Globally warmed

It seems to me that Obama avoids talking about anything that might confirm voters’ suspicions that he might be a Democrat, to the point where our environment is quickly going down the tubes while he talks about the deficit:

Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency.

The shock rise means the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius – which scientists say is the threshold for potentially “dangerous climate change” – is likely to be just “a nice Utopia”, according to Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA. It also shows the most serious global recession for 80 years has had only a minimal effect on emissions, contrary to some predictions.

Last year, a record 30.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuel – a rise of 1.6Gt on 2009, according to estimates from the IEA regarded as the gold standard for emissions data.

“I am very worried. This is the worst news on emissions,” Birol told the Guardian. “It is becoming extremely challenging to remain below 2 degrees. The prospect is getting bleaker. That is what the numbers say.”

Professor Lord Stern of the London School of Economics, the author of the influential Stern Report into the economics of climate change for the Treasury in 2006, warned that if the pattern continued, the results would be dire. “These figures indicate that [emissions] are now close to being back on a ‘business as usual’ path. According to the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s] projections, such a path … would mean around a 50% chance of a rise in global average temperature of more than 4C by 2100,” he said.

“Such warming would disrupt the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people across the planet, leading to widespread mass migration and conflict. That is a risk any sane person would seek to drastically reduce.”

Birol said disaster could yet be averted, if governments heed the warning. “If we have bold, decisive and urgent action, very soon, we still have a chance of succeeding,” he said.

We know that’s not going to happen.

One thought on “Globally warmed

  1. Susie lnked to Dredd Blog a few days ago, and while I was wandering around that blog I came across this riveting artist’s rendition of what will happen with really bad global warming — as in melting of both polar ice caps.

    Check it out (I wish I could embed the image, but I don’t now how). Looks to me that if we survive as an industrial society, we’ll not only have a Northwest Passage but a Midwest Passage….

    And, again, as Jaret Diamond wrote in Collapse, societies collapse when their elites are removed from the effects of societal stresses, such as climate change, and do not take or drive actions which might prevent societal failure. In our world, the poor are feeling some effects in this country through the costs to their budgets and their health of high energy prices. They’re the one who can’t afford AC for heat waves or sometimes enough heat to stay alive in the winter. But, worldwide, the poorest nations are being hit, hard, first. We in this nation still have a sense we’ll do OK…good luck with that, everyone!…and our leaders are more concerned with keeping banksters in the money and keeping themselves in office.

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