Actual global carbon emissions (in black) have tracked close to the worst case scenario (brown) laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Dips are related to global recessions. Graph by: Dana Nuccitelli/Skeptical Science.
Climate change not debt or austerity is “the greatest economic challenge of the 21st Century,” according to Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Lagarde painted a stark picture of the challenges the world faces when up against rising temperatures.
“The science is sobering—the global temperature in 2012 was among the hottest since records began in 1880. Make no mistake: without concerted action, the very future of our planet is in peril,” she said. “So we need growth, but we also need green growth that respects environmental sustainability. Good ecology is good economics. This is one reason why getting carbon pricing right and removing fossil fuel subsidies are so important.”
Lagarde, who said that “vulnerability” to “resource scarcity and climate change” could lead to “major social and economic disruption,” was France’s finance minister under Nicholas Sarkozy.
More and more of the world’s top economists are warning that the failure to act quickly on climate change is putting the global economy at risk. Last year the head of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, laid out a stark warning on climate change as well.
“Lack of action on climate change threatens to make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today,” he said. “Climate change is one of the single biggest challenges facing development, and we need to assume the moral responsibility to take action on behalf of future generations, especially the poorest.”
Kim’s statements followed the release of a report by the World Bank that painted an almost-apocalyptic picture of a world where global temperatures have risen 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. According to the report, in a 4 degree Celsius world society would face constant disruptions to global agriculture, flooding of coastal cities, an acidifying ocean, and an anemic, at best, economy. While nations have pledged to keep global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius, scientists say they are moving too slowly and weakly to succeed.
In response to a question on climate change, Lagarde concluded that “unless we take action on climate change, future generations will be roasted, toasted, fried and grilled.”
(01/30/2013) A new chart by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows how China’s coal habit has grown to such an extent that it now accounts for 46.9 percent of the world’s consumption. In 2011 coal consumption hit 3.8 billion tons in China, making up nearly half the world’s coal use of 8.1 billion tons. Coal comes with a number of environmental issues—including toxic air and water pollution—but the most pressing globally is climate change.
(01/22/2013) Glaciers are melting faster than ever in the tropical Andes, warns a new study published in The Cryosphere, which puts the blame for vanishing glaciers squarely on climate change. The study — the most comprehensive to date — found that since the 1970s glacier melt in the region has been speeding up, threatening freshwater supplies in Peru and Bolivia.
(01/21/2013) In Obama’s second inauguration speech today, the newly re-elected president of the U.S. reaffirmed his commitment to taking action on climate during his second term. Noting that ignoring climate change would “betray our children and future generations,” Obama argued whole-heartedly for a transition to clean energy.
(01/15/2013) 2012 was the ninth warmest year since annual record-keeping began in 1880 say NASA scientists who cited rising greenhouse gas emissions as the chief culprit.
(01/15/2013) Soot is the second largest man-made contributor to global warming, according to a comprehensive new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.
(01/14/2013) Climate change is on the march across the U.S. according to a new draft report written by U.S. government scientists with input from 240 experts. It documents increasing and worsening extreme weather, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification among other impacts. Released Friday for public review, the report will be officially launched later this year or early in 2014.
(01/10/2013) Global strategist, trained educator, and international lecturer Daniel Rirdan set out to create a plan addressing the future of our planet. His book The Blueprint: Averting Global Collapse, published this year, does just that. “It has been a sixty hour a week routine,” Rirdan told mongabay.com in a recent interview. “Basically, I would wake up with the burden of the world on my shoulders and go to sleep with it. It went on like this for eighteen months.” It becomes apparent when reading The Blueprint that it was indeed a monumental undertaking.