[Marxism] FT subscribers?
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Oct 11 11:45:00 MDT 2018
On 10/11/18 1:36 PM, John Reimann via Marxism wrote:
> Making another request: Does anybody on this list subscribe to the
> Financial Times? If so, can you send the text of this article? It's an
> opinion piece on how the most recent scientific global warming warnings
> were met with global silence.
> thank you.
> John Reimann
Nero, the Roman emperor renowned for debauchery and extravagance, is
said to have fiddled while Rome burnt. Fast forward a couple of
millennia, and little seems to have changed.
Today it is the planet, not just one city, that is feeling the heat. And
it is world leaders, notably US president Donald Trump, who appear
unmoved. This week, the International Panel on Climate Change reported
that a 1C rise in global temperature since pre-industrial times (defined
as 1850-1900) was already being felt in the form of floods, droughts,
forest fires and heatwaves.
The original plan to limit the rise to “well below” 2C by 2100 is no
longer a viable insurance policy; we should instead aim for no more than
1.5C by 2030. The 12-year survival plan would mean “unprecedented
changes” to the way we live, according to the IPCC. It would affect
land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and cities. “The next few
years are probably the most important in our history,” said the panel’s
This landmark statement recommending a 1.5 C threshold — particularly as
we seem to be heading for a 3C rise by 2100 — should have prompted days
of analysis and political hand-wringing. Instead, the international
silence was deafening.
Perhaps this reflects the growing parochialism in politics. At a time
when national sovereignty is being invoked with angry pride, there is
little political bandwidth for a massive problem that is global in
nature. Global warming, which transcends borders, is an inconvenient
truth for those looking to reimpose them. Climate change denial, no
longer a credible political position, has given way to climate change
There is something for both pessimists and optimists in the IPCC summary
for policymakers, approved by signatories to the Paris agreement and
issued ahead of an international conference in Poland in December. For
the pessimists: a 2C rise would destroy 99 per cent of coral reefs;
damage crops; spread diseases such as malaria; damage or kill off
certain habitats and ecosystems; and cause migration and poverty.
With effort, the optimists can glimpse hope through the haze. Humanity
can, with heroic efforts, cap the rise at 1.5C, with attendant benefits:
global sea levels still rise but not as dramatically (10cm less than at
2C); we lose most, but crucially not all, of the coral reefs; adaptation
and mitigation remain viable; 420m fewer people face heatwaves.
Meeting this stricter target will be monumentally difficult — though not
impossible. By 2030, our global CO2 emissions need to fall to 45 per
cent of 2010 levels. By 2050, any lingering emissions would need to be
sucked out of the atmosphere, by such measures as reforestation and
carbon capture and storage. It is, as some have described it, our
collective moon shot moment.
Rather than accelerating our efforts, however, we are slowing down.
According to the International Energy Agency, carbon emissions, which
plateaued in 2015 and 2016, are likely to increase this year. We consume
too much energy — and still rely on fossil fuels. Such short-sighted
folly may force us into more desperate policies in future, such as
planet-wide climate engineering. One technique, which a newly assertive
China is studying, injects particles into the stratosphere to scatter
As well as the peril of unforeseen side-effects, such as changing global
rainfall patterns, these largely untested measures raise governance and
security issues. Nations could decide unilaterally to act in their own
interests, even if it shifts floodwaters elsewhere. If you dislike an
America First policy on the ground, how about China First in the
stratosphere? Only by refreshing global co-operation can we take the
sensible course of action: a Planet First approach.
The writer is a science commentator
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