Thursday, May 29, 2008

'False optimism' climate warning

James Randerson in the Guardian (UK): Climate scientists have warned that a "false optimism" has infused international climate talks and that governments must work quickly to set tough targets for global carbon emissions or risk profound consequences for the planet.

In strong language, the scientists have urged politicians to deliver "stringent emissions cuts and major adaptation efforts" to minimise the damage the next generation will encounter. They argue that the world has lost 10 years talking about climate change when it should have been taking action. "A curious optimism ... pervades the political arenas of the G8 and UN climate meetings. This is false optimism, and it is obscuring reality," they write in Nature Reports Climate Change. The authors are part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but stress that in this paper they do not represent the panel.

The scientists say that even the most politically feasible target, of a 50% global reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050 from the levels of 1990, would still entail "major global impacts". They used new modelling data on the impact of differing long-term cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. "For the first time we can read off what damages are avoided or not avoided for different amounts of emissions cuts," said Professor Martin Parry….

A still from a silent movie of Pollyanna, Wikimedia Commons

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