IPCC recommends 'massive shift' to green energy to avoid catastrophe
What's even more dubious than claims of catastrophic warming? Claims that scientists know what to do about it.
A rapid shift to less-polluting energy will be needed to avoid catastrophic global warming because global emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases have accelerated to unprecedented levels, the United Nations reports today.
These emissions — largely from the burning of oil, gas and coal — grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in any of the three previous decades and will need to be slashed 40% to 70% by mid-century and almost entirely by century's end to keep global temperatures from spiraling out of control, according to a landmark report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Even those emissions cuts might not be enough. The IPCC report, striking a particularly urgent one, says countries might even need to enlist controversial technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
"There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual," said Germany's Ottmar Edenhofer of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who co-chaired the IPCC report, the third in a series released in the past year. The Working Group III report, written by 235 scientists from 57 countries, looks at myriad ways to fight climate change and serves as a potential road map for policymakers who plan to negotiate a new climate treaty next year in Paris.
"If we do nothing, temperatures will continue to rise," co-author Leon Clarke, a scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, said from Berlin after wrapping up a week of discussions there to finalize the report's wording. "It's not necessarily a phaseout of fossil fuels," he said, but rather "a phaseout" of power plants and other facilities that don't capture the carbon they emit.
Holding emission increases to 3.6 degree Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) — a level sought in international agreements — will require "heroic efforts" and a "massive" shift in the energy sector, says another U.S. co-author, David Victor, professor of international relations at the University of California, San Diego. "It's doable in theory ... but it will be extremely difficult."
Despite global efforts to mitigate climate change, the report says global greenhouse gas emissions rose 2.2% annually in the past decade — nearly twice the annual rate of 1.3% from 1970 to 2000. It says fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes, which rose as the global population and economy grew, accounted for 78% of the emissions' increase between 1970 and 2010. It says about half of cumulative man-made carbon emissions since 1750 has occurred in the last 40 years.
How do we know that switching to green energy will save the planet? 'Cause the scientists say so, that's how. There is no experiment, no mathematical calculation, no instrument measurements, and no scientific process that can possibly prove that, 1) it isn't too late already to save mankind and we're doomed to perish because the earth will warm catastrophically; and 2) Anything recomended by the IPCC to stave off global warming will work.
Before we go ahead and massively alter society, don't you think it would be a good idea to have some proof that these alterations might actually do some good? Oh sure, we've got models that show a slowing of warming if we adopt the IPCC recommendations. But their models on everything from CO2 levels being a predictor of warming to CO2 levels in the ocean have been wildly wrong and don't exactly inspire confidence that anything they say shouldn't be taken with a grain of salt.
Carbon trading, banning coal fired electric plants, curtailing industrial activity - none of these "solutions" to global warming have shown much promise in reducing CO2 levels - but they sure make a lot of people rich who are pushing catastrophic warming as a theory or who own stock or run green energy companies. They are the real "winners" in this hysteria-driven crusade and we shouldn't forget it.