Monday, February 18, 2013

Ex-IPCC head: Prepare for 5°C warmer world

The scientist, Sir Robert Watson, chaired the Panel from 1997 until 2002, when he was ousted after U.S. pressure for his removal.The world has missed the chance to keep greenhouse gas emissions below the level needed to prevent the temperature climbing above 2° Celsius, according to the British scientist who used to chair the IPCC, theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Watson said there is a 50-50 chance of preventing global average temperatures rising more than 3°C above their level at the start of the industrial age, but a 5°C rise is possible. That would mean the Earth warming more than it has since the end of the last Ice Age.
Speaking at a symposium at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Watson said: “All the promises in the world, which we’re not likely to realize anyway, will not give us a world with only a 2°C rise. All the evidence, in my opinion, suggests we’re on our way to a 3°C to 5°C world.
“Some people are suggesting that we try to geo-engineer our way out of the problem, intervening in the climate system to moderate warming.
“I’m very, very nervous about that,” he said “It shows a level of arrogance that we know how to manage our environment. It certainly needs a lot of research.”
Watson concluded: “There are cost-effective and equitable solutions to address climate change, but political will and moral leadership is needed, and the changes in policies, practices and technologies required are substantial and not currently under way.”
Watson told the Climate News Network: “We’re going to have more people in the world and they’ll be wealthier, so energy demand is bound to rise.
“We look like having huge quantities of gas from shale. That can be a useful transitional tool: it emits half the carbon you get from coal. But it’s not a long-term solution, unless you can use it with carbon capture and storage, CCS. I’m optimistic that CCS can work, but it’s got to be shown to work, and what costs and energy penalties it will entail.

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