Not even close.
So warned IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri last fall when the IPCC released its major multi-year report synthesizing our understanding of climate science. And remember Pachauri was handpicked by the Bush administration to replace the “alarmist” Bob Watson. It’s the facts that make scientists alarmists, not their politics (see “Desperate times, desperate scientists“).
What happens if we fail to act in time to avert the climate catastrophe?
- We cross carbon-cycle tipping points, such as the loss of the tundra, beyond which there is “no redemption.”
- We head toward CO2 concentrations this century that are triple or quadruple preindustrial levels.
- We should expect 0.8 to 2.0 meters of sea level rise this century, inundating the homes of 100 million people.
- We face desertification of one third the planet and loss of the glaciers that provide water to a billion people.
- We face loss of more than two thirds of the species on the planet, and a hot, acidic, and largely lifeless ocean
- We face humanity’s self-destruction — 6°C total planetary warming.
Worst of all, this utterly preventable catastrophe is probably irreversible on a time-scale of centuries, and thus threatens the health and well-being of our children and the their children and the next 50 generations.
A trillion-dollar climate rescue package would put us on the path to avert these catastrophic outcomes, jumpstart the transition to a clean energy economy, while largely paying for itself in energy savings. It would also sharply reduce the $10 to $20 trillion transfer of wealth to the oil exporters that we can expect over the next quarter century alone. Air pollution would drop sharply and millions of jobs would be created.
What happens if we fail to act in time to avert the financial catastrophe that Treasury Secretary Paulson says is now upon us: