Monday, December 14, 2015

Wishin' and hopin'

Last night I a wonderful dream about you
Hope that it will come true
      - The Majors
Only trouble is
Gee wiz
I'm dreaming my life away
     - Everly Brothers
       Well the Paris extravaganza is over.  Time to celebrate?  A historic agreement ?
  Here's a good analysis from Brad Plummer at Vox 
Dr James Hanson doesn't seem too impressed.  He calls it a fraud.
Kevin Anderson gives is 4 out of ten.  See also here.  Anderson notes that it is weaker than Copenhagen.  One of the problems is that the agreement uses the word "should instead of "shall.  This terminology  was insisted on by the US, as "shall" would be a deal breaker.
Here's an interesting analysis from "New Internationalist" which suggests four evaluation criteria
"To meet the People’s Test, the Paris deal would need to do the following four things:
1. Catalyze immediate, urgent and drastic emission reductions;
2. Provide adequate support for transformation; 
3. Deliver justice for impacted people; 
4. Focus on genuine, effective action rather than false solutions;
Does the deal pass the test? The 15,000 people who took to the Paris streets today to condemn the agreement clearly didn’t think so.
On the other hand, most mainstream folk try to  "keep on the sunny side", by calling it a "good first step", recognizing that the agreement doesn't do much,  and expressing hope for better things in the future.   Even if the agreement was enforceable-  which it isn't  - the "commitments" would still allow temperatures
 to rise about 3 degrees above pre industrial levels.
    So, hopeful people say maybe it will set the stage for future actions.   Things like -  new "voluntary limits" to be agreed to later,   a market based revolution in energy production turning away from FF's.  or new technology to pull CO2 out of the air.
Which view you take may depend more on your general attitude than anything else..
Maybe Elizabeth Kolbert put it best ( from here)
"Elizabeth Kolbert - author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History - sums it up.  In one clip from Racing Extinction linked at the Rolling Stone article, she says in a voice of weary resignation, “We have these prehistoric brains, and we have this god-like technology…and when you bring them together, the result is not necessarily a happy one”.

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