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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

It is now too late – expect the worst

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I turned from depressing news in Canada to my favourite paper, The Guardian, too find even worse news. And that is not their headline. They put in a question mark – and the weasel words “scientists say”.

The body of the story has no such reluctance to face reality

carbon emissions since 2000 have risen much faster than anyone thought possible, driven mainly by the coal-fuelled economic boom in the developing world.

The CO2 level is currently over 380ppm, up from 280ppm at the time of the industrial revolution, and it rises by more than 2ppm each year. The government’s official position is that the world should aim to cap this rise at 450ppm.

That’s the UK government, of course. 350ppm is what is actually needed to prevent further warming. But much of the rest of the article talks about how difficult it is going to be to hit targets higher (worse) than  both those levels. And also about how the process of climate change has started accelerating. The oceans and the forests are less able to soak up CO2 and the peat bogs of Siberia once gripped by permafrost are now melting.

And at the current talks in Poznan that are supposed to be dealing with the problem “Support for renewable energy technology to fight global warming is weakening in the face of worldwide economic problems and the true scale of the carbon reductions required”.

Written by Stephen Rees

December 9, 2008 at 11:07 am

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