Analysis by Stephen Leahy
BERLIN, Jul 13 (IPS)
The G8’s failure to make meaningful commitments on climate last week pushes the world ever closer to global climate catastrophe, experts warn. Without commitments to take action, there is little comfort in G8 countries’ agreement to keep overall global warming below 2.0 degrees Celsius.
“If they took the 2.0-degree commitment seriously, it would imply a vigourous and immediate carbon emission reduction programme,“ said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton University in the U.S.
“It would mean carbon emissions would have to peak by 2020 and decline. That’s a tall order but that’s what needs to happen to stabilise at around 2.0 degrees C,” Oppenheimer told IPS.
The Group of Eight of the world’s largest economies comprises Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada, Japan and the United States.
Climate experts stress that 2.0 degrees is not in any way a guarantee of safety. There are already significant impacts currently from climate change. However, from what scientists know today, risks increase markedly over 2.0 degrees of warming, Oppenheimer warned.
Global temperatures have already risen 0.8 C in the last hundred years and will reach 1.2 to 1.5 C based on emissions already in the atmosphere.
“The climate system is unpredictable. Two degrees is just a guideline,” Oppenheimer said. Continue reading