This consensus document was prepared under the auspices of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
"The 2007 IPCC report, compiled by several hundred climate scientists, has unequivocally concluded that our climate is warming rapidly, and that we are now at least 90% certain that this is mostly due to human activities. The amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere now far exceeds the natural range of the past 650,000 years, and it is rising very quickly due to human activity.
If this trend is not halted soon, many millions of people will be at risk from extreme events such as heat waves, drought, floods and storms, our coasts and cities will be threatened by rising sea levels, and many ecosystems, plants and animal species will be in serious danger of extinction.
The next round of focused negotiations for a new global climate treaty (within the 1992 UNFCCC process) needs to begin in December 2007 and be completed by 2009. The prime goal of this new regime must be to limit global warming to no more than 2 ºC above the pre-industrial temperature, a limit that has already been formally adopted by the European Union and a number of other countries.
Based on current scientific understanding, this requires that global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by at least 50% below their 1990 levels by the year 2050.
In the long run, greenhouse gas concentrations need to be stabilised at a level well below 450 ppm (parts per million; measured in CO2-equivalent concentration).
In order to stay below 2 ºC, global emissions must peak and decline in the next 10 to 15 years, so there is no time to lose.
As scientists, we urge the negotiators to reach an agreement that takes these targets as a minimum requirement for a fair and effective global climate agreement."
You would think that this would make news over here, but it doesn't.
We are so fully transfixed on the next president, the next football game, the next paycheck, the next shooting spree, that we apparently cannot, or perhaps will not focus on the next decade or the next generation.
But in all fairness, the governments cannot tackle this alone. They cannot mandate reductions any more than a string can be pushed. Solving this crises will require many disciplines and many approaches.
For example, it is clear that not only must we stop putting carbon into the atmosphere right now, we must begin to reduce its presence in the atmosphere.
How do we do that?
The earth must grow a beard.
And then we must begin to shave this beard and put the hair in a box where it won't decompose for hundreds of years.
How do we do that?
We build with wood....lots of wood, log cabin like. We develop a biomass building block that resembles a concrete block that can be stacked. Then we cover it up from the elements with a glue like covering so it lasts for hundreds of years. Simultaneously, we must stop building with concrete altogether. (sorry Mexico). Perhaps we will need to even start making our roads out of newly captured carbon. (Something about the idea of a wood sidewalk appeals to me).
We must stop putting carbon in and must start mining the carbon out.
Or quite simply, the proverbial pooch will be screwed.
Bali Ha'i may call you,
Any night, any day,
In your heart, you'll hear it call you:
"Come away...Come away."
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Labels: climate change