Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 33 n° 348

Posts Tagged ‘Bill Hare’

Statement from Dr Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics, on the Draft Paris Agreement

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 14 dicembre 2015

Paris-antenne-vue-eiffel-tour“The Paris agreement is a historic turning point for the whole world. One of the most remarkable outcomes of the agreement is that its objective is to “pursue efforts to limit” global warming to 1.5oC above preindustrial, while holding warming “well below 2oC”.“In doing so, the global community has recognised that the risks of global warming are far greater than previously understood, and that the scientific basis compelling very urgent action has never been stronger. “It is a victory for the most vulnerable countries, the small islands, the least developed countries and all those with the most to lose, who came to Paris and said they didn’t want sympathy, they wanted action.“The Paris Agreement calls for all the world’s nations to cooperate to peak global emissions as soon as possible and to undertake rapid greenhouse gas emission reductions bringing emissions to net zero in the second half of the century. Importantly, this is to be done taking the best available science into account.“While the agreement is itself historic, the challenges ahead in achieving it will dominate the 21st-century. The agreement has been made at a time when national greenhouse gas emission reduction contributions for 2025 and 2030 together far exceed the levels needed to hold global warming well below 2oC, let alone limit to 1.5oC.”

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Stopping black carbon will not buy time for global warming action, new study shows

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 5 novembre 2014

black carbonClimate action efforts that focus on so-called “short-lived climate forcers” (SLCF) such as black carbon will do little to keep global warming below 2˚C in the long term, says a new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The study, authored, amongst others, by three Climate Analytics scientists – Joeri Rogelj (lead author), Michiel Schaeffer and Bill Hare – shows that efforts to focus on cutting black carbon must go hand in hand with wider efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions, or they’ll have little effect on global warming.Some governments have seized upon reducing black carbon as a way to fight climate change in the short term. The new study now puts important question marks next to the effectiveness of such action for limiting climate change in the long term.The new study has done what previous studies haven’t: it focused on the link between short-lived climate forcers like black carbon and long-lived forcer CO2. They are often released from common sources and are therefore intricately linked, for example black carbon is emitted alongside CO2 from a coal-fired power station, just as it is emitted from a diesel vehicle. For reasons of simplification, this linkage was often ignored by studies that carried out long-term projections of the climate effects of SLCF’s. But this turns out to be the crucial missing link in the understanding of what black carbon can contribute in the long term.“Reducing black carbon will clean up our air and reduce our impact on the climate in the next couple of decades, but we find that it cannot be a substitute for action to stop carbon dioxide emissions,” said Dr Joeri Rogelj, lead author of the paper.“It turns out that reducing black carbon cannot buy us time for putting in place stringent carbon dioxide emission reductions.” The authors found that while deep cuts in methane in the short term do hedge against exceeding important temperature thresholds, they only do this if linked with deep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions. The effects of methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s) are fairly robust across all scenarios, but in the long term, black carbon’s effects become vanishingly small. Consequently lumping these together would obscure many of these important differences.
From a climate perspective, Governments would be better to focus on comprehensive C02 mitigation policies that will lead to reductions in co-emitted pollutants like black carbon along the way. At the same time, the local health benefits of black carbon can still be a valid, yet entirely different, motivation for reducing black carbon in the near term. “A rapid phase out of carbon dioxide emissions, including eliminating unmitigated coal from our energy mix, remains the single biggest measure for early action on global warming, which would also reduce a large of air pollutants including black carbon”. This confirms – from a very different perspective – the key finding of a limited carbon budget in the just-published Synthesis Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” said Dr Michiel Schaeffer.Reducing black carbon and sulfur dioxide from the atmosphere can be done in ways that don’t address carbon dioxide, such as cleaning up car exhausts, diesel engines, and changing fuel in cookstoves, but this would contribute little to the fight against global warming in the long term.“Efforts to clean up black carbon and other pollutants are all very well and good for their human health benefits, but if we don’t tackle the key gas, carbon dioxide, then we’re not going to solve the problem,” said another of the authors, Dr Bill Hare.

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Bill Hare, Climate Analytics, with Carl-Friedrich Schleußner, Michiel Schaeffer

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 2 ottobre 2014

energyVictor and Kennel argue that the target of limiting global warming below 2degC relative to pre-industrial levels (the “2degC goal,” or rather, “limit”), adopted by the international community, should be dropped. They put forward two main reasons: that it is no longer feasible to meet the 2degC limit, in large part because there has been insufficient action to date, and that the 2degC limit is not measurable and cannot be translated into emission limits for countries and regions. They go on to argue that there should be a new process started to develop a a new set of global goals starting in Paris to replace the 2degC limit.Both major reasons put forward to drop the 2degC limit are hopelessly flawed or just plain wrong:
Whilst no one is in doubt about the difficulty of limiting warming below 2degC, it is incorrect to claim that achieving this goal is infeasible and cannot be done. The scientific community, in the form of the IPCC AR5 Working Group III report, has assessed that limiting warming below 2degC limit is technically and economically feasible, and at low to modest cost. No one in the scientific community has any doubt about the difficulty of the political decisions that need to made to realise this. Each person is entitled to their own views of whether or not political leaders will take the steps needed, but for the authors to dress up their own judgements – that these decisions will not be made – as a scientific fact is wrong.
The argument that the 2degC limit cannot be translated into emission goals and budgets is, to put it mildly, unconvincing, and demonstrates a deep ignorance of scientific developments over the last ten years. If this were so, then there would be no science-based policy debate about the size of the gap between where emissions are headed at present and where they need to be in 2020 and 2030 at global, regional, and national levels. In fact, there have been annual scientific assessments of this since 2010.No global goal on an issue as complex as climate change is going to be perfect, however it turns out that a temperature limit is actually a very good composite indicator of many serious impacts and risks. And it is understandable to the public and to political leaders, and it can be translated into quantifiable emission actions, which can be updated with new science regularly, accounting for the full range of scientific uncertainties.
There has been an enormous amount of work by the scientific community on issues related to planetary boundaries and on the implications of different indicators for emission pathways beyond global mean temperature. When put together, this research has shown the 2oC limit provides an upper bound on emissions if other key systems are to be maintained, within safe limits, a fact which, startlingly, does not come through at all in this Comment, despite the space spent discussing alternative climate indicators. On this issue, the scientific literature contradicts the authors and shows clearly that including other metrics (objectives, such as reducing sea level rise, reducing ocean acidification) will increase the level of mitigation (emission reductions) needed.And last but not least, the 2degC limit has triggered considerable political action at national, regional and global level – indeed the present process to negotiate a new global agreement with legal force and applicable to all stems very much from the scientific “pressure” generated by the existence of this limit. If action has not been sufficient it’s certainly not because of the limit. Many countries have indeed taken action – or are now planning more ambitious measures; however, in overall terms, the collective effort has been fully inadequate. The world is confronted with rapidly rising emissions – fastest from one of the most intensive source of CO2 emissions, coal – exactly at a time when CO2 emissions should be decreasing. It is wrong, however, to conclude that this means the issue is lost, when the main battle lies ahead and just when the process of developing a new agreement is building momentum. It would be an act of grave irresponsibility for the 2degC limit to be dropped. This would signal a clear deflation of pressure to reach an ambitious agreement, delegitimise the international negotiations, weaken efforts at a national level to build ambitious policies, and send a highly adverse signal to the private sector. Without the emission pressures of the 2degC limit there would effectively be a green light for continued massive expansion of coal and other fossil fuel intensive infrastructure in the next decade. As the International Energy Agency has warned, this infrastructure could lock-in warming levels of 4oC this century.
Dropping the 2degC limit , and with it pressure for the needed level of emission reductions, while starting a debate about a multitude of other goals is akin to doctors dithering over a critically ill patient. As in medicine, there are several indicators addressing different aspects of the vitality of the planet, but each of them would call for action if it reached a critical state. The planet’s rising temperature is a vital sign and the prognosis is clear for future warming without urgent action. What doctor would refuse to provide treatment to a patient with a body temperature exceeding 40degC because their blood pressure cannot be measured? (photo Reuters)

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