IPCC Synthesis Report Cliff Notes

DangerNotFoundYou don’t have time to read all 116 pages of the IPCC’s Climate Change 2014  Synthesis Report before the quiz? Here is a good quick rundown from Mark Fischetti at Scientific American: 29 Bullets Tell All about Climate Change.

As you read it, keep in mind that as alarming as the findings are, this is a conservative assessment of the situation. According to this article in the Huffington Post, the word dangerous, which appeared several times in late drafts of the report, does not appear in the final version. I checked. It doesn’t. This is because the report must be reviewed and approved by government officials who are often under pressure and influence of the fossil fuel industries. I believe the emphasis on carbon capture and storage is evidence of that. The money spent on CCS projects, which even proponents admit are failing, would be better spent on renewables. Is CCS a pipe dream that the fossil fuel industry is promoting to keep us thinking we can have our cake (oil, coal, and gas) and eat it too?

The IPCC report also mentions that to hit a target of 430 to 500 ppm CO2 by 2100, we will need to invest several hundred billions of dollars per year low-carbon energy sources and efficiency. That sounds like a lot, but it is about equal the annual budget of the US military. The US military, incidentally, is thought to be the largest institutional emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Considering their very purpose these days is to make the world safe for fossil fuel companies, the fossil fuel industry and the US military are practically the same thing. One cannot exist without the other.

The IPCC synthesis report by the IPCC makes our choices clear: fossil fuels, war, and mass extinction, or renewables, peace, and the healing of all the damage industrial civilization has done over the last 150 years.