In the week the Senate finally passed the carbon tax legislation, new research indicates that the amount of carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere grew by a record amount in 2010. The Washington Post reports that the current growth rate of carbon emissions exceeds the worst-case scenario of the last Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change report in 2007. This means that, according to a 2009 Massachussetts Institute of Technology report, the current rate of growth equates to a probability of a 5.2 degree celsius warming by the end of the century, with a 10% chance of a 7 degree warming. About two-fifths of the increase was attributable to China.
Click here to read an excellent summary of what the effects of such a temperature rise would be. In terms of food production alone, a University of Washington study, based on conservative assumptions, estimates that one-third of the planet could be facing desertification and half of the world’s population could be faced with a food crisis by the end of the century.
Interestingly, Bernard Keane in Crikey reports today that the carbon tax will in net terms cost the government more than its earns it for the foreseeable future.
Still not convinced? Here’s the video/podcast of our recent Intelligence Squared debate on the proposition, ‘A carbon tax won’t fix climate change’.
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