Year 2, Month 12, Day 9: That’s Taghyir Al-manakh in Arabic

The New York Times delivers the ghastly news:

Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning jumped by the largest amount on record last year, upending the notion that the brief decline during the recession might persist through the recovery.

Emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the numbers. Scientists with the group said the increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003.

I was only going to write to papers in the developing world while Durban was going on, but I just had to respond to this one. Sent December 5:

The inability of politics-as-usual to address the climate crisis is exemplified by the tired excuses for inaction on offer at the Durban climate conference. As the Global Carbon Project’s report makes clear, business-as-usual is well on the way to triggering a runaway greenhouse effect with consequences ranging from inconvenient to catastrophic.

Just over a decade ago, George Bush blithely disregarded a warning that Osama Bin Laden was planning attacks in the US, and on September eleventh, terrorists killed thousands and destroyed an architectural landmark. But failure to control greenhouse emissions will mean megadeaths; the loss of a building whose name evoked our global economy will pale into insignificance when that economy itself is shattered by the resource wars and political chaos sure to follow those rising temperatures. Even though they’ve been repeatedly warned of a real and terrifying threat, our politicians-as-usual can’t bring themselves to act.

Warren Senders

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