5°C in decades?

Kevin Drum says the world has given up on climate change. He starts with a table from the Financial Times:


Europe is pulling back from clean energy research. India and Brazil barely have any to begin with. The United state is flat at about $50 billion—maybe a tenth of what we should spending. And China, after a decade of research, has decided to double down on coal and slash its clean energy R&D. Only Southeast Asia is still increasing its green energy research, perhaps because they have a more visceral fear of climate change then the rest of us. When you announce that you’re moving your capital from Jakarta to an entirely new island because Jakarta is sinking…

…it drives it home rather.

This is a disaster. Given (1) the consistent global refusal to cut back on energy usage and (2) the fact that building out current technology (mostly wind and solar) will only get us halfway to zero carbon, our only hope lies in better technology. Without that, 2°C is already in the rear-view mirror and even 3°C is all but impossible to achieve. We’re looking instead at a world that will warm by 4°C or even 5°C during the second half of the century. This is not a world you want your grandchildren to live in.

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