Once the sky starts falling down there is no way stopping it . . .
How bad is the situation? Well, who knows? Have we got three years? Do you remember the “precautionary principle”? Better play safe . . .
“As 20 leaders of the world’s largest economies gather on 7–8 July (2017) at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, we call on them to highlight the importance of the 2020 climate turning point for greenhouse-gas emissions . . .” This appeal is sent out by a team of scientists in Nature, 29 June 2017. The danger of the situation is summarised in a diagram where the crunch is: the longer we delay, the harder will it be to return to any kind of normality.
For the past three years, worldwide CO2 emissions from fossil fuels have stayed flat, while the global economy and the gross domestic product (GDP) of major developed and developing nations have grown by at least 3.1% per year.
The numbers in the two diagrams do not quite tally, maybe because they come from different source. The point is that there is some hope, as it seems that the pace of CO2 emission is not accelerating but staying stable, even when the economy is expanding. (Earlier, faster economic growth has meant increased annual emissions.)
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/climate/carbon-in-atmosphere-is-rising-even-as-emissions-stabilize.html?_r=0 reports that even if emissions are stabilising, the atmospheric content of CO2 keeps rising. Does that mean that “sponges” such as the sea do not absorb and store as much CO2 as before? What is going on?