Too late to stop devastating climate change, that is. At least that’s what the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research are saying.
Yesterday we wrote about several signs pointing to a little gloom settling in over the prospects of meeting carbon reduction targets that scientists say are necessary to avoid climate rises above the critical 2°C threshold. But later that day the National Center for Atmosphere Research in the US came out with a reassuring statement. While the climate is likely to change by about 2.2°c (on top of the 1°c already seen since the pre-industrial era) if emissions increase at the projected rate, they estimate that capping the carbon concentration in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million will only result in a further 0.6°c increase – a much more manageable amount.
This is not dramatically different from the carbon curtailment that many scientists have been recommended for some time. They’re right of course: there is still time for the guidelines to be met.
But the main cause of pessimism is not so much the technical reality as the political reality. Who restricts their emissions, and in particular who bears the cost of that reduction, is far from being agreed upon by all the world’s carbon emitters.
But optimism, presumably, is more likely than despair to result in actual measures being taken.