The NewScientist.com news service reports some recent conclusions of the Global Carbon Project: "Far from slowing down, global carbon dioxide emissions are rising faster than before Though alarming, the figures confirm expectations. "They make intuitive sense to me," says Jim Watson, deputy leader of the energy program at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UK...One likely contributor is China, whose emissions slowed at end of the 1990s before rising again. China is now the world's second largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US... Other growing developing countries, such as India and Brazil, are also fast becoming large emitters." (Re: the graphic, developed by the GCP, stabilizing carbon dioxide concentrations at 450 ppm could limit global warming to 2Â°C.)We're going to go out on a plank here and say what needs to be said.
Those who claimed that Kyoto was insufficient were correct, and remain so. But that's no excuse for failing to make it acceptable. Improvement is always an option.
There's another matter needing our immediate attention. These projections are depressing. You can't help but look at this graph and feel gloomy. If "An Inconvenient Truth" brings this to the world's eyes, as is, without some positive empowerment, many more will be at risk of alienation.
So, we're at a nexus. Right where the three scenario lines splay out, to alternate futures, is where we live. The good news is that the denialists have had their day. Lady Liberty's hook just hauled a few more of 'em off stage. A few shifts in Australia and Canada, and a serious discussion will be possible.
The battle for truth proceeds now on three major fronts. Keep these battle "names" in mind, as we'll be referring back to them in future posts.
Advance Of The Dismal Scientists: Shooting criticism at macro-economic modeling projections, for the time being, is the denialist tactic of choice. A new crop of denial-o-conomists are already pretty well 'dug in' at the op ed pages of the WSJ and FT; and, new emplacements may be under construction at the 'Think Tanks'. We don't expect this phase to last long, however. The time soon comes when negotiating positions must be struck with investors and lenders.
Charge of the Risk Brigades: This very serious and already protracted battle is over setting priorities for managing climate risk versus disease, hunger, obesity, drought, and poverty, over population, resource depletion, and so on. The obstacle to progress on climate issues remains leadership. Who might personify a reasonable global discussion of the priorities?
A new linguistic "framing" has been chosen by the way. Opponents of making climate change a top priority close their arguments with a reminder that 'greens don't really care about poor people in developing nations'. This works for the 'Charge of The Risk Brigade' as well as in 'Culture Wars...' (below).
Culture Wars: The Next Generation. Governments may regulate trading schemes and create fiscal incentives and penalties, but citizens create the expectations that drive governance. And we shape markets..big time. Organic food ring any bells?
Can green design make a Cadillac cool? Is buying a wind power "card" hip or silly? Green designers, consumers, publishers, bloggers, advertisers, celebrities and Tree Huggers are setting the stage for change around such questions.
At the nexus of future-carbon, the choice of the green path is partly ours.