This week I'm squinting a critical eye towards Denmark (critical in the discerning sense of the word), and compiling a flurry of new scientific reports that taken together give us a good picture of what's at stake in the upcoming Copenhagen climate talks.
Not one, not two, not three... but four new scientific studies have recently been released that provide the best picture yet of the "state of the climate" and how the pledges of the developing world in the lead up to COP15 appear to be falling short (very, very short) of the necessary target -- 450 PPM of CO2 (parts per million) which would limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees centigrade.
The big Kahuna is the newly released IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) report which factors in several hundred more peer-reviewed scientific papers and updates the groundbreaking 2007 IPCC report which shocked the world by demonstrating the planet had passed the "safe" limit of 350 PPM. But I'm not going to go into that yet (I take my cues from the horror genre of filmmaking and always save the blood and 'Gore' for last).
Today I want to focus on a fantastic tool developed by several MIT faculty including John Sterman and Peter Senge, founder of SOL (the Society for Organizational Learning). ClimateInteractive is a piece of freeware that runs numerous simulations, adding together the carbon targets of the developed world, projections from the developing world and how they translate into global temperature.
Here's a brief intro by Peter explaining why MIT developed the tool:
Climate Interactive offers two tools. The first is C-ROADS, a simulation tool designed for negotiators to see how their targets are stacking up with other countries. The other is the Climate Scoreboard which maps out for the rest of us how all the pledges taken together could either reduce or increase greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
According to their current calculations even the most optimistic outcome at Copenhagen doesn't seem to come close to hitting the mark. At about 600 PPM the estimated climate impact by 2050 would be close to a 3 degree temperature rise.
Climate Interactive will be updating fairly frequently and you can follow the scoreboard via Twitter @ClimateInteract.
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