Hope everyone likes their planet warm and unpredictable, because that's what we're on track to get: An 11 degree Fahrenheit global temperature increase by 2100. The finding comes from the typically conservative International Energy Agency, which revealed a new analysis of global energy consumption at this year's COP17 climate talks in Durban. If we continue consuming energy in the same fossil fuels-heavy manner, it notes, the world will become a hot, more unpleasant, and potentially hazardous place.
A place hot enough to "spell catastrophe for all of us."
Those are the words of the IEA's chief economist, Fatih Birol, who addressed world leaders and climate negotiators yesterday. The Washington Post has more:
"...heat-trapping emissions from the world’s energy infrastructure will lead to a 2-degree Celsius increase in the Earth’s temperature that, as more capacity is added to the system, will climb to 6 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100. Unless there is a shift away from some of the fossil fuel energy now used for electricity generation and transportation, Birol said, “the world is perfectly on track for a six-degree Celsius increase in temperature. Everybody, even the schoolchildren, knows this is a catastrophe for all of us,” he said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.Upon hearing this dire news, Republicans in the US Congress (until now the number one impediment to forging a global climate treaty) reportedly rushed to convene an emergency session on how best to transition from our reliance on fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy sources.
Instead, they most likely thumbed their noses at the allegation, and went about entertaining oil industry lobbyists in their mahogany-laden offices: 'Climate change. Can't believe that every top scientific institution, nearly every world government, indeed, almost everyone else on the planet fell for that hogwash. What dupes.'
Sad, but true. If the world is to collectively act to combat the advance of climate change, the United States, the largest historic greenhouse gas polluter, is going to have to play a leading role. And it won't, not so as long as one of its two major political parties does not believe that climate change exists.