“Barring a miracle, [a global average temperature rise above pre-industrial levels of] 2 degrees C must inevitably be substantially breached.” Nothing that has happened since the 2015 Paris climate conference has “suggested any reason for doubting that judgement”.
The international climate negotiations in Katowice, Poland, in 2018, which were supposed to follow up on the Paris agreements, “can be seen as achieving no more than an elaborate seating-plan for the sun-deck of the Titanic”.
In 2020, countries are supposed to show how they have met the targets set at Paris, and set tougher targets. “But even if a radical programme of reduced emissions was started at that
point, and one that went far beyond the Paris Agreement, it would need to achieve zero emissions by 2040 to stay within the 2 degrees C limit. […]
“Surely the most optimistic assumption we are entitled to make, based on current political agreements and actions across the world is that emissions will continue to rise after 2030, hopefully levelling off later in the century”.
And so “we must assume” that there will be “a global temperature rise associated with carrying on as we are”: that means, by 2100, “at the very least” 3-4 degrees C, and “more likely” 4-5 degrees C.
I agree with all that – with the caveat that those temperatures are consistent with “carrying on as we are”, whereas I believe we have the capacity to do things differently. It is from the Introduction to a new book from the Green House think tank, Facing Up to Climate Reality.
The Introduction argues (i) that “dangerous climate change is now inevitable” and (ii) that “we are going to have to live in a post-growth world”.
This is the starting point of what I call disaster environmentalism, being developed by Rupert Read (one of the Introduction’s three authors), Jem Bendell and other writers associated with Extinction Rebellion (XR).
In a book, This Civilisation is Finished, Read underlines: “there is no ‘safe’ level of warming”; that limiting warming to 2 degrees C, which is now “amost unachievable”, will mean the death of 99% of the world’s coral reefs, and probably the end of ice in the northern hemisphere. It Read the rest of this entry »