Monbiot: Report futile in the face of runaway climate change

From The Guardian, December 2, a column by George Monbiot commenting on Lord Turner’s cliamte change report. More at Monbiot’s blog.

Some excerpts: “It has the admirable objective of trying to cap global warming at two degrees or a little more. This, it says, means that greenhouse gas pollution in the UK should fall by 80% by 2050 and by 31% by 2020. But there’s a problem. There is no longer any likely relationship between an 80% cut and two degrees of warming. This gets a little complicated, but please bear with me while I explain why Turner’s proposal is about as likely to stop runaway climate change as the Maginot Line was to hold back the Luftwaffe.

“The 80% cut he recommends for the UK more or less matches a global target of 50% by 2050. A 50% global cut, the report says, would make roughly two degrees of warming a “central expectation” and would reduce the probability of four degrees (which it calls “extremely dangerous climate change”) to less than 1%.

“Turner claims that to keep the temperature rise close to two degrees, the world’s greenhouse gas emissions must peak in 2016 then fall by either 3% or 4% a year. A 3% rate of decline is most likely to deliver a temperature rise of 2.2 degrees this century; a 4% annual cut would produce about a 2.1 degree rise. That’s more or less consistent with his 2050 targets.”