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    World has five years to avoid severe warming: IEA

    The world has just five years to avoid being trapped in a scenario of perilous climate change and extreme weather events, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned on Wednesday.

    On current trends, "rising fossil energy use will lead to irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change," the IEA concluded in its annual World Energy Outlook report.

    "The door to 2.0 C is closing," it said, referring to the 2.0 Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) cap on global warming widely accepted by scientists and governments as the ceiling for averting unmanageable climate damage.

    Without further action, by 2017 the total CO2 emissions compatible with the 2.0 C goal will be "locked in" by power plants, factories and other carbon-emitting sources either built or planned, the IEA said.

    Global infrastructure already accounts for more than 75 percent of that limit.

    To meet energy needs while still averting climate catastrophe, governments must engineer a shift away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels, the agency said bluntly.

    "As each year passes without clear signals to drive investment in clean energy, the 'lock-in' of high-carbon infrastructure is making it harder and more expensive to meet our energy security and climate goals," said IEA chief economist Fatih Birol.

    The report outlines two scenarios for future energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases.

    A "new policies" scenario incorporates existing government promises into a projection up to 2035.

    A "450 scenario" lays out a timetable for curbing carbon emissions so that atmospheric concentration of CO2 stays under 450 parts per million (ppm), roughly equivalent to the 2.0 C target.

    The current level is about 390 ppm.

    Even taking into account current commitments, CO2 emitted over the next 25 years will amount to three-quarters of the total emitted since 1900, leading to a 3.5 C (6.3 F) average increase in temperature since that date.

    Business-as-usual emissions would put the world "on an even more dangerous track toward an increase of 6.0 C (10.8 F)," the report says.

    Scientists who have modelled the impacts on biodiversity, agriculture and human settlement say a 6 C world would be close to unlivable due to violent extremes of drought, flooding, heatwaves and storms.

    The planet's average temperature has risen by about 1.0 C (1.8 F) over the last century, with forecasts for future warming ranging from an additional 1.0 C to 5.0 C (9.0 F) by 2100.

    The report forecasts a one-third jump in primary energy demand by 2035, with 90 percent of this growth in developing economies.

    Half of that demand will likely be met by increased use of coal, the most carbon-intensive of all major fossil fuels.

    China -- already the world's top coal consumer -- is on track to use nearly 70 percent more energy than the United States by that date, it says.

    Even under the "new policies" scenario progress toward a low-carbon economy will be halting.

    The share of fossil fuels in global primary energy consumption falls from around 81 percent today to 75 percent in 2035, while renewables increase from 13 percent of the mix today to 18 percent.

    This scenario already assumes a huge boost in subsidies for renewables, from $64 billion today to $250 billion in 2035.

    "One wonders how many more worrying figures the world needs," commented Connie Hedegaard, the European Union's climate commissioner.

    The report "shows that the world is heading for a fossil-fuel lock-in. This is another urgent call to move to a low-carbon economy," she said in a statement.

    Setting a global price on carbon, slashing fossil fuel subsidies, boosting renewable energy and energy efficiency and revised tax codes are all tools for achieving that end, she added.


    • David  •  Macedon, United States  •  4 days ago
      I love our planet and all it's unique beauty.
    • Frederick  •  Dagsboro, United States  •  Yesterday
      So max out your credit cards stop paying on your house and lets start using that money for an end of the world party.
    • USMC6677 3 days ago
      Forget it scientists. The people on this Earth will shoot past that 450 ppm CO2 barrier faster than a congressman selling his soul.
    • nick b Yesterday
      I say- Put the "Super Committee" on this! They'll have it taken care of......... By the end of this century!!!:)
    • PhilK 3 days ago
      Well, guess we are doomed then because there is no way we are going to do anything significant in 5 years.
    • Bob Smith 18 hours ago
      Didn't we hear this same statement 5 years ago?
    • . 4 days ago
      George Carlin said it best " there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fu&*ed"
    • Harry  •  Des Moines, United States  •  12 hours ago
      I wonder about these people who deny science. When they're sick do they go to witch doctors because they don't trust medical science any more than they trust climate science?
    • carolina 3 days ago
      I am sure an enormous transfer of wealth from the US to other countries will solve the problem. Right?
    • Michael  •  Dallas, United States  •  Yesterday
      In a world where 5th graders are smarter than the average adult, and the answer to how many stars are on the US flag is answered by "It is moving so fast I can't count" I find it somewhat less than suprising that the people on this board are for the most part not well educated and continuously spray out data as facts without any context to make them valid and basically take the position that we are on this rollercoaster - just let it go...
    • Eric1 Yesterday
      Here's a TIP; it is ALREADY too late to prevent a 3 degree rise. If we STOPPED all man-made industrial production of CO2 TODAY, you would not see any temperature reduction effects for CENTURIES.
    • PatN 3 days ago
      Time to plant more trees.
    • Jon  •  Tampa, United States  •  3 days ago
      Wasn't this also warned roughly 20 years ago? Quite confused on what the actual answer is here.
    • Kirstin 7 hours ago
      The sooner we do reduce carbon emissions, the less expensive it will be. The longer we wait, the greater the likelihood that *war* will be the solution, the most expensive one there is.
    • drill4you  •  Boca Raton, United States  •  11 hours ago
      A MESSAGE TO PEOPLE IN THE FUTURE..No one gave a rats #$%$ and the band kept playing.... sorry, the few that cared were not enough to sway the rest of the world...
    • Wayne  •  Pocatello, United States  •  5 days ago
      Have China and India cut carbon releases,.... don't buy their products.
    • jamek Yesterday
      We are the frog who got boiled alive.
    • Joe  •  Mesa, United States  •  Yesterday
      Rush says it aint so and he knows, he"s a radio talk show host
    • Captain Obvious. Yesterday
      Well........Look at the bright side we will all be dead.
    • Eric1 6 hours ago
      Allow me to 'settle the science' for you.
How do we KNOW that global warming is caused by HUMANS?

      The 'natural' warming cycles of interglacial periods here on Earth are quite well-known. And yes, CO2 did NOT cause them, but instead were caused by a variety of cosmic and orbital effects associated with the Milankovic cycle. And in EACH of these interglacial events in the past, CO2 levels increased AFTER the temperature increased, by as much as 700 years. NOTE; this does not mean that CO2 and Methane are not heat-trapping atmospheric greenhouse gases, and ESPECIALLY in association with water vapor, but in all the 'natural' warming cycles the CO2 increased AFTER the temperatures rose, purely as a result of melting tundra and bogs that had been frozen and covered with ice.

      For the past ten thousand years, our OWN interglacial has followed the exact same path as all of the others, UNTIL about 150 years ago, when something happened, and that something had in fact NEVER happened before, and that was an increase of CO2 and Methane WITHOUT a prior temperature increase, an increase that rose in an ever-accelerating curve, and only after almost a hundred years, did temperatures began to rise in RESPONSE to that increase. Currently, CO2 levels are a THIRD higher than they have ever been in any of the previous interglacial periods, and that number is rising swiftly.

      It is BECAUSE of this sequential reversal that we KNOW that BOTH the increased CO2 and Methane AND the subsequent rising temperatures are HUMAN produced, and the SOURCE of that additional and otherwise unexplainable CO2 and Methane involves the burning of huge amounts of fossil fuels, as there IS no other viable source for these gases in this time period.

That said, there HAVE been occasions in the deep past where absolutely enormous amounts of CO2 and Sulfur Dioxide have been released by volcanic activity, but the kind of volcanic activity this entails is a great crack in the Earth through which continually pours 'flood basalts' for several thousand years over an enormous area. I can only think of a few off-hand that have provided this effect (though no doubt there have been a few others), and the best of those to examine are the 'Deccan Traps' in India, which erupted about 65 million years ago and coincided and assisted with the mass extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous period which wiped out the dinosaurs, and many other life-forms.

      Look up the Deccan Traps to get some idea of what I am talking about here, as this is most DEFINITELY not your 'Krakatoa's' or other 'normal' volcanoes, and there has been NOTHING like it for the past several million years.

In summary; it is a BASIC tenet in science that EVERYTHING in science and nature is both repeated, and repeatable. In order for ANYTHING to be 'a unique event,' there MUST be 'unique circumstances' to explain it, and in the current case of global warming, the ONLY 'unique circumstance' for millions and millions of years, is US.

'The science' is QUITE 'settled.'
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