Tuesday, June 05, 2007

We are headed for a global warming disaster beyond the most catastrophic predictions

Analysis and commentary by James R. Stewart, PhD
June 5, 2007

The headline of The Independent (UK) story Global warming 'is three times faster than worst predictions' (June 3, 2007) is not quite accurate, but the actual numbers are almost as scary. It refers to the article in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences, "Global and Regional Drivers of Accelerating CO2 Emissions" (May 22, 2007) which says "A sharp acceleration in global emissions occurred in the early 2000's." (refer to Fig. 1)

My analysis of Fig. 1 shows that the current observed EIA data on CO2 emissions is increasing at a rate 32% higher than the worst case scenario considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The article fails to discuss this 32% number, simply saying, "The emission growth rate since 2000 was greater than for the most fossil-fuel intensive of the IPCC scenarios".

The increase is mainly fed by China, as dramatically seen in Fig. 5. And this is just using 2004 data, which does not reflect the recent increased emissions from China in 2005 and 2006. In addition, the authors make no mention of the fact that their analysis ignores the effects of all other greenhouse gases.

Thus we currently have zero hope of the either the 450 ppm stabilization or even the 650 ppm stabilization scenarios and are headed for a disaster beyond the most catastrophic predictions. Clearly some dramatic action is called for. Any ideas?

Jim Stewart, PhD, Co-chair
Global Warming, Energy & Air Quality Committee
Sierra Club Angeles Chapter
1216 S. Westlake Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90006-4118