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Climate Utopia

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJune 1, 2011 9:05 PM


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I'm confused. We have this news:

Worldwide carbon-dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels reached a record 30.6 billion metric tons in 2010, an international energy group reports.

And this admission:

The shock rise means the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius "“ which scientists say is the threshold for potentially "dangerous climate change" "“ is likely to be just "a nice Utopia", according to Fatih Birol, chief economist of the IEA. It also shows the most serious global recession for 80 years has had only a minimal effect on emissions, contrary to some predictions.

But utopia must remain our goal, reports the Guardian today:

The world should be aiming to limit global warming to just 1.5C instead of the weaker current target of 2C, the United Nations' climate chief said on Wednesday. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told an audience of carbon traders: "Two degrees is not enough "“ we should be thinking of 1.5C. If we are not headed to 1.5 we are in big, big trouble."

Big trouble. That's what I tell my two beautiful boys when they won't listen to me. If you don't stop fighting, you're both going to be in big trouble. (I always repeat the phrase for emphasis.)Big Trouble! Of course, they don't listen to me. That's because I'm nothing like my father, who just had to look at me a certain way and I would pee down my leg. But that's another story. My point being, the world will not respond to empty threats. And since a dictator does not rule the planet, and the consequences from climate change will not be dire enough to command the world's cooperation anytime soon, perhaps it's time for a new approach.

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