Posts Tagged ‘Carbon Dioxide’
The worst of the gale seems to have passed, all we have to do now is restore the allotments to something resembling their previous state. Very cold this morning but we have glimpsed the sun, even if its warm embrace seems but a distant memory. The weather over the past few days has sparked renewed interest in the hotly debated subject of global warming, it may have been this that triggered my overnight dream. When I recalled it Albert remarked that he much prefers his fantasies about Zsa Zsa Gabor, but we don’t get to select our dreams and mine would not have been top of my selections should such an option exist.
My dream involved the planet gradually surrendering to the marauding oceans. Probably inspired by David Attenborough’s final ‘Frozen Planet’ slot on the Beeb, I saw pictures of even the UK under water. The elected Mayor of a submerged London - a mad bloke with a shock of fair hair – was swimming from rooftop to rooftop offering solace, and a shiny-faced prime minister was promising a public enquiry. Pure rubbish. Or is it?
Almost unnoticed by the masses who are focussed on Cameron’s attempt to face both ways at the same time on the EU, and Rooney’s outrage at being suspended for merely kicking someone, a United Nations summit on global warming is taking place in Durban. We are represented by Chris Hulme, proof indeed that this is not regarded by our leaders as a high priority. Other nations too have fielded their reserves in the manner of Arsene Wenger in the Carling Cup.
This morning Mr Hulne let it be known that more than 120 countries now support a timetable towards a legally binding agreement at “some point in the future”. The summit has been a tense affair with accusations of “chequebook diplomacy” and protesters thrown out of the proceedings. But our man in Durban is hopeful even though he felt obliged to remark that it could “all still go pear-shaped”. Meanwhile sources close to the talks say that carbon dioxide missions were unlikely to start coming down before 2020 and Joseph Alcamo, the UN Environment Programme chief scientist, warned that unless emissions reduce sharply the world will be “locked in” to dangerous global warmings.
Europe deserves credit for pressing the need for action but the “big polluters”, America and China, continue to procrastinate. Hope for a Green Climate Fund, that would channel £60 billion a year to countries adapting to climate change, have barely moved forward. Poor nations whose only means of survival is to chop down the rain forests will continue to do just that.
Although Attenborough avoided any comment on emissions, what he showed was truly startling. At both poles ice that has been unchanged for a zillion years is starting to melt. One area the size of Yorkshire, where man and polar bears alike have walked since the beginning of time now resembles a patchwork quilt as the icecap splits and its depth reduces. The result is an unbelievably huge increase in water entering the oceans. If this trend continues we could see many low-lying areas of the world under water within twenty years ,and huge land masses likewise before the end of the century.
Of course one of the obstacles to progress in reducing emissions are the wealthiest countries where large influential groups contest the predictions of scientists. They may well be ancestors of those who once argued that the earth was flat, but they are dangerous. People with vested interests tend to believe what they prefer to believe.
Perhaps I am alone in wondering how it can be that almost every world leader is focussed on something else. The future of the EU, the Olympics, the Iranian threat, the Olympics opening ceremony, banker’s bonuses et al.
They are all important but doesn’t the fact that in just a decade or so we may all have to sit stranded on our rooftops make them all somewhat academic?
JOIN ME TOMORROW FOR THE WEEKEND QUIZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Forgive me if I sound disillusioned but Bank Holidays used to be about sunshine, sand and a bit of the other. Now it’s pouring rain, mud and grumpy chickens, at least it is in my little world. As if on cue the news today is somewhat depressing. The latest figures on CO2 emissions are far worse than predicted and, say the headline writers, leave the world’s climate on the brink. There has been a record surge in greenhouse gases.
So presumably the world is in panic, after all the prediction now is that global warming has reached the irreversible stage which means that the lives and livelihood of hundreds of millions of people across the planet will be destroyed, there will be mass migration and conflict and to visit many of the present tourist delights will require diving suits. But no. In Malta they have been conducting a referendum on divorce, no worries about the end of civilisation there then. Half of the rest of the world has been transfixed by the Fifa show starring Blatter, the Houdini of soccer, and here at home we have inevitably been focussed on Andrew Lansley who perhaps could be the perfect replacement for Blatter in that fantasy world.
The only conclusion one can draw is that all the mighty people that lead the planet are content to learn that, despite the recession and the various efforts made to reduce emissions, a record 30.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere last year, mainly from fosssil fuel – a rise of 1.6Gt on 2009. According to Faith Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, this is ” the worst news yet on emissions and the prospect is getting bleaker”.
If this year’s emisions rise by as much as they did in 2010, it will apparently be all but impossible to hold warming to a manageable degree. The executive director of Greenpeace, John Suaven, says that time is running out. “This news should shock the world”, he says, adding that far from doing that it has not even weakened the resolve of poiliticians to extract the world’s last remaining reserves of fossil fuels from under the melting ice of the Arctic.
Governments are due to meet next week in Bonn for the next round of talks. Hope at last? Not really, the American and British governments were but two of those who warned that there was little prospect of progress.
Never mind, order your wet suit and draw comfort from the fact that the Maltese decision on divorce consumed more column inches this morning than the desperate situation on global warming.
Appropriate perhaps given that the whole world seems to be increasingly divorced from harsh reality!
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S SPECIAL FOOTBALL QUIZ ; 1. Wilf McGuinness 2. First woman ref of men’s soccer 3. Italy (1990) 4. Man City 5. Richard Branson 6. Liverpool 7. Everton 8. Wigan Athletic 9. 67 games 10. Morocco