Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cancun and climate change

So it is November 2010 and we see another example of "we don't know what to do so let's have a convention" on the very serious topic of climate change.  This time the ultra-concerned are flying to the lovely resort of Cancun Mexico.

Don't get me wrong, I have been convinced by the science of global warming since 1988.  It, and it's sister problem Peak Oil, are easily the two most serious problems facing humanity.  But the idea that some folks with laptops, powerpoint presentations, and an ocean view are going to somehow address these problems is literally beyond insane.

Why do we know this to be true?  Well, look at Ireland.  Let us assume that they have a comprehensive plan to reduce their carbon footprint by 90% and erect a new infrastructure powered by renewables.  Let us also assume this plan will cost roughly 100 billion Euros.  Oops!  That money has just been spent bailing out crooked banks.

Now some of the folks who show up these conventions are hawking the hardware necessary for building the new green society.  They have distilled good ideas into new ways to keep humanity's technological umbilical cord working.  But most attendees are examples of modern clergy who feel it is their duty to hector others into leading a better life.  This larger second grouping is functionally useless but they could at least help re-organize societies so we could pay for the new world we so desperately need to build.

If the Cancun meetings put the need for banking and monetary reforms at the center of their agendas, we could hope they have gotten serious.  Otherwise, we can only hope they get a sweet tan.

First we get the news that the climate is deteriorating even more quickly than predicted.
World is warming quicker than thought in past decade, says Met Office
Report comes as scientists predict 2010 could be hottest year on record
Damian Carrington
The Guardian, Friday 26 November 2010
The Arctic is warming faster than at lower latitudes. 
The world warmed more rapidly than previously thought over the past decade, according to a Met Office report published today, which finds the evidence for man-made climate change has grown even stronger over the last year.
The report comes ahead of the first major UN climate negotiations since the Copenhagen summit last December, which begin on Monday in Cancún, Mexico, and as scientists predict that 2010 could be the hottest year on record.
The Met Office report includes a new study which shows that sea surface temperatures were higher than initially thought because of a change in the way the temperatures were measured after 2000. The new analysis significantly increases the warming scientists think was seen globally over the past decade. more
Of course, these conferences are famous for proposing ideas like rationing. Now it is true that as a part of major industrial redesign, rationing could be an important element.  But by itself, rationing looks like just some more pain for people who barely can see a way to survive this winter.  Instead of proposing rationing to a conference of well-fed bureaucrats at a tropical resort, perhaps these geniuses would like to explain their ideas to the folks protesting in the streets of Dublin.
Cancun climate change summit: scientists call for rationing in developed world
Global warming is now such a serious threat to mankind that climate change experts are calling for Second World War-style rationing in rich countries to bring down carbon emissions.
'The Second World War and the concept of rationing is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale of the problem we face' 
By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent 7:30AM GMT 29 Nov 2010
In a series of papers published by the Royal Society, physicists and chemists from some of world’s most respected scientific institutions, including Oxford University and the Met Office, agreed that current plans to tackle global warming are not enough.
Unless emissions are reduced dramatically in the next ten years the world is set to see temperatures rise by more than 4C (7.2F) by as early as the 2060s, causing floods, droughts and mass migration.
As the world meets in Cancun, Mexico for the latest round of United Nations talks on climate change, the influential academics called for much tougher measures to cut carbon emissions.
In one paper Professor Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the only way to reduce global emissions enough, while allowing the poor nations to continue to grow, is to halt economic growth in the rich world over the next twenty years.
This would mean a drastic change in lifestyles for many people in countries like Britain as everyone will have to buy less ‘carbon intensive’ goods and services such as long haul flights and fuel hungry cars. more

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