On Thursday the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative released a report warning that the 2015 Paris Agreement is woefully out-of-date. Before any MAGA members in the audience get excited, that doesn’t mean Trump was right to back out of the agreement. It just means the agreement didn’t go far enough, and the four years lost by the United States could have helped to forestall what is rapidly becoming the greatest disaster the world has ever faced.
It will redound to America’s everlasting shame, thanks to Trump, that the United States was the only nation on earth to repudiate the Paris agreement. Well, like the tax cut of 2017, here’s the part where we get to pay for Trump’s blunders. Whatever headway that could have been made in combating climate change between the four years of the Great American Disaster, 2017 to the beginning of 2021, are lost for all time.
What we’re faced with now is the possibility of an unprecedented rise in ocean temperatures and an unprecedented rise in ocean sea levels. “We have time, but not much time,” reads the report’s preface, written by the president of Chile and prime minister of Iceland. “We cannot negotiate with the melting point of ice.”
According to the report, the only road forward is to ensure that global temperatures do not rise over 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. That turns out to be lower than the two degree maximum set at the Paris agreement. Otherwise we could be facing sea level rises of 20 metres (about 65 feet), higher than the 12 metres cited by the Paris agreement.
What would this mean in human terms? Unprecedented flooding, deaths on an industrial scale and other unknown knock-on effects, all of which we can’t even begin to predict. The great irony is that the depredations of global warming will cause unprecedented increases in immigration, a favourite whining point for the MAGA crowd.
The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly referred to as “COP28,” is set to be held from 30 November until 12 December 2023, at the Expo City, Dubai. No doubt delegates will arrive in private jets and luxuriate in six or seven star hotels, or whatever the rating has climbed to.
No doubt there will be a lot of what Greta Thunberg refers to as “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” But some progress will undoubtedly be made, and we must take our progress in whatever form it comes, no matter how absurd or disagreeable that form might be. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
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