A 2C target is largely out of the window

Depressingly, I agree:

One of the government’s most senior scientific advisers has said that efforts to stop a sharp rise in global temperatures were now “unrealistic”.

Prof Sir Bob Watson said that any hope of restricting the average temperature rise to 2C was “out the window”.

He said that the rise could be as high as 5C – with dire consequences…

He said: “I have to look back on [the outcome of successive climate change summits] Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban and say that I can’t be overly optimistic.

“To be quite candid the idea of a 2C target is largely out of the window.”…

“If we carry on the way we are there is a 50-50 chance that we will get to a three-degree rise,” he said.

“I wouldn’t rule out a five-degree world and that would be quite serious for the people of the world, especially the poorest. We need more political will than we currently have.”

Comments:

  1. 2 degrees was never more likely than us showing restraint against exploiting Arctic hydrocarbon resources, once we'd melted the ice keeping us at bay. The rush to the Arctic is a jumbo metaphor.

  2. Barring some breakthrough that enables megatonnes of atmospheric CO2 to be stripped out, mineralized and safely sequestered, yes 2C is already a pipe dream. Yet I sometimes wonder whether our focus on global warming doesn't obscure the greater problem of which climate change is but one element.

    I agree with Jared Diamond that we're facing a cornucopia of challenges, several of them potentially existential, yet we cannot hope to find a lasting solution to any if we fail to find the answer to solve them all. What he's getting at is that there are just a few common threads that run through everything from climate change to overpopulation to nuclear proliferation and terrorism. If we identify those threads the solutions become apparent but - there's a critical but - we would probably sooner be Easter Islanders than accept the remedy.

    • oh no don't bring up Easter Island:)

      Some focus on climate change is inevitable since it has both captured mainstream (can't say that about phosphorus) and has significant time constraints for any hope of avoiding significant suffering.

      This makes it a good candidate for our first global attempt to solve a difficult planetary boundary problem, though we don't seem to be doing much.

      But you are right that we can't forget that even if the climate problem were solves tomorrow we wouldn't be out of the woods

  3. Pingback: Another Week of GW News, August 26, 2012 – A Few Things Ill Considered


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