Eighteen months ago Clive Hamilton finally admitted to himself that we’re not going to act with the urgency needed to meet the action required by the science. Hence his new book Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change.
It is now too late to prevent far-reaching changes in the earth’s climate. An optimistic outlook could see global emissions peaking in 2020 then declining by 3 percent each year, with emissions in rich countries falling by 6 to 7 percent. It’s not enough.
Drawing particularly on the 2008 paper by Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows from the United Kingdom’s Tyndall Centre, Hamilton concludes that this would see the greenhouse gas concentration rise over the century to 650 parts per million, far in excess of the ‘safe’ 450 ppm talked about.
Four degrees of warming is more likely by the century’s end than two degrees. The assumptions on which international negotiations and national policies are proceeding have no foundation in the way in which the Earth’s climate system actually behaves.