Year 2, Month 12, Day 3: You Kids Think Money Grows On Trees?

The Christian Science Monitor has done quite a bit of pretty solid analysis:

As this year’s round of global climate talks begin in Durban, South Africa, negotiators once again try to tackle an elusive goal: Trimming nations’ greenhouse gas emissions enough to meet the target of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) before the end of the century.

This target is expected to reduce the potentially devastating effects of climate change, but, so far, it appears a long way off.

Last year, negotiators in Cancún, Mexico, agreed to the goal of limiting warming of the Earth’s average surface temperature to 3.6 degrees F above pre-Industrial Revolution levels. Their agreement notes, however, that a ceiling of 2.7 degrees F (1.5 degrees C) might be warranted.

A world 2 degrees warmer is not an ideal scenario. Even if nations are successful, the planet can still expect increasing heat spells, drought, flood damage and certain other severe weather events, along with elevated rates of extinctions and shifts in species’ ranges, including those of disease-spreading insects, and many other potentially problematic changes, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 Synthesis Report. Their severity grows along with increasing projected temperature rise, according to the report.

A scold. That’s me. Sent November 29:

With mountains of conclusive evidence attesting to both the reality and the danger of runaway climate change, the failure of the world’s industrialized nations to address the issue in any meaningful way cannot be ascribed to ignorance. Rather, the developed world’s unwillingness to take responsibility for the looming threat of catastrophe is essentially a failure of imagination — a failure to think beyond the shared assumptions of an energy economy based on fossil-fuels, a failure to evaluate human progress by measures other than quarterly profit reports, and a failure of empathy with the people whose lives will be devastated.

We’ve taken out an enormous advance on our Bank of Earth credit card. Like irresponsible youngsters on a spending spree, we conveniently forget that when the bill arrives, all humanity will have to pay it. Genuine fiscal responsibility requires aggressive and immediate action on climate change, rather than penny-wise, pound-foolish intransigence.

Warren Senders

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