Feeds

AARGH! We're ALL DOOMED, bellows UN - right on schedule

It REALLY is the last chance this time, honest. Ho hum

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

With the next round of international climate change talks looming, the usual sources are issuing the usual warnings that if massive cuts in carbon emissions aren't agreed then we're definitely really doomed this time.

This time it's the UN Environment Programme, which has just lobbed out a report saying that the "Greenhouse Gas Emissions Gap" is out of control:

Greenhouse gas emissions levels are now around 14 per cent above where they need to be in 2020.

Instead of declining, concentration [sic] of warming gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) are actually increasing in the atmosphere-up around 20 per cent since 2000.

If no swift action is taken by nations, emissions are likely to be at 58 gigatonnes (Gt) in eight years' time ... in part as a result of projected economic growth in key developing economies ...

Previous assessment reports have underlined that emissions need to be on average at around 44 Gt or less in 2020 to lay the path for the even bigger reductions needed at a cost that is manageable.

"This report is a reminder that time is running out," comments Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. But she insists: "the policy tools to allow the world to stay below a maximum 2 degrees Celsius are still available to governments".

The full report can be read in pdf here.

Comment

Of course Ms Figueres is right. If the world's governments choose to they can easily achieve the carbon reductions called for by the UNEP, IPCC and similar organisations: provided they can maintain authority over their citizens, anyway.

They might even be able to do so without destroying the world economy, by moving largely to nuclear power. The Fukushima disaster - following which not a single person is set to be measurably harmed by radiation - has shown that nuclear power is safe, and new research strongly suggests that it is sustainable for the foreseeable future too. However, these facts are not widely known and such a course is not being considered by any government.

Unfortunately the alternative, massive use of renewable power, means economic disaster and global poverty; and indeed all the more honest green campaigning groups admit this. They generally suggest that the human race should abandon any aspiration to greater wealth (or even maintenance of the same wealth, in the case of rich nations), and focus instead on some other goal.

But realistically, even if a few governments are willing to inflict misery on their people in pursuit of green goals - and some are, notably the British government - China and other developing powers are not. It seems unlikely that the US will move to weaken itself unilaterally as China's power grows, so it matters not at all that a few western European nations are content to hobble their own economies.

So nothing will happen at the Doha talks, and the carbon gap will appear. Given that global temperatures have obstinately refused to go up over the past decade and more, and even if they do the consequences seem likely to be fairly minor, that may not be such a bad thing after all. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
Another step forward for diamond-based quantum computers
Square cut or pear-shaped, these qubits don't lose their shape
LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms
Is that an ARMADILLO in your PANTS or are you just pleased to see me?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.