermine the working of the free market, and they make rational approaches to long-term energy challenges and climate change impossible. They are not an aid to energy independence or environmental stewardship. They are an impediment.

Energy subsidies take many forms. Some of them are direct outlays of taxpayer dollars, like payments to corn producers for ethanol. Most are in the form of tax benefits, such as the deduction for “intangible drilling costs” (labor, repairs, hauling, you name it) in oil exploration—a notoriously abused provision of the tax code. The sheer number of subsidies is part of what makes them so hard to track.

But one thing about them is easy to summarize: They are heavily tilted toward fossil fuels. Government statistics show that about 70 percent of all federal energy subsidies goes toward oil, natural gas, and coal. Fifteen percent goes to ethanol, the only renewable source of energy that consistently gets bipartisan support in Congress (think farm lobby and Iowa). Large hydropower companies — TVA, Bonneville Power, and others — soak up another 10 percent. That leaves the greenest renewables—wind, solar, and geothermal—to subsist on the crumbs that are left.

Dirty energy’s increasingly aggressive effort to negatively define cleantech pushes not just the idea that clean energy is too “expensive,” but also that its “dependence” on smart government support somehow means that cleantech isn’t “ready.” What to say, then, about the dirty energy lobby’s decades of dependence? It’s run up a $72 billion tab at the taxpayer’s bar from 2002 to 2008 alone.

Some pro-dirty energy libertarian mouthpieces, such as the New York Times’ John Tierney and Newsweek’s George Will skip right over that inconvenient problem, relying on the size of their media platform to move the anti-clean energy rhetoric. When pressed, however, about the best that apologists for this ridiculous system can offer is that taxpayers get a better “return” on our money than they would from investing in clean energy – more BtUs per dollar, they say.

But the reality is that the return on U.S. taxpayers’ money politicians have handed to fossil energy hasn’t just been weak, it’s been terrible: ruined fisheries, mountaintops, and water tables; a money train to foreign dictators who hate us; and a competitive edge in clean energy technology that is drifting to other nations.

Fatih Birol, the chief economist at the International Energy Administration,has named fossil fuel subsidies as one of the biggest impediments to global economic recovery – “the appendicitis of the global energy system which needs to be removed for a healthy, sustainable development future.” For America, these subsidies aren’t just reckless and stupid, they aren’t even what people want. In fact, only 8 percent of Americans prefer their tax money be given to highly profitable, mature industries such as ExxonMobil and Massey Energy.

The new, (supposedly) fiscally conservative Congress could do what it has committed itself to doing — cutting wasteful spending — by starting with arguably the most wasteful spending of all: corporate welfare checks for the highly profitable, highly polluting oil and coal industries.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hindu Groups Agree To Address Climate Change

By Lal Krishna Das for ISKCON News on 14 Jan 2011
India`s future of India hold up tiny windmills

National Hindu groups in India have pledged to make addressing environmental damage a top priority. Joining a growing international network of Hindu organizations, they will endorse ethically sourced food, waste recycling, and promote good environmental practice to their members.

Meeting in New Delhi on January 4th, the groups discussed their current and future environmental plans. Convened by the Bhumi Project, this meeting followed a similar successful meeting of Hindu leaders in England in 2009. Hindu leaders from Africa and America are now planning to meet later this year. The Delhi participants, comprising a large cross-section of Hindu groups, unanimously agreed that environmental damage is one of the biggest problems facing modern India.

Sudhir Garg, of Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust, explained “Indian tradition and culture is rich in good environmental practice. At a time when the world is looking for alternative solutions to environmental damage, there is much we can offer. This is an opportunity to show how our tradition can help with modern concerns and issues.”

The Bhumi Project is facilitated by the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS), in partnership with the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC), and backing from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Using Indian scripture and traditional culture, they promote lifestyle choices that are in line with Hindu religion and kind to the Earth. Gopal-Lila Patel, Project Manager for the project commented, “Weʼre not asking people to do anything new. Weʼre simply encouraging them to re-learn the teachings of the past; to re-examine the principles and practices their forefathers lived by – whatever their religious background.”

Whilst all organisations present are already doing considerable environmental work, all agreed more was needed to be done, and that collaboration was vital for success.

Bharat Vig of the Art of Living Foundation, commented quoting Sri Sri Ravi Shankar “It has to be noted that the ultimate aim of sustainable development is to preserve the planet earth, replenish, not deplete its resources and make life a celebration.”

Susie Weldon, of ARC, noted, “India is one of the three countries which will decide the environmental future of the world. This meeting is the beginning of a process which will hopefully see many more Hindu groups take seriously the issue of environmental harm, and work together to address it.”


The Bhumi Project is an international Hindu response to climate change launched at Windsor Castle in November 2009 with HRH Prince Philip and HE Ban Ki-moon. Using Hindu perspectives, teachings, and ancient culture, they work with temples and organisations to help encourage the Hindu community take a more active role in the care and protection of the planet.

The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies is a Recognised Independent Centre of the University of Oxford. The principal aim of the Centre is the study of Hindu culture, religion, languages, literature, philosophy, history, arts and society, in all periods and in all parts of the world. All Hindu traditions are included.

The Alliance of Religions and Conservation is a secular body that helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programmes, based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices. They help the religions link with key environmental organisations in creating powerful alliances between faith communities and conservation groups. ARC was founded in 1995 by HRH Prince Philip. They now work with 11 major faiths through the key traditions within each faith.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A New (Vegetarian) Food Pyramid?


In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services violated federal law by failing to respond to a PCRM petition offering a simple, plant-based alternative — the Power Plate — as an alternative to MyPyramid, the USDA's name for its food pyramid.

"We are asking the government to protect the average American, not special agribusiness interests," said registered dietitian Susan Levin, the organization's nutrition education director. "MyPyramid is confusing, and it recommends meat and dairy products despite overwhelming evidence that these foods are unnecessary and unhealthy. Research shows the Power Plate is a better choice, and it's simple enough that a child could follow it."

To see the Power Plate, click here.

Since the first USDA food pyramid was introduced nearly 20 years ago, obesity and diabetes have become commonplace. About 27 percent of young adults are now too overweight to qualify for military service, and an estimated one in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes.

The lawsuit charges that the federal government should address the worsening epidemics of obesity and diet-related diseases by withdrawing the MyPyramid diagram and adopt the Power Plate food diagram and dietary guidelines.

The Power Plate graphic is based on current nutrition research showing that plant-based foods are the most nutrient-dense and help prevent chronic diseases. The graphic depicts a plate divided into four new food groups: fruits, grains, legumes and vegetables. There are no portion sizes and food hierarchies to follow; the Power Plate instead recommends eating a variety of all four of its food groups each day.

Linda Shrieves can be reached at or 407-420-5433 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 407-420-5433 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bali School Makes Sustainability A Way Of Life

Click here to read the full article from the New York Times

SIBANG KAJA, BALI — Half a world away from Cancún, Mexico, and the international climate change talks that took place there last month, a school here in Indonesia is staging its own attempt to save the planet.

It is small-scale and literally grassroots — and possibly in some respects more effective than the tortuous efforts of politicians to agree on how to stop global warming.

In the midst of the lush, steaming jungle of Bali, along a pitted road, past scattered chickens and singing cicadas, Green School has two dozen buildings made of giant bamboo poles. There are no walls, and there is no air-conditioning. Just gracefully arched roofs, concrete floors and bamboo furniture. There is a big, grassy playground, complete with goalposts made — yes — of bamboo; a bamboo bridge across a rock-strewn river; vegetable patches; and a mud-wrestling pit.

But there is also a computer lab, a well-stocked library and an array of courses drawn from an internationally recognized curriculum and taught in English.

More than 200 children from 40 countries, including Indonesia, are learning math here, as well as grammar, science, business studies, drama and Bahasa Indonesia, the official language spoken in this country of 240 million.

The students, whose levels range from kindergarten to 10th grade and who represent 40 nationalities, are also learning to grow and thresh rice and how to make ceramics and paper from materials found on the school site.

They get dirt under their fingernails and mud between their toes. Visitors are advised to wear comfortable shoes. High heels are not recommended.

If all this sounds a little bit hippie and idealistic, that is because it is. A little.

But then, Green School, the brainchild of John Hardy and his wife, Cynthia, is also realistic and practical, designed to give children not just a sense of how to live sustainably, but also to leave them ultimately with the skills to enter academic institutions anywhere in the world.

“We want to create future green leaders — we need green leaders,” said a sarong-clad Mr. Hardy, picking his way along a dirt path last month. “We want to teach kids that the world is not indestructible.”

Mr. Hardy himself — sarong notwithstanding — is no mere dropout, tree-hugging beach bum.

True, he says, he “ran away” from his home in Canada in 1975, to go to Bali. But he is also an entrepreneur, and the upmarket jewelry business he and his wife built over the years was worth enough, by the time they sold it in 2007, to allow the Hardys to set up the Green School.

The original idea had been to retire quietly. But then Mr. Hardy saw “An Inconvenient Truth,” the 2006 documentary about the campaign by Al Gore, the former U.S. vice president, to educate people about climate change.

“Al Gore ruined my life,” Mr. Hardy, who is now 61, likes to say.

The movie prompted him to scrap plans for a quiet life and to try to do his part to change the way young people — and ultimately society as a whole — behave toward their environment.

Environment-studies courses and nature excursions have, of course, long been popular in U.S. and European schools. But Green School, Mr. Hardy and its teachers believe, is unique in that it completely immerses children in a world of sustainable practices throughout the school day — with the nonflush compost toilets, the (easily bearable) lack of air-conditioning and the fact that virtually everything in the school is created from bamboo, rather than steel, glass and concrete.

“There are lots of schools that have elements of ‘green’ teaching, but I don’t think that anyone has been ambitious or foolhardy enough to try anything on this scale before,” said Ben Macrory, a New Yorker who moved to Bali in 2008 to take on the job of Green School’s head of admissions and whose 4-year-old daughter, Maggie, attends the school. “Every experience the children have here is about how to live with only a minimal impact on the environment.”

Yes, there are trade-offs. Schooling is only available from nursery school through 10th grade, with plans to extend teaching for the remaining two years by 2012. Also, students have a more limited choice of languages or other standard courses than might be available at Western schools or other international schools on the island of Bali.

But that has not prevented the appeal of Green School, which is in its third year, from growing.

Many of the students have come from other schools in Bali, and an increasing number come from families who have moved to Bali recently — often in large part because they want to send their children here.

“The atmosphere is magical,” said Barbara Friedrichsen-Mehta, who visited the school with her husband, Rajesh, and their daughters Lena and Vinya last month. The family is considering moving to Bali, once their institute for innovative music has been established in Singapore.

“We’ve always missed the educational vision in most of the international schools in the many places we’ve lived, and done a lot of home schooling for that reason,” Ms. Friedrichsen-Mehta said. “But this place is creative, innovative and multicultural. And the girls really, really liked it.”

The mystique of Bali — its arts, ubiquitous temples and gentle climate — helps to draw families to this place. And the slightly offbeat profile of expatriates on the island means parents are open to novel concepts like a school without walls that grows its own vegetables.

“No boring people move to Bali,” Mr. Macrory said. The island attracts entrepreneurs, artists, healers and some staff members from nongovernmental organizations, rather than the financial and corporate communities that have grown in Hong Kong and Singapore, Frankfurt and New York.

Still, Mr. Hardy says he is convinced that the Green School concept can work elsewhere, too, and he hopes the school will be the blueprint — or “greenprint” — for more. “Not just one,” he said — “50!”

Will Green School be a game-changer in the global fight to combat climate change? Who knows?

But for now, 200 children are visibly enjoying the school. And perhaps the school and its future spinoffs will someday yield another Al Gore to shake up someone’s retirement plans.

Friday, January 7, 2011

African Huts Far From The Grid Glow With Renewable Power

Click here to read more from the "Beyond Fossil Fuels" series in the New York Times

As small-scale renewable energy becomes cheaper, more reliable and more efficient, it is providing the first drops of modern power to people who live far from slow-growing electricity grids and fuel pipelines in developing countries. Although dwarfed by the big renewable energy projects that many industrialized countries are embracing to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, these tiny systems are playing an epic, transformative role.

Since Ms. Ruto hooked up the system, her teenagers’ grades have improved because they have light for studying. The toddlers no longer risk burns from the smoky kerosene lamp. And each month, she saves $15 in kerosene and battery costs — and the $20 she used to spend on travel.

In fact, neighbors now pay her 20 cents to charge their phones, although that business may soon evaporate: 63 families in Kiptusuri have recently installed their own solar power systems.

“You leapfrog over the need for fixed lines,” said Adam Kendall, head of the sub-Saharan Africa power practice for McKinsey & Company, the global consulting firm. “Renewable energy becomes more and more important in less and less developed markets.”

The United Nations estimates that 1.5 billion people across the globe still live without electricity, including 85 percent of Kenyans, and that three billion still cook and heat with primitive fuels like wood or charcoal.

There is no reliable data on the spread of off-grid renewable energy on a small scale, in part because the projects are often installed by individuals or tiny nongovernmental organizations.

But Dana Younger, senior renewable energy adviser at the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank Group’s private lending arm, said there was no question that the trend was accelerating. “It’s a phenomenon that’s sweeping the world; a huge number of these systems are being installed,” Mr. Younger said.

With the advent of cheap solar panels and high-efficiency LED lights, which can light a room with just 4 watts of power instead of 60, these small solar systems now deliver useful electricity at a price that even the poor can afford, he noted. “You’re seeing herders in Inner Mongolia with solar cells on top of their yurts,” Mr. Younger said.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Scientist, His Work, And A Climate Reckoning

Click here to read the full article from the New York Times

MAUNA LOA OBSERVATORY, Hawaii — Two gray machines sit inside a pair of utilitarian buildings here, sniffing the fresh breezes that blow across thousands of miles of ocean.
They make no noise. But once an hour, they spit out a number, and for decades, it has been rising relentlessly.

The first machine of this type was installed on Mauna Loa in the 1950s at the behest of Charles David Keeling, a scientist from San Diego. His resulting discovery, of the increasing level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, transformed the scientific understanding of humanity’s relationship with the earth. A graph of his findings is inscribed on a wall in Washington as one of the great achievements of modern science.

Yet, five years after Dr. Keeling’s death, his discovery is a focus not of celebration but of conflict. It has become the touchstone of a worldwide political debate over global warming.

When Dr. Keeling, as a young researcher, became the first person in the world to develop an accurate technique for measuring carbon dioxide in the air, the amount he discovered was 310 parts per million. That means every million pints of air, for example, contained 310 pints of carbon dioxide.

By 2005, the year he died, the number had risen to 380 parts per million. Sometime in the next few years it is expected to pass 400. Without stronger action to limit emissions, the number could pass 560 before the end of the century, double what it was before the Industrial Revolution.

The greatest question in climate science is: What will that do to the temperature of the earth?

Scientists have long known that carbon dioxide traps heat at the surface of the planet. They cite growing evidence that the inexorable rise of the gas is altering the climate in ways that threaten human welfare.

Fossil fuel emissions, they say, are like a runaway train, hurtling the world’s citizens toward a stone wall — a carbon dioxide level that, over time, will cause profound changes.

The risks include melting ice sheets, rising seas, more droughts and heat waves, more flash floods, worse storms, extinction of many plants and animals, depletion of sea life and — perhaps most important — difficulty in producing an adequate supply of food. Many of these changes are taking place at a modest level already, the scientists say, but are expected to intensify.

Reacting to such warnings, President George Bush committed the United States in 1992 to limiting its emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide. Scores of other nations made the same pledge, in a treaty that was long on promises and short on specifics.

But in 1998, when it came time to commit to details in a document known as the Kyoto Protocol, Congress balked. Many countries did ratify the protocol, but it had only a limited effect, and the past decade has seen little additional progress in controlling emissions.

Many countries are reluctant to commit themselves to tough emission limits, fearing that doing so will hurt economic growth. International climate talks in Cancún, Mexico, this month ended with only modest progress. The Obama administration, which came into office pledging to limit emissions in the United States, scaled back its ambitions after climate and energy legislation died in the Senate this year.

Challengers have mounted a vigorous assault on the science of climate change. Polls indicate that the public has grown more doubtful about that science. Some of the Republicans who will take control of the House of Representatives in January have promised to subject climate researchers to a season of new scrutiny.

One of them is Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of California. In a recent Congressional hearing on global warming, he said, “The CO2 levels in the atmosphere are rather undramatic.”

But most scientists trained in the physics of the atmosphere have a different reaction to the increase.

“I find it shocking,” said Pieter P. Tans, who runs the government monitoring program of which the Mauna Loa Observatory is a part. “We really are in a predicament here, and it’s getting worse every year.”

As the political debate drags on, the mute gray boxes atop Mauna Loa keep spitting out their numbers, providing a reality check: not only is the carbon dioxide level rising relentlessly, but the pace of that rise is accelerating over time.

“Nature doesn’t care how hard we tried,” Jeffrey D. Sachs, the Columbia University economist, said at a recent seminar. “Nature cares how high the parts per million mount. This is running away.”