CLIMATE CODE RED: in a nutshell
EXCLUSIVE: It’s official, we’re losing climate change battle
The world is losing the battle against climate change, with global carbon emissions rising sharply last year, a hard-hitting scientific paper due out today will show.
Dr Michael Raupach, co-chair of the Global Carbon Project, told Carbon News today that mankind needs to move to the equivalent of a war footing if it is to have any chance of combating the major consequences of climate change.
“I don’t like the analogy, but a lot of people have said we need to treat this as if we need to go to a war footing,” he said from France.
The Global Carbon Project report, to be released in Washington today, shows that carbon dioxide emissions caused by humans have grown four times faster since 2000 than they did during the 1990s – despite international attempts to curb emissions.
In 2007, world carbon dioxide emissions rose 3.5 per cent. New Zealand’s carbon dioxide emissions have been growing at 0.82 per cent a year since 2000, but the report does not look at methane, New Zealand’s largest greenhouse gas.
Raupach, an Australian-based carbon-cycle scientist, says that while the growth is not surprising, it is alarming.
“I am personally worried that climate change and the resultant pressures of humans on the Earth’s systems are pushing us into a state from which we won’t be able to recover without crashing, as civilisations do,” he said.
The report, which officially confirms China as the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, is a wake-up call to countries that think they are adequately addressing climate change by introducing emissions trading scheme, he says.
“Emissions trading schemes take time to take effect, because first you have to have the economic impact, then you have to have the technological change. The average life of a family car is 10 to 15 years, and the average life of a power station is 30 to 40 years.”
Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons told Carbon News that she agrees with Raupach’s call for a war footing.
“This is a more critical threat to the future of humans than we have had yet,” she said.
Story copyright © Carbon News 2008