Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2C or not 2C: Copenhagen and global temperature threshold (Part II)

In the previous post, we discussed the origin of the 2 deg C threshold for dangerous impacts of climate change.

An example is happening at Copenhagen. The Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Caribbean nations are lobbying for establishing a warming limit of 1.5 C rather than 2C. The real-world value of setting a temperature threshold notwithstanding, the AOSIS position demonstrates that the acceptable limit of warming is a value judgment based on scientific results rather than an immutable law of nature.

Why 1.5 degrees C, rather than 2C? The argument is based on the effect that sea level rise (and storm surge height) and coral reef degradation from bleaching and acidification would have on the economy and society.

1 comment:

bigcitylib said...

I have heard that the 2 deg limit was chosen by Western countries because only at above 2 deg do those same Western countries start to really notice the ill-effects. The island countries want a lower threshhold because they are ALREADY feeling the ill-effects but, well, it sucks to be a poor island country,doesn't it? Can't really source that argument, but I have heard it made in a couple of different places.