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15 Years To Armageddon: UN Report Concludes Globe Has 15 Years for Massive Pollution Control — Or Global Warming Will Cause Mass Disaster

People holding signs like this use to be considered "crazy."
Today? - Not so much. (Photo by Matt Reinbold)
"Effective mitigations will not be achieved if individual nations advance their interests independently. The high-speed mitigation train would need to leave the station soon, and all of global society would have to get on board." —IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri

By Lisa Friedman and Tiffany Stecker
Averting a climate catastrophe won't be cheap, but it will be affordable as long as countries act urgently to set the wheels of a low-carbon transition into motion, the United Nations declared yesterday.

The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found greenhouse gas emissions steadily on the rise, growing more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in any of the three previous decades. That's despite the global economic crisis, the creation of carbon markets and reams of city- and state-level policies worldwide aimed at curbing carbon.

If the world hopes to avert the worst impacts of warming and cut emissions 40 to 70 percent by midcentury, the next 15 years will be critical. After that, the report warns, options become more limited and the costs rise dramatically. But the good news, the panel found, is that the price of current solutions is "relatively modest" and governments are increasingly preparing to tackle the challenge.

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