AMEG (Arctic Methane Emergency Group) Plea to G20 Leaders

2017-07-05 Version 3
To the G20, at their summit, July 2017
Warning of climate change emergency

Dear world leaders,

You will have received an increasing number of warnings from scientists about the seriousness of climate change and therefore how important it is to reduce CO2 emissions.   We take the logic further, using the latest scientific evidence about the current situation and observed trends.  Our conclusion is that interventions must be taken immediately to reduce the forcing agents that are driving climate change, especially in the Arctic.  At minimum, CO2 must be taken out of the atmosphere and the Arctic cooled.

  1. Climate change is already serious

This is evidenced by the persistence of droughts and severity of floods in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, with a growth in such weather extremes and damage therefrom over the past thirty years.  Unrest and civil strife, particularly in Egypt and the Middle East, has been enflamed by crop failures and hunger.   A relationship between riots and the food price index has been established.

  1. Reducing CO2 emissions has limited immediate effect

Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is mainly driven by the excess of CO2 in the atmosphere.  CO2 has a long lifetime, so any reduction in emissions will only have a gradual effect on the level of CO2 in the atmosphere; global warming from the remaining “legacy” CO2 in the atmosphere will continue for decades if not centuries.

  1. Limiting AGW to 2°C this century (let alone 1.5°C) requires intervention

Average global surface temperature has risen between 1.1°C and 1.3°C since pre-industrial times (the baseline for AGW).  The current underlying rate of AGW is at least 0.2°C per decade and greenhouse gas levels are rising.  Recent modelling suggests that 2°C warming will be reached by around 2040, even on the most optimistic IPCC scenario of CO2 emissions reduction.  Thus keeping to 2°C this century requires a slowing of the warming rate to a fraction of its current rate well before 2040 – for example a reduction to 0.1°C per decade by 2030.  This will require a reduction in net climate forcing, through a reduction in forcing agents (CO2 and methane in the atmosphere and albedo loss in the Arctic) and/or through application of specific global cooling methods.

  1. Removing excess CO2 from the atmosphere

The CO2 level probably needs to be reduced from the current level of over 400 ppm down to 240 ppm or less by 2030 in order to reduce both AGW and ocean acidification to acceptable levels.

  1. Cooling the Arctic and saving the sea ice

The Arctic is warming rapidly, driven by albedo positive feedback.  Observations suggest that the sea ice is in a death spiral.  By 2030 the ocean could be virtually free of sea ice for several months of the year.  This state could herald an abrupt change in atmospheric circulation and hence climate regime for the Northern Hemisphere.  (Currently climate change is driven by a combination of global warming and a reduced temperature gradient between Arctic and lower latitudes.)   To avoid the catastrophic consequences of such climate regime change, there is extreme urgency for the Arctic to be cooled and sea ice preserved.

  1. Preventing Greenland Ice Sheet disintegration

Reducing the temperature in the Arctic would have the further effect of halting ice mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet, which otherwise threatens to disintegrate and produce sudden sea level rise.  This would flood small islands and devastate low-lying areas around the world where there are cities, nuclear power stations, infrastructure, and farm land.  With the added possibility of mega-tsunamis as huge chunks of ice slide into the sea, cooling the Arctic should seem even more urgent.

  1. Suppressing methane

The suppression of methane emissions may be vital to prevent global warming getting out of hand.  Fugitive emissions should be kept down to around 1% production – in some wells and in fracking they amount to as much as 10% of production.  Natural emission of methane from wetlands has been growing but could be suppressed using diatom and nutrient treatment.  Emissions of methane from subsea permafrost have been growing alarmingly, threatening to reach the gigaton level which would approximately double the rate of global warming.  Means of avoiding such an outburst need to be found and rapidly implemented.


Stephen Hawking has suggested that only a relatively small increase in CO2 emissions, e.g. from US, could launch the planet towards runaway global warming and Venus-like temperatures, hot enough to boil away the oceans.  While we do not think it likely that our planet will get so hot, there is now overwhelming evidence that the Earth’s climate has already passed a “point of no return”, accelerating inexorably towards unsurvivable conditions unless it is promptly restrained by human intervention.  On current trends AGW could reach 3°C by 2050 with mean sea level rising up to a metre.  This alone would present an existential threat to civilisation.  With tipping points being passed in the Arctic, intervention becomes even more extremely urgent.

We suggest that the G20 should initiate an international project, with the Manhattan project’s focus and intensity, in order to determine and implement the optimum strategy for keeping the planet safe for future generations.  Committing to CO2 reductions is not enough.  An international collaboration, demonstrably in the interests of all humanity, could be a binding force for all nations to come together in peace and common purpose.

John Nissen
Chair AMEG on behalf of AMEG

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Press release: For immediate release
Press & Media
5 July 2017


  1. We, the undersigned, call on the leaders of the G20 to recognize and declare a State of Global Emergency.
  2. The threat is not to one country, to one political system or to one ideology. At stake is the future of humanity and life on earth.
  3. The public have been hearing about this threat for many years. Vested interests have spread doubt as a tactic to preserve profits, dividing public opinion. But you, the Leaders of the G20, know that the science is beyond question.
  4. The climatic stability on which civilization depends is collapsing. Without that stability a rapidly rising population of 7.5 billion can not possibly be sustained.
  5. Governments agreed in Paris that warming must be limited to 1.5˚C or ‘well below’ 2˚C. This limit was set in order to avoid crossing any climate tipping point which might lead to catastrophic climate change. If such a tipping point were crossed there would be no way back for humanity.
  6. It is recognized that the scientific models underestimate the risks because they are unable to model effectively all feedback effects and their interactions. Melt-rates from the Arctic (a crucial component of the Earth’s temperature and climate control system) suggest a disastrous tipping point has already been crossed.
  7. Meanwhile the IPCC and other international organisations project that we are heading for temperature rises of 4˚C warming this century with a risk of 7˚C warming. Such temperatures imply loss of life on an unimaginable scale and the collapse of civilisation.
  8. As leaders of the most powerful countries on Earth at this critical moment in our planet’s history, we urge you to recognize and acknowledge the heavy responsibility these circumstances place on you.
  9. For a short period of time, solutions remain at hand to halt global warming, ocean acidification and Arctic meltdown; but recognition of the State of Emergency is the pre-condition to their implementation. A radical programme of emissions reduction is urgently required, but even that would come too late to address the escalating crisis in the Arctic.  To avoid catastrophe, we need an additional programme of CO2 removal, Arctic cooling and sea ice restoration.
  10. We entreat you to show the leadership required to avoid suffering on an unimaginable scale and to preserve our extraordinary civilisation.

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Big Bangs & Pillars of Fire Create New Siberian Methane Crater // Published on Jul 2, 2017

No place on Earth is warming faster than the high Arctic, and Siberia is rapidly changing before our very eyes. Along with reports on Siberian locals having swimsuit skiing day, papers are headlining new crater formation from methane explosions.

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Methane Craters Created in Massive Explosions // Published on Jul 2, 2017

I tell the story of these blowholes, and what they mean in terms of methane release in the Arctic and rapid global climate change.

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Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to have quite a few interviews with the Main-Stream Media (MSM, via radio, TV and articles). For most of these interviews I was contacted to get my thoughts on the causes of the record flooding in Ontario and Quebec, although a few interviews were to get my views on the Trump withdrawal from Paris.

Needless to say; I talked a lot about the changing weather patterns increasing the risk of severe floods, namely from increased frequency, severity and duration of extreme weather events like torrential rains. I talked about the slower and wavier and stuck jet streams being responsible, and how the enormous Arctic temperature rises were the root cause, and how the Arctic warming was due to loss of sea ice and spring snow cover, resulting in a darker Arctic that absorbs more sunlight.

Below are links to some of these interviews (the ones I could find). To find even more, Google Paul Beckwith climate change and have a look:)
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How climate change is making storms more intense
TVO, Tim Alamenciak, April 21, 2017

Gatineau flooding ‘tip of the iceberg,’ climate scientist warns
CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning, CBC News, May 4,2017

Sending in the troops
Rachel Brown, May 5th, 2017

Rapid spring snowmelt and rains cause major floods in Quebec and southern B.C.
Georgia Straight, Straight Talk, Charlie Smith, May 7th, 2017

Here are the climate science benchmarks of the Quebec floods
National Observer, Carl Meyer, May 8th, 2017

Video: The science behind the Ottawa River flooding
OttawaStart Staff, May 8th, 2017

Historic flooding in Quebec probably linked to climate change: experts
Montreal Gazette, Michelle Lalonde, May 9th, 2017

Climate Facts: Sharing science and hope
Paws for Reaction, May 9th, 2017

Fallis: Flooding at the farmhouse – and what it says about climate change
Ottawa Citizen, Jay Fallis, May 10, 2017

Conservation Authority may review parts of Ottawa’s 100-year flood map after recent flooding
Metro (Ottawa), Alex Abdelwahab, May 10th, 2017

Flooding surpasses predictions
Metro Canada (Ottawa), Alex Abdelwahab, May 11, 2017

Rapid Climate Change & Impacts: From Global-to-Local (Manitoba)
Evidence for CEC MMTP hearings 2017; Report; Paul Henry Beckwith; June 1st, 2017

Presentation: Paul H. Beckwith; June 1st, 2017

Climate accord needs to be much stronger: University of Ottawa professor
Business News Network (Toronto), BNN live
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About paulbeckwith

Well known climate science educator; Part-time Geography professor (climatology, oceanography, environmental issues), University of Ottawa. Physicist. Engineer. Master's Degree in Science in Laser Optics, Bachelors of Engineering, in Engineering Physics. Won Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario gold medal. Also interested in investment and start-ups in climate solutions, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Avid chess player, and likes restoring old homes. Married with children.
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1 Response to AMEG (Arctic Methane Emergency Group) Plea to G20 Leaders

  1. Randall says:

    I gotta say the ameg is fairly ignorant about Geoengineering going on for decades causing more problems then they realise. Why bitch to world leaders about a problem that they are causing without bitching about the real base cause, Geoengineering, and having the guts to expose it? That takes real courage. How about all you climate scientists walk away from your jobs since you are really not doing anything of real importance since it’s all manipulated and planned. Geoengineering rules, the atmosphere is now a plasma so your science is only news which we already feel in our environment out our doors. The Geoengineering mad scientists are laughing at you guys. Your just newsmen reporting on their programs. No natural weather or natural feedbacks. Walk away from your jobs, get togather and make statements as to why you are obsolete in a geoengineered world.
    Sorry so negative, but you guys know I am right.


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