Report offers cold, hard truth about global warming

Scientists say Paris deal is not nearly enough to curb harmful global warming

The average global temperature has spiked to dramatic new highs in the past few months.

By Bob Berwyn

The Paris climate agreement will likely be triggered into force within the next few weeks, which marks the beginning — not the end — of an intense effort to try and cap global warming before the planet is overwhelmed by heatwaves, droughts and super storms.

Governments and citizens need to rapidly ramp up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, a group of scientists said this week, releasing a new report showing that the climate pledges made toward the Paris agreement won’t do the trick.

“The INDC’s are totally inadequate to meet the 2-degree Celsius goal,” said British scientist Sir Robert Watson, a former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “Governments must double and redouble their pledges,” he said, adding that it’s almost certain that the average global temperature will surpass the aspirational 1.5 degree goal as soon as 2030.

Under the Paris deal, more than 190 countries agreed to try and limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. Above that, climate change impacts could spiral out of control. And unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut immediately and in a big way, it’s likely the world will pass that 2 degree Celsius threshold as soon as 2050, Watson said.

The report was prepared on behalf the Universal Ecological Fund, an Argentine-based NGO and was co-authored by scientists from Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

During a Sept. 29 teleconference, several of the authors said they released the concise document to give the public more information about climate change, making it clear that the Paris agreement is not enough to prevent catastrophic climate change, and spelling out what must be done in addition to the targets set under the deal.

“Even with all the support in the world, the pledges are not enough. We felt it was appropriate now to point out that we expect more of governments,” Watson said. “it’s important that the average citizen hears about this. It’s necessary to understand the science, and to understand what citizens need to do to make the Paris agreement work. Getting to the 2 degrees target takes action now, not in 15 years. There’s no time to lose.

“Scientists know what to do. We are trying to explain this in a simple way. We believe the public has a critical role in getting governments to take stronger action and the public must know what’s at stake,” said Lillian Hisas, executive director of the Universal Ecological Fund.

The reason that’s not clear yet is because there has been a “miscommunication” of climate change. That has created “misunderstandings in the public, which has led many to perceive climate change as abstract, distant and even controversial,” the authors wrote in their report, citing “deliberate misinformation from deniers and sectors with vested interests in maintaining the current situation.”

From the report (read the full report here):

“There are many signs that the climate is already changing. Yet some think that climate change is only going to happen by the end of the century. Because of this common misunderstanding, the urgency of climate change has been misunderstood by most … Climate change is happening now, and much faster than anticipated. The evidence is what most have been experiencing as unusual weather events, such as changes in average rain patterns leading to floods or droughts, more intense storms, heat waves and wildfires, among others daily examples46. Some of these impacts of climate change already had devastating effects on livelihoods, infrastructure and lives.”

Among other things, the report makes it clear that, along cutting greenhouse gas emissions drastically, the world will have to figure out more efficient ways of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with capture and storage technologies. And countries that are big sources of greenhouse gases must do even more to reduce their emissions, much sooner rather than later.

And ultimately, the change must come at the grassroots level, said co-author Nebojsa Nakicenovic Deputy director general and deputy CEO of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

“I would argue, it is us, individuals, citizens and families. We need pioneers of change in society,” he said. “The public has to demand, for example, no internal combustion engines, no coal power plants, or  at least no new coal power plants carbon capture and storage. We need, as individuals, new values and norms. Business as usual is not going to work.”

“We have to remember, we’re all consumers. When we buy, we’re voting,” said co-author Pablo Canziani a senior scientist with the National Scientific and Technical Research Council, and professor at the National Technological University in Argentina. “I call it the fever of global change … all the things we are doing wrong,” he said.

The cold, hard numbers on climate change are daunting enough, but you also have to realize that the issue has to be addressed in the context of global equity, he said.

“Even as we make these changes, we have provide a better life for the 40 percent that are still outside the economic system,” he concluded.


7 thoughts on “Report offers cold, hard truth about global warming

  1. A bunch of educated, vetted, rational scientists, sporting generous triple digit IQs, versus a man who doesn’t even comprehend the basics of the internet?
    Yeah, the scientists win EVERY TIME … in a landslide.

  2. I hope the “scientists” who claim that we must do without energy will walk to Paris, live in unheated homes, and eat groceries that were not grown on farms…

    1. ***** take notice of the 1958 Report & warning to President Eisenhower about the threats of the massive discharges of gas
      ses and chemicals into the atmosphere.

      ***** take notice of the 11/5/1965 Research Report, Warning & Projections to President Johnson…about the threats of discharges of gases into our atmosphere.
      How could ANY Rational human being think, that there would be NO PRICE TO PAY for the massive dumping of these waste gsses into our atmosphere … for centuries ?
      The out break of skin cancer epidemics world wide, Which was
      Traced back to similar waste gases & chemicals dumped into our atmosphere.
      In smaller amounts than CO2 & Green House Gases, today.
      it took a CONSERVATIVE President & legitimate Scientists to
      address these problems causing the Ozone depletion & Ozone HOLE.
      The browning & dying of vast forests, world wide. Which was
      Traced back to similar waste gases & chemicals dumped into our atmosphere.
      in smaller amounts than CO2 & Green House Gases, today.
      It took another CONSERVATIVE President & legitimate Scientists to
      address these problems causing the ACID RAIN.

  3. These are the same people who claim to be able to foretell the future by foretelling the past…but they do not make predictions according to the standard disclaimers. The cold hard truth is more like any cyclic slide into colder conditions will hike energy prices just as energy generation is to be cut – a very Devilish Deal. The Eskimos are said to believe Hell is cold. We may take up residence.

  4. You must read this report. Floods, droughts, extinctions, and human intraspecific conflicts will all increase as the CO2 now in the atmosphere traps heat and slowly warms the land and sea. Our kettle of fish has been hung over the fire, and the water is warming. Failing to control the releases of greenhouse gasses increases the liklihood of a great collapse that ruins our civilization as well as much more that is unique and beautiful in the world. Reblogged on

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