Brit Liggett

COP17 DURBAN UPDATE: Current Pledges Will Cause a Global Temperature Change of 3.5° C

by , 12/06/11

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As the nearly 200 representatives gathered at COP17 hurdle towards the end of the talks, researchers have released yet another study that says they are just not doing enough. A report issued during the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban this week says that current goals set forth by government leaders will send the Earth towards a warming of 3.5° C in 2100. World leaders had previously agreed that they should limit the warming of the Earth to just 2° C, which would require world emissions to be cut by 2% each year until 2050. Now leaders are toying with the idea of putting off goals until 2015 or 2020, a move that the International Energy Agency has already noted will doom us all to a hefty bill should we want to fix things then. As the global leaders gathered in Durban dawdle and make little progress they are leading the human race right to a planet that’s about to become an oven.

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Even the ex-UN Climate Chief is blaming the world leaders for dragging their heels in the dirt on this subject. Yvo de Boer left his post 18 months ago because of frustration with the stalled progress. He told the Associated Press on Sunday, “I still have the same view of the process that led me to leave the process. I’m still deeply concerned about where it’s going, or rather where it’s not going, about the lack of progress.” The new report out this week was compiled in a joint effort of the German groups Ecofys, Climate Analytics and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research called the Climate Action Tracker, and right now it is laying out loud and clear all of the inaction that de Boer became frustrated with.

Currently at the climate talks, no group progress has been made. Many developed nations want a revamp of the Kyoto Protocol that was put in place in 1997 and is set to expire in 2012 — and if reinstated needs to be brought up to date with current technology and research. Others want simply to ratify it again as it is and some countries are hoping to skirt the Kyoto protocol in favor of setting their own goals. With the current nation-state pledges from the Cancun Agreements, we are headed toward worldwide emissions of 55 gigatonnes of CO2 in 2020, 11 gigatonnes above what researchers believe will keep us below a 2° C rise in temperatures. In addition to the pledges simply not being enough, they aren’t subject to international scrutiny or punishment. There is no way to enforce them.

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1 Comment

  1. GreatEmerald GreatEmerald December 7, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Also, from what I gather, 3.5 is not that bad, given that others project 4 degrees if nothing is done, and even 6 degrees if even more emissions are introduced. And then 1.8 degree increase is the most we could hope to achieve, even if everyone magically agrees to gradually stop emitting. But then again, projecting anything is difficult, as it is stated at Ecofys.

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