No 1406 Posted by fw, July 27, 2015
“Why have policymakers turned away from GHG amount to temperature as the metric with a value (2°C) seemingly pulled from a hat? Could it be because 2°C allows politicians to set emission targets to be achieved in the future when they will be out of office? If we stick to the Framework Convention’s GHG metric, we find that the CO2 stabilization level is not 450 ppm or 400 ppm, it is 350 ppm and possibly lower with immediate implications for policy.” —James Hansen
Incidentally, according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as of May 2015, the estimated monthly mean of CO2 in the atmosphere was 400.99 parts per million (ppm) (globally averaged over marine surface areas).
Although Hansen’s latest article sounds the alarm about catastrophic sea level rise, what captured my attention were his concluding three paragraphs explaining why, in the face of “an emergency that calls for global cooperation to reduce emissions as rapidly as practical”, politicians are using a flawed target of 2°C to track CO2 emissions.
To read the original article, click on the following linked title. Alternatively, below in an excerpt of the final three paragraphs explaining how duplicitous politicians play dice with our future.
It’s Time to Stop Waffling So Much and Say that the Evidence is Pretty Strong…Multi-meter Sea Level Rise is an Issue for Today’s Public, not Next Millennium’s
Here I expand on our conclusion that the science indicates 2°C is not a safe target. Indeed, 2°C is not only a wrong target, temperature is a flawed metric due to meltwater effect on temperature. Sea level, a critical metric for humanity, is at least on the same plane. Earth’s energy imbalance is a critical metric, because energy balance must be restored to stabilize climate, which thus informs us about the required limit on greenhouse gases (GHGs). The Framework Convention on Climate Change, agreed upon at Rio in 1992, defines GHGs as the critical metric, saying that GHGs must be stabilized at a level that avoids “dangerous anthropogenic interference” with climate. Why have policymakers turned away from GHG amount to temperature as the metric with a value (2°C) seemingly pulled from a hat? Could it be because 2°C allows politicians to set emission targets to be achieved in the future when they will be out of office? If we stick to the Framework Convention’s GHG metric, we find that the CO2 stabilization level is not 450 ppm or 400 ppm, it is 350 ppm and possibly lower with immediate implications for policy.
The bottom line message scientists should deliver to policymakers is that we have a global crisis, an emergency that calls for global cooperation to reduce emissions as rapidly as practical. We conclude elsewhere and reaffirm in our present paper that the crisis calls for an across-the-board rising carbon fee and international technical cooperation in carbon-free technologies.
Despite the increased threat of sea level rise, I believe that it is still possible to keep impacts of human-made climate change moderate. However, that optimism* is based on the assumption that we are close to the point when it is widely recognized that a policy with an across-the-board rising carbon fee** that rapidly phases down carbon emissions also makes good economic sense.
*Please recognize the distinction between optimism I describe and the new-found optimism of politicians and environmentalists who are euphoric about the small inroads that renewable energies have made into fossil fuel dominance and promises that countries are making to try to reduce emissions at future dates. Although such progress may be great news for people with investments in renewable energies, it is not basically different than the Kyoto Protocol approach and is far from recognition of the need for a fundamentally more effective approach.
**A rising carbon fee stimulates the economy, if 100% of the money is given to the public. It the money is given equally to all legal residents it is moderately progressive, with most wealthy people paying more in increased prices than they receive in the dividend. Note that cap-and-trade schemes do not constitute the required simple, honest across-the-board carbon fee. Beware the politician who uses the phrase “carbon price”! He may be planning to foist on you a cap-and-trade scheme that inevitably brings big banks into the matter and an uncountable number of lobbyists who will help define the details of the scheme.
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