Too-Low ‘High Bar’

May 4, 2015

painting01_081022_sshClear and sunshine this afternoon on a small stretch of California’s north coast, a breezy wind keeps the clouds away.

Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown set forth a self-proclaimed “very high bar” on climate change with some new statewide targets for emission reduction — in line with those adopted by the European Union last year, which were supposed to be fairly stringent.

Yet apparently still falling short…

(Illustration found here).

And by a long shot, climate change is way-numero uno amongst a shitload of entries on a list of planet-sized problems facing humanity, mainly because a warming environment exacerbates a super-wide range of frightful complications, mostly about everything. The UN/world was set to make some supposedly heavy-duty ‘carbon pledges’ this year, culminating with a big climate summit, but the situation seems worse.
From the UK’s Independent this morning

The planned curbs in greenhouse gas emissions by the nations of the world fall well short of what is required to avoid global average temperatures exceeding the “danger limit” of 2C this century, a report has warned.
An analysis of the pledges made by countries attending the climate summit in Paris this December has found that the promised reductions as they stand will still exceed the amount of greenhouses gases widely considered to breach of the safe threshold, it says.
The authors of the report have called on nations to be more ambitious in their promises for reductions of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists have found are largely responsible for the rise on global average temperatures over recent decades.
The analysis by the Grantham Research Institute and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics found serious shortcomings in what countries have suggested for their future annual emissions, and what is actually needed as the basis of an international treaty in Paris — widely considered the most important climate summit yet.

However, the Grantham report found that the European Union, the United States and China together are proposing annual emissions of between 20.9bn and 22.3bn tonnes of greenhouse gases by 2030.

However, the Grantham report found that the European Union, the United States and China together are proposing annual emissions of between 20.9bn and 22.3bn tonnes of greenhouse gases by 2030.

This would result in a combined total for the world’s emission of up to 57bn tonnes, and a gap of at least 13bn tonnes between what is pledged and what is needed.

If you’ve followed climate science news the last few years, this is not really a surprise. Shit has gotten bad, and is seemingly getting worse, in a nutshell.

Author of the report, noted economist Lord Nicholas Stern, via today’s the Sydney Morning Herald:

Half of the gap between something like ‘business as usual’ and where we need to be could be closed in Paris,” Lord Stern, who wrote the 2007 Stern Review on the economic impacts of climate change, told Fairfax Media.
Rather than 2 degrees warming, “it would be like a path upwards of three degrees on the basis of current intentions,” he said.
“We haven’t been there for three million years and we’ve been at four degrees for tens of millions of years.”
A warming of three degrees would trigger “a very radical transformation” while four degrees would be “potentially devastating”, with societies disrupted by extreme weather events and sea-level rises, he said.

Not a pretty picture at all — and remember climate change is predictable only in its unpredictability.
And a seemingly endless supply of research/studies pointing to disaster, the latest released just last Thursday (via ScienceDaily): ‘Researchers ‘weighed’ Antarctica’s ice sheet using gravitational satellite data and found that during the past decade, Antarctica’s massive ice sheet lost twice the amount of ice in its western portion compared with what it accumulated in the east. Their conclusion — the southern continent’s ice cap is melting ever faster.’

And in the UK, Brits and heat (via the BBC): ‘The chances of England experiencing an exceptionally warm year is 13 times more likely due to human influences on climate, a study suggests. 2014 was the UK’s warmest since records began in 1910.’

Sunshine here, though, right now, this afternoon…

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