Friday, November 21, 2014

What Do We Do When the Warnings Stop?

It's hard to tell what's going on in our minds but the cognitive dissonance displayed by our political leaders on climate change has apparently taken hold among the rest of us as well.

It's as though we're trying not to make a decision out of fear of the decision and what it might mean, the changes it might require.  Yet, by avoiding it, we are making a decision.  We are opting for an outcome, a very dangerous result.

Those of us in the ripening years may escape the worst of it but our kids won't and our grandkids will bear the full brunt of this very decision we're taking by looking the other way.

Anyway, here's the Associated Press report that was incorrectly formatted in the previous post.

The world still isn't close to preventing what leaders call a dangerous level of man-made warming, a new United Nations report says. That's despite some nations' recent pledges to cut back on carbon dioxide emissions... 

"The time window (for reaching that goal) is closing, closing," said United Nations undersecretary for environment Achim Steiner. And the cost of getting to that goal "is increasing, increasing."

To meet that goal, the world has to hit a peak of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases before 2030, said the report's chief scientific editor, Joseph Alcamo. But the study says carbon emissions will continue to soar until 2050 and by then it will be too late.
If the U.S. and China follow through with their promises, they may shave a few billions of tons off the total, said former U.S. Sen. Tim Wirth, vice chairman of the United Nations Foundation. Those pledges and an earlier one by Europe, while narrowing the gap, aren't large enough to close it, Alcamo said.

In his forward to the report, Steiner wrote that the "analysis reveals a worrisome worsening trend. Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will lead to an even warmer climate and exacerbate the devastating effect of climate change."

Outside scientists praised the numbers in the study, but Granger Morgan at Carnegie Mellon University raised a question that scientists have been debating more frequently: Is it time to abandon the two-degree goal as unrealistic?

"Today a two-degree target is akin to a 60-year-old man who resolves to be 25 years old next year," Morgan said in an email. "It ain't gonna happen, but it's time to get really serious about achieving what we can."

Steiner said because of the dangers of a warmer world, it is unthinkable to abandon the two-degree goal.

When the scientific community is prepared to throw in the towel on the 2C target, that's about as blunt a warning as you can get.  That's what they used to say in private, over a couple of beers.

As I concluded in the previous post:   

We either have to find a way to live on this Earth, right now, or we have to find a place to die on this Earth.  It's that simple.  It really is.


Anonymous said...

Apparently, even pompous twits get it wrong now and then.

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