GOP Candidates Receive Failing Grades on Climate as 2015 Smashes Global Temperature Records
by Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report –
The recently concluded COP21 climate conference in Paris was hailed by much of the mainstream media as a success.
Nevertheless, the reality of what the talks produced immediately came under fire from critics, as well as from many people who were directly involved in the talks.
The crux of those criticisms is this: The countries’ pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions are all voluntary, and nothing is binding or even enforceable.
“Since the only mechanism remains voluntary national caps on emissions, without even any guidance on how stringent those caps would need to be, it is hard to be optimistic that these goals are likely to be achieved,” Professor John Shepherd of the National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton, told the BBC.
In advance of the conference, Pope Francis warned, perhaps far more accurately than he was aware, “I am not sure, but I can say to you ‘now or never.’ Every year the problems are getting worse. We are at the limits. If I may use a strong word, I would say that we are at the limits of suicide.”
From rising sea levels to melting glaciers and permafrost, evidence of abrupt climate disruption continues to mount.
In the wake of another COP21 climate conference that failed to bring about the kind of dramatic, global, impactful, binding, and most importantly, rapid shifts necessary to seriously mitigate the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), scientific reports underscoring the magnitude of our situation continue to pour in.
For instance, a recent study by researchers from the University of Leicester shows that increasingly warm ocean water temperatures could stop oxygen production by phytoplankton.
“This would likely result in the mass mortality of animals and humans,” said the author of the study, Sergei Petrovskii. “About two-thirds of the planet’s total atmospheric oxygen is produced by ocean phytoplankton – and therefore cessation would result in the depletion of atmospheric oxygen on a global scale,” Petrovskii, who also led the study, added.During the climate talks in Paris, leading climate scientist Kevin Anderson warned that the crisis is even more severe than most scientists are willing to admit. Anderson, who is deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said that many scientists are “self-censoring” their work in order to downplay the severity of the climate crisis.
As if to put a period on the end of the run-on sentence that was the COP21, former NASA scientist James Hansen, known as the father of ACD awareness, recently told the Guardian that the Paris talks were “a fraud” and that the global deal reached on cutting carbon emissions was in actuality “no action, just promises.”
“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he said. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”
From rising sea levels to melting glaciers and permafrost, evidence of abrupt ACD continues to mount.
A recent study by the University of Sheffield’s Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures shows that the planet has lost one-third of its arable land in just the past 40 years. Due to erosion augmented by ACD, as well as pollution, the loss of land will likely bring disastrous consequences as demands for food across the globe continue to soar.
“You think of the dust bowl of the 1930s in North America and then you realise we are moving towards that situation if we don’t do something,” Duncan Cameron, professor of plant and soil biology at the University of Sheffield, told the Guardian. “We are increasing the rate of loss and we are reducing soils to their bare mineral components. We are creating soils that aren’t fit for anything except for holding a plant up.”
Reprinted with permission from Truthout