Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Will the Agreement Reached at COP 17/CMP 7 Contain Climate Change?

The Durban Platform is a plan to negotiate a new global agreement by 2015, which will be implemented by 2020. In the meantime scientists at the Climate Action Tracker, "stated that the world continues on a pathway of over 3°C warming with likely extremely severe impacts."

The Climate Action Tracker scientists stated, that due to the fact that the agreement will not come online until 2020 and there has been no pledge to increase emission reductions, "catching up on this postponed action will be increasingly costly."

A global temperature increase of over 3°C could kill off parts of the Amazon rainforest, bleach coral reefs, melt Greenland ice, release of methane hydrates from the ocean floor and thaw permafrost in the arctic.

The most extreme effects will be felt in West Africa and South Asia, with residual damage of 3.5% of regional GDP for 2°C warming and 5-6% for 3°C warming. With a 2°C warming, adaptation costs would be half those associated with a 3°C temperature rise.

“What remains to be done is to take more ambitious actions to reduced emissions, and until this is done we are still headed to over 3 C warming. There are still no new pledges on the table and the process agreed in Durban towards raising the ambition and increasing emission reductions is uncertain it its outcome.” Bill Hare, Director of Climate Analytics said.

Even if the Durban agreement is implemented according to the timetable provided, The Climate Action tracker indicates "the global mean warming would reach about 3.5°C by 2100 with the current reduction proposals on the table. They are definitely insufficient to limit temperature increase to 2°C."

The agreement is indeed a step in the right direction, but we still need to see increased emissions reduction pledges quickly, because on its own it is not enough to ward off some of the most catastrophic impacts of global warming.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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