Too hot to handle!

A stark reminder that more of the same will hurt us.

On the 14th August I published a post with the title of From feeling to doing.  The post was a 15-minute video presented by David Roberts of Grist showing, in essence, how fundamentally simple was the issue of climate change and how profound the implications if we didn’t halt the rise in the temperature of Planet Earth.

I’m not going to insert that video in this post because you can click on the link above and do that yourself.  What I will do is to draw your attention to the accompanying article on Grist under the title of Climate change is simple: We do something or we’re screwed. That article includes the slides that were in the video, such as this one:

So with that in mind, here’s what the BBC published on their news website yesterday morning,

Science advisor warns climate target ‘out the window’

Pallab GhoshBy Pallab Ghosh, Science correspondent, BBC News

One of the Government’s most senior scientific advisors has said that efforts to stop a sharp rise in global temperatures were now unrealistic.

Professor Sir Robert Watson said that the hope of restricting the average temperature rise to 2C was “out the window”.

He said that the rise could be as high as 5C – with dire conseqences.

Professor Watson added the Chancellor, George Osborne, should back efforts to cut the UK’s CO2 emissions.

He said: “I have to look back (on the outcome of sucessive climate change summits) Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban and say that I can’t be overly optimistic.

“To be quite candid the idea of a 2C target is largely out of the window.”

As the BBC points out Professor Watson is a highly respected and world renown scientist on climate change policy and is currently Chief Scientist at the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and a former Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  Professor Watson was also with the World Bank and an advisor to former Vice President Al Gore.  The BBC item goes on,

Professor Watson, who is due to step down from his role at Defra next month, suggested that the Chancellor, George Osborne, reconsider his opposition to tough measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr Osborne has said that the UK’s ambitious targets for CO2 should be relaxed so as not to drive businesses to countries which have set themselves much lower targets.

“I would say to George Osborne, ‘work with the public sector. Work with the public on behavior change. Let’s demonstrate to the rest of the world that we can make significant progress here” Professor Watson argues that the UK and Germany should continue to take the lead in driving efforts to reach an effective international treaty.

Hurt Poorest

“If we carry on the way we are there is a 50-50 chance that we will get to a 3 degree rise,” he said.

“I wouldn’t rule out a 5 degree world and that would be quite serious for the people of the world especially the poorest. We need more political will than we currently have”.

The IPCC 2007 assessment summarised the probable impact of various temperature rise sceanrios.

It shows that the impact on human health, the availability of food and water, the loss of coastlines becomes progressively worse as the average temperature of the planet rises.

The 2C target was agreed at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in 2010.

The majority of countries though prefer a lower target of 1.5C.

A number of analyses have also concluded that the 2C would be missed. The most recent was by the International Energy Agency earlier this year.

Professor Watson added that deep cuts in CO2 emissions are possible using innovative technologies without harming economic recovery.

“This doesn’t take a revolution in energy technology, an evolution would get us there.”

What I would add to this report that has been widely circulated is that while it’s natural to assume, ‘We need more political will than we currently have‘, that political will flows from the will of the people.

Take the effect of a 4C rise, as David Roberts explains,

Which is described in the Grist article as,

Here’s the edition of the Royal Society journal that came out of the conference on 4 degrees C of warming. Read through it and see if you think “hell on earth” is an exaggeration. Desertification, water shortages, agricultural disruptions, rising sea levels, vanishing coral, tropical forest die-offs, mass species extinctions, oh my. Kevin Anderson, one of the lead scientists involved, was moved to say that “a 4 degrees C future is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable.”

So come on people, get real!  Make sure that the democratic systems work and that our leaders know the sort of change that has to take place.  As the wise Professor highlighted, ‘… deep cuts in CO2 emissions are possible using innovative technologies without harming economic recovery.’  Sort of makes sense to me.  How about you?

7 thoughts on “Too hot to handle!

  1. As I write this, Arctic ice is now at the minimum, ever. With several weeks of melting ahead still to come.
    One has to understand that the global temperature rise, so far, is less that one degree Celsius, but has been up to five times that in the polar regions.
    The first effect of global heat will be the loss of the icy poles, with a 70 meter sea level rise. Simultaneously, the Earth carnot engine will stop: no more pleasant winds, just the occasional hyper hurricane…

    And all this thanks to those who decides to goose step behind fossil fuel plutocrats, their idols…


      1. Yeap. Big time. Even Nazism won’t look as crazy, I predict, because, this time, everybody knew. Too many are making lies to claim they did not know.


  2. Well done for blogging about this announcement from Professor Watson. I really hope it will be a game-changer. It certainly deserves to be. For the first time ever (that I can recall), the BBC publicised what he said as News (rather than opinion) – with no attempt to provide a false balance with the opinions of those who claim nothing unusual is happening.

    Sadly, I fear Professor Watson is right to say that our leaders lack the political will to change course. What is even more scary (having now finished reading parts 6 to 9 of Schalk Cloete’s series on the probability of an impending economic collapse), is that everyone (whether they like it or not) is so deeply enmeshed in the business of speculation and consumption that it is impossible to deconstruct it as fast as is now required… As Schalk eventually demonstrates (in posts 8 and 9 of the series), there are simple solutions but no easy way to see how our political leaders will allow them to be implemented (because turkeys will never vote for Christmas).


  3. I think maybe the point of no return is nigh.. But we have to Trust that those who are in charge of our Nations see just how much damage we are doing to our environment… And like another of your commenter said The Arctic Ice is melting fast with Polar bears and other wild life loosing their habitats.
    It seems we are in Self- Destruct Mode .


    1. Sue, can’t add anything more to what you wrote. I just hold out this hope that at the 59th minute of the last hour, we will turn away from the self-destruction we are heading towards. Paul


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