Joshua S. Goldstein and Staffan A. Qvist in the Huffington Post:
Good news and bad news arrived this week from the world’s top climate change experts. Good news: they can tell us in agonizing detail why the world should really, really keep the rise in global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Bad news: the 132 authors of the 700-page report offer many ideas but no feasible plan for how to do that. As the International Panel on Climate Change’s co-chair put it, “One thing the report did not aspire to do is answer the question of feasibility.” So we can call it the Beach Boys Report ― “Wouldn’t it be nice…”
The 2015 Paris Agreement set an overall goal of staying below 2 degrees Celsius of global warming. However, the combination of the deal’s country-by-country goals would not accomplish that, and no major country is on track to meet its goals anyway. The 1.5 degree target is rightly even more ambitious, but also even further from the reality of energy systems in the world today.
In the first part of the 21st century, the fastest-growing energy source was coal. And energy use is going up rapidly because poor countries want to be richer ― and have a right to be. Climate goals and realities are not converging.