Peter Carter is a retired doctor and a founding director of CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment – in
This is an excellent project! Humanity must have a reliable climate sustainability framework, and incredible though it is the world is not working on any credible climate framework. The fine intent and principles of the 1992 Framework Climate Change Convention continue to be ignored and the Convention weakened by negotiations supposedly on how to strengthen and implement it.
For developing a real and reliable framework there is a first question to be addressed before all others. How credible is the Copenhagen COP 15 as the framework process to prevent climate catastrophe? The evidence shows, I am sad to say, that the process is set up to formalize global climate catastrophe - rather than to prevent it. It is hard to see how the world wide political will can be raised to the extent of rebuilding the world to run on renewable energy when the UN negotiations give the world the message that we are not even past dangerous climate interference.
First and foremost for a climate sustainability platform we must insist that the painful but clear fact we are past dangerous climate interference, facing catastrophe and in a state of planetary emergency be formally acknowledged. This is the position, after all, of Ban Ki moon James Hansen and John Holdren.
The negotiating process itself is highly dangerous because of the false 'no danger no emergency' message given the world, because it reinforces a number of fatally (really) false politically determined assumptions, is based on publshed science up to January 2006 (IPCC AR4) and because it restricts policy options to a choice of a few paths all leading to catastrophe.
If the process can't work right for preventing climate catastrophe the process must be put right.
Related to the planetary emergency the top irregularity in the current process to address,for a climate sustainability platform, is what constitutes dangerous climate interference.The Bali-Copenhagen negotiations are based on the incredibly ridiculous and clearly fatal assumption, by the IPCC and endorsed by the FCCC Secretariat, that there can be no scientific definition of dangerous climate interference. The IPCC scientists are not allowed by IPCC rules to say the D word because that would be 'policy prescriptive'. It is unbelievable, as the IPCC is effectively in charge of the future of the planet - but in all the IPCCs 2007 reports the D(angerous) word cannot be found once. Imagine flying in a plane if the engineers had said they couldn't define what would be dangerous in its construction design plans. This dangerous assumption about not defining dangerous climate interference makes the negotiations fail on credibility from the start. They are after all supposed to be making policy for preventing dangerous interference- aren't they ?
The evidence from the
Just stay at 0.78oC and runaway has to happen - just a question of time. Yes, it's terrifying but it is true and has to be faced. It does lend even more credibility to the suggestion of Professor Hans Schellenhuber to the Guardian (September 2008) that none of the proposed greenhouse gas reduction targets are sufficient and that it may be only a reduction of C02 levels to the pre-industrial level of 280 parts per million can ensure a stable climate. It has to be under 320 ppm judging by the
The Bali-Copenhagen negotiations are not credible so long as they not based on the science of the full extent of the risks to huge regional populations of the most climate change vulnerable and to all future generations of all species. So long as the process restricts the science base to the 2007 IPCC assessment (AR4) it cannot be based on these risks and is not credible. The IPCC AR4 is based on artificial scenarios and the real world is beyond the worst case IPCC scenario. The IPCC temperature projections omit the greatest of all dangers- the additional warming of carbon feed backs. In today's real world the very worst carbon feedbacks are happening- in the
2 degrees to extinction
Next on the list of these fatal false assumptions (there are several) is the assumption of the politically determined 2oC danger limit which is now in fact regarded as the global warming target to aim for.The negotiations are offering the world a choice between 2oC and 1.5oC. This is really no choice at all. Even the 2oC policy source, the EU says 2oC is not safe. The original EU policy was 1 to 3oC. As James Hansen has said 2oC is 'disastrous'. The published science is consistent over the past 15 years as showing that anything above 1oC cannot be considered safe. Bill Hare in World Watch's State of the Planet 2009 is a recent expert opinion on this issue. As we will go over 2oC, Hare advises a plan for mitigation to peak (past 2oC) for as short as possible and get back down to 1oC as quick as possible.
A small fact of the science when considering a dangerous level of global warming, that the