A historic event took place on Earth Day 2016. It was a decisive moment for the planet. On Friday, April 22nd around 60 heads of state gathered at the United Nations in New York for the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement. 175 governments took the first step of signing onto the deal and according to the White House at least 34 countries, representing 49% of greenhouse gas emissions have formally ratified the Paris Agreement.
This is an excellent summary of the situation except that there was no mention of the potential role of feedbacks such as methane emissions from thawing permafrost driving up the temperature over time from perhaps 1-2C. The reality seems to be the likelihood of preventing catastrophic climate change at this point is very small if not close to zero. Trying to stay under 1.5C would have severe economic consequences which is why countries are not committed to that goal with regard to their pledges. It would be foolish not to expect to reach 4C eventually given the present situation and begin to make preparations to adapt in case it happens. The biggest challenge this century could be sea level rise if the higher predictions turn out to be correct. There are large cities in many areas of the world including the US that would be extremely vulnerable to sea level rise of 6 feet or more. It seems unlikely that climate change will wreck civilization this century but there seems little doubt that we are heading toward catastrophe.
Comprehensive article, and thank you for your passionate efforts aimed at preserving the world’s forests.
One item is missing, and that’s mention of Vandana Shiva’s initiative. It definitely speaks to the input of women and Indigenous persons in that Ms. Shiva represents the world’s million-plus peasant farmers. She’s explained the immense value of ingenious forms of carbon sequestration that utilize ancient, organic soil/planting practices.
This is an important adjunct to balancing the earth’s “fever” and reconstituting the Earth (the world’s soils), itself.
Here is an apropos link:
While global warming is a catastrophe, an ugly and unneeded one, and while we the genus homo may go extinct along with many others, it is most certainly not a death sentence for the planet. There will still be an ecology, still evolution and adaptation, hence speciation, and our era will be another footprint of bio-geological history. To use exaggeration like this does not help our cause. I have much respect for you, Ms Jagger, for your positions and for your work, but disseminating this nonsense is not helpful. Keep up the good work.
Yes. Hyperbole does not convey a good message.
I agree about the planet, it will just go on and eventually after many thousands of years probably return to pre-industrial status but there is no reason to believe humans will go extinct. The worst scenario is probably a population crash. But a large percentage of plants and animals could go extinct (actually this is occurring already for other reasons) and that is irreversible. Yes, eventually other species will evolve to fill ecologiical niches. So in the very long run this should not be a big deal. After all, extreme global warming has occurred several times in the past, and once rather quickly as is happening now. We have also had several ice ages and are now presumably in another interglacial period which is favorable to human life in much of the world. But of course what concerns us most is human time scales and particularly what happens during the lifetime of present human inhabitants and the closer to the present the more we are concerned.
Yes. While I am able to allow that Homo will disappear, I strongly doubt it. In the meantime, we are in deep shit- dipshits that we are.
Lost in the love fest that seems to have been the Paris COP are these bothersome little facts. This is not, I repeat, not a verifiable treaty. There are no hard enforceable parameters or sanctions regiments. At the end of the day, Paris is a gentlemens agreement. One that will be quickly abandoned during the next worldwide recession.