Thursday, April 19, 2007

Not So Good News...

As if it wasn't bad enough that we are on the precipice of the first hill of the biggest climate roller coaster in mankind's history, comes this story:
OSLO (Reuters) - The world will have to axe greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, more deeply than planned, to have an even chance of curbing global warming in line with European Union goals, researchers said on Thursday.

Even tough long-term curbs foreseen by the EU or California fall short of reductions needed to avert a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) temperature rise over pre-industrial times, seen by the EU as a threshold for "dangerous change", they said.

"If we are to have a 50 percent chance of meeting a 2 Celsius target we would have to cut global emissions by 80 percent by 2050," Nathan Rive of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo told Reuters.

"Any delay in implementing emissions reductions will make a 2 degree target practically unreachable," he and colleague Steffen Kallbekken wrote of findings to be published in the journal Climatic Change.

That's a fairly large percentage, you might agree. Now, there is certainly an alarmist theme, to be honest: 40 or 50% might be enough to slow things down enough that we could conceivably correct things to mitigate the damage.

But an 80% cut in carbon emissions is a hard goal to achieve, to be sure:
An 80 percent global cut would mean rich nations, responsible for most heat-trapping emissions from fossil fuels burnt by power plants, factories and cars, would have to axe emissions by about 95 percent below 2000 levels by 2050.
Meaning, no more combustion engines. No more coal fired power plants. No more....well, you name it. You're talking about a complete change in the economy of the world. And political implications that would boggle the mind: wars with China and India and other developing nations. Periodic famines and pandemics.

Truly, an apocalypse. Energy is more than a way to heat your home: it's the lifeblood of the planet.