17 July 2009

About that 2 Degrees Target From the G8 Summit

Here are two different views. First, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber from PIK in Germany finds much to be excited about, as reported in Nature, he is
. . . actually quite enthusiastic about the G8’s two degrees target, which he believes will breathe new life into international climate politics.

“Now we can calculate precisely how much greenhouse gas we can still afford to emit if we don’t want to exceed a given probability of getting into dangerous territory,” he says.
An envoy to the Indian Prime minister sees somewhat less precision in the agreement:
While the 2 degree is a compromise, PM's special envoy Shyam Saran told journalists in Italy, "We do not regard this as an arithmetical target; we regard this as a political decision because there is a great deal of uncertainty with respect to what would be the actual rise in temperature, what would be the consequences of that rise of temperature."
What does the agreement mean? Well, what do you want it to mean?