Yeah, yeah, all of you who know me are thinking. Here comes the predictable rant about Park Slope parents blah blah.
This time that’s not what I have in mind.
Climate researchers now predict the planet will warm by 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century even if the world’s leaders fulfill their most ambitious climate pledges, a much faster and broader scale of change than forecast just two years ago, according to a report released Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program.
The increase is nearly double what scientists and world policymakers have identified as the upper limit of warming the world can afford in order to avert catastrophic climate change.
And that assumes several things I don’t believe will happen, for example, that the U.S. Senate will pass the global warming legislation currently on the table without weakening it even more.
In fact what’s happening is that because the Senate almost certainly won’t pass ACES by December, the U.S. won’t be able to participate realistically in negotiations for the successor treaty to Kyoto. And without meaningful U.S. participation, the Copenhagen negotiations probably won’t go anywhere, at least for a while.
Obama said earlier this year that he would like to show up in Copenhagen with a climate bill passed by the Senate in his hands. However, with the debate on health care raging and the fragile economy just getting off life support, some have expressed doubt that lawmakers have the political will to pass a bill.
Without a commitment from the U.S. to significantly reduce its industrial emissions, the best that environmental advocates can hope in Copenhagen is an extension of negotiations.
Here are three small reasons I’m pessimistic today.
1) Rich nations are already failing to live up to their promises about helping poor nations adjust to global warming, even though rich nations are causing the problem and the global poor are the ones who will suffer.
2) I saw this post from the liberal AmericaBlog: Enviros want your quilted toilet paper. Yes we do. Because only old-growth trees have the long fibers needed to make puffy paper, and we’d really rather you use recycled paper to wipe your ass. If we can’t even make that small step (and judging by the comments, even liberals aren’t willing to) can we really make bigger steps like reducing our meat consumption?
3) Oh, speaking of meat consumption: “For every newly converted vegetarian, four poor humans start earning enough money to put beef on the table.”
Those of us in our thirties now will probably die before the worst of the climate catastrophe, though our lives won’t be as nice as our parents’. Children born now won’t be so lucky. Think twice before you inflict the coming world on them.