photo: Agustín Ruiz via flickr.
Confirming what many both in the green community and outside it have been saying for the past six weeks and more, the UN's top climate advisor to the Secretary General, Janos Pasztor has said that the emission reductions pledges submitted so far are insufficient to keep global average temperature rise below 2°C. Not only is that the target scientists say is required to preserve a climate reasonably similar to the one today, and the one agreed to in Copenhagen.Pasztor is quoted by The Guardian as saying,
It is likely, according to a number of analysts, that if we add up all those figures that were being discussed around Copenhagen, if they're all implemented, it will still be quite difficult to reach the two degrees.
Pasztor went on to say that you can look at nations' voluntary commitments positively and negatively. "The negative part is that it's not good enough. The positive side is that for the first time, we have a goal, a clear goal that we're all working toward. Before we would just talk."
We Say We Have a Problem...
Having stewed over the outcome of Copenhagen since I left Denmark back in December, one thing that I'd add to the positive outlook is that Pasztor is right in that at the highest level there is movement towards addressing climate change. Five years ago there would have been debate about whether it was happening; now that's gone. That battle has been fought and won.
Despite genuine mishandling of scientific data by some climate researchers, some sloppy writing and citations by the IPCC, and the lot of quasi-scandals taking up headlines in the past month, the underlying evidence still wholeheartedly supports that climate change is a major problem.
...But Aren't Acting Quickly Enough to Solve It
What I'd add to the negative part is that international and domestic policymakers may be more and more on the same page regarding acting on climate change, but very, very few of them seem to grasp the comprehensive economic changes that have to happen to prevent it, and the speed with which these have to happen.
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