Three years to prevent climate change

Via The Guardian:

Avoiding dangerous levels of climate change is still just about possible, but will require unprecedented effort and coordination from governments, businesses, citizens and scientists in the next three years, a group of prominent experts has warned.

Warnings over global warming have picked up pace in recent months, even as the political environment has grown chilly with Donald Trump’s formal announcement of the US’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement. This year’s weather has beaten high temperature records in some regions, and 2014, 2015 and 2016 were the hottest years on record.

But while temperatures have risen, global carbon dioxide emissions have stayed broadly flat for the past three years. This gives hope that the worst effects of climate change – devastating droughts, floods, heatwaves and irreversible sea level rises – may be avoided, according to a letter published in the journal Nature this week.

The authors, including former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, argue that the next three years will be crucial. They calculate that if emissions can be brought permanently lower by 2020 then the temperature thresholds leading to runaway irreversible climate change will not be breached.

Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, under whom the Paris agreement was signed, said: “We stand at the doorway of being able to bend the emissions curve downwards by 2020, as science demands, in protection of the UN sustainable development goals, and in particular the eradication of extreme poverty. This monumental challenge coincides with an unprecedented openness to self-challenge on the part of sub-national governments inside the US, governments at all levels outside the US, and of the private sector in general. The opportunity given to us over the next three years is unique in history.”

Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, added: “The maths is brutally clear: while the world can’t be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence [before] 2020.”

…They set out six goals for 2020 which they said could be adopted at the G20 meeting in Hamburg on 7-8 July. These include increasing renewable energy to 30% of electricity use; plans from leading cities and states to decarbonise by 2050; 15% of new vehicles sold to be electric; and reforms to land use, agriculture, heavy industry and the finance sector, to encourage green growth.


  1. Complete crap. Looks like we will be fatally wounded then as nothing is going to happen in 3 years. China won’t be reducing emissions that’s for sure.

    • China is making massive efforts to reduce pollution and CO2 emissions as well. Whether that is enough to quell output is another question. It is restricting older and polluting steel mills, moving from coal to gas and renewable power and buying more, high grade iron ore that is not so energy intensive and does not emit so much crap into the atmosphere.
      I think we will see some advance over 3 years.

  2. haroldusMEMBER

    but will require unprecedented effort and coordination from governments, businesses, citizens and scientists in the next three years

    Well, we’re fucked then.

  3. HadronCollision

    lots of latent heat stored in the ocean already
    ch4 from permafrost melt
    positive feedback
    on it goes

    • So a Cancer Doctor (the expert) tells you that you have lung cancer and that you have 6months to 5 years to live unless you have treatment. Do you, after 6 months scream your ignorance by telling everyone that the expert was wrong and then not do any treatment?

  4. It is very hard to develop weather model. this is still learning curve and will be for years – models are improving but are not perfect – this is what gives people like Tones and that idiot from ON to dispute climate change.
    Back to the topic above – if we really have only 3 years then it is too late – we can reduce the damage but not prevent climate change.
    And again, even if we don’t prevent climate change at all – health benefits to move away from burning coal and petrol/diesel gives us enough justification to move to other sources of energy.

  5. We were stuffed when the GFC hit and the global goodwill in trying to fix this stuff evaporated due to a fear of costs and job losses.

    It’s going to be interesting when the shit really hits the fan and some genuinely crazy ideas (like engineering a mini nuclear winter) will seem like our last hope.

  6. Failed Baby BoomerMEMBER

    Meanwhile, back in the real world BoM has pulled back on the El Nino outlook;
    “All eight international models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology now suggest tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures are likely to remain ENSO-neutral for the second half of 2017. This compares to seven of eight models that suggested a possible El Niño in April”.
    Hopefully the heat and drought risk for Aus will reduce accordingly.

  7. bolstroodMEMBER

    It will take a very dramatic event , like a sudden 1 metre sea level rise , to have any hope of galvanising us all to act in concert on Climate Change.

    • It is good to see that you are still getting your funding from Gina and the Fossil Fuel industry 🙂

  8. Why does anyone still believe in this alarmist Liemate change garbage… Seriously we need to start looking past the propaganda and the fake scientists milking the system for grant money and look at the real information. How many more climategates and hockey stick debacles do we need before people wake up and realise alarmist climate change is a lie???

    • What is more astounding is that there are people stupid enough that they are still getting their science from Bolt, Murdoch, the Koch Brothers instead from Scientists!