Hard words to handle: “Somewhere after the middle of this century human-caused emissions will have to come down to a net zero,” Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Programme, told Reuters.
The statement a preparation for more grim news coming this weekend from the UN’s IPCC meeting in Copenhagen. A whole crowd of scientists and government people have been working on what’s called a Synthesis Report — a summation of three reports of more than 1,000 pages each issued since September 2013 about the science, impacts and solutions associated with climate change — and is to be released on Sunday.
Accordingly, the word ‘irreversible‘ figures way-prominent.
(Illustration found here).
Supposedly, this whole UN IPCC trip is to help the crazy-ass planet save itself. There’s another big climate summit in Paris next year, but meanwhile the climate boils along.
A nutshell off a draft of that Synthesis Report from the UK’s Telegraph this afternoon:
But, broadly, it will conclude that global warming is happening and that human activities are virtually certainly responsible; that, left unchecked, it will have drastic – and, yes, irreversible, consequences; but that these could be averted, at surprisingly little cost, if action is taken without delay.
Yet – even before publication, it is badly out of date – because it results from a cumbersome six-year process, which cannot take recent scientific findings into account.
One of the most worrying studies to date, suggesting that the Western Antarctic ice sheet may have begun irreversible collapse – eventually raising sea levels worldwide by some 10 feet – was only published last May, far too late to be considered.
Or maybe the one published just last Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on how parts of the Amazon rain forest is drying up, leaving more carbon in the air.
And the Guardian has a good piece on the IPCC report, complete with graphs/charts to explain the shit. The last bit in the story, though, reflects the near-about ‘irreversible’ course:
And here’s why this is all happening.
We’re spitting out more emissions that ever before, and it’s getting worse.
Over the past decade emissions grew at twice the rate of the previous 30 years.
Apparently, still a lot of gas left in this old hot rod.
And as in such frames of brain, I’m constantly reminded of the Elizabeth Kolbert quote from near the end of her 2006 book on the worldwide effects of climate change, “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change,” to illustrate humanity’s current plight: “It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.”
(Illustration out front: L.S. Lowry’s ‘Canal Bridge,’ found here).