Two leading climate experts warn that Copenhagen will not be enough: Should cap and trade be augmented by geo-engineering or simply scrapped?
One climate change expert favors the development of geo-engineering technologies that ‘suck’ greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. Another prefers a scrapping of proposed policies for the UNFCCC at Copenhagen such as cap and trade, which he sees as ‘business as usual’ as far as the climate is concerned.
“There are enough technologies in existence to allow for mitigation,” he said. “At some point we will have to cross over and start sucking some of those gases out of the atmosphere.”
–IPCC Chief Rajendra Pachauri (source: London Times)
In an interview with the (London) Times Rajendra Pachauri, Chief of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated his belief that the targets to limit emissions that will be proposed by governments at Copenhagen ‘may be insufficient to prevent catastrophic warming impacts such as a rise in sea levels of between 0.5m and 1.4m (1.6ft and 4.6ft) and enough to devastate many coastal cities around the world such as Shanghai, Calcutta and Dhaka.’ Dr. Pachauri suggests geo-engineering as a possible solution to reduce emissions levels. Geo-engineering techniques are controversial amongst both scientists and environmentalists. They include cloud seeding, boosting plankton growth in the oceans, and various methods of carbon capture and storage.
‘The scientist who convinced the world to take notice of the looming danger of global warming says it would be better for the planet and for future generations if next week’s Copenhagen climate change summit ended in collapse.’
James Hansen is ‘the world’s pre-eminent climate scientist’ according to an article in the Guardian from December 2nd, which featured an interview with Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Dr. Hansen was one of the first to call attention to the phenomenon of global warming and has been researching and campaigning on issues relating to climate change for over twenty years. But he condemns current policies and propositions by the world’s major governments on how to deal with it. According to the Guardian, ‘Hansen is also fiercely critical of Barack Obama – and even Al Gore, who won a Nobel peace prize for his efforts to get the world to act on climate change – saying politicians have failed to meet what he regards as the moral challenge of our age.’ A similar article in the London Times from December 3rd states Hansen’s position ‘that the only effective way to control global warming was to institute an increasing “carbon tax”, not “cap and trade”.’
Australian environmentalist Dr Tim Flannery does not agree with Hansen’s criticisms of cap and trade and is decidedly less pessimistic about Copenhagen. From Australia’s ABC News:
“The cap-and-trade bill that we need is just so essential to the international negotiations” […] “I think Copenhagen is an important step, but it is a step on a longer process. And it’s facing some difficult issues.”
–Tim Flannery (source: ABC News)
By Graham Land