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National Academies call for 50% CO2 cut

By Joe Romm  

"National Academies call for 50% CO2 cut"

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The National Academies of 13 countries told the leaders of the biggest polluting countries that “immediate large-scale mitigation action is required.”

While objections have been raised by a few people (well, one person anyway) to these leading scientific groups inserting themselves into the climate debate, the rest of us should be glad they are counseling the world — especially their own countries — toward sanity. The statement is clear on what actions will be needed:

The transition to a low carbon society requires: setting standards; designing economic instruments and promoting energy efficiency across all sectors; encouraging changes in individual behaviour; strengthening technology transfer to enable leapfrogging to cleaner and more efficient technologies; and investing strongly in carbon-removing technologies and low-carbon energy resources: nuclear power, solar energy, hydroelectricity and other renewable energy sources.

The 13 countries urging immediate action to cut global emissions in half are

  1. Brazil
  2. Canada
  3. China
  4. France
  5. Germany
  6. India
  7. Italy
  8. Japan
  9. Mexico
  10. Russia
  11. South Africa
  12. United Kingdom
  13. United States

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16 Responses to National Academies call for 50% CO2 cut

  1. David B. Benson says:

    Anybody paying attention?

  2. Thom says:

    Joe, what you fail to note is that Pielke Jr. is out in front criticizing mainly so that any journalist covering the National Academies statement will be certain to call him to “get the other side.” Basically, Pielke Jr’s body is nothing more than a breathing apparatus attached to an ego (coupled to a deep-seated boyhood insecurity driven by obvious father issues).

  3. A prior strongly worded joint statement from the national science academies got essentially zero press coverage. I’m not as worried about the world’s scientists being balanced by Roger Pielke as I am about this one vanishing the same way other ones have,

    See http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/5/29/16353/2083

    Is there any way we can encourage the press to pick this up? Maybe Andrew Revkin will rise to the occasion this time with more than a passing glance?

    These statements should be big news. In the English-speaking countries, at least, they haven’t been considered important or interesting by the press.

  4. Ronald says:

    It’s written about in Dot Earth so Andrew Revkin came through.

    How many of these Scientific organizations are there? Then how many have come out the same way as these? I know somebody is making a list of all these scientific organizations, maybe that should have some influence on delayer/deniers.

    Maybe Brittany Spears or Lindsay Lohan or some others could be made honorary members of these Academies. It might get some press to come out and while they are there someone can mention this other thing, that global warming thing.

  5. hapa says:

    i like the conclusions. is it the first time i’ve seen anyone official, outside the UN, call for vulnerability analyses? no probably not.

    2050 though. that’s a lot of pollution between now and then. on the plus side, the russian signed it!

  6. Phil says:

    Is 50% a cut in emissions by 2050 enough? What will that leave the CO2 concentrations at?

    On the one hand, we have Britain’s Royal Society calling for a 50% cut, on the other, the UL’s prime minister Gordon Brown throwing his rattle out of his playpen and demanding that the OPEC nations increase oil “production”.

    Can we start calling oil “production” “oil consumption”, please, because that’s what these so-called “production” figures are measuring. (Oil is produced over many millions of years by slow geological processes, not by people digging holes in the ground).

  7. hapa says:

    Is 50% a cut in emissions by 2050 enough? What will that leave the CO2 concentrations at?

    if it’s a straight line reduction, starting in a few years, with no growth in natural emissions, ha ha, maybe no less than 460ppm? but of course they’re not proposing an unchanging plan; they want a commitment.

  8. Dennis says:

    These academies, and countless other ones devoted to specific scientific discplines, have repeatedly issued similar statements. They reflect the collective scientific research of tens of thousdands of scientists. Yes, when I repeatedly bring these facts up to climate change deniers, all I hear is “They’re a biased group because they don’t reflect the views of Dr. so-and-so.” I’d rather see these academies issue point-by-point refutations of the Dr. so-and-so’s out there. Because these statements are ignored in the media.

  9. john says:

    Re pielke — I think thom has it about right.

    Re: 50% reduction being enough — no, not at all. Woefully inadequate. While I’m glad to see that they call for immediate action, their 2050 goal is nothing short of dangerous.

    One of the hardest things for serious advocates of mitigating global warming to do is to resist the tempatation to back medicore legislation or to cheer calls for inadequate measures.

    The next denier tactic will be to embrace minimums and half-measures because they realize they are ruining their credibility with outright denial. Minimalist goals like these will feed their arguements. Moreover, the poltical dynamic is such that we’ll get one shot at getting this stuff right, and then it’ll go on hold for a decade or so.

    If our target is 50%, we will hit feedbacks that will result in runaway global warming. The next two decades are critical — real cuts have to start now. We’re already seeing increases in atmospheric methane, which could be the bow wave of arctic methane gasing off.

    The only conceivable glide path to peaking at 450ppm requires us to cut GHG by 80% against 2000 levels by 2050 (while crossing our fingers that we don’t trigger a positive feedback in the meantime).

    Calling for anything short of that isn’t good news. It’s future fodder for deniers.

  10. Dennis, it is much easier to come up with a reasonable-sounding misleading argument than it is to refute it in a way that is both reasonable sounding and actually correct.

    Well, strictly speaking, replace “correct” with “consistent with current evidence”.

    There, did you see how I had to back down to a slightly weaker but much wordier position? Just then?

    Refuting misleading statements is something many climate scientists try to do, but we do it in our spare time and without any real training in polemics, and with a much stronger constraint than the various fringe cases on the denial side have to work with.

    See http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2007/03/bambi-vs-godzilla.html which I call Mamet’s Principle. As long as the public isn’t paying close attention, telling the truth is actually harder than lying.

  11. David B. Benson says:

    hapa — THe Russian Academy joined in. Unlikely, IMO, that the Russian govenment or people will pay the slightest attention.

    As best as I can tell, the attitude in Russia is “Global warming? Bring it on!”

  12. hapa says:

    sure, think of the money it’ll save them on icebreakers. and ermine coats, and sleighs, and gulag HVAC.

  13. Harold Pierce Jr says:

    ATTN: Michael Tobis

    I just presented rock-solid, bullet-proof empirical evidence that GHG’s do not presently contibuted to any global warming. Moreover, all temp records should be analyzed by Anfrew M.’s method.

    [JR: Yes, you have singlehandedly debunked the work of all the leading climate scientists in the world in hundreds of studies and real-world observation over decades -- NOT! Please take such nonsense elsewhere.]

  14. Tony says:

    In a very few years we will all be screaming “Why weren’t we told?”

  15. Harold Pierce Jr says:

    If you can’t take Harold’s heat, then…..

    I taking such nonsense to the editors of the WSJ. I highly recommend that you stop buying phony baloney from that deli in NYC.

  16. Harold Pierce Jr says:

    Hey Joe!

    I made a copy of my comment for posting elsewhere with the title “RE: Joe Romm Can’t Take Harold’s Heat! It was foolish of you to whack it!

    BTW: The deli is on West 112th street.

    [JR: Post elsewhere all you want. This site is not for reprinting long-debunked disinformation.]