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Just minutes ago, more than 200 climate scientists released an historic declaration at the United Nations Climate Conference in Bali. (Find it here: http://www.climate.unsw.edu.au/bali/) They warn that unless steps are taken immediately to begin bringing greenhouse gas emissions under control, “many millions of people will be at risk from extreme events such as heat waves, drought, floods and storms, our coasts and cities will be threatened by rising sea levels, and many ecosystems, plants and animal species will be in serious danger of extinction.”
The signatories, who include many scientists we here in Boulder know well, including Caspar Ammann, Beth Holland, Kevin Trenberth, and James White, state that global warming must be kept below 2 degrees C above the pre-industrial temperature. “Based on current scientific understanding, this requires that global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by at least 50% below their 1990 levels by the year 2050,” according to the statement. That means “there is no time to lose.” Greenhouse gas emissions must actually peak and begin to drop within the breathtakingly short period of the next 10 to 15 years.