Take a look at where we are heading
This was linked on a previous thread, but I want to emphasise that 2010 saw the worst ever carbon emissions.
There’s a link in that article to five scenarios of temperature change by Mark Lynas. The scenarios are derived from his book Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet which was favourably reviewed at RealClimate.
A rise of 1°C is unacceptable. For example, at that level the coral reefs of the world are under threat. At 4-5°C, which is where we’re heading if the do nothing brigade had their way, we have nightmare territory.
And without fatalism, says the UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres.
The figures showing that efforts to control greenhouse gases have had little effect are likely to stretch already strained relations between developed and developing countries over climate change to breaking point in the next two weeks in rows over who is responsible for the fastest ever rise in greenhouse gas emissions.
The timing of all this is important because of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany from 6 – 17 June 2011. The program shows preliminary meetings of subgroups over 6 days from 31 May. These subgroups include the Least Developed Countries (50 countries), the Small Island Developing Countries (38 countries), the G77 (currently 131 countries), and the African Group, with much overlapping membership. That’s a lot of talking.
Figueres said she had the support of the group of about 40 small island states – many of which are in danger of disappearing as sea levels rise – as well as most African countries and other, least developed countries. She pointed out that at Cancun, governments had agreed to review the 2°C target in the light of a new scientific study on the effects of climate change.
“I’m not saying this is going to be easy,” she said. “The argument I am making is not about feasibility but an argument of social justice. We can’t have as our goal something that we already know does not guarantee the survival of low-lying states and sub-Saharan Africa.
“If we already know that, in my book there is no way we can stick to the goal we know is completely unacceptable to the most exposed [countries].”
Good to see someone is not asleep at the wheel.
Contemplating a 4°C world, which we may face by 2060
Joe Romm at Climate Progress posts on a Royal Society special issue on a 4°C world. Some quotes:
In such a 4°C world, the limits for human adaptation are likely to be exceeded in many parts of the world, while the limits for adaptation for natural systems would largely be exceeded throughout the world. Hence, the ecosystem services upon which human livelihoods depend would not be preserved.
2°C now more appropriately represents the threshold between dangerous and extremely dangerous climate change.
Told you the 2°C ‘guardrail’ was a nutty idea!
Canada greenwashes tar sands
Canada is making a sterling effort to achieve a 4°C world.
In reporting to the UN they “deliberately excluded data documenting a 20 percent increase in annual pollution from Alberta’s tar sands industry in 2009.”
Further than that they have formed a team to “aggressively undermine European environmental measures” in an “oil sands advocacy strategy”.
James Hansen warns that if we burn all the oil in tar sands and shale, in addition to the traditional sources of oil and coal, runaway warming and the Venus syndrome become a “dead certainty”.
Rising food prices are tightening the squeeze on populations already struggling to buy adequate food, demanding radical reform of the global food system, Oxfam has warned.
By 2030, the average cost of key crops could increase by between 120% and 180%, the charity forecasts.
It is the acceleration of a trend which has already seen food prices double in the last 20 years.
Half of the rise to come will be caused by climate change, Oxfam predicts.
It calls on world leaders to improve regulation of food markets and invest in a global climate fund.
Creating a new vision of economic growth
Professor James Gustave Speth outlines the problem, catalogues the woes and lists what we must do. He’s no doubt right, but I can’t see a practical way forward in what he says, apart from the usual urging. I did like this quote from Thomas Homer-Dixon:
“We can’t live with growth, and we can’t live without it. This contradiction is humankind’s biggest challenge this century, but as long as conventional wisdom holds that growth can continue forever, it’s a challenge we can’t possibly address.”
Bhutan has been pursuing the growth of happiness rather than GDP since 1972, but
this article reckons their secret of happiness is actually GDP growth “spurred by giant hydropower projects that India has been building in Bhutan for two decades.”
A pattern of dry springs seems to be emerging in Europe, raising food prices and possibly leading to blackouts as nuclear and hydro power production are affected. River transport is already a problem with ships being forced to sail 50-80% empty.
No mention of climate change in the article.
France is shovelling out the dosh to stressed farmers.
From the humour department, planet earth is telling us:
“Get the fuck out of here. I want you to leave now.”