The World in a Wheelchair

An interesting, scary &, I believe, accurate article by Eric Holthaus on where we are at concerning global warming was just published by Quartz. Below, the opening paragraphs & the graph:

So it’s come to this.

Last year, a researcher presented a paper on climate change at the American Geophysical Union’s meeting entitled ”Is Earth F**ked?” which advocated “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups.”

Last month, the Philippines climate commissioner and self-styled revolu-tionary Naderev “Yeb” Saño held a 13-day fast in the midst of an international climate summit, just hours after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged his home country. In a tearful speech quoting Gandhi, he said: “We cannot sit and stay helpless staring at this international climate stalemate. It is now time to take action. We need an emergency climate pathway.”

And only last week, a conference of climate scientists in London explored the themeof “radical emissions reduction” after noting that “nothing that we’ve said or done to date about climate change has made any detectable dip whatsoever”. Via a weblink, author Naomi Klein compared the fight against climate change with the struggle against South African apartheid, and said, “an agenda capable of delivering radical emissions reductions will only advance if accompanied by a radical movement.”

Fed up with slow (or in some cases, backwards) progress on climate change, environmental advocates are mulling desperate measures. Emerging at the head of this pack is arguably the world’s most prominent climate scientist: James Hansen, a former NASA researcher turned activist.

In a provocative study published earlier this month, Hansen and a group of colleagues make the case for why radical action is needed. The now commonly embraced international target of keeping global warming at a maximum of 2°C above pre-industrial levels—a hard-won, but politically negotiated goal—is actually much too high, Hansen says, and we should instead aim for 1°C. That would be barely a blip higher than current levels of global warming (around 0.8°C), but still the highest level ever experienced over the 10,000-year course of human civilization. ”Our objective is to define what the science indicates is needed, not to assess political feasibility,” the paper says. [… ctd here]

The article’s graphics are worth meditating on too:

Environmentalists have dubbed this acceleration of warming “the wheelchair curve“:


Because the world is going to end up in a wheelchair if this happens. Jos Hagelaars/Max Edkins/World Bank


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1 Response

  1. Poo says:

    Oh please, not Naomi Klein, member of Canada’s first family of Socialists and Government largesse. Her expertise derives solely from crashing parties, telling other countries what to do and looking after herself on other people’s money. Of course she wants a “radical” change. How else will she get her grubby little paws on all the extra loot? It costs money to dress well and be trendy. And Hansen, oh double please. He admits temperatures have been flat for at least a decade but hell, let’s panic anyway.
    I am staggered to learn that the world still experiences hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, volcanos, tsunamis and assorted other unpleasantries like rain. And the hurricane season is about to hit the Atlantic for the first time in history. Egads! Are we still building close to the water and below sea level? Good to know.
    Up here in the Frozen North, we are experiencing the first ever, and horribly extreme, winter snowfall accompanied by, never before seen freezing rain! Oh the humanity, oh the horror! We’ll all die. And guess what, it may get worse, maybe, if, well possibly. We desperately await the next tax payer funded computer model. Best the group think up a scientific sounding new name and move some of the members about. That works best for fund raising purposes.
    We live for the day things will heat up and our Northwest Passage will once again open only for the 6th time, approximately. It could be more. Who really knows, Klein, Hansen, yet another computer model? Ho ho ho! How appropriately seasonal.

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