We Should Kiss 2°C Temperature Rise Target Goodbye: IEA Chief Economist


In light of the State of the Union address and the conspicuous lack of climate change mentions in it: As the BBC reports, International Energy Agency chief economist Fatih Birol has "said the unsayable"--during a lecture at Imperial College London noting that the utter lack of political ambition to tackle climate change and do anything meaningfully strong enough to curb greenhouse gas emissions means that 1) peaking emissions by 2020 is virtually impossible and therefore 2) we can "kiss goodbye" and hope of keeping global average temperature rise below 2°C. Birol added,

We would need to double decarbonization efforts, then double them again to keep emissions (of CO2 and equivalent gases) within 450 parts per million. The bulk of the effort needs to take place in countries where climate change is not high on the policy agenda. We have to be realistic.

Worth noting two things: First, that 450 parts per million is likely two high a target to keep temperature rise in check, so perhaps Birol should've added another doubling of efforts in there. Second, lest you think Birol is just being defeatist, he's also one of the first people at the IEA that began publicly coming out and talking about the reality of peak oil and that we haven't done enough to prepare for it.

More on Birol's comments: BBC News
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