Climate Disruption: “The End of Ice” and Other Threats to the Planet

Talking Climate Change with Paul Beckwith & Dahr Jamail

Repeat broadcast originally airing January 11, 2019. – [MAW]

“We’re not going to stop this train wreck. We are not even trying to slow down the production of CO2, and there is already enough CO2 in the atmosphere. We are going to see the consequences, and they will be significant.” – Bruce Wright, senior scientist with the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association. Quoted in The End of Ice [1]


 Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The battle to protect human civilization and life on this planet from the ravages of global warming has taken on a renewed urgency following the October 8th release of a stunning report from the world’s greatest authority on the state of the climate.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C was approved by the revered Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on October 6 in Incheon, Republic of Korea, just weeks in advance of last December’s Katowice Climate Change Conference. [2] Among other dire warnings, the report concluded that:

  • The global mean surface temperature of Earth has increased 0.87°C during the period from 1850-1900 to 2006-2015.
  • ocean acidification and changes to carbonate chemistry stemming from the absorption of 30% of anthropocentrically produced carbon dioxide are unprecedented for at least the last 65 million years.
  • the probability of extreme drought, precipitation deficits, and risks associated with water availability in some regions increase dramatically with the internationally agreed upon limit of 2°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels versus the more ambitious target of 1.5 °C.
  • Overshooting the 1.5 °C target would pose large risks for natural and human systems because some of those risks could be long-lasting and irreversible, such as the loss of some ecosystems.
  • ecosystems such as kelp forests and coral reefs that are relatively less able to move are projected to experience high rates of mortality and loss. For example, multiple lines of evidence indicate that the majority (70–90%) of warm water (tropical) coral reefs that exist today will disappear even if global warming is constrained to 1.5°C.
  • Ecosystem services from Earth’s oceans will be compromised due to 1.5°C warming and changes to ocean chemistry (e.g. acidification, hypoxia and dead zones) with more pronounced affects beyind 1.5°C of warming.
  • Projections overwhelmingly indicate that restricting global temperature rise to 1.5 °C would require a 40-50% reduction below 2010 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. [3]

While it has been pointed out that a thermonuclear war would likely have even more devastating impacts on life on Earth, at least humans have the power to decide not to use nuclear weapons. In the case of climate change, we are told that once critical thresholds have been crossed, no human actions, no matter how valiant and self-sacrificing, will be enough to prevent runaway warming.

On a week when youth around the planet are mobilizing strikes for ‘climate action,’ the Global Research News Hour highlights the major indicators of a natural world in crisis due to global warming.

In the first half hour, following a short report on a local (Winnipeg) youth activist event, University of Ottawa based climate systems scientist Paul Beckwith outlines some of the more worrying signs that even the October 2018 IPCC Special Report on Climate Change failed to adequately address, he looks at the threats to the polar ice caps and the role they play in regulating familiar weather patterns, and he assesses some of what needs to be done to avoid multiple ‘tipping points’, and a ‘Hothouse Earth’ scenario.

In our second half hour, mountaineer, independent journalist, former Iraq War correspondent, and Truthout staff writer Dahr Jamail navigates listeners through The End of Ice, his recently published book on climate change. His latest publication is a tour through various locations around the globe from Mount Denali in Alaska to Florida, to the Amazon Rainforest and marks the changes climate change have already made and projects to the changes yet to come.

Paul Beckwith is a physicist, engineer, and part-time professor at the University of Ottawa. His research focus is on Abrupt Climate System Change. He has an archive of Youtube videos in which he shares the most up to date information on the climate threat. His website is

Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007). He is also the co-author with William Rivers Pitt of The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible (Truthout, 2014). Jamail is recipient of the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards. Dahr Jamail is also the author of the recently published book, The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption (The New Press, set for release January 15, 2019.) He lives and works in Washington State.

(Global Research News Hour Episode 244)


Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

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  1. Dahr Jamail (January 2019), p. 73, ‘The End of Oil: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption’, The New Press, New York, NY
  3. Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 °C, Chapter 3: Impacts of 1.5°C  of Global Warming on Natural and Human Systems, pg. 177-181;


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Articles by: Michael Welch and Dahr Jamail

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