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#76992
Clark

The trouble is that emissions reduction has been left too late, and the longer it’s left the worse our predicament. Here’s the “Keeling curve” of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration:

Scripps Institute

James Hansen testified to the US government in 1988; global warming had been understood since the mid 1970s, but Hansen’s testimony serves as a milestone that should have been a wake-up call. Look how much easier it would have been starting from the lower concentration. Now, according to the IPCC, we have to halve emissions in the next ten years for a two-thirds chance of avoiding catastrophic tipping points. Losing the remaining Arctic sea ice is already baked in, and I dread to think what effects that will have. Very difficult times seem unavoidable.

Methane is far from inexhaustible; the UK has already exhausted most of its own in the North Sea – because, incredibly, Margaret Thatcher ordered it to be burned off, to get at the then more valuable oil reserves beneath. Paradoxically, Thatcher took global warming seriously. I supposed she assumed that nuclear would save the day, yet she also axed the UK nuclear power programme, buying US pressurised water reactors instead.