‘Black’ Climate Day

November 27, 2015

EmissionsBrilliant Friday morning here on California’s north coast, with clear sunshine and way-chilly temperatures — supposedly below freezing even along the shoreline, much-colder further inland.
Clear skies maybe til Monday, reports the NWS, then another front, probably stretching out a few days — or not —  another in a series of weather systems coming at us ‘conveyor-belt’ style this season.

In an institutional context, this particular day also carries a current-moniker of ‘Black Friday,’ in honor of financial-ledger-life, and trappings of another season.
Upcoming, if that’s the case, an additional seasonal watershed episode, ‘Way-Way-Dark-Brown-Close-to-Black Monday‘ — first official day of COP21, the UN climate talks in Paris.
Maybe re-dubbed the ‘Last-chance Summit.’

(Illustration found here).

End of the piece linked above, the conference in a nutshell: ‘Nations of the world are meeting in Paris to discuss the wording of an international treaty to try to prevent climate change getting out of hand. The mood seems to be quite positive.’

The ‘positive‘ part seemingly added as an after-thought, another human trait usually found at the ‘end‘ of most news stories on climate change, and COP21. A desire to see at least a ‘possibility‘ of ‘saving‘ the planet.
Your can read all about the conference anywhere, the source cited above, from the Australian Broadcasting Corp., is as good as the norm. Another is a good view on the Paris get-together from Ben Adler at Grist, also includes a ‘last chance‘ climate showdown sensibility.
Although people want that ‘positive,’ the pure-reality is if way-drastic measures to curb emissions aren’t deployed near-immediately, we be fucked…

The scale of the problem is the real problem.
Jeff Tollefson at Nature last Tuesday took off the rose-colored glasses — first the set-up:

Climate modellers have developed dozens of rosy 2?°C scenarios over several years, and these fed into the latest assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The panel seeks to be policy-neutral and has never formally endorsed the 2-degree target, but its official message, delivered in April 2014, was clear: the goal is ambitious but achievable.

And reality:

But take a closer look, some scientists argue, and the 2-degree-C scenarios that define that path seem so optimistic and detached from current political realities that they verge on the farcical.
Although the caveats and uncertainties are all spelled out in the scientific literature, there is concern that the 2-degree-C modelling effort has distorted the political debate by obscuring the scale of the challenge.
In particular, some researchers have questioned the viability of large-scale bioenergy use with carbon capture and storage (CCS), on which many models now rely as a relatively cheap way to provide substantial negative emissions.
The entire exercise has opened up a rift in the scientific community, with some people raising ethical questions about whether scientists are bending to the will of politicians and government funders who want to maintain 2-degree-C as a viable political target.
“Nobody dares say it’s impossible,” says Oliver Geden, head of the European Union Research Division at the German Institute for Inter­national and Security Affairs in Berlin.
“Everybody is sort of underwriting the 2-degree cheque, but scientists have to think about the credibility of climate science.”

As it stands, the world is on a path to nearly 3-degree-C of warming by the end of the century, and even that assumes substantial emissions reductions in the future.
If nations do not go beyond their Paris pledges, the world could be on track to use up its 2-degree-C carbon budget as early as 2032.
If the models are correct, world leaders may have to either accept extra warming or plan for a Herculean negative-emissions campaign. In the event that they choose the latter — and succeed — the entire debate will change.
“It’s a completely different game,” says Nebojsa Nakicenovic, an economic modeller and deputy director-general of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.
“If that is technically possible, then we could also go below 2 degrees.”

Meanwhile, an ironic twist to ‘Black Friday‘ shopping is a possible fake-fight posted on YouTube of a lady battling a kid over vegetable steamer, and then making off with it — we be hoaxed on a hoax day…

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