Thursday, April 30, 2009

Climate Change Catastrophe

Useful discussion on RealClimate about a recent paper which confirms what we already understand about how serious this problem is and how poor the policy response is.

One commenter points out that exceeding the two degree limit (inevitable with the failed policy approach to date):

We don’t “adapt” to 4 °C of warming,” except in the sense that residents of New Orleans “adapted” to Katrina. It ain’t adaptation. As John Holdren would say, it’s “misery.”

It is also an exceedingly open question as to whether one can in fact “stabilize” at much above 2°C — or whether you destroy the tundra and the peatlands and saturate the sinks and basically quickly go up to 5°C or more. I think the science is moving in the direction of stabilize below 450 ppm or cross thresholds that take you shoot you up to 1000 ppm.

This means that the failure to act now to keep temperatures at no more than 2 degrees would likely be a catastrophic failure.

Another commenter also provides a link to a paper by Hansen where he advocates 100% Citizen's dividend from a carbon tax. Its a good idea, but perhaps it would be good as well to make a 50% split: 50% citizen's dividend, 50% dedicated to buildout of renewable energy infrastructure (windfarms etc).

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