Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Global warming: 'This is the worst news'

Worst ever carbon emissions leave climate on the brink
Record rise, despite recession, means 2C target almost out of reach

The Guardian: Greenhouse 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carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency.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... 'I am very worried. This is the worst news on emissions. It is becoming extremely challenging to stay 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... '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 temperatures 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.'...

John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace UK, said time was running out. 'This news should shock the world. Yet even now politicians in each of the great powers are eyeing up extraordinary and risky ways to extract the world's last remaining reserves of fossil fuels -- even from under the melting ice of the Arctic. You don't put out a fire with gasoline. It will not be up to us to stop them.'
Image source here.