Feb 17, 2011
Leading scientists have called for World War II-style rationing in First World countries to avert catastrophic global warming, in a series of papers published by the United Kingdom’s Royal Society.
“The Second World War and the concept of rationing is something we need to seriously consider if we are to address the scale of the problem we face,” said Kevin Anderson, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
The recommendation came after Anderson concluded that no other method could secure the decrease in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions needed to prevent temperatures from rising to dangerous levels.
Without drastic emission cuts, global temperatures are set to rise more than 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2060, producing more severe weather events such as floods and droughts. This will inevitably disrupt food production, leading to massive social unrest and large-scale migration, in addition to mass extinction at a rate surpassing even modern levels.
Anderson noted that the type of rationing needed would be relatively moderate, involving limiting electricity usage, setting a maximum level for home thermostats, and mandating replacement of older appliances with newer, energy efficient devices. Another suggestion was to place limits on food imported from great distances. Adjusting to these limitations would only entail simple lifestyle changes, such as wearing more warm clothing while indoors and taking public transportation more, Anderson noted.
“I am not saying we have to go back to living in caves,” he said. “Our emissions were a lot less ten years ago and we got by ok then.”
In another paper, Myles Allen of Oxford University warned that international climate negotiations are off track by focusing on reducing emissions below a specific baseline (such as 1990 levels), rather than focusing on total emissions.
“Peak warming is determined by the total amount of carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere, not the rate we release it in any given year,” he said.
Without a quick drop in emissions, he warned, global temperatures will change too fast for ecosystems to adapt, leading to ecological and agricultural collapse.
Sources for this story include: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/co….
This article was posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 4:47 am