27 July 2017

Paris 1.5-2°C target far from safe, say world-leading scientists

by David Spratt, first published at Renew Economy

The Paris climate agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius (ºC) is well above temperatures experienced during the Holocene — period of human settlement over the last 11,700 years — and is far from safe because “if such temperature levels are allowed to long exist they will spur “slow” amplifying feedbacks… which have potential to run out of humanity’s control.”

That’s the message from some of the world best climate scientists, including former NASA climate chief, James Hansen, in a newly paper, “Young people’s burden: requirement of negative CO2 emissions”, published in Earth System Dynamics this month.

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24 July 2017

A failure of imagination on climate risks

By Ian Dunlop and David Spratt
This is an extract from Disaster Alley: Climate change, conflict and risk published recently by Breakthrough.
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Climate change is an existential risk that could abruptly end human civilisation because of a catastrophic “failure of imagination” by global leaders to understand and act on the science and  evidence before them.

At the London School of Economics in 2008, Queen Elizabeth questioned: “Why did no one foresee the timing, extent and severity of the Global Financial Crisis?” The British Academy answered a year later: “A psychology of denial gripped the financial and corporate world… [it was] the failure of the collective imagination of many bright people… to understand the risks to the system as a whole”.

A “failure of imagination” has also been identified as one of the reasons for the breakdown in US intelligence around the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

A similar failure is occurring with climate change today.