We’ve just left the hottest decade on record, just as we did 10 years ago when the 1990s ended, and we’ve entered what will doubtless also be the hottest decade on record, much as we will 10 years from now when the 2020s start.
This year, which will mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in April, may well determine whether every decade this century will become the hottest decade on record, taking us up to 10°F planetary warming by the 2o90s, accompanied by catastrophic sea level rise, widespread Dust Bowl-ification, ocean acidification, and the destruction of a livable climate (see review of latet science here) — or whether the nation and the world are wise enough to reverse our greenhouse gas emissions trend quickly and sharply.
After spending a week in Copenhagen, and talking to people from around the world, as well as leading administration officials and members of Congress, I think it is now clear that virtually every major emitting country in the world is prepared to take strong action (see My take on the Copenhagen Accord). Indeed, in the months leading up to Copenhagen, the major emitters made public commitments that would bring us nearly 2/3 of the way to the emissions reductions needed by 202o to get on a path that would keep us at 4°F warming. Brazil is already enacting its commitment into law.
But the fate of the international deal rests to a large extent on the fate of the U.S. climate and clean energy bill, which passed the House in June 2009 and is too-slowly winding its way through the Senate. The bill continues to have broad bipartisan public support despite a massive disinformation campaign against it launched by the big polluters: