Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Why we’re closer to climate catastrophe than we thought

A view of dried up Lake Poopo affected by climate change in Oruro Bolivia A view of dried up Lake Poopo affected by climate change in Oruro Bolivia
Elijah Vega | 10 October, 2018, 03:33

The concept refers to how much carbon dioxide can be emitted before temperatures rise beyond a given threshold.

As that would be an "unprecedented" rate of decline, it is more likely the world will overshoot the target, then try to return to it by sucking carbon from the air, scientists said. "India has already taken several actions in the direction", the ministry of earth sciences secretary M Rajeevan told TOI. Industries and investors need to be bold and far-sighted, for example by cutting all links to fossil fuels and supporting a carbon price.

What our government thinks about this really matters, too, because Australia is nowhere near meeting the emissions reductions targets it committed to in the Paris Agreement, even though Scott Morrison keeps claiming we'll meet them "at a canter". About as you'd expect: by referring to strategies to reduce emissions as "all that nonsense", and dismissing the UN's comprehensive evidence and warning as "some sort of report". At 1.5 degrees, fewer species would go extinct. So far, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that he's "not going to spend money on global climate conferences and all that nonsense", while Deputy PM Michael McCormack described the landmark United Nations warning as "some sort of report" and said Australia will "absolutely" keep relying on coal-fired power. Governments must also work transform their infrastructure, the report's authors warn.

The report says avoid a catastrophe will involve "annual average investment needs in the energy system of around $2.4 trillion" between 2016 and 2035.

The report fired up activists even as critics dismissed the deadline as another arbitrary "climate tipping point", as Climate Depot's Marc Morano put it.

The EU considers that collective and fair action by all is the best way to achieve ambitious action on climate change.

"It's telling us we need to reverse emissions trends and turn the world economy on a dime", Myles Allen, an Oxford University climate scientist and an author of the report, told The New York Times. Vestas, says Zevin in a recent report, "has led research and development" to reduce the cost of wind power, approaching parity with traditional energy sources on a level cost basis.

A two-thirds shot of success would call for a carbon budget of 420 billion tons on the low end or 570 billion tons on the high end. Corals have already been battered by our current rise in global temperatures, which has risen by 1°C over the past 150 or so years. It is based on more than 6,000 scientific references and contributions from thousands of experts and government reviewers around the world.

Hurricane Michael gains strength, takes aim at north Florida
Shannon remembers how previous hurricanes knocked out power in Florida's capital city, so he knows what's possible with Michael. Eric O'Neal and his wife, Mariana, watch the waves as Hurricane Michael approaches land in Pensacola, Fla., on October 9.

But these new values aren't watertight, either.

Climate change should not be a divisive political issue.

Governor Jerry Brown's Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last month teamed up with technology innovators, zero-carbon energy producers, entrepreneurs, and other optimists to seize this challenge.

Global Warming of 1.5 °C is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Cycle.

Key points in the report include maintaining the current global temperature at 1.5ºC.

Another recent report from the consulting firm PwC makes it clear that even limiting warming to 2 degrees C will be a stretch: "There seems to be nearly zero chance of limiting warming to well below two degrees (the main goal of the Paris Agreement), though widespread use of carbon capture and storage technologies, including Natural Climate Solutions, may make this possible", it says.

The essay, penned by John Horgan, the director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology, cited "ecomodernists" who reject climate panic and frame the question of climate change and humanity's ability to cope with it in radically new terms.

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