If news reports are to be believed, Copenhagen is a Danish word that means “You’re screwed.” That’s the only way to interpret these conflicting news reports.
The Guardian UK reports the results of the two-week Copenhagen circle jerk:
After eight draft texts and all-day talks between 115 world leaders, it was left to Barack Obama and Wen Jiabao, the Chinese premier, to broker a political agreement. The so-called Copenhagen accord “recognises” the scientific case for keeping temperature rises to no more than 2C but does not contain commitments to emissions reductions to achieve that goal.
Hold on just a darn sec. Haven’t we been told that a two degree rise in temps would wreak devastation the world over?
Prior to Copenhagen, here’s how Reuters answered the question “What happens if temperatures rise by 2 celsius?”
Hundreds of millions of people would be exposed to increased stress on water supplies, according to the IPCC in its last major report in 2007, based on research by 2,500 experts. It says more people would suffer from malnutrition, some infectious diseases and there would be more deaths from heatwaves, floods and droughts. Up to 30 percent of species of animals and plants would be at increasing risk of extinction. Coral reefs would be damaged. Cereals production would decline in tropical areas but, in one benefit, would improve nearer the poles. Coasts would suffer increased damage from floods and storms.
Now if that hasn’t scared the bejeebers out of you, the Yale Climate Media Forum will:
The Real Climate scientist bloggers strongly articulate that cautionary view: “We feel compelled to note that even a ‘moderate’ warming of 2 degrees C stands a strong chance of provoking drought and storm responses that could challenge civilized society, leading potentially to the conflict and suffering that go with failed states and mass migrations.”
MIT climate scientist Kerry Emanuel said in an e-mail exchange with The Yale Forum that 2 degrees is a “delicate compromise between what is desirable and what may be feasible.” He said there is bound to be debate on such a big issue.
“Any number much above 1 degree involves a gamble, and the odds become less and less favorable as the temperature goes up,” Emanuel wrote.
The Yale Climate Media Forum’s was just getting started:
James McCarthy, professor of biological oceanography at Harvard University and the current President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said that the closer the planet comes to a global average rise of 2 degrees Celsius, the less likely we are to be able to avoid climbing to even higher temperatures.
“As we approach 2 degrees, many models suggest that tipping points will be reached with respect to summer sea ice and these large masses of glacial ice,” McCarthy told The Yale Forum in an e-mail interview. “Either will result in strong reinforcing (positive) climate feedbacks, not to mention dramatic changes in the Arctic ecosystem and enhanced sea level rise.”
Models also suggest that feedback cycles could afflict both the tundra – where scientists fear a massive carbon release – and the Amazon forest ecosystem, which could rapidly dry up, McCarthy noted.
So on one hand, they want us to believe that a 2-degree rise in temperatures will seal our doom. On the other hand, they want us to believe that the world’s leaders just agreed to a 2-degree rise in temperatures.
Back in the horse and buggy days, before the invention of the internal combustion engine, scientists feared that the world would end up being buried in horse manure. Now, after two weeks of Copenhagen, everyone should realize that we’re far more likely to end up being buried in bullshit.