Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The DOHA Verdict: 2 Degree Threshold Will Be Crossed

Even as the temperature hit 70 over the weekend in Colorado Springs, when it should be in the low 30s, the signs on the nation's horizon are increasingly parlous for a sweltering, fire-ravaged summer - even worse than last year. I mean if it is THIS unseasonably warm now, image what it will be in May (90s?) then July (100s).  Coupled with the dryness - COS has had less than 1mm of precip since September, the trees will be like tinder.

What's going on? At the Doha Conference on Climate Change in Qatar, nearly all the attendees now agree the goal of halting warming to a 2 degree increase is essentially fruitless. As I noted in an earlier blog: http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2012/11/bill-mckibbens-prediction-of-nightmare.html

This level is the tipping point beyond which we're all for the high jump. But the consensus now is that the international goal cannot be reached. Last year alone, the combined nations of the planet pumped out nearly 38.2 billion tons of CO2 into the air from the burning of fossile fuels such as coal and oil. This is according to new calculations published in Cjournal. This amount is more than the previous year and translates into 2.4 million lbs of CO2 released into the atmosphere each second.

The cumulative effect is even more dire, given most CO2 remains in the atmosphere for at least 100 years.Thus, the CO2 now heating our world via the greenhouse effect has been accumulated since at least 1912. Given this time burden, and what's still to unfold,  it's preposterous to believe temperature increases can be held to less than 2C.  This is according to Glen Peters of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo, Norway.

Andrew Weaver, a climate scientist at the University of Victoria, Canada, puts it in even more stark terms:

"We are losing our ability to get a handle on the global warming problem."

Translation: we are on the cusp of a massive climate catastrophe for which humans will have no solutions and for which all of humanity will pay a steep price in the coming decades....until the runaway Greenhouse turns the planet into another Venus, see e.g.


No one can say humans didn't have the chance to fix this, but between indiscriminate population growth (and its attendant use of ever more energy) and taking the agnotologists and deniers too much to heart- we've now evidently "made our collective bed". Trouble is, it'll be way too hot to sleep in!

1 comment:

Batalos said...

Climate change is one of the 1st symptoms of approaching limits to growth.
Any program that seeks to avoid the worst effects of the coming systemic crisis (including climate change), must include a radical reduction in the global material consumption.
This (voluntary) reduction is incompatible with the current socio-economic system.
Ergo meaningful global action within the system is highly improbable. Imitation of activity and attempts to profit from it - no problem. Radical voluntary reduction of global material consumption - no chance (until the laws of nature do it for us)

We put ourselves in a perfect trap and carefully cut off escape routes.