Fools Rule

Paperback $17.95

Aug 07, 2012 | 352 Pages

Ebook $13.99

Oct 25, 2011

  • Paperback $17.95

    Aug 07, 2012 | 352 Pages

  • Ebook $13.99

    Oct 25, 2011

Praise

“William Marsden is one of the finest investigative journalists to ever come out of Canada.”
The Gazette
 
“A well-researched, highly readable follow-up to…Stupid to the Last Drop.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
 
“A thorough journalistic exposure of the denial which currently undermines our political negotiations and an affirmation of the primacy of the science which points to inescapable climate change.”
Hot Topic (New Zealand)
 
“Marsden in full, angry, rhetorical flight is a force to behold.” Toronto Star
 
“As Marsden’s book amply demonstrates, a new course on addressing climate change is essential if we’re going to save more human lives in the future.”
The Georgia Straight

Author Essay

These atmospheric GHG increases corresponded with a record global mean temperature increase in 2010, which, according to the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization, was one of the three warmest years recorded since 1850. The ten-year period beginning in 2001 was the warmest since the beginning of instrumental records. The decade was about half a degree Celsius higher than the annual average between 1961 and 1990, which is an extraordinary hike. Corresponding to this temperature rise were record numbers of extreme weather events.
  
Massive floods swamped Pakistan; murderous mudslides swallowed villagers in China; unseasonal monsoons flooded areas of south Asia; rainfall 152 percent above normal flooded northeastern Australia; drought led to record-low water levels in the northwestern Amazon basin; sandstorms killed crops in the Middle East. Scientists confirmed the accelerated melting of the world’s mountain glaciers as well as the great Arctic ice fields and ice sheets in Canada and Greenland. Satellites and ocean monitoring showed sea levels rising slowly because of glacial melting and the expanding thermal effect of warmer waters. The scorecard was not promising.
 
By the time negotiators arrived in Cancún on November 29, the deteriorating state of mankind’s planet was no longer a distant risk debated by scientists. It was here and now and on every diplomat’s lips. Scientists may shy away from blaming a specific event on global warming, but extreme weather and strange seasonal anomalies had traced a worrisome and now-familiar pattern over the face of the last decade. Heading into the Cancún negotiations, these events spoke volumes.
 
Huhne was blunt. “The pattern of these events and frequency of these events is due to climate change,” he told the conference. He claimed the U.K. had paid out 4.5 billion pounds for flood damage in 2010 alone, compared with only 1.5 billion pounds in the previous ten years. This is why the U.K.’s Hadley Centre had combined with several other climate institutions to create what they call the Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change Program (AVOID). Advanced climate models showed that we probably have delayed too long to avoid serious damage from climate change. To give us a 90 percent chance of limiting temperature growth to below 2 degrees Celsius, AVOID’s advanced climate models showed we would have to stop immediately all global emissions and we would probably have to employ “some geo-engineering intervention.” For a 50 percent chance, we would have to reduce emissions at least 6 percent each year. Delaying action also means it will take longer to experience the benefits of emission reductions.
 
Scientists were getting panicky. A post-Copenhagen study by the Royal Society in the United Kingdom concluded that delays in reaching a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were such that there is “virtually no chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.” For these scientists, the window of opportunity had closed.


From the Hardcover edition.

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