Climate scientists underwhelmed by Copenhagen Accord

Dec 20, 2009 by Marlowe Hood
An aerial view of buildings standing out amid haze engulfing Wuhan, central China's Hubei province on December 3. Top climate scientists have said the eleventh-hour political deal hammered out at UN talks in Copenhagen falls perilously short of what is needed to stave off catastrophic global warming.

Top climate scientists said Saturday that the eleventh-hour political deal hammered out at UN talks in Copenhagen falls perilously short of what is needed to stave off catastrophic global warming.

What many had hoped would be a planet-saving treaty locking major economies into strong commitments to shrink their carbon footprints came out as a three-page political accord with key numbers yet to be filled in.

"The easiest yardstick to evaluate is the two degree target," said Andrew Watson, a professor at the University of East Anglia in Britain.

"This agreement will almost certainly not be sufficient to enable that target to be met -- legally-binding tough limits in place over the next few years would be needed for that," he told AFP by email.

The Nobel-winning UN science panel warned in a benchmark 2007 report that if average temperatures increase by more than 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) on pre-industrial levels, it could lead to runaway climate change and severe impact.

We have already travelled 0.7 C along that path.

More recent studies suggest the planet could hot up by a devastating 6.0 C (10.8 F), and that sea levels could rise by more than a metre (3.25 feet) by 2100 unless we slash CO2 concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere.

Such a hothouse scenario would create hundreds of millions of environmental refugees.

"Strictly speaking, it is a disappointment. We expected more," French climate scientist Herve Le Treut said of the new accord.

"What we have seen is the diverging interests of nation states and the planet."

Part of the problem is that most of the key mitigation targets have yet to be finalised.

"There is not much here to analyse. The accord doesn't have specific emissions targets for industrial countries, it doesn't have deviation from 'business as usual' goals for developing countries," said Alden Meyer of the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists.

"If you look at what is likely going to be listed in the annexes, you are going to be well over a 3.0 C," he told AFP. "The accord also fails to set a target for 'peak year' for global CO2 emissions, ideally around 2015.

"It is very critical that you get a peak and a decline starting soon," he added.

UN climate chief Yvo de Boer made much the same point in closing out the 13-day marathon meeting: "The opportunity to actually make it into the scientific window of opportunity is getting smaller and smaller."

The deal does contain a few silver linings, the scientists said.

"At least it may signal that there is some willingness to take action, so that we might have a hope of limiting the rise to 3.0 C - 4.0 C, and avoid the really unknown territory that lies beyond that," Watson said.

Le Treut agreed.

"It is too early to say it is a failure," he told AFP. "The scientific community had set the bar very high: halving global CO2 emissions by mid-century will be very tough."

That goal, embraced by rich nations, was dropped from early drafts of the accord due to objections from China and India, the world's number one and number three carbon emitters.

"From the evidence of the last two weeks, I would say we have a heck of a long way still to go if, as a species, we are to avoid the fate that usually afflicts populations that outgrow their resources," said Watson.

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antialias
3.4 / 5 (8) Dec 20, 2009
from China and India, the world's number one and number three carbon emitters.


One should note that this is a "TOTAL quantity of carbon emitted". China and India have a lot more people than anyone else. Number one and two carbon emitters PER PERSON are the United States and Europe - this is the relevant measure. So before we start to have a grudge about carbon emissions against China and India we should try to straighten up our own acts.

it's pretty hypocritical to ask others to do something we are not prepared to do ourselves (even if we were to cut down on carbon emissions to the full extent of the Kyoto Protocol we'll STILL be emitting more per person than they currently do.)
marjon
3.5 / 5 (11) Dec 20, 2009
The Nobel-winning UN science panel

Given the recent award of a Nobel peace prize to someone who has admittedly done little or nothing to earn such a prize, making a such a statement about the IPCC does little to inspire confidence.
frajo
2.7 / 5 (9) Dec 20, 2009
One should note that this is a "TOTAL quantity of carbon emitted". China and India have a lot more people than anyone else. Number one and two carbon emitters PER PERSON are the United States and Europe - this is the relevant measure.
There is another measure which is - at least - equally relevant: the emissions per person integrated over the last two centuries.
The dominant minorities who in the past have had their pleasure exploiting the rest of the planet now ought to pay the bill.
frajo
2.6 / 5 (5) Dec 20, 2009
Given the recent award of a Nobel peace prize to someone who has admittedly done little or nothing to earn such a prize
I wouldn't use the word "recent" as it happened 36 years ago.
marjon
3.4 / 5 (10) Dec 20, 2009
Given the recent award of a Nobel peace prize to someone who has admittedly done little or nothing to earn such a prize
I wouldn't use the word "recent" as it happened 36 years ago.

Obama "my accomplishments are slight" was awarded the prize this year.
As for the 'dominant' minorities, how many of the 'oppressed majority' would prefer a return to the lifestyles of 200 years ago? They have enjoyed none of the advances produced by the 'dominant minority'?
Why have so many of the 'oppressed majority' sought to join the 'dominant minority' by emigrating?
Doug_Huffman
2.7 / 5 (7) Dec 20, 2009
Ah ha! Integrating timewise, finally we're getting somewhere! Another concept that will underscore the folly of green-ness is integrating industry-wise. It is folly to commit the pollution of another layer of infrastructure to build green-cars. God damn the Obamination.
Ronan
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 20, 2009
The planet's apathetic; it couldn't care less where CO2, N2O, and CH4 are coming from, or who's to blame for their release. Once it's in the atmosphere, regardless of source it'll all have the same effect.

And Doug Huffman...I don't quite follow? I mean, yes, it'd be resource intensive to put the infrastructure for a non-fossil-fuel based economy (or, for that matter, even transportation system) in place, but once it's set up the costs'll likely be comparable to those currently required to keep our fossil-fuel infrastructure up and running. We just need to make that initial investment; can't accumulate if you don't speculate.
croghan26
1 / 5 (2) Dec 21, 2009
The Nobel-winning UN science panel

Given the recent award of a Nobel peace prize to someone who has admittedly done little or nothing to earn such a prize, making a such a statement about the IPCC does little to inspire confidence.


I can not be described as an overwhelming fan of Obama - but about his Peace Prize .... remember that Nelson Mandela still lived in a very apartheid S. Africa when he gained his Nobel. It did not end until the next year. Give Obama (and the Nobel committee) a break.
marjon
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 21, 2009

I can not be described as an overwhelming fan of Obama - but about his Peace Prize .... remember that Nelson Mandela still lived in a very apartheid S. Africa when he gained his Nobel. It did not end until the next year. Give Obama (and the Nobel committee) a break.

Why? Mandela at least irritated the government enough to put him in jail for 'life'.
Obama had only held office for a few days before the nominations ended. What had he done except write books and be elected president?
deatopmg
Dec 21, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
VeIanarris
3 / 5 (4) Dec 23, 2009

Obama had only held office for a few days before the nominations ended. What had he done except write books and be elected president?

The only answer is that he must be the Anti-Christ. 6x6x6 is 216, and Obama was born on August 4th, the 216nth day of the year (1961, the year that is the same backwards)....It's in Revelations people!
Phelankell
1 / 5 (1) Dec 23, 2009
I can not be described as an overwhelming fan of Obama - but about his Peace Prize .... remember that Nelson Mandela still lived in a very apartheid S. Africa when he gained his Nobel. It did not end until the next year. Give Obama (and the Nobel committee) a break.

Nelson Mandela didn't win the award then continue to commit troops in the tens of thousands. Aside from being black, there is no parallel between the two.

As an aside here, if 50% of the warming is natural(IPCC AR4), and we're climbing at a rate of 0.7 degrees per decade(pick a source, any source) that would mean we're already screwed and are going to die if the predictions and statements of AGW theory are accurate.

CO2 is stated to have an atmospheric halflife of 600 years.

CO2 that's in the atmosphere now will already warm us up past 2 degrees, even if we shut down everything that produced CO2 and all committed suicide, there would be 3 decades to go, rather than 2. Or there's more to the story.
bluehigh
2 / 5 (4) Dec 26, 2009
If Andrew Watson or anyone from the University of East Anglia tells me it is raining outside, I would have to go see for myself.

How can a totally discredited institution still be referenced for comment? and by email of all things!

Close the UEA school of Environmental Science down and please Mr Watson return your PHD and get a haircut you hippy freak. Then go shave a whale with your commie pals and let scientists with integrity do research.

You Watson and your comrades have brought science into disrepute and are nothing but a disgrace.

Better go take my medication?
prattner
5 / 5 (2) Dec 26, 2009
bluehigh:

No, you don't need medication because it is normal to get bent out of shape when fed a pack of lies. These climate "scientists" were caught red-handed fabricated data. There seems to be little shame, and they are just can't understand why the nations of the world were unwilling to turn over their sovereignty and wealth to the UN based on the claims of alarmists like Andrew Watson.

Copenhagen failed because everyone finally saw the Emperor naked. And not a moment too soon!
operator
1 / 5 (2) Dec 27, 2009
comments from the likes of bluehigh an prattner do seem to illustrate the generally poor level of science education in the states, where ID is accepted in schools, where climate scientists like jim hansen are giving armed escort in texas because of death threats, where anti-abortionists murder in the name of a christian life loving god. i so glad i live in a secular country with a semi decent level of state education for young people. the rift between the hysterical noise about east anglias CRU from the states shows the rift between US rightwing religious nutjobs an the tolerent attitude of the rest of the planet.
bluehigh and prattner, yeah just carry on isolating yourselves, watch as your position is so at odds with the rest of the people on this planet.
Phelankell
5 / 5 (1) Dec 28, 2009
shows the rift between US rightwing religious nutjobs an the tolerent attitude of the rest of the planet.


Sorry, idiot doesn't follow a political party line, nor does it follow religious institutional lines.

Dubious research is dubious research. While the CRU issue doesn't show all of AGW science to be wrong, it does expose that the majority of the data on which the initial premise is based was manipulated.

And the US is a secular nation. England has its own state sponsored church.
peteone1
1 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2010
New evidence that AGW is full of, shall we say..."hot air" :-)

ice warning as temperatures hit NEW winter low of -almost as cold as the South Pole.
http://www.telegr....2C.html
peteone1
1 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2010
((climate scientists like jim hansen are giving armed escort in texas because of death threats))
Death threats should never be part of a passionate debate, but I hardly think that issuing an opinion that Hansen should “get the death penalty” qualifies as a death threat. And since you mention “death threats” it might interest you to know that secular Leftists are very good at issuing death threats at those of us whom they vehemently disagree with.

http://www.telegr...ial.html
peteone1
1 / 5 (1) Jan 08, 2010
((climate scientists like jim hansen are giving armed escort in texas because of death threats))
Death threats should never be part of a debate, but I hardly think that issuing an opinion that Hansen should "get the death penalty" opinion that Hansen should "get the death penalty" qualifies as a death threat. And since you mention "death threats" it might interest you to know that secular leftwing loons are very good at issuing death threats at those of us whom they disagree with...

http://www.telegr...ial.html