The smart, serious people are on the job. As the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prepares to release its fifth report on the state of the global climate this Friday; the details of the report
are beginning to leak. It seems that rather than just scaring the bejeebers out of us, which is totally appropriate giving the reality of our global climate situation, they will be offering scientific recommendations and solutions.
Next week’s landmark UN climate science report is likely to set a figure on the amount of fossil fuels that can be burnt if global warming is to be limited to safe levels. It could warn that less than a quarter of the planet’s oil, coal and gas reserves can be consumed between now and 2050, and set a worldwide ‘carbon emission budget’.
“For the first time ever scientists will say to governments there is a budget of greenhouse gases that you can emit over the next century, beyond which you cannot go if you want to have a reasonable change of avoiding 2°C,” said Bob Ward, Policy and Communications chief at the Grantham Institute of the London School of Economics.
“Only a fast switch away from fossil fuels will give us a reasonable chance to avoid considerable warming,” he said at the study’s launch. “We shouldn’t forget that a 2°C global mean warming would take us far beyond the natural temperature variations that life on Earth has experienced since we humans have been around.”
This definitely puts pressure on governments to discuss specific emission reduction quotas at the November round of UN climate talks in Warsaw and could become the legacy of the UN climate panel. Now it will be up to the policymakers to do what must be done. They ignore at their own risk, and at the risk of survival of our species.