Tuesday, November 27, 2007

UN Calls for Realistic Emission Targets


Stephen Harper, the great snake oil salesman of global warming, says he's all in favour of binding emission targets just so long as they're applied equally across the board. Steve isn't being realistic. He knows that. He's posturing, knowing full well that will let him sound engaged on the greenhouse gas problem while ensuring that no effective action will be taken. He's not just selling snake oil, he's making it.

Back in the reality-based world, the United Nations warns we've got less than ten years to abruptly change course if we're to avoid "irreversible ecological catastrophe". Two words there that should sort of grab your attention: "irreversible" and "catastrophe". Think of yourself in a canoe in rough water. If you're not careful, your boat can tip so far over that you won't be able to stop it from capsizing. It reaches its tipping point, its point of no return, even before water begins pouring over the gunwales. That's what irreversible ecological catastrophe means.

Ten years as in ten years max. It could be less than ten years. It could be a lot less than ten years. Look at the IPCC's predictions. Almost all of them have been understated. Things they told us were coming in thirty years appear in five or ten. With that record, it's only prudent to consider this warning as ten years at the outside.

This from The Guardian:

" ...the 400-page [UN Human Development programme] report said that simply ignoring climate change would lead to unprecedented reversal in human development in our lifetime, and acute risks for our children and their grandchildren.

"The poorest countries and most vulnerable citizens will suffer the earliest and most damaging setbacks, even though they have contributed least to the problem," the report says.

"Looking to the future, no country - however wealthy or powerful - will be immune to the impact of global warming."

The panel says the greatest financial responsibility lies with the US and the other well-developed countries most responsible for the rising levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, mainly from the use of coal, oil and other fossil fuels.

As the world's richest countries bear the greatest responsibility, the UN Development Programme called on them to bear the largest burden in cutting emissions and in providing financial aid to the poor.

Developed countries, the UN said, should cut emissions by at least 30% by 2020 and by 80% by 2050. Developing nations should cut emissions by 20% by the year 2050."

This is the bullet that Harpo and Bush are struggling so hard to dodge - taking responsibility for having brought the planet to the perilous state that today confronts mankind. They have bottomless purses when it comes to (sort of) fighting Islamist fundamentalism but would prefer to do bugger all when it comes to a problem that poses a much greater threat to their nations and their people.

Summon the villagers, light the torches, get the pitchforks.

4 comments:

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I ain't so sure we ain't already gone past the tippin' point. It's this whole permafrost thing that's got me thinkin' that. If anybody predicted the effect of the methane released from the melting permafrost, they underestimated what we're seeing happen.

I figger the question now is how do we live with the mess we created. Unfortuynately, the ones who had the most to do with accelerating climate change are not the ones who will bear the biggest burden. Witness Bangladesh. When the Maldives sink under the ocean, it won't be because the islanders were creating more than their share of GHG's.

So far, the big money ain't seen Mother Earth as a good investment. A few of the corporate elite movers an' shakers smell money in ecobiz. The manufacturing infrastructure is geared to war equipment. Changin' over to savin' the earth equipment is costly. They want a good ROI and war's been deliverin' fer a couple thousand years or more.

Torches? Pitchforks? How about a tarsanding? Dip the badguy in tar and, instead of the normal feathers, roll him in sand. Very fitting, sez I.

JB

The Mound of Sound said...

Tarsanding? Sounds like a great idea to me. How do we live with the mess we've created? Some are already calling for "sustainable retreat", mentioned in my next post.

Manuel said...

Stop holding your breath when you post....the lack of oxygen is making you believe strange things.

The Mound of Sound said...

Manuel, next time you add a comment, try to find something to say. Please.