Using a new model, researchers from the University of Queensland and Griffith University, predict the global average temperature could rise by 1.5°C as early as 2020. The model is based on forecasts of population and economic growth combined with rising per capita energy consumption.
- The study is the first to include ‘energy use per person’ as a predictive factor rather than focusing on economies or populations.
- “Simply put, as we get more efficient at manufacturing, goods get cheaper and we buy more.”
There should also be a focus on renewable fuels:
- “As 80 per cent of world energy is used as fuels and only 20 per cent as electricity, renewable fuels in particular will be critical.”
Tamino at Open Mind has a series of graphs which will make you sick!
2. February temperature was the biggest monthly anomaly on record
Here’s his chart of the trend:
In 2015 atmospheric CO2 increased by 3.05 parts per million, a record for a single year.
The rate of increase is now 200 times what it was between 11,000 and 17,000 years ago, at the end of the ice age.
Adam Sobel at Washington Post writes of a new area of scientific research, known as “extreme event attribution” taking shape. Essentially actual events are set against expectations worked out from models to identify the climate change contribution.
As Sobel says, this should allow us to grasp more profoundly what is happening to our planet in real time.
Thanks to zoot for the link.
Update: Carbon Brief has a comprehensive treatment of the topic of event attribution, including the need for timeliness, so in some cases we can be told of the linkages while the event is still happening or newsworthy.
A new study has looked at the individual reefs in the Great Barrier Reef, and found variability greater than expected of the aragonite necessary for reef building. Perhaps surprisingly, they think that natural processes rather than ocean acidification is the main driver of variability.
However, the overlay of global warming is telling and they found that:
- even the full implementation of the Paris Agreement will bear high risk for warm-water corals and coral reefs. Mitigation will not [be] enough and local managers will need to implement protection and adaptation measures.
Just what these protection and adaptation measures might be is not clear.
6. Tasmania lurches back to fossil fuels
The federal Greens have struck a deal with Labor for a Senate inquiry as Tasmania’s electricity crisis deepens. With its dams and hydro systems Tasmania exports electricity to the mainland from May to August, but is normally a net importer for the rest of the year. This year there was a dry spring, and then in late December the Basslink cable to the mainland broke. It will take months to fix, no-one is sure how long.
Meanwhile the dams are at 15.5% and dropping. Tasmania cranked up its old gas-fired power station and is importing thousands of diesel motors, but some large industries may have to close.
Electricity prices have surged. Tasmania usually enjoys some of the lowest wholesale electricity prices in the nation, averaging around $40/MWh. In early March it was around $300/MWh.
Presumably the Senate will look into whether it was just bad luck, or rotten planning and greed in selling too much power to cash in on the carbon price. They might also ask why rooftop solar is still being valued at just $60/MWh, and why plans to build a 600MW wind farm in King Island were derailed by fierce opposition from anti-wind activists, mostly from the mainland.
Officially China aims to peak CO2 emissions around 2030. The good news is that the country’s emissions should peak sometime between now and 2025, according to a London study.
Even better news, it’s possible that emissions actually peaked in 2014. In 2015 there was a 5 percent drop in coal consumption and a 35 percent fall in coal imports.
One of the reasons is that people are dying from air pollution.
Elsewhere we find that in the first two months of 2016 that while electricity consumption was up just 0.3% year on year, coal imports fell 10.2% and coal production declined 6.4%. The big mover was hydro where production grew by 22.6%.
A group of engineers, energy analysts and IT experts in Western Australia modelled a high penetration renewable energy system, showing that an 85% penetration of renewables would cost an average of $124/MWh compared to $127/MWh for “business as usual”.
The modelling includes decentralised energy production microgrids, and batteries “behind the metre”. Achieving 100% renewable energy would be more expensive, ranging from $157/MWh to $164/MWh depending on the scenario adopted.