Grist does not support alcohol as a means to deal with problems. Nor does it support trading climate change mitigation for economic growth.

In my last post, I discussed a new peer-reviewed paper by climate scientists Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows. It paints a grim picture:

  • The commonly accepted threshold of climate “safety,” 2 degrees C [3.6 degrees F] temperature rise over pre-industrial levels, is now properly considered extremely dangerous;
  • even 2 degrees C is drifting out of reach, absent efforts of a scale and speed beyond anything currently proposed;
  • our current trajectory is leading us toward 4 or 6 (or 8 or 10) degrees C, which we now know to be a potentially civilization-threatening disaster.

Like I said, go ahead and pour yourself a stiff drink.

So, what does this grim situation say about our current climate policy efforts? The paper also contains some important insights on that front. Here is how Anderson and Bows frame it:

Over the past five years a wealth of analyses have described very different responses to what, at first sight, appears to be the same question: What emission-reduction profiles are compatible with avoiding “dangerous” climate change? However, on closer investigation, the difference in responses is related less to different interpretations of the science underpinning climate change and much more to differing assumptions related to five fundamental and contextual issues.