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Scientists: World likely won’t avoid dangerous warming mark

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    French President Francois Hollande, right, French Foreign Minister and president of the COP21 Laurent Fabius, second right, United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres, left, and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held their hands up in celebration after the final conference at the COP21, the United Nations conference on climate change, in Le Bourget, north of Paris in Dec. 2015.

WASHINGTON » A team of top scientists is telling world leaders to stop congratulating themselves on the Paris agreement to fight climate change because if more isn’t done, global temperatures will likely hit dangerous warming levels in about 35 years.

Six scientists who were leaders in past international climate conferences joined with the Universal Ecological Fund in Argentina to release a brief report today, saying that if even more cuts in heat-trapping gases aren’t agreed upon soon, the world will warm by another 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit by around 2050.

That 1.8 degree mark is key because in 2009 world leaders agreed that they wanted to avoid warming of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. Temperatures have already risen about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, so that 2 degree goal is really about preventing a rise of another degree going forward.

Examining the carbon pollution cuts and curbs promised by 190 nations in an agreement made in Paris last December, the scientists said it’s simply not enough.

“The pledges are not going to get even close,” said report lead author Sir Robert Watson, a University of East Anglia professor and former World Bank chief scientist who used to be chairman of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “If you governments of the world are really serious, you’re going to have to do way, way more.”

If carbon pollution continues with just the emission cuts pledged in Paris, Earth will likely hit the danger mark by 2050, Watson and colleagues calculated, echoing what other researchers have found. They said with just a few more cuts, the danger level might be delayed by 20 years,

In Paris, the countries also added a secondary tougher goal of limiting warming to just another 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (half a degree Celsius) as an aspiration.

There “is no hope of us stabilizing” at that temperature because the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere already commits the world to hitting that mark, Watson said.

Watson said a few weeks ago he was in Washington at an event with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and former Vice President Al Gore celebrating the accord as a victory.

“It struck me that this was naive,” Watson said. “This is a real major challenge to stay even close to 2 degrees Celsius.”

That 2-degree danger mark is on a continuum with harmful effects already being felt now at lower warming levels, Watson said. But he added: “As you go more and more above 2, the negative effects become more and more pronounced, more and more severe.”

The report wasn’t published in a scientific journal. Six outside scientists looked at for The Associated Press and said the science behind it was sound and so were the conclusions.

“It is a good summary of what is common knowledge in the climate expert community but not widely appreciated by members of the public and even policy makers,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, head of Earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute in Germany. “So indeed it is a useful reminder notice to the world about what is at stake.”

On Tuesday, scientists at Climate Interactive In Asheville, North Carolina, who weren’t part of the report ran a computer simulations using pledges from the Paris agreement and found that dangerous mark arrives around 2051, said group co-director Drew Jones.

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  • Billions of people in the third world will burn more energy with higher living standard. I predict because of this overpopulation global warming will become even more desastrous. Smart people buy property up north as Hawaii is becoming more uncomfortable each year.

    • For once, I agree with your sentiments, but most CO2 per person is still from the USA. With a proper accounting for our aviation emissions, Hawaii is one of the worst climate polluters on the world, per capita.

      However you look at it, this news is truly grim.

    • Hawaii will also doomed due to sea levels rising. The low-laying islands and atolls in Micronesia will become uninhabitable, and their entire populations will relocate to Hawaii to freeload here. The State refuses to recognize this, and continues to support COFA (the State also supports unlimited numbers of homeless migrating from the mainland too, with no limits attached to its “step-off-the-airplane-and-be-immediately-eligible-for-welfare” handouts). And I am not making this up, the migration has already started, although currently in small numbers (but that will continually increase as sea levels rise): http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-pacific-islands-flood-a-climate-driven-exodus/

      We can all thank our former and current politicians for selling out Hawaii’s future.

  • Trump stupidly, continues to blather about global warming being a fraud and that eh will burn more dirty coal if he is president. He is irresponsible and ignorant. Shocking that someone as silly as this could be running for president.

  • “Global Warming” is because we are still coming out of the last Ice Age. No matter what we do the Earth will get warmer and warmer and warmer. Then it will reverse and the beginning of another Ice Age will come. Shoot’s people don’t count only nature and there ain’t nuttin’ you can do about it. So sit back, have a cold beer and quit worrying.

  • more BS. SA stop printing false stuff about the pretend global warming, the AP prints the same old stuff they been saying for the last 30 years. some more of lies, lies and lies.

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