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Old April 23 2014, 01:13 PM   #1
Dennis
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Welcome to the future

The other shoe drops. Well, what did anyone really think would happen other than this?

By 2009, nearly every government in the world had endorsed the 2C limit global warming beyond that level was deemed "dangerous." And so, every year, the worlds leaders meet at UN climate conferences to discuss policies and emissions cuts that they hope will keep us below 2C. Climate experts churn out endless papers on how we can adapt to 2C of warming (or less).

Two decades later, theres just one major problem with this picture. The idea that the world can stay below 2C looks increasingly delusional.

Consider: the Earths average temperature has already risen 0.8C since the 19th century. And if you look at the current rapid rise in global greenhouse-gas emissions, were on pace to blow past the 2C limit by mid-century and hit 4C or more by the end. Thats well above anything once deemed "dangerous." Getting back on track for 2C would, at this point, entail the sort of drastic emissions cuts usually associated with economic calamities, like the collapse of the Soviet Union or the 2008 financial crisis. And wed have to repeat those cuts for decades.

The climate community has been slow to concede defeat. Back in 2007, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report noting that the world could stay below 2C but only if we started cutting emissions immediately. The years passed, countries did little, and emissions kept rising. So, just this month, the IPCC put out a new report saying, OK, not great, but we can still stay under 2C. We just need to act more drastically and figure out some way to pull carbon dioxide back out of the atmosphere. (Never mind that we still dont have the technology to do the latter.)
http://www.vox.com/2014/4/22/5551004/two-degrees
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