At a historic summit in Italy last week, G8 leaders agreed to limit global warming to 2C above pre-industrial levels and cut their emissions by 80% by 2050.
Many news reports are hailing this as a success, without noting that no measures to meet the stated ends were agreed upon. Given that by 2050, few attendees of the Summit will be alive, let alone in a position of responsibility, this looks like just another form of procrastination. Gordon Brown (yes, the Gordon Brown) makes a good case for a transition to renewable and non-carbon energy souces in the piece I've quoted above, but it's way past time for responsible law-makers and leaders to be relying on feel-good PR. Sorry if it sounds dictatorial or tyrannical, but the time to commit to real measures, real steps forward, real investments in technology R&D- and implementing them- is long past.
To see so many people patting themselves on the back for "committing" to abstract goals, such as 80% lower emissions or a 2C temperature rise (note that many forecasts are now pointing to nearly double that by the end of the century), without actually committing to any pathways that might meet those goals, is pretty discouraging.
Job well done, mates! What shall we tackle next?