View Full Version : Global warming set to breach 2C threshold scientists conclude

David Guyatt
09-27-2013, 09:09 AM
I thought that a 2C shift either up or down was viewed at potentially catastrophic? But what do I know about these things...

Global warming likely to breach 2C threshold, climate scientists concludeBut debate over details slows progress on key IPCC report as conference deadline looms

The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian), Friday 27 September 2013
Scientists have agreed the average projection for global warming will be slightly above 2C by the end of the century. Photograph: AP
Global warming is likely to surpass the previously recognised danger threshold of a 2C average increase in temperature, according to the world-leading climate scientists meeting in Sweden this week.
On the eve of the 2013 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-change), the scientists involved are understood to have reached agreement in principle on key topics as the week of negotiations draws to a close.
By 2100, the average projection for how much warming will occur is expected to be slightly above the 2C threshold, considered to be the temperature above which it is considered that climate change will damage the global environment.
The scientists also agreed they were certain that global warming was caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases, but on a range of other topics the discussions – fundamental to inform the policy response of governments around the world – were expected to continue up to the 8am Friday morning deadline.
The Stockholm meeting is the first time since 2007 that the IPCC has produced such an assessment of the risks of global warming, and the report will draw on hundreds of new papers from more than 800 scientists.
It is a crucial forum, not only because it is peopled by the most distinguished scientists in their field, but it was set up and works under the auspices of every one of the world's governments, who all have a say in its construction.
Sources involved in the talks also indicated that important open questions remained. These included the effects of climate change on the deep oceans and sea currents, and the distribution of heat in the atmosphere.
People involved in the process said progress on Thursday was slow, with some delegates accused of nonsensical interventions" and the chairs of being too lenient in letting them do so, as they debated the precise wording of the 50-plus page summary intended for use by policymakers.
The scientists have been locked into an old brewery turned conference centre in Stockholm since Monday. The IPCC and the scientists were forbidden to comment and media were excluded.
Stephan Singer, of the World Wildlife Fund, said he was confident the report would provide strong scientific backing for urgent action on climate change, and would be accepted by governments in the runup to crunch negotiations on a new global agreement on emissions that will culminate at a conference in Paris in 2015.
"The governments own this process, that's very important," he said. "If you did not have success here, the prospects for Paris would be rather low."
The report will contain more detail on the effects of climate change at a regional level than was previously possible, as models have improved.
The areas most vulnerable will be highlighted, including swathes of Africa, Asia, and Australia. But though it is not yet possible to produce reliable forecasts for individual countries. The UK is not likely to be among the worst hit.
There is an increased likelihood of warmer winters, but the effects on the British summer are still too uncertain to be included. One factor that could slow temperature rises in Europe is the weakening of a major ocean current system called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.
Researchers have suggested for several years this change could mask some of the effects of global warming, by moderating Europe's temperatures.
Meanwhile, on the fringes of the IPCC meeting, a group of risk experts and businesses released a separate study showing that the risks of high levels of warming are on a scale that would not be tolerated in other fields.
The risk of the Earth warming by as much as 6C – which would cause catastrophic changes around the globe – is likely to be put at about 1%, but the Global Challenges Foundation used risk modelling developed for industries and investors to compare this with areas such as transport and construction. The experts calculated that an equivalent level of risk in aviation would equate to more than 500,000 fatal plane crashes per year.
At such levels, public outrage would be immense, but we are prepared to tolerate such risks from the climate because the prospects of catastrophic levels of warming are still regarded by many as remote, the study suggested, and we are poor at calculating risk.
One of the reasons for the long-running debates in Stockholm about sometimes arcane details, apart from the sheer complexity of the task, is that the scientists are acutely conscious that they must make their report watertight.
In 2009, two years after the last assessment report on the science, which ran to more than 1,000 pages, a handful of the IPCC's projections in were found to be inaccurate. Most of the mistakes were trivial, but one stood out as a glaring and embarrassing error – a claim that the glaciers of the Himalayas could almost disappear by 2035.

Magda Hassan
09-27-2013, 11:55 AM
Last week while it was still winter the days were 32 celsius and the nights were 20 at the coldest. I think it has been some where near this also this week too. I am sunburnt from being outside too long today. I just hate to think what summer is going to be like.

David Guyatt
09-27-2013, 02:03 PM
Last week while it was still winter the days were 32 celsius and the nights were 20 at the coldest. I think it has been some where near this also this week too. I am sunburnt from being outside too long today. I just hate to think what summer is going to be like.

Maybe I should move to Oz then - I hate the cold and Winter...

Magda Hassan
09-27-2013, 09:48 PM
Last week while it was still winter the days were 32 celsius and the nights were 20 at the coldest. I think it has been some where near this also this week too. I am sunburnt from being outside too long today. I just hate to think what summer is going to be like.

Maybe I should move to Oz then - I hate the cold and Winter...
Yes, it has been lovely but Summer is hell too. Last week there was already a huge bush fire with loss of property. I could smell it from my place and I'm in the middle of the city.

Our new idiot government chock full of climate denialists even abolished the Minister for Science, some thing which had existed since the 1930's and also abolished the Climate Commission and non-political government funded panel of experts to study and advise on climate matters. Since the abolition individual people have pledged their own money to keep it going raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in just four hours of crowd funding. Which is good. So even if the government doesn't want to hear from them at least we people will. If only I could choose where all my taxes went.

The Australian Government Axed The Country’s Climate Commission — But Australians Are Bringing It Back (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/09/24/2670631/australian-climate-commission-is-back-in-action/)

BY KATIE VALENTINE (http://thinkprogress.org/person/kvalentine/) ON SEPTEMBER 24, 2013 AT 2:24 PM

Last week, Australia’s new prime minister Tony Abbot eliminated (http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/09/20/2650601/australia/) the country’s Climate Commission, the independent but government-funded panel of experts that studied the effects climate change is having on the country. But the Australian people aren’t standing for that.
Just a few days after the commission was cut, it’s being reborn as the Climate Council, a privately-funded body with the same leader — professor and conservationist Tim Flannery — and commissioners. Flannery told the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/23/climate-commission-resurrected-as-private-body) that after the Abbot government’s announcement to end the Climate Commission was made, he and the other commissioners were “deluged” by emails and calls from Australians who didn’t want to see the commission’s work end and were pledging their financial support to help keep it going.
“The people who contacted us feel very strongly that they don’t want to be left in the dark over climate change,” Flannery told the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/23/climate-commission-resurrected-as-private-body). “We’ve had hundreds of people get in touch from, I must say, across the political spectrum, from hardcore libertarians to the deepest greenies. You would be astonished to know who is supporting us.”
The council will be funded by donations from the public — a strategy of reaching out to ordinary Australians Flannery calls “Obama-style.” Since around midnight in Australia on Sept. 24, there have been about 1,000 donations (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/sep/24/climate-council-faces-titanic-struggle), with the first being $15 from “James of NSW.” The former climate commissioners won’t be paid for their work — a significant commitment given Flannery’s previous salary of $180,000. Flannery wouldn’t disclose who else would be backing the new council, but he did make clear that the council wouldn’t be swayed by the interests of corporate backers.
“It will be in our constitution that we will not accept money from anybody that tries to tie us or influence us in any way,” Flannery said. “Our independence is our credibility, so we will be very clear on that.”
Since its creation in 2011, the Climate Commission published 27 reports, including The Angry Summer (http://climatecommission.gov.au/report/the-angry-summer/), which outlined the record-breaking heat, bush fires and flooding Australia experienced during the summer of 2012-2013, and The Critical Decade (http://climatecommission.gov.au/report/the-critical-decade/), which made clear that if swift action wasn’t taken on climate change, Australia’s extreme weather would only get worse. Now, the Climate Council’s first work (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/policy/flannery-to-continue-doing-climate-job-pro-bono/story-e6frg6xf-1226725632530)will be aimed at summarizing and simplifying the results of the IPCC’s upcoming climate report.

Unfortunately, though the Climate Commission’s work will go on in its new form as the Climate Council, Prime Minister Tony Abbot is still set on rolling back the progress Australia has made so far in studying and alleviating climate change. He’s promised to get rid of the country’s carbon tax and also wants to cut (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-19/federal-government-scraps-climate-commission/4968816) the country’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (http://www.cefcexpertreview.gov.au/content/Content.aspx?doc=home.htm) and Climate Change Authority, an independent group that provides advice to the government on the carbon emissions reductions targets.

Charlie Prima
09-28-2013, 01:45 PM
- edited -

David Guyatt
09-28-2013, 02:25 PM
I thought that a 2C shift either up or down was viewed at potentially catastrophic?

That was the propaganda promoted by the 2007 IPCC report. I think they abandoned that scare tactic in the latest report.

James Corbett dissects the new report here:


It makes sense. Thanks Charlie.