Last month two climate change articles caught my eye. The first was that the 2010 growth in carbon output was beyond the worst case estimates of the IPCC (in spite of the recession). Sadly this isn’t unexpected. The IPCC has consistently underestimated the severity of the problem we are facing. And it had happened again.
The second story was more frightening. The International Energy Agency pointed out that if we continued building high-carbon infrastructure at the rate we are going then by 2017 the expected carbon output of that infrastructure over its lifetime will force a temperature rise of more that 2°C. So if we don’t do something major in the next 5 years then we will have lost any chance of retaining our ecosystem.
And COP 17 at Durban has agreed to — nothing before 2020.
They agreed that in 2015 we’d have a legally binding treaty. But we’ve been here before. In Bali in 2007 (COP13) the world agreed that they’d have a legally binding treaty in 2009 (Copenhagen, COP15). It didn’t work then.
Politicians are used to compromise. Science doesn’t. You can’t argue with gravity and make a ball drop more slowly. Our leaders don’t seem to grasp that.
The argument over whether a future treaty should be “legally binding”, a “legal outcome” or “an agreed outcome with legal force” is silly. We need massive reductions in emissions. Now.