Friday, November 17, 2017

Climate Change - 5% chance of succeeding

Kevin Anderson is professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester in the UK. He also leads the energy and climate change research program at the Tyndall Center, the UK's leading academic climate change research organization and a leading expert on climate budgets.

 He explains:
 "Our carbon budget is the total amount of carbon dioxide we can put in the atmosphere that brings about aa certain average temperature for the whole planet. The faster we use it up now, the less we have to spend later. So it's a little bit like having your month's salary. Globally, at the moment we are spending incredibly quickly. We're using all of our carbon dioxide like there is no tomorrow at the moment, and we're not going to make it to the end of the month, as if we were someone frittering our money away on too many expensive dinners, a big fancy car, that sort of thing."

"I think it is just about possible to hold two to 2 degrees C of warming. But let's also be clear that 2 degrees of warming is a global average. Two degrees centigrade of warming will be dangerous, if not deadly, for some people around the world and we shouldn't see it as a safe threshold. But I think now that's about the best that we can hope for. Unless we're incredibly lucky with these new negative emission technologies — which don't yet exit — which we hope will suck the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere in the future, unless they work — and no one really thinks are going to work at huge scale — then I think 1.5 degrees degrees centigrade is no longer viable. I find that really quite depressing to say because many people would benefit if we could set 1.5 rather than 2 degrees centigrade."

What are our chances of keeping within the 2-degree limit?

I think our chances of failure are about 95 percent. I think we're going to hell in a handcart. But that 5 percent isn't a random chance. That 5 percent is a choice. Realistically, unless emissions start coming down very rapidly in the next three or four years — I mean very rapidly indeed — then I think we will fail on 2 degrees centigrade of warming.We have we have a handful of years to make some very rapid and radical changes. We know what we need to do. We know it's all of our responsibility to engage with this. We have everything at our fingertips to solve this problem. We have chosen to fail so far but we could choose to succeed.

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