How did Copenhagen Fail Thee? Let Me Count the Degrees…

Bad news on the climate front according to Joeri Rogel and colleagues in their pessimistic new article in Nature, “Copenhagen Accord pledges are paltry.”  Their bottom line is that even if we were to gird up our loins and somehow comply with the agreements of the recent Copenhagen accord, we’re still looking at 2C+ increases in global mean temperature.  (And for those of you who think those accords will actually be met probably could stand a splash of cold water in the face).

Taking a look at the figure on the right, you can see that the authors have done a probabilistic analysis of likely scenarios, with the 50% percentile being the “expected” or “best guess” case. As you can see, that is somewhere north of 2C, with 3C not being out of the question within 90 years.

If you have been paying attention I doubt you will find this all that novel of a conclusion.  In the recent Povolny lecture, Yoram Bauman expressed pessimism on the climate front.  The emerging tigers like China and India aren’t going to curb emissions and potentially hamstring economic growth.  Rich countries are rich and can afford to take adaptive steps.  Poor countries can’t adapt, but also are too poor to do anything but see how the experiment plays out.

That seems about right to me.