Tuesday, 16 September 2008

100 months...and counting

"By using the best estimates of current greenhouse gas emission growth rates, conservative estimates for the potentially damaging environmental feedbacks that accelerate global warming, and the maximum concentration of greenhouse gases that might prevent irreversible climate change, it is possible to estimate the length of time until this threshold is passed" (New Economics Foundation '100 Months', 2008)

On 1st August, 2008, the New Economics Foundation (http://www.neweconomicsfoundation.org/) issued a report stating that in order to avoid 'dangerous' climate change, the world had 100 months to take collective action (http://www.onehundredmonths.org/). That is, if things continue as they are, dangerous atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will occur in less than nine years time. For the purposes of the report, 'dangerous' climate change was defined as an atmospheric concentration of Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) of above 400 parts per million (ppm), which means an above average chance of keeping global temperatures 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

It is worth noting that even 2 degrees of warming will have negative ecological and humanitarian consequences. However, stabilising the global average temperature at less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels gives a decent chance of avoiding the 'tipping points' - the positive feedback mechanisms - that spell disaster for the environment as we know it.

100 months takes us to December 2016. This will be a monthly record of how, in the UK, we measure up to the challenge of drastically reducing global carbon emissions. Will we bury our heads in the sand and desperately put our faith in free markets, techno-fixes, and 'business as usual'? Will we wring our hands, sigh dejectedly and evade responsibility? Or will we take decisive action and acknowledge that the economic model of globalised capitalism is dragging us kicking and screaming into ecological destruction and humanitarian disaster on an unprecedented scale?

100 months...and counting.

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