We need to cut emissions in a big way if we want to live on a habitable planet
by David Atkins
Scientists keep ringing the alarm bells, but governments aren't really listening:
Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of 40 to 70 percent by mid-century will be needed to avert the worst of global warming that is already harming all continents, a draft U.N. report showed.I've been posting a little less to Hullabaloo of late, partly because I'm now managing a campaign in Santa Barbara County called Measure "P", which would ban fracking, cyclical steam injection, acidization and other extreme oil extraction techniques in the county; drilling and operating the new wells being planned using those techniques alone would put almost a million cars' worth of emissions into the atmosphere, to say nothing of burning the carbon to come out of those wells. It's a big fight, and Chevron has already dumped over $1.2 million in to defeat us.
The 26-page draft, obtained by Reuters on Thursday, sums up three U.N. scientific reports published over the past year as a guide for almost 200 governments which are due to agree a deal to combat climate change at a summit in Paris in late 2015.
It says existing national pledges to restrict greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient to limit warming to 3.6 Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial times, a U.N. ceiling set in 2010 to limit heatwaves, floods, storms and rising seas.
Average global surface temperatures have already risen by about 1.4 F since the Industrial Revolution, the draft said.
"Deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to limit warming to 2 degrees C ... remain possible, yet will entail substantial technological, economic, institutional, and behavioral challenges," according to the draft due for publication in Copenhagen on Nov. 2 after rounds of editing.
Climate change is an all-hands-on-deck fight, and the greedy, awful forces arrayed against the good guys are Mordoresque. But fight we must. There's no other choice.