If our world leaders cannot cooperate enough to stop dangerous climate change in the scant time we have left…..how do they expect to be able to cooperate enough to adapt to the kind of world they’re committing to with their inaction?
–Kate from climatesight.org
Copenhagen was not about climate IMO, it was about money. The developing nations were demanding money without any plans on how they would even be able to spend it on ‘green’ initiatives.
China and India won’t commit to any real actions to minimize their carbon outputs and China in particular won’t even allow any verification of their pollution. Plus, the US Senate won’t pass anything stronger than they already have (or have not yet since the bill has not passed yet).
Ultimately, people will adjust incrementally to a warmer world though if it ends up happening. I don’t see much co-operation being necessary there.
I am not sure how one can say that Copenhagen was not about climate change, but about money. The fact that money was talked about, and the fact that not all of those asking for money have plans to spend it wisely, doesn’t mean the climate wasn’t the issue.
Money will change hands, in virtually any international climate policy that emerges, but that doesn’t mean the main goal isn’t preventing AGW.
The fact is that the lions share of the problem was caused by developed nations. GHG’s have a long half-life in the atmosphere (some longer than others) and developed nations have been emitting more, for a longer period of time. The responsibility for the problem skews further towards developed nations when one considers per-capita emissions.
The fact that China recently became the wolds biggest emitter doesn’t change any of this.
Developing nations will also be hit hardest by climate change, and have the least capacity of adapt.
Given all of this, it seems quite fair that some money from the developed world go to the developing world.
As for China and India, they have both (though China more than India) come a long way in the past year. No they haven’t done enough, but then neither have we, or the US, but they are moving the the right direction. China is particular seems to realize the threat that global warming poses to it fresh water supply from Himalayan glaciers.
As for emissions monitoring, China did agree to having its emissions monitored in principle (again something that would have been impossible a year ago), though the details of such a plan have yet to be released, so one cannot comment on the effectiveness of this. Still it is a step forward.
If we fail in curbing GHG emissions then adaptation and Geo-engeneering are are only options. Both are poor alternatives to mitigation.
Geo-engineering is fraught with risk, and as of yet doesn’t even begin to address Ocean acidification, which is a massive problem.
Adaptation, is possible in developed countries (and Canada will do better than most), but it will be difficult, and it will result in conflicts. Ultimately it will prove far more costly than even the most ambitious mitigation polices.
The problem is that what we would need to adapt to is quite out of the ordinary. Putting it as you do “adjust incrementally to a warmer world” doesn’t do the problem justice. In fact lost of research done sine the IPCC AR7 in 2007 shows that things may not change that incrementally. If we hit some tipping points (ie the methane frozen in the permafrost) GHG concentrations may rise dramatically in a very short order, which may push us past other tipping points.
Add to that the increase melting from the 3 major ice sheets (east-Antarctica, long thought to be stable, was recently shown to be melting) and we may get sea level rise that is far higher than the IPCC predictions (which excluded contributions from ice sheets).
It is difficult to comprehend the scale of the changes.
Wow sorry for the long response, the bottom line for me is that given the scale of the problem, we shouldn’t give up just because the solution is difficult to achieve.
I cannot subscribe to that kind of defeatism.