Impossible Meets Impossible

Kelly Rigg reports at Huffington that US climate negotiator Todd Stern suggests that we abandon the 2° goal in favor of actions which are politically possible, whatever that means in the polarized context of the climate wars.

The 2°C goal, which he later equated with “old orthodoxies,” is the threshold beyond which climate change could have truly unforeseen and catastrophic consequences. Many scientists and more than 100 governments argue that even a 2° rise in temperature is highly dangerous, and are calling for a global goal limiting temperature rise to 1.5°. To understand the significance of these numbers, read Bill McKibben’s plain truth about the terrifying math of climate change, published in Rolling Stone last month.

Stern suggests that we abandon the 2° goal in favor of actions which are politically possible, whatever that means in the polarized context of the climate wars. Yet even he acknowledges that “this kind of flexible, evolving legal agreement cannot guarantee that we meet a 2 degree goal.” In other words, half measures are better than nothing.

But they’re not much better. Any scenario where net emissions do not get to near zero is a scenario where climate disruption is continuing to get worse.

Impossible, meet impossible. (Are you related perchance?)

Comments:

  1. This is very much how the Palestinians went from fighting for the vote in their homeland, to fighting for 22% of their homeland, to fighting for 22% minus their largest city and cultural and economic capital, to fighting for that minus a large region of the border.

    You can ask them how continuing to scale back to more "realistic" demands is going.

  2. It's a good point. One side decided to ask for a reasonable target be met that avoids what most agrees to be catastrophe outcomes. The other just has to say no because they are on the side of power and momentum, telling the world to roll with it. This is why you don't ask for the reasonable sticker price when buying a used automobile.

    This is how reasonable and safe becomes "orthodoxy". I suppose, if anything, we should adopt the 1.5C target. At least we'd be doing something not considered orthodoxy.


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