Climate scientists, reacting to the Warsaw climate talks, tell us that current politicians are insuring a 4°C rise. Meanwhile some places are already becoming uninhabitable due to heat extremes.
... scientists no longer believe that politicians are capable of holding the temperature rise below the internationally agreed limit, 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
Mark Maslin, professor of climatology at University College in London, was speaking at a conference here which also heard that some parts of the world were already in danger of becoming too hot for humans to inhabit.
Dr. Liz Hanna, from the Australian National University’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health
... said humans were well suited to living in cool conditions and felt comfortable in temperatures between 20°C and 23°C because their muscles produced heat from within.
But in parts of Arizona, Australia and India temperatures were reaching – and for days staying above – the thermal maximum of endurance, which was around 37°C, the core heat of the human body. Above that temperature, and sometimes below, depending on the combination of heat, humidity and air speed, keeping cool put too much strain on the heart and people began to die.
Her researches were focusing on how to keep essential services like farming, police, ambulance, district nurses, construction and mining going in a warming world. “Obviously these people will be risking their lives if they continue to try and work outside when the ambient temperature is above 37°C,” she said. [emphasis mine]
While the article emphasis is on short term death tolls from heat emergencies, particularly for people who must work outdoors, recall that some areas of the planet are already uninhabitable from heat.
Corporate Climate Talks? It seems corporations are king at the Warsaw talks. A silent commemoration of the Philipine dead will get you banned.
“This is perhaps the most corporate climate talks we have ever experienced ... not to say that previous ones haven’t had a large corporate influence,” Pascoe Sabido told me. “But what’s different this time is the level of institutionalization, the degree to which the Polish government and the U.N., the UNFCCC, have welcomed this with open arms and have actively encouraged it.” Sabido works with Corporate Europe Observatory, which published the pamphlet “The COP 19 Guide to Corporate Lobbying: Climate Crooks and the Polish Government’s Partners in Crime.” Among them, Pascoe says, are “General Motors, known for funding climate skeptic think tanks like the Heartland Institute in the U.S.; you have BMW, which is doing equal things in Europe, trying to weaken emission standards.” LOTOS Group, the second-largest Polish petroleum corporation, has its logo emblazoned on the 11,000 tote bags handed out to delegates here.
Poland, which gets 80 percent to 90 percent of its power from coal, hosted a parallel conference with the World Coal Association, called the International Coal and Climate Summit. UNFCCC chief Christiana Figueres enraged many climate activists by dignifying the coal conference with a keynote address.
The Philippines’ chief climate-change negotiator, Yeb Sano ... on the ninth day of his fast ...
After Sano announced his fast in an emotional address to the plenary, several students silently walked with him as he exited, holding a banner commemorating the dead in the Philippines. For this spontaneous act of solidarity, they were banned from the climate proceedings, for a year. One of the banned, Clemence Hutin from Paris, told me, “I don’t understand why civil society isn’t welcome here and corporations are.” [emphasis mine]
Are there any discussion on what can be done to prevent further changes?
The green groups walked out at Warsaw because discussions there were futile. Negotiators act like it's not a huge urgent problem.
In a Democracy Now interview ALICE BOWS-LARKIN, senior research fellow at the Tyndall Centre said,
… different parts of this community that are here—the academics, the civil society, the journalists and so on—we all have a different role to play. And civil society are trying to raise the profile, the fact that ... this is a huge and an urgent problem. And actually, you would not get that sort of message from the negotiations, that it’s urgent at all. You know, you get the sense that really we can ...wait a while, and at some point we will sort some targets out. Well, it’s, frankly, going to be too late. [emphasis mine]
Graham Readfearn presents a devastating assessment of the Warsaw talks.
Scientists say countries attending United Nations climate talks are going backwards on policy and risking 4C of global warming
There's a gap that's getting wider in the global climate talks taking place in Warsaw between the near unanimous pledge to keep global warming below 2C and the ability of current policies to achieve the goal.
When I say gap, I really ... a huge, gaping, canyon-like hole big enough to either eat a planet ...
... an assessment released yesterday by scientists found that current policies and pledges would deliver to the world global warming of 3.7C, but with increasing use of coal things could get worse.
Bill Hare, director ... Climate Analytics, said that with no new pledges coming from countries and with Japan and Australia reigning back their ambition, countries were "unilaterally degrading their pledges without review." He said:
... we could be heading into a downward spiral in policies... that would push us to a warming of five degrees.
... the International Energy Agency, which provides advice to major governments around the world, had reported that Australia's production of coal would rise by almost 50% between 2011 and 2035, with most of that coal being exported.
Hare said countries negotiating in Warsaw were "not denying" that the gap was there, but rather they were choosing to blame each other ...
As United Nations meetings have visited places like Kyoto, Rio and Copenhagen to sign deals and talk about climate change, the real world response according to the data shows an inexorable rise.
At an average global temperature rise of 4C, the hottest days experienced would be 6C to 12C hotter, sea levels would rise by 80 cm or higher and the yields for key crops such as maize, wheat and rice would drop by as much as 40 per cent.
"Those sorts of things would be absolutely devastating - they would be catastrophic," ... four degrees could be incompatible with organised global community and ... could potentially be beyond adaptation. Ecosystems are already being threatened - at four degrees we have irreversible impacts on ecosystems." [emphasis mine]
800 Green Group attendees walked out of the Warsaw talks in disgust.