Scientist Kevin Anderson on the 4 Degree world we're headed for
Kevin Anderson: Real clothes for the Emperor: Facing the Challenges of Climate Change
Cabot Lecture given at Bristol, 6th November 2012
"If we peak by 2020 we come down off the curve at 3.5% per annum that's the sort of stuff we've
been talking about, we can hold to four degrees C. Four degrees C is doable....
Lots of the things will not work in that sort of world. Not been designed for that sort of future certainly not with the populations that we have and the urban heat island effect on top of it. Ten to twelve degrees in New York. These are high really very high temperatures and the infrastructures and the way we live out lives could not deal with these things. Remember in London, what was it three days food, this could be a good thing, there's three days food in London? For those sort of temperatures you may find that there's no transport network. So in three days, you know, things won't be working. The fridge probably won't work because the air conditioning unit's been blasted away so you'll probably be blowing the fuses on the grid. So, you know, this is not a world that we know how to contemplate and at four degrees C hmm think at lower latitudes the estimates are that you'll see significant reductions, 30 to 40% reductions in some of the staple crops in maize and rice and so forth. At the same time the population is heading towards nine billion. So this is the sort of four degrees C world.
...So if we do everything we say we're going to do, but that we're not doing, hmm then we still can't hold
two degrees C. Four degrees C by 2050, 2070 doesn't seem unreasonable if you look at the current
projections of emissions ."
I got to this lecture from Radio Ecoshock. Lots of stuff in here to contemplate. We only have a few years to peak in emissions, which means an urgent drop in consumption/demand because we don't have the time to build up sufficient renewable energy in that time frame.
"Real hope, if it is to rise at all, will do so from an honest assessment of the scale of the challenge. It
is, admittedly, very uncomfortable: the numbers are brutal and the hope is tenuous – but it still exists. Brazilian philosopher and politician Robert Unger captured the essence of our challenge when he observed: ‘At every level the greatest obstacle to transforming the world is that we lack the clarity and the imagination that it could be different".