The Climate Cliff

My Thursday column is pretty grim:

Credit where credit is due, Matt Yglesias coined the phrase “climate cliff” via Twitter the other day in reference to the now inevitable 2°C global temperature increase. I liked it so much I thought I’d borrow it for a while.

Why a cliff? On the other side of this 2°C threshold, designated by the EU in 1996 and reinforced this month at the climate conference in Doha, Qatar, are unspeakably disastrous consequences. The 2°C (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) breaking point indicates the total temperature increase from pre-industrial records. Since then, however, greenhouse gasses have already generated a 0.8°C hike. In other words, we’re nearly halfway there.

Worse yet, the CO2 we’re emitting right now will create another 0.7°C of additional inevitable warming. So we’re really just 0.5°C away from falling over the cliff. As recently as two years ago, scientists placed the cliff at the year 2100, but since then, it’s become clear that we’ll hit the cliff much sooner, by around 2052.

It gets worse. We might actually hit 4°C by 2100 — more than double the projections from just two years ago. [continue reading]

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  • Draxiar

    I heard this piece on NPR this morning and it points to what I’ve been saying about the change in attitude on climate change being generational.

    http://radioboston.wbur.org/2012/12/05/fossil-fuel-divestment

    Will this be enough? Hardly. But it’s another tree in the forest of change.

    I would love to see President Obama have a Kennedy “Moon Moment” in regards to Climate Change/Green Technology. Y’know, one where he basically says, “Green Technology. Number one, make it so!” and folks are all like, “Uh…okay, let’s get on that! America! RA RA!”

    Some people say I’m a dreamer…but I’m not the only one.