Reprinted from Smirking Chimp
As President Obama tours the Arctic to raise awareness about global warming, we're getting new evidence about just how dire a situation our planet is in.
In preparation for this fall's big climate talks in Paris, 56 countries have come out with their own national targets for cutting greenhouse gases.
And while a bunch of countries getting together and taking action against CO2 emissions certainly sounds like a good thing, there's a catch.
According to new data from the Climate Action Tracker, the targets those 56 countries have come out with would result in an atmospheric temperature rise of 3.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.
Since the official goal of this year's climate talks is to prevent warming from exceeding the very dangerous level of 2 degrees Celsius, this means that the current national targets are, well, inadequate, to say the least.
That's a really big deal.
After we cross the two degrees Celsius tipping point, global warming will lock in with devastating consequences for every single living thing on this planet.
This could happen as soon as a few decades.
Michael Mann, a frequent guest on the Thom Hartmann Program and one of the world's leading climate scientists, estimates that we only have until 2036 -- 21 years -- to prevent the earth's temperature from warming to 2 degrees above where it was before we started using fossil fuels.
And here's the thing, even that two degree Celsius benchmark might be not be enough to hold off environmental devastation on a scale we haven't seen in millennia.
Two degrees Celsius warming is what the world's climate negotiators have decided is "possible" and "acceptable," but according to former NASA scientist James Hansen, even that little warming is a recipe for disaster.
He explained why in a recent interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Hansen now says we have to limit ourselves to one degree Celsius warming - a number we're already dangerously close to reaching.
So time really is running out to save the planet.
At this point, there's really only one thing we can do to prevent a total climate catastrophe: we must keep carbon in the ground.
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