If they’re saying that 1.5 isn’t possible, are you asking us then to accept annihilation?
“I would love for these scientists to speak to the negotiators who are asking us to wait until 2020,” Hood said, making reference to consensus emerging by major polluters — including the European Union, China, the United States, and India — that stronger climate targets can’t go into effect before then. He concluded that “we have to increase the ambition, not decrease the ambition” as the scientific assessment of the greenhouse pollution threat grows more dire.
Climate scientists interviewed by ThinkProgress Green confirm that that they believe it is “impossible” to keep warming below 1.5°C, as there has already been nearly 1°C of warming, there is a multi-decadal delay in the atmospheric response to greenhouse pollution, and there’s no sign of the total global effort that would need to start immediately to have even a small chance of averting such a rise. If warming were somehow to be limited to 1.5°C, scientists found earlier this year, long-term sea level rise would be at least a foot — far better than the several meters possible under higher pollution.
“There are forces acting that are willing to chance the future of the islands because they are unwilling to take meaningful action to stop climate change,” climate scientist John Abraham told ThinkProgress Green, when asked for his candid opinion of Minister Hood’s question.
Yesterday, U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern said that he considers the 2°C goal codified by the G8 and the Cancun Accords to be a “guidepost,” not a “cap that you must meet.”
Read all of the ThinkProgress coverage of the Durban climate talks.