6 Oct 2015
Climate change is such a pressing, dangerous and universal threat that it should be made illegal under international law, a top barrister has told a conference of leading lawyers in London.
Philippe Sands QC, an international law specialist and Professor of Law at University College London, argued that the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) should make it an “obligation under international law” to ensure that global temperatures never rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
That target, they clearly aren’t aware, has no serious scientific basis. It was the invention of one man – German left-wing activist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) – who himself admits that he plucked the figure from the air for political reasons at the height of the climate scare in the mid-1990s.
“Two degrees is not a magical limit — it’s clearly a political goal,” says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “The world will not come to an end right away in the event of stronger warming, nor are we definitely saved if warming is not as significant. The reality, of course, is much more complicated.”
In other words were that arbitrary limit to be exceeded, it is entirely possible that the benefits would far outweigh the disadvantages. But even if they didn’t, there’s absolutely no point in trying to legislate to prevent it happening because, as has become abundantly clear after the last couple of decades’ intense study, the ability of humans to alter the climate in any significant way is minimal.