942Re: Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst
- Dec 14, 2008And this is coming from the UK, where at least some decision makers
have their heads "above water." In North America (and many developing
countries - at least the ones I am familiar with), it is sad to say
but it seems that we all have our heads deep in the sand! There is no
sense of 'imminent danger', no feeling that a complete and utter
rethink of our relationship with this planet is necessary.
Unless we get over our addiction to energy consumption, in all it's
forms (not only transportation related), I fear that Keynes' dictum
that "in the long run we're all dead" will become a self-fulfilling
prophesy. What to do? I have no idea. Mankind has always proved itself
highly adept at exploiting it's local environment, and now our "local
environment" is the entire planet. For a start, we need to find a way
to go on a serious *global* birth-control program.
--- In WorldTransport@yahoogroups.com, On Behalf Of Robin Chase wrote:
> On Behalf Of Robin Chase
> Read the below and do what ever is in your power to effect the
> difficult changes that need to happen in Washington to make us get
> program: $5/gas starting Jan 21 plus a cap and trade program put in
> quickly as we can.
> Tue, 09 Dec 2008
> Too late? Why scientists say we should expect the worst
> As ministers and officials gather in Poznan one year ahead of the
> summit on global warming, the second part of a major series looks at the
> crucial issue of targets
> * David Adam
> * The Guardian, Tuesday December 9 2008
> At a high-level academic conference on global warming at Exeter
> this summer, climate scientist Kevin Anderson stood before his expert
> audience and contemplated a strange feeling. He wanted to be wrong.
> those in the room who knew what he was about to say felt the same. His
> conclusions had already caused a stir in scientific and political
> Even committed green campaigners said the implications left them
> Anderson, an expert at the Tyndall Centre for
> <http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climatechange>Climate Change
> at Manchester University, was about to send the gloomiest dispatch
> the frontline of the war against climate change.
> Despite the political rhetoric, the scientific warnings, the media
> and the corporate promises, he would say,
> soaring way out of control - far above even the bleak scenarios
> by last year's report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
> (IPCC) and the Stern review. The battle against dangerous climate
> been lost, and the world needed to prepare for things to get very,
> "As an academic I wanted to be told that it was a very good piece of
> and that the conclusions were sound," Anderson said. "But as a human
> desperately wanted someone to point out a mistake, and to tell me we
> it completely wrong."
> Nobody did. The cream of the UK climate science community sat in stunned
> silence as Anderson pointed out that carbon emissions since 2000
> much faster than anyone thought possible, driven mainly by the
> economic boom in the developing world. So much extra pollution is being
> pumped out, he said, that most of the climate targets debated by
> and campaigners are fanciful at best, and "dangerously misguided" at
> In the jargon used to count the steady accumulation of carbon
dioxide in the
> Earth's thin layer of atmosphere, he said it was "improbable" that
> could now be restricted to 650 parts per million
> The CO2 level is currently over 380ppm, up from 280ppm at the time
> industrial revolution, and it rises by more than 2ppm each year. The
> government's official position is that the world should aim to cap
> at 450ppm.
> The science is fuzzy, but experts say that could offer an even-money
> of limiting the eventual temperature rise above pre-industrial times
> which the EU defines as dangerous. (We have had 0.7C of that already
> estimated extra 0.5C is guaranteed because of emissions to date.)
> The graphs on the large screens behind Anderson's head at Exeter told a
> different story. Line after line, representing the fumes that belch from
> chimneys, exhausts and jet engines, that should have bent in a rapid
> towards the ground, were heading for the ceiling instead.
> At 650ppm, the same fuzzy science says the world would face a
> 4C average rise. And even that bleak future, Anderson said, could
> achieved if rich countries adopted "draconian emission reductions
> decade". Only an unprecedented "planned economic recession" might be
> The current financial woes would not come close.
> Lost cause
> Anderson is not the only expert to voice concerns that current
> hopelessly optimistic. Many scientists, politicians and campaigners
> privately admit that 2C is a lost cause. Ask for projections around the
> dinner table after a few bottles of wine and more vote for 650ppm than
> 450ppm as the more likely outcome.
> Bob Watson, chief scientist at the Environment Department and a
> of the IPCC, warned this year that the world needed to prepare for a
> 4C rise, which would wipe out hundreds of species, bring extreme
> water shortages in vulnerable countries and cause floods that would
> hundreds of millions of people. Warming would be much more severe
> the poles, which could accelerate melting of the Greenland and West
> Antarctic ice sheets.
> Watson said: "We must alert everybody that at the moment we're at
> top end of the worst case [emissions] scenario. I think we should be
> striving for 450 [ppm] but I think we should be prepared that 550
[ppm] is a
> more likely outcome." Hitting the 450ppm target, he said, would be
> "unbelievably difficult".
> A report for the Australian government this autumn suggested that the
> 450ppm goal is so ambitious that it could wreck attempts to agree a new
> global deal on global warming at Copenhagen next year. The report, from
> economist Ross Garnaut and dubbed the Australian Stern review, says
> must accept that a greater amount of warming is inevitable, or risk a
> failure to agree that "would haunt humanity until the end of time".
> It says developed nations including Britain, the US and Australia, would
> have to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 5% each year over the next
> to hit the 450ppm target. Britain's Climate Change Act 2008, the most
> ambitious legislation of its kind in the world, calls for reductions of
> about 3% each year to 2050.
> Garnaut, a professorial fellow in economics at Melbourne University,
> "Achieving the objective of 450ppm would require tighter constraints on
> emissions than now seem likely in the period to 2020 ... The only
> alternative would be to impose even tighter constraints on developing
> countries from 2013, and that does not appear to be realistic at
> The report adds: "The awful arithmetic means that exclusively
focusing on a
> 450ppm outcome, at this moment, could end up providing another
> not reaching an international agreement to reduce emissions. In the
> meantime, the cost of excessive focus on an unlikely goal could
> history any opportunity to lock in an agreement for stabilising at
> a more modest, but still difficult, international outcome. An effective
> agreement around 550ppm would be vastly superior to continuation of
> as usual."
> Henry Derwent, former head of the UK's international climate negotiating
> team and now president of the International Emissions Trading
> said a new climate treaty was unlikely to include a stabilisation goal -
> either 450ppm or 550ppm.
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