It's a chilling story, one that, if true, has existential implications for life on Earth. The Guardian reports that rich nations have "given up" on reaching a new climate treaty until 2020.
Ahead of critical talks starting next week, most of the world's leading economies now privately admit that no new global climate agreement will be reached before 2016 at the earliest, and that even if it were negotiated by then, they would stipulate it could not come into force until 2020.
The eight-year delay is the worst contemplated by world governments during 20 years of tortuous negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions, and comes despite intensifying warnings from scientists and economists about the rapidly increasing dangers of putting off prompt action.
...Postponing an operational agreement until 2020 would be fatal to hopes of avoiding catastrophic climate change, according to scientists, economists and green campaigners.
Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA), and one of the world's foremost authorities on climate economics, told the Guardian: "If we do not have an international agreement whose effect is put in place by 2017, then the door to [holding temperatures below 2C] will be closed forever."
The story comes just one day after the World Meteorological Organization released a report warning that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases have reached a record level and the rate of increase is accelerating.
The IPCC, WMO, NOAA, NASA and other science bodies are all speaking with one voice, all sounding the alarm, all warning that the exit door is closing and virtually no key decision maker is listening. These leaders are writing the future of our kids and grandkids and generations to follow. The worst part is it's quite possibly indelible.