Saturday, 8 April 2017

The US is now the no.1 rogue climate state and the world’s largest threat

This recent piece in Science spelled out the enormous task the world faces to meet the Paris climate goals, i.e. what we need to do globally to stop runaway catastrophic climate change, and these tasks are in stark contrast to yesterday’s announcement by Trump that the US will increase its pollution and effectively screw the rest of the world.

The tasks have been neatly summarised here but in essence:

Global CO2 emissions have to halve every 10 years until 2050 where they need to be at net zero. They describe this as the ‘carbon law’ (similar to ‘Moore’s Law on computer power which doubles every 18 months).

  1. Emissions from agriculture and deforestation have to fall to zero by 2050.
  2. Carbon sequestration needs to take 5 gigatons of CO2 out of the atmosphere each year by 2050 (we currently emit 40 gt and the world’s trees and soil suck up about 2.5 gt each year).
  3. These tasks are huge and require global cooperation and mobilisation of decarbonisation on a scale similar to being on a war footing. 

Obviously it seems that very little is happening to achieve this but…

…just four days after this was published, Trump scrapped the US effort to reduce
carbon. The US is the second largest CO2 emitting country, emitting 17% of the world’s CO2) which effectively means that without their cooperation the battle to stop climate change is an order of magnitude harder.

To my reckoning, this makes the US the greatest threat to the planet. It makes the US a rogue state. The threat that the US now poses to the entire world is beyond measure and needs a concerted response from those nations who want a future.

It will be interesting to see what reaction the world has to Trump’s climate assault on the rest of the world. It will be interesting to see if any other nation even comments, let alone starts discussing what measures it will take against the US.

No comments: