According to Nafeez Ahmed’s article in The Guardian, 10th July 2013, this is the conclusion of a paper by James Hansen’s paper soon to be published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A:
Most remaining fossil fuel carbon is in coal and unconventional oil and gas. Thus, it seems, humanity stands at a fork in the road. As conventional oil and gas are depleted, will we move to carbon-free energy and efficiency – or to unconventional fossil fuels and coal?
… It seems implausible that humanity will not alter its energy course as consequences of burning all fossil fuels become clearer. Yet strong evidence about the dangers of human-made climate change have so far had little effect. Whether governments continue to be so foolhardy as to allow or encourage development of all fossil fuels may determine the fate of humanity.
I’m an optimist by nature, but not when it comes to politicians. Look no further than Tony Abbott’s recent statement on emission trading (as reported in The Age, 15th July 2013) :
Just ask yourself what an emissions trading scheme is all about. It’s a market, a so-called market, in the non-delivery of an invisible substance to no one.
Politicians distrust data because they so often distort it for their own purposes, and they assume everyone else takes the same approach. Only unarguably, unambiguously nasty climate consequences will force most politicians to seriously address human-induced climate change.