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View Diary: Magical Thinking Prevails in Copenhagen (160 comments)

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  •  What exactly was everyone expecting? (10+ / 0-)

    Nobody in the climate community that I know thinks that 350 ppm by 2050 is realistic. Maybe if we'd started, say, 12 years ago when the world last met to deal with this we might have had a chance. There are time constants built into the system we're not going to get around at this point, and because of this and the fact that the system is nonlinear the longer we put off action the vastly MUCH more difficult any action will be. We've waited far too long and all the good options left the station a long time ago. And the longer we wait the more the semipalatable options will also leave, and then the mostly but not entirely crap options. Please understand the timescales we're facing here, please understand the nonlinearities we're facing here.

    At this point there are two players who matter, at least to the point that if both do not act promptly and effectively nothing else will work -- China and the US. Those two account for 40% of CO2 emissions, and those two are joined at the hip: we want their credit and their low production costs, they want our consumption. China and the US are similar in another way: neither likes binding limits "out of principle" (sovereignty). That is lame, as both, of course, are party to just as binding economic agreements. Time to grow up already.

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