The Three Degrees.

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DesertSkull2.jpgThe head of the IPCC says Copenhagen should consider a maximum temperature increase by 2050 of 1.5°C. 

"Some parts of the world", he said, even at this level, "will suffer great hardship and lose their ability to lead a decent and stable form of existence. If we are going to be concerned about these communities, then maybe 1.5°C is what we should be targeting."

He then went on to say:

"But if we can find means by which those communities can be helped to withstand the impact of climate change with substantial flow of finances, then maybe one can go to 2°C."

How can this be acceptable in any way? Carbon offsetting has always been a joke, but allowing rich countries to pollute more just provided as they pay for flood defences in the developing world is an extremely sick joke indeed. The hardship he talks about is flooding, starvation, desertification, plus the rest of the four horsemen.

The rich countries should be ashamed of themselves if they make an offer of this sort. If they do, I hope Africa and the island states would have the courage not to have their future (and ours) bought off. 

The objective of Copenhagen should be to agree a fair way to reduce emissions, not to compensate some for a failure by the rest to do so. 

By the end of 2008 we'd increased the planet's temperature by 0.7°C. If the world stopped polluting tomorrow, the emissions already out there would take us to 1.4°C, so 1.5°C would clearly be extremely ambitious.

But even 2°C isn't on the rich countries' agenda. Their offers so far would give us an estimated 3°C rise by 2100, leaving one in ten of the world's population flooded out or facing starvation, and a staggering 50% of all the world's species under threat.

How anyone in politics can see this scenario as a price worth paying for airport expansion and road-building I simply do not know. How can anyone with a conscience in politics put this second, fourth, tenth or nowhere at all in their list of priorities?

Scottish politics hardly sets a good example. Our Ministers have come back from a week of telling anyone who'd listen (mostly the oil industry and other Scots, I hear) that they've got a tough emissions target. 

With Parliament now closed until next year, the rumours continue to say that the SNP are getting ready for the next item of business: slipping out a massive expansion of the motorway network during recess. It ought to be a crime.


If temp increases are racing ahead at 0.8deg a year then what chance is there of capping increases at 1.5 whatever the plan of attack? Won't we be targetting resources unwisely and far too optimistically? Or do you mean that we can allow an increase of 20 in 10 years and then try to drag it back by 18.5deg over the x years after that?

Don't get me wrong James, I'm signed up, I'm in, airports bad and bikes good and all the rest but are you shooting for the moon here and missing out on a better compromise?

This is the last day; 1.5 isn't happening, what's the best that can realistically be hoped for here?

Oh gie's peace.

The warming that the planet is going through is pretty much happening at the same pace as it has before, and no doubt will again. CO2 has got little, if anything, to do with it.

Is the climate changing - yes, is it because of our CO2 emissions - no.

Do I support moving towards more efficient homes/power and the like - yes indeed, and I think that rather than ploughing money into the myth of CO2 it would be better spent on giving everyone in scotland free insulation and the like.


Truppenzwei, I like it: CO2 is a myth. Please do try not to exhale ever again.

Discussion with Jeff here:

Hi James,

Thanks for responding and thanks for indicating quite quickly the level of pedantry that will be deployed by yourself in order to avoid actually dealing with the substance of what I said.

To clarify substitute the myth of CO2 emission reduction being meaningful in the sentence above.


Ah, I see. Do you accept the science behind the greenhouse effect?

Still, thanks for the support for our insulation pitch!

Well James - do you accept the science behind climate change as opposed to the hysteria?

I am more than happy to support measures that make sense and regardless of what the climate is doing homes that can be heated/cooled more efficiently makes sense and shouldn't cost the earth ;)

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This page was published on December 17, 2009 9:31 PM.

Is that a motorway in your pocket or are you just pleased to see yourself? was the previous entry in this blog.

Left behind in Copenhagen. is the next entry in this blog.