Would you want to live in this world?

The world that the Rudd Government’s White Paper on Cli­mate Change, and Julia Gillard but not the orig­i­nal (2008) Gar­naut Report aspired to—where CO2 emis­sions are cut rapid­ly so that atmos­pher­ic con­cen­tra­tions fall below 450 ppm—has been described by the Inter­na­tion­al Ener­gy Agency in terms that show it would be cold­er, poor­er and hun­gri­er:

” Cut­ting emis­sions suf­fi­cient­ly to meet the 2°C goal would require a far-reach­ing trans­for­ma­tion of the glob­al ener­gy sys­tem. In the 450 Sce­nario, oil demand peaks just before 2020 at 88 mb/d, only 4 mb/d above cur­rent lev­els, and declines to 81 mb/d in 2035. Coal demand peaks before 2020, return­ing to 2003 lev­els by 2035. Among the fos­sil fuels, demand for nat­ur­al gas is least affect­ed, though it too reach­es a peak before the end of the 2020s.” Extract from Fact­sheet: IEA Ener­gy Out­look 2010 (empha­sis added)

If the changes were made by 2020 as the UN and the Rudd-Gillard Gov­ern­ments appar­ent­ly hoped, this dark­er world would no doubt be rid­dled, too, with vio­lent civ­il revolt against the dra­con­ian mea­sures need­ed to impov­er­ish bil­lions of peo­ple and to destroy their aspi­ra­tions with­in the space of the next decade.

Now, I’m sor­ry to see, Ross Gar­naut who for­mer­ly said the tar­get was imprac­ti­cal, has joined this mad “450-or-bust” cam­paign.

In his lat­est update report, Dr Gar­naut says:

The judge­ment of the Review—that the greater risks of severe con­se­quences under a sce­nario of 550 ppm con­cen­tra­tions of green­house gas­es make the extra mit­i­ga­tion cost to achieve a 450 ppm out­come worthwhile—has been con­firmed… The imme­di­ate impli­ca­tion is that avoid­ing high risks will require large changes in tra­jec­to­ries at an ear­ly date.”

The Inter­na­tion­al Ener­gy Agency’s sum­ma­ry of its “450” sce­nario con­cludes:

Renew­ables and nuclear dou­ble their cur­rent com­bined share to 38% in 2035. Glob­al ener­gy secu­ri­ty is enhanced by the greater diver­si­ty of the ener­gy mix.

In view of the ener­gy cuts need­ed to meet the 450 ppm tar­get, I find the con­clud­ing gen­u­flec­tion to ‘sus­tain­abil­i­ty’ total­ly implau­si­ble.

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