Written By: - Date published: 8:53 am, November 28th, 2012 - 110 comments
Categories: climate change, disaster, john key, leadership, national - Tags: doha climate talks, turn down the heat, world bank
Earlier this month yet another report on the looming catastrophe of climate change was published. What was particularly notable about this one was that is was from the World Bank (not exactly a hotbed of lefties or environmentalists). The report is called “Turn Down The Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided” (home page, full pdf, press release). From the press release:
Turn Down the Heat, a snapshot of the latest climate science prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Climate Analytics, says that the world is on a path to a 4 degree Celsius (4°C) warmer world by end of this century and current greenhouse gas emissions pledges will not reduce this by much.
“A 4 degree warmer world can, and must be, avoided – we need to hold warming below 2 degrees,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today. Climate change is one of the single biggest challenges facing development, and we need to assume the moral responsibility to take action on behalf of future generations, especially the poorest.”
The report says that the 4°C scenarios are potentially devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher under and malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased intensity of tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.
“The Earth system’s responses to climate change appear to be non-linear,” points out PIK Director, John Schellnhuber. “If we venture far beyond the 2 degrees guardrail, towards the 4 degrees line, the risk of crossing tipping points rises sharply. The only way to avoid this is to break the business-as-usual pattern of production and consumption.”
The report notes, however, that a 4°C world is not inevitable and that with sustained policy action warming can still be held below 2°C, which is the goal adopted by the international community and one that already brings some serious damages and risks to the environment and human populations.
“The world must tackle the problem of climate change more aggressively,” Kim said.“Greater adaptation and mitigation efforts are essential and solutions exist. We need a global response equal to the scale of the climate problem, a response that puts us on a new path of climate smart development and shared prosperity. But time is very short.”
It is in this context that that the latest range of climate talks, at Doha, are taking place. Yet another vital opportunity where the “leaders” of the world will promise to do too little, too late, and then not live up to their promises. But even in this depressing company, New Zealand stands out as a worst example, as NRT reports:
The First Place Fossil is awarded to USA, Canada, Russia, Japan and New Zealand for running away from a legally binding, multilateral rules based regime…
The Second Place Fossil is awarded to New Zealand. Unlike its neighbor to the west, New Zealand decided not to put its target into the second commitment period, citing spurious grounds when the reality is that it is just a massive display of irresponsibility. It’s island partners in the Pacific should think again before ever trusting NZ again.
First-equal and second. Heckuva job you’re doing there, National. Way to go with upholding our international reputation and our “100% pure” branding.
With its head deep in the rapidly warming sands, John Key and the National government have been rolling back climate change measures. We are not even “fast followers”, we are stand-out obstacles to progress, and subject to international ridicule. On climate change they have made me ashamed to be a New Zealander. They shame us all as a nation.