Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
Science is unified. And 200 international climate scientists are urging the governments of the world to take their unified advice. Agree on strong emissions targets, they said in a declaration issued at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali today. Reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 50% below 1990 levels by 2050. (The Kyoto Protocol aims for developed nations to decrease 5% below 1990 levels by 2012.) Nature reports:
They declare that the goal "must be to limit global warming to no more than 2 ºC above the pre-industrial temperature". Many countries [not the US] have already taken this limit as a benchmark figure for attempting to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, which would put millions of people around the world at risk from extreme-weather events.
And all kinds of other ills.
Meanwhile, there's a growing sense in science that setting firm emissions targets may be short-sighted. That we need to continually adjust our targets as time passes and the consequences of previous cuts become apparent. In other words, to act with the kind of intelligence we insist our species possesses.
Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.