At a mid-year meeting of UNFCCC in Bonn this year in June a small group of countries led by Saudi Arabia have put the kybosh on any formal consideration of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C in the UNFCCC forum. Continue reading Saudis throw a spanner
The headline is that oil giant BP sees global demand for coal continuing for decades in the face of dynamic growth of renewable energy.
That is what BP thinks will happen on the basis of projecting forward what we are doing to date. However, in what they see as a Rapid Transition Scenario, BP still sees around half of our energy needs in 2040 coming from fossil fuels in the form of gas and oil. Here from the BP Energy Outlook, 2019 in a nutshell is the story:
In 1999 NASA lost its $125-million Mars Climate Orbiter because spacecraft engineers failed to convert from Imperial to metric measurements when exchanging vital data before the craft was launched. Numbers are important!
When Michael Le Page attempts to sort out the numbers in climate science (probably pay-walled) it’s not as straight forward as you might think. For starters we are given this image:
Sorry, when floating ice melts the sea level does not rise. The caption is misleading. Continue reading Climate change by the numbers
It was a strange decision to hold the UNFCCC’s Conference of Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, deep in Poland’s coal mining territory. The main purpose of the conference is to finalize the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement.
The conference also received the special report on achieving a 1.5°C global average temperature rise prepared on request by the IPCC. While I had some reservations about the whole exercise, the report a strong wake up call on the need for more urgent cuts. Fossil fuels had to be wound back rapidly. This from Dr. Joeri Rogelj, of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria:
- “For coal the picture is the clearest. It is reduced 75 to 95 percent from 2010 levels across the entire economy and fully phased out from producing electricity.” Continue reading Countries behave badly in Poland, investors behave well
Last week school children of Australia marked the card of the Morrison government on climate change and gave it a fail. Was this too harsh?
On Q&A last Monday a Melbourne boy called Marco asked the panel:
- “I’m greatly concerned about my future and the future of children all around the world who will suffer the consequences of climate change more than anyone else,” Marco said.
“A few days ago thousands of students from around Australia, like me, went on strike from school to demand that the Government acts on climate change.
“When will the Government start to care about my future and children around the world by acting on climate change and create a strong climate policy?”
The target should not be 1.5°C; rather we should aim for a safe climate. James Hansen told us in 2007 that to achieve a safe climate we need to bring GHG concentrations down to 350 ppm as soon as possible. That’s CO2 equivalent, not CO2. Current CO2e is not often quoted, but would be around 500 ppm on the basis that CO2 is about 80% of total GHGs. Also we need to focus on what we are doing to the planet over centuries and millennia, not just the next 50 to 100 years.
However, the IPCC team putting the report together were not asked what the goal should be. They were asked to build a scenario for achieving the 1.5°C warming limit specified as desirable in the Paris Agreement of 2015, and to look at the impacts of a 1.5°C world as against a 2°C world. Two Degrees came out of Europe in the 1990s, achieved a general currency, then became the official goal of at the Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC in Cancun in 2010. At that time there was a move mainly by many of the island states vulnerable it inundation for a more ambitious target. Essentially the whole group at Paris agreed to try.
However, while two degrees was commonly seen as a guardrail for a safe climate even by many scientist, it was never a scientifically derived goal for a safe climate.
The IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C is important because it shows that the path to 1.5°C has a high degree of difficulty and has implications which to most will not be acceptable. It’s importance is in changing the discourse, from being seen as an achievable safe guardrail to 1.5°C as difficult to achieve and far from safe. Continue reading IPCC on 1.5°C: the target is wrong, but we have a strong wake-up call
1. Warming could soon exceed 1.5°C
The UK Met Office has warned that temperatures could break through the 1.5°C threshold within five years.
- The 1.5C threshold was set at Paris as an ambitious target because scientists fear that a world warmer than that would be susceptible to ever wilder climactic events that in turn would precipitate greater drought, habitat loss, food insecurity and mass migration.
April 2016 was the hottest April ever, making a run of 12 hottest months in a row. We are starting to flirt with the 1.5°C warming threshold. Here’s the global map, showing impressive warming in high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. Australia is also noticeably warm: Continue reading Flirting with 1.5°C as we record 12 hottest months in a row