"Despite 17 years of negotiations since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, global greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise. Since 2000 the rates of annual emissions growth have increased at rates at the upper end of the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] scenarios, presenting the global community with a stark challenge: either instigate an immediate and radical reversal in existing emission trends or accept global temperature rises well beyond 4°.
"The immediacy and scale of the reductions necessary to avoid anything below 4°C, and indeed the human and ecosystem implications of living with 4°C, are beyond anything we have been prepared to countenance. Understanding the implications of 4°C and higher temperatures is essential ...."
So please note that with a global average increase of "only" 4º Celsius (it just doesn't sound like much at all, I know, but consider that the Arctic's permafrost is already thawing with an increase of only 0.78ºC), all the bread baskets of the world — all the prime agricultural areas — will increase 6 to 12 degrees Celsius (yellow to red regions).
Holy flying mother of pearl! If a temperature increase of a measly .78ºC is thawing the permafrost, melting the Arctic summer sea ice (our summer "air conditioner"), destabilizing methane hydrates (those pesky frozen methane deposits along our continental shelves that could move us into runaway global heating if they continue emitting into the atmosphere), acidifying the oceans, killing the coral reefs, desertifying vast swaths of land around the world, causing worse droughts, floods and famines, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. (trying to make a point there), then 6 to 12ºC increases are going to be downright deadly — indeed, exterminatious (just made that word up).
We won't be able to grow food, our water sources (for drinking and irrigation) will dry up, and the heat waves will kill our populations off slowly if nothing else does. How much more do the deniers et al need to see and hear before they start to give a damn for their children's future?
So go ahead: how would you vote? Alarmist or alarming? Remember that it's only alarmist if it's not true. And if we're not sure (and there's still perhaps time for miracles), then surely for the sake of our children and grandchildren, the precautionary principle — rather than our pocketbooks — should be what motivates our actions and choices.
You see, we're already experiencing catastrophic climate changes and we've only reached +0.78ºC. This seemingly small temperature increase could tip us into runaway global heating any time now. Why in heaven's name would we want to "wait and see" and not alarm people when the situation is downright alarming? Be afraid! This is scary!
We need to cut our emissions to virtually zero FAST if we want to ensure a future for life on Earth. Let's have no more talk of 2ºC and 4ºC and 2050 and 2100. Let's get to ZERO as quickly as possible, because life depends on it.
Zero carbon emissions is a legacy worth leaving.