It’s the climate, stupid. Preventing the coming catastrophe.

So of course this is the no 1 story that dominates all political discourse, no?

Planet likely to warm by 4C by 2100, scientists warn (the Guardian)

New climate model taking greater account of cloud changes indicates heating will be at higher end of expectations.”

Just to explain a little, this is a catastrophic level of warming. It doesn’t mean nice hot summers and mild winters in the UK, but increased instability of the weather system (like we are already seeing), tending towards runaway warming as the various feedbacks take effect (release of polar methane, reduction of reflection by ice and snow cover, loss of forest and wetland biomass / carbon sequestration, and so on). Governments set an arbitrary level of 2 degrees C as a target, but as climate scientists have pointed out, even this level is likely to be very dangerous.

“Professor Steven Sherwood, at the University of New South Wales, [ironically, MB] in Australia, who led the new work, said: “This study breaks new ground twice: first by identifying what is controlling the cloud changes and second by strongly discounting the lowest estimates of future global warming in favour of the higher and more damaging estimates.”
“4C would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous,”… “For example, it would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much of the tropics, and would guarantee the eventual melting of the Greenland ice sheet and some of the Antarctic ice sheet“, with sea levels rising by many metres as a result.”

So, isn’t it good to see that UK premier Cameron is bringing together an urgent task force to secure international action for radical carbon emission reductions. And it’s so good to see that Obama has signed up too. They have both pledged to stop the exploitation of unconventional hydrocarbons from tar sands and shale (fracking). And it is so good to see that, with his eye for both social justice and ecological safety, UK opposition leader, Ed Miliband has set out the case for zero growth of the economy together with the radical redistributive policies necessary to prevent a collapse into poverty (as set out in the report he commissioned when he was Climate Change and Energy minister in the last Labour government. And thank goodness that the former ‘bad boys’ (whose names are so forgetful), the leader of the new Australian government, and the Canadian premier have shelved their former craven climate denialism / oil company pork-barrel politic and pledged to serious action, with the Australians deciding not to repeal the climate change act after all and the Canadians implementing a moratorium on arctic oil exploitation and tar sands mining. Putin of course has also followed on with a major investment programme, in hand with the Chinese to convert the country to renewable power by 2025. Meanwhile, Rafael Correa in Ecuador has re-instigated a stronger version of the Yasuní-ITT initiative, no longer dependent on unlikely payments by other States and Evo Morales of Bolivia has confirmed that vivir bien is the primary philosophical guide for the country’s economic regeneration, and this means (among other things) progressive de-linking from dependency on the extraction of the country’s hydrocarbons by foreign companies and powers.(he hasn’t much choice really because the impact of climate change on the altiplano is so threatening to his Aymara power base).

Yes, it’s good to see the earth is in safe hands, phew! I don’t have to worry about my children’s and grandchildren’s future.  If they weren’t doing all these things then we could accuse them all of denialism.

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