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UNEP Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report Finds Climate Change Goals Growing More Elusive

Global greenhouse-gas emissions already have passed the point where the worst effects of global warming could be averted, and they are still rising, according to the third annual United Nations report on the so-called emissions gap.

Some countries have made pledges to help reverse this trend by lowering their emissions. However, the report by the U.N. Environment Programme warns that the gap between these pledges and reductions necessary to cap average global warming at 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2020 continues to widen.

"In addition we have one year less to close it," said Niklas Höhne, one of the UNEP report's lead authors.

The report, released shortly before an annual round of climate talks set to begin on Monday (Nov. 26) in Qatar, seeks to balance a heightened sense of urgency with a positive message.

"It is technically feasible and economically feasible that the gap can be closed," Höhne, director of energy and climate policy at the independent research and consulting company Ecofys, told LiveScience.

by Anonymousreply 2511/20/2013

In 2009, at a meeting in Copenhagen, international negotiators agreed to the goal of capping global warming at 2 degrees C by 2020. Following the meeting, some nations submitted pledges to cut their emissions. The United States, for example, pledged to bring its emissions to about 17 percent below the 2005 level.

In the years since, nations have not made any substantial change to their pledges.

The UNEP report highlights the gap between these pledges and cuts needed put the world on a "likely" path to stay below the 2-degree target. It calculates that the annual emission rate by 2020 should be no more than 48.5 gigatons (44 metric gigatons) of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. [8 Ways Global Warming Is Already Changing the World]

Using the most recent data available, for 2010, the report puts current emissions at 54 gigatons (49 metric gigatons). Extrapolate out to 2020, and the gap grows to between 8.8 and 14.3 gigatons (8 and 13 metric gigatons). Last year's report put the gap at between 6.6 and 12.1 gigatons (6 and 11 metric gigatons).

This year's report attributes the increase to faster-than-expected growth from 2009 to 2010 after the economic downturn. (More economic activity creates more greenhouse-gas emissions.) Improved accounting, taking into account situations in which two countries claim credit for the same emissions reductions, also contributed, the report stated.

(A word about these calculations: While carbon dioxide is the dominant greenhouse gas, others such as methane, which has potent warming effect but stays in the atmosphere for only a minuscule period of time compared with carbon dioxide, also contribute. The UNEP report lumps greenhouse gases together, describing them in terms of "carbon dioxide equivalent." Because of the differences among the gases, not all scientists support this approach.)

by Anonymousreply 111/23/2012

Despite the ominous warning signs that have occurred -- Hurricane Sandy, for example -- nothing of any substance is going to be done about this problem until it really is too late.

by Anonymousreply 211/23/2012

Everyone can quit driving so much and plant a hell of a lot of trees, it's a start at least.

by Anonymousreply 311/23/2012

the world cultures are all too greedy and selfish. no one, really no one is interested in anything past the next economic year.

by Anonymousreply 411/23/2012

It's already too late R2.

by Anonymousreply 511/24/2012

I sorry about the animals, but I do look forward to Gen YZ's frying when I'm gone.

by Anonymousreply 611/24/2012

We need to do three things:

1. Plant more trees, and convince other nations to stop deforestation, perhaps through bribes.

2. Ramp up production and research on algae fuel - it's the only renewable energy that makes large-scale sense.

3. Figure out how to sequester carbon quickly and cheaply.

Number 3 is particularly important. Quickly, cheaply, and tack it onto the price of oil. Whoever can figure this out will be a millionaire.

by Anonymousreply 711/24/2012

I just wish the point-of-no-return would hurry and get here, be universally accepted and all these greeno's would go find other jobs and shut the fuck up.

by Anonymousreply 811/24/2012

r8, I heard through the grapevine that you are going to be the next Secretary of the Interior--what do you think of that? The alternative, should you decline, is to find your way out of a paper bag.

by Anonymousreply 911/24/2012

I'm so sorry R9, I thought you knew you can't insult an enviro-contrarian.

by Anonymousreply 1011/24/2012

[quote]Everyone can quit driving so much and plant a hell of a lot of trees, it's a start at least.

if it were just that simple.

Trees in the higher latitudes won't help that much, they will absorb sunlight thus being more of a part of the problem. KEEPING the trees in the tropical latitudes, Brazil, Congo, and Indonesia will help keep the atmosphere sounder and be the best carbon sink.

by Anonymousreply 1111/24/2012

R6 = typical greedy, vindictive cunt who's a part of the problem.

by Anonymousreply 1211/24/2012

[quote]2. Ramp up production and research on algae fuel - it's the only renewable energy that makes large-scale sense.

What about the sun? half of the North American continent bakes in it

by Anonymousreply 1311/24/2012

R14 = Retard

by Anonymousreply 1511/24/2012

Solar is expensive (still), transports as well as regular electricity does (not well over long distances), is not reliable, and, large scale, uses vast quantities of land. Solar is a useful in small scale applications - houses in California, for instance, should have solar panels.

Algae fuel is the way of the future - it's just been slow to develop because so much money goes to corn ethanol production. If we devoted as much land as half the state of Maine to algae production, we would eliminate our need for oil. Sounds like a lot, but how much land do we devote to corn for ethanol production?

On top of that, algae can be grown on marginal land, in dirty water (the dirtier, the better, in fact) and the leftovers can be used as livestock feed. And the fuel it produces can be transported and pumped into your car.

by Anonymousreply 1611/24/2012

Our lives are intertwined with oil. Everybody reading this is on a computer, burning electricity. We have to commute to work, we have to commute to the store for food that has to be commuted there. Nobody's giving up flying, industries aren't going to shut down. In order to fix this, everybody has to live like a tribal villager in a hut. 8 billion people aren't going to suddenly do that.

So what can we do? I don't know.

I suspect there is no stopping this and only those people in 50 years or so, who can develop ways to grow food inside climate controlled greenhouses, and who can wear spacesuits to protect against the heat/carbon dioxide, etc. will live.

But what a life they will live.

by Anonymousreply 1711/24/2012

R4:

[quote]the world cultures are all too greedy and selfish. no one, really no one is interested in anything past the next economic year.

R17:

[quote]Our lives are intertwined with oil. Everybody reading this is on a computer, burning electricity. We have to commute to work, we have to commute to the store for food that has to be commuted there. Nobody's giving up flying, industries aren't going to shut down. In order to fix this, everybody has to live like a tribal villager in a hut. 8 billion people aren't going to suddenly do that.

Those two comments pretty much sum it all up. No one -- not governments, corporations, or individuals -- will really do anything about this. We will continue to talk about it and take essentially meaningless actions, but no one is going to undertake anything that has significant consequences. Simply put, no one wants to stop using electricity, riding in huge cars, or have readily available huge quantities of food and merchandise.

That is until the storms are so severe, the drought is too intense, the food is either too expensive or not available, and the temperatures are too extreme. When the food and water run out and the oceans are encroaching on the coastal cities and towns, then people will grudgingly give up the conveniences of modern life. But, they will do so only when forced to.

There is a reason that knowledgeable individuals put global climate change as one of if not the most pressing threat to our national security.

by Anonymousreply 1811/25/2012

There are constantly new breakthroughs in solar efficiency. The problem is the time it takes to go from breakthrough to market. And with the pace of improvements, who wants to spend money now, when better is just around the corner?

As for the land requirement: We have TONS of land that is sitting unused in the south-west, that is PERFECT for solar farms.

by Anonymousreply 1911/25/2012

Human greed will be the death of us all, but then we all have to die anyway.

by Anonymousreply 2011/25/2012

You know, in a few decades or how ever long it takes for things to get desperate, when civilization is in it's last gasps, people will go back and read thru the record, and realize we knew. We knew.

We had all the warnings, and saw all the evidence, and we were too selfish, too indulgent and short-sighted, to do what was necessary. We had the knowledge, we had the capability, but we lacked the will.

by Anonymousreply 2111/25/2012

Pretty much, the death of us all

by Anonymousreply 2311/25/2012

Yup. We're boned.

by Anonymousreply 2401/05/2013

Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions -

by Anonymousreply 2511/20/2013
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