Here’s two headlines for you to ponder. On the state of the world:
IEA: World is hurtling toward irreversible climate change
The International Energy Agency has warned that the world is hurtling toward irreversible climate change and will lose the chance to limit warming if it doesn’t take bold action in the next five years.
In its annual World Energy Outlook, the agency spelled out the consequences if those steps aren’t taken and what needs to be done to cap global temperature increases at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels. That is the threshold beyond which some scientists have said catastrophic changes could be triggered.
But the agency’s chief economist, Fatih Birol, said this week that he is not optimistic that leaders are willing to make the necessary sacrifices. “We are going in the wrong direction in terms of climate change,” he said in an interview ahead of the report’s official release. He noted, for instance, that governments around the world have put increasing energy efficiency at the top of their to-do lists, but efficiency has worsened for two years in a row now. …
The report said that the current promises to reduce emissions, when taken together, will likely result in an increase of more than 3.5 degrees Celsius – and there isn’t any guarantee those commitments will even be carried out. Without them, the picture is bleaker: an increase of 6 degrees Celsius or more.
Birol said the world doesn’t lack the technology to tackle the problem – just the political will.
And on the kind of thinking that ensures our doom:
Government shifts to ETS go-slow
The government will slow the phasing in of the next stage of the emissions trading scheme (ETS).
Climate Change Issues Minister Nick Smith said New Zealand needed to carefully balance the impact of the scheme’s costs on businesses and households in difficult economic times.
The scheme currently steps up on January 1, 2013 to a full obligation for the transport, electricity and industrial sectors, Dr Smith said.
It was the government’s intention to now phase this in through three equal steps on January 1, 2013, January 1, 2014 and January 1, 2015 as recommended by the ETS Review Panel, he said. “This approach slows the cost impacts on households and businesses but continues the progress needed to drive investment in renewable energy, clean technologies and forestry.” … It was not in New Zealand’s interest to include agricultural emissions in the ETS yet, he said. …
The Nats are chickening out on the ETS – as we all knew they would. In the mean time global greenhouse gas emissions are already above the worst case scenario of the IPCC, and there’s no sign of the political will to end the madness anywhere. Buckle up.