Scientists: World likely won't avoid dangerous warming mark

Scientists: World likely won't avoid dangerous warming mark
In this Dec. 12, 2015, file photo, French President Francois Hollande, right, French Foreign Minister and president of the COP21 Laurent Fabius, second right, United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres, left, and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hold their hands up in celebration after the final conference at the COP21, the United Nations conference on climate change, in Le Bourget, north of Paris. A team of top scientists are telling world leaders to stop congratulating themselves for a Paris agreement to fight climate change because if more isn't done the world will likely hit the agreed-upon dangerous warming level in about 35 years. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

A team of top scientists is telling world leaders to stop congratulating themselves on the Paris agreement to fight climate change because if more isn't done, global temperatures will likely hit dangerous warming levels in about 35 years.

Six scientists who were leaders in past international climate conferences joined with the Universal Ecological Fund in Argentina to release a brief report Thursday, saying that if even more cuts in heat-trapping gases aren't agreed upon soon, the world will warm by another 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) by around 2050.

That 1.8 degree mark is key because in 2009 world leaders agreed that they wanted to avoid warming of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Temperatures have already risen about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), so that 2 degree goal is really about preventing a rise of another degree going forward.

Examining the carbon pollution cuts and curbs promised by 190 nations in an agreement made in Paris last December, the scientists said it's simply not enough.

"The pledges are not going to get even close," said report lead author Sir Robert Watson, a University of East Anglia professor and former World Bank chief scientist who used to be chairman of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "If you governments of the world are really serious, you're going to have to do way, way more."

If carbon pollution continues with just the emission cuts pledged in Paris, Earth will likely hit the danger mark by 2050, Watson and colleagues calculated, echoing what other researchers have found. They said with just a few more cuts, the danger level might be delayed by 20 years,

In Paris, the countries also added a secondary tougher goal of limiting warming to just another 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (half a degree Celsius) as an aspiration.

There "is no hope of us stabilizing" at that temperature because the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere already commits the world to hitting that mark, Watson said.

Watson said a few weeks ago he was in Washington at an event with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and former Vice President Al Gore celebrating the accord as a victory.

"It struck me that this was naive," Watson said. "This is a real major challenge to stay even close to 2 degrees Celsius."

That 2-degree danger mark is on a continuum with harmful effects already being felt now at lower warming levels, Watson said. But he added: "As you go more and more above 2, the negative effects become more and more pronounced, more and more severe."

The report wasn't published in a scientific journal. Six outside scientists looked at for The Associated Press and said the science behind it was sound and so were the conclusions.

"It is a good summary of what is common knowledge in the climate expert community but not widely appreciated by members of the public and even policy makers," said Stefan Rahmstorf, head of Earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute in Germany. "So indeed it is a useful reminder notice to the world about what is at stake."

On Tuesday, scientists at Climate Interactive In Asheville, North Carolina, who weren't part of the report ran a computer simulation using pledges from the Paris agreement and found that dangerous mark arrives around 2051, said group co-director Drew Jones.


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Sep 29, 2016
Like humanity could stop combusting fossils. Even if that happened, most agribusiness methane would need to stop as well. Fat chance.

Sep 29, 2016
The solution is to continue making non-fossil energy cheaper, until coal and oil cost more than wind, solar, biofuels, etc. When green energy is cheaper than fossil fuels the world will quickly abandon fossil fuels, voluntarily.

Scientific progress in Green Energy has been amazing over the past decade. Every week there are several developments, and it is a joy to read about them in Physorg. If we can continue at this rate I'm optimistic that the worst can be avoided.

Sep 29, 2016
The solution is to continue making non-fossil energy cheaper, until coal and oil cost more than wind, solar, biofuels, etc. When green energy is cheaper than fossil fuels the world will quickly abandon fossil fuels, voluntarily.

Scientific progress in Green Energy has been amazing over the past decade. Every week there are several developments, and it is a joy to read about them in Physorg. If we can continue at this rate I'm optimistic that the worst can be avoided.


The problem with that is that the mining and energy industries are so powerful in certain economies that they have warped the economic systems of those countries. Fossil fuels are massively subsidised and are only cheaper in comparison to renewables because of that. Until governments have the balls to restructure their economies to move those subsidies to renewables instead of fossil fuels then nothing will change. And we are really screwed.

Sep 30, 2016
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Sep 30, 2016
I love the way you use the ONLY example of renewable energy sources that could fit this category and neglect to point out that biofuels are a) very specific and b) not promoted as a sustainable ongoing source of electricity at all. But hey, apart from that, good point!

Sep 30, 2016
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Sep 30, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Sep 30, 2016
Even this article doesn't capture how serious the situation is.
(A) Even our current level of warming is unsafe. Too many islands will be drowned; ditto coastal city's and agricultural production impact, ice pack melts, extremes of weather, ocean acidification and consequent impact on food chain and coral reefs, not to mention tipping points such as methane release from Tundra's, and
(B) There is already an additional 0.5-1.0 C rise locked in from the lose of aerosols as soon as we do manage to stop using fossil fuels. These particulates, much of them from coal burning, are actually having a shielding effect. This will disappear very rapidly as we stop replenishing them!

Oct 01, 2016
Dangerous! Hmmmm. I guess Climate Change is a new development and there wasn't danger before.

Oct 02, 2016
optical
when the share of fossil fuel sources remains unchanged for 25 years?
Do you think things cannot change? Read the World Energy Outlook 2015 for some interesting analysis (that is probably absurdly conservative). We have never lived in a world with viable alternatives to fossil fuels. iea projects that oil prices will head up - and of course renewables are heading down. We have never lived in a world in which the life time cost of an electric car - is at parity with a gasoline car - and the costs are going to keep coming down. Hold on to your hat!
-- onion retard
The onion jackass brays. This from the jackass who boasted about his recent 1200 mile jaunt in which he emitted over a tenth of the US annual average CO2, in just 2 days. Yep, this jackass is going to save the world.
Hold on to your hat!

Oct 02, 2016
The picture seems to represent some sort of religious service. Oh, it is.

Oct 02, 2016
Did orti come to his conclusions with reason or emotion? Since the science is both strong and consistent, it cannot be rationality.

Why do the ignorati impede science? Fear? Scared of things they do not understand?

Oct 03, 2016
I wonder how fast we can realize a change with a global effort. How about introducing a 1 day halt in global production per week or make every person on earth grow a plant that is highly efficient in storing CO2, or have everyone on earth put out a mirror (shiney object) directed to the sky, or all of these things and others combined!

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