Here’s an informative set of graphs from a column by Martin Wolf on climate change. Australia’s failure against it’s emissions is unexplained in the diagram – since we’re much closer to our Kyoto target then the graph has us – but I presume the reason is that the emissions counted in the chart relate principally to the burning of fossil fuels and do not include the reduction in land clearing.
Martin Wolf is not known as an intemperate or alarmist man. But at one stage of his column he says this.
Conceivable feedback effects might, for example, generate temperature increases of 20°C. That would be the end of the world as we know it. I cannot imagine a rational person who would not seek to eliminate even the possibility of such outcomes. But if we are to do that, we must also act very soon.