Showing posts with label 1.5°C. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1.5°C. Show all posts

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The breach of the Paris Agreement

By Andrew Glikson
Earth and climate scientist
Australian National University

Since its inception the Paris Agreement has been in question due to, among other:
  • its broad definition, specifically holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels;
  • its non-binding nature; and 
  • accounting tricks by vested interests.
The goal assumes pre-determined limits can be placed on greenhouse gas levels and temperatures beyond which they would not continue to rise. Unfortunately these targets do not appear to take account of the amplifying positive feedback effects from land and oceans under the high cumulative greenhouse gas levels and their warming effects. Thus unfortunately the current high CO₂ levels of about 408 ppm and near-500ppm CO₂-equivalent (CO₂+methane+nitrous oxide) would likely continue to push temperatures upwards.

Significant climate science evidence appears to have been left out of the equation. The accord hinges on the need to reduce emissions, which is essential, but it does not indicate how further temperature rise can be avoided under the conditions of a high-CO₂ atmosphere, which triggers carbon release, unless massive efforts at sequestration (drawdown) of greenhouse gases are undertaken. Inherent in global warming are amplifying positive feedbacks, including albedo (reflection) decline due to the melting of ice and the opening of dark water surfaces, increased water vapor contents of the atmosphere in tropical regions which enhances the greenhouse effect, reduced sequestration of CO₂ by the warming oceans, desiccation of vegetation, fires, release of methane from permafrost and other processes. This means that even abrupt reductions in emissions may not be sufficient to stem global warming, unless accompanied by sequestration of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to a lower level, recommended as below 350 ppm CO₂ by James Hansen, the leading climate scientist.

The world is on track to produce 50% more fossil fuels than can be burned before reaching the limit prescribed by the Paris Agreement, with currently planned coal, oil and gas outputs making the Paris Agreement goal impossible. Projected fossil fuel production in 2030 being more than is consistent with 2°C, and 120% more than that for 1.5°C.

Unbelievably, according to the International Monetary Fund, “In 2017 the world subsidized fossil fuels by $5.2 trillion, equal to roughly 6.5% of global GDP”, which is more than the total the world spends on human health. Such subsidies cannot possibly be consistent with the Paris Agreement. The pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 by the G7 nations, with exceptions by the UK and Japan, may come too late as global CO₂ concentrations, already intersecting the stability limits of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, are rising at a rate of 2 to 3 ppm per year, the highest in many millions of years.

Despite the scientific consensus regarding the anthropogenic origin of global warming, the world’s biggest fossil fuel corporations are taking a defiant stance against warnings that reserves of coal, oil and gas are already several times larger than can be burned if the world’s governments are to meet their pledge to tackle climate change. ExxonMobil said new reserves in the Arctic and Canadian tar sands must be exploited. Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private coal company, said global warming was “an environmental crisis predicted by flawed computer models”. Glencore Xstrata said that governments would fail to implement measures to cut carbon emissions. The World Bank and Bank of England have already warned of the “serious risk” climate action poses to trillions of dollars of fossil fuel assets.

Not to mention the risks to the living Earth and its billions of inhabitants!

The apparent neglect of scientific advice is not an isolated instance. It is not uncommon that climate reports are dominated by the views of economists, lawyers, bureaucrats and politicians, often overlooking the evidence presented by some of the world’s highest climate science authorities. Whereas the IPCC reports include excellent and comprehensive summaries of the peer-reviewed literature, the summaries for policy makers only partly represent the evidence and views of scientific authorities in the field, including those who have identified global warming in the first place.
Figure 2. from: James Hansen, data through June 2019

There exists a tendency in the media to report averages, such as average global temperature values, rather than the increasingly-common high zonal, regional and local anomalies.

For example, the annual mean global temperature rise of for 2018 is about one third the Arctic mean temperature rise (Fig. 2). Given that developments in the Arctic bear major consequences for climate change, the global mean  does not represent the seriousness of the climate crisis.

Another example is the way extremes weather events are reported as isolated instances, neglecting the rising frequency and intensity of hurricanes, storms, fires and droughts, indicated in frequency plots (Fig 3.).

Figure 3. Rise in geophysical, meteorological, hydrologocal and climatological events. Munich RE
It is not until international and national institutions take full account of what climate science is indicating that a true picture of the climate crisis will be communicated to the public.

Andrew Glikson
Dr Andrew Glikson
Earth and climate scientist
Australian National University

- The Archaean: Geological and Geochemical Windows into the Early Earth
- The Asteroid Impact Connection of Planetary Evolution
- Asteroids Impacts, Crustal Evolution and Related Mineral Systems with Special Reference to Australia
- Climate, Fire and Human Evolution: The Deep Time Dimensions of the Anthropocene
- The Plutocene: Blueprints for a Post-Anthropocene Greenhouse Earth
- Evolution of the Atmosphere, Fire and the Anthropocene Climate Event Horizon
- From Stars to Brains: Milestones in the Planetary Evolution of Life and Intelligence

Saturday, October 13, 2018

IPCC keeps feeding the addiction

The IPCC just released its report Global Warming of 1.5°C. Things aren't looking good and instead of providing good advice and guidance, the IPCC bends over backward in efforts to keep feeding the addiction.

The Paris Agreement constitutes a joint commitment by all nations of the world to keep the temperature rise below 1.5°C. The IPCC should have honored this commitment by explaining that the situation is dire and by pointing at action to be taken to improve the situation.

Instead, the IPCC bends over backward to make it look as if temperatures were lower than they really are, in an effort to make it look as if there were carbon budgets to be divided, and polluters should be allowed to keep polluting until those budgets had run out. This is like saying that drug junkies who cause damage and are deeply in debt, should be handed over more OPM (other people's money, in this case the future of all people and other species).

In reality, there is no carbon budget to be divided, there is just a huge carbon debt to be repaid. The urgency and imperative to act is such that progress in one area cannot make up for delays elsewhere. The best policies should be implemented immediately, and everywhere across the world.

Use of terms such as trade-offs, net-outcomes, off-sets, carbon budgets and negative emissions is misguided and highly misleading. Policies based on giving and trading in permits to pollute are less effective than local feebates, i.e. polices that impose fees on sales of polluting products and then use the revenues to support rebates on the better alternatives sold locally.

Here are twelve instances where the IPCC is misleading:
  1. Changing the baseline set at the Paris Agreement
    While the Paris Agreement is clear that pre-industrial is to be used as baseline, the IPCC has instead chosen to use 1850-1900, a period when the Industrial Revolution had long started. This compromises the entire Paris Agreement and thus the integrity of us all. Temperatures may well have been 0.3°C higher in 1900 than in 1750, as depicted in above image in the light blue block. Add up the warming elements and it may well be that people have caused more than 2°C of warming already and that we're facing warming of more than 10°C by 2026.

  2. Misleading calculations and wording
    The IPCC suggests that warming caused by people is 1.0°C (±0.2°C), likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052. To reach these numbers, the IPCC used misleading calculations in efforts to downplay how dangerous the situation is, as discussed further below. As an example of misleading wording, the IPCC says it has high confidence that 1.5°C won't be reached until 2030 if warming continues to increase at the current rate of 0.2°C per decade. Sure, if warming was 1.0°C and if it was indeed warming at 0.2°C per decade and if that warming would continue at 0.2°C per decade, yes, then it would take 25 years for warming to reach 1.5°C. But the reality is that warming is already far more than 1.0°C and that it is accelerating. That makes it misleading to associate high confidence with the suggestion that warming will not reach 1.5°C until 2030. The use of a straight line (linear trend) is misleading in the first place, since warming is accelerating. The use of a straight line is even more misleading when such a straight line is then used to make projections into the future and qualifications such as high confidence are added.

  3. Ignoring the importance of peaks
    Daily and monthly peaks are obviously higher than annual averages, and it's those high peaks that kill, making it disrespectful toward past and future victims of extreme weather events to average that away. NASA records show that, in February 2016, it was on average 1.67°C warmer than in 1900 (i.e. a 30-year period centered around 1900), while the higher latitudes North had anomalies up to 10.8°C. On land, the average anomaly in February 2016 was 2.26°C. And this is before adding 0.3°C for the rise before 1900, and before further adjustments as discussed below. Conservatively, the magenta block at the top of above image shows a rise of 1.63°C.

  4. Cherry-picking the baseline period
    For a baseline of a 30-year period around the year 1900, the temperature rise to 2016/2017 was 1.22°C, NASA records show. When adding another 0.3°C rise for the rise before 1900, warming was well above 1.5°C in 2016/2017. However, the IPCC conveniently selects an 1850-1900 baseline, a period when it was relatively warm, i.e. warmer than in 1750 and warmer also than in 1900. It was warmer from 1850 to 1900 due to increasing livestock numbers and forests clearing, while huge amounts of wood were burned, all contributing to large emissions of black carbon, brown carbon, methane, CO, etc., which caused additional warming during this period. So, this period was relatively warm. There was little impact yet of the sulfur aerosols that started coming with burning fossil fuel from 1900. Choosing this baseline period enabled the IPCC to beef up the temperature for the baseline and then draw a linear trend from 1850-1900 that looks flatter.

  5. Changing the data
    The U.K. Met Office's HadCRUT dataset goes back to 1850. The IPCC used this dataset, but actually changed the data, by averaging the data with datasets that showed a similar rise for the years after 1900, but that showed higher warming for 1880-1900. This enabled the IPCC to further beef up the average temperature for the period 1850-1900 and then draw a linear trend from 1850-1900 that looks even flatter.

  6. Cherry-picking the type of data
    To further support its suggestions, the IPCC uses water surface data for ocean temperature, but uses air data for temperatures over land. When selecting datasets with more consistency and using air temperatures globally, the temperature rise is 0.1°C higher.

  7. Not using new techniques to estimate values for missing data
    The IPCC chooses not to use new techniques to estimate temperatures where data are missing. Less data are available for the Arctic, and this is precisely where temperatures have risen much faster than in the rest of the world. When values for missing data are included, the temperature rise is another 0.1°C higher.

  8. Leaving out 2016
    The IPCC suggests there was a temperature rise of 0.2°C per decade in the years up to 2015, as if the high temperatures in 2016 didn't occur. The IPCC then uses that 0.2°C rise to make projections into the future, conveniently skipping the high temperatures in 2016. Failure to properly address acceleration of future warming is further discussed in the point below.

  9. Failure to properly address dangerous developments
    The IPCC fails to point out that carbon dioxide reaches a maximum in warming the atmosphere some 10 years after emission, which means that the full wrath of global warming due to the very high emissions of carbon dioxide over the past decade is yet to come. While temperatures could rise very rapidly over the coming decade, the IPCC keeps talking about carbon budgets, without properly addressing tipping points such as the decline of the snow and ice cover that will result in huge albedo losses, jet stream changes, more and more extreme weather events, and more. The IPCC fails to point out the danger of destabilization of sediments containing methane in the form of hydrates and free gas. Furthermore, the IPCC fails to properly address the aerosol warming that will occur as sulfur emissions decrease and other aerosols increase such as black carbon, brown carbon, etc. The IPCC fails to mention the water vapor feedback, i.e. the increase of water vapor in the atmosphere that will occur as a result of these developments. Since water vapor itself is a potent greenhouse gas, this will speed up the temperature rise even further. These developments could lead to a potential global temperature rise (from 1750) of more than 10°C by 2026, as illustrated in the image at the top.

  10. There is no carbon budget left
    Instead of pointing at the dangers, as it should have done, the IPCC makes it look as if there was a remaining carbon budget that should be divided among polluters, as if they should continue polluting the world. It should be obvious that there is no such budget. Instead, there's only a huge and very dangerous carbon debt. There is no room for trade-offs or offsets, and terms such as negative emissions are also inappropriate. All efforts should be made to cut emissions, including ending current subsidies for fossil fuel and livestock, while at the same time great effort should be taken to remove carbon from the atmosphere and oceans. And even then, it's questionable whether any humans will be able to survive the coming decade, which will be critically dangerous for all species on Earth.

  11. Suggesting polluting pathways
    The pathways suggested by the IPCC keep fossil fuel in the picture for many years, while highlighting non-solutions such as BECCS. The IPCC makes it look as if coal-fired power plants could continue to operate, by burning more biomass and capturing carbon. The IPCC makes it look as if transport could continue to use internal combustion engines, by burning more biofuel. Instead, clean & renewable energy has many benefits, including that it's more economic, so air capture powered by such facilities would make more sense than BECCS. Furthermore, electric vehicles should be supported now, rather than in the year 2050. It makes sense to stop fossil fuel subsidies, and to support better diets, to plant more vegetation and to support ways to add carbon and nutrients to soils and oceans, such as with biochar and ground rocks. Many technologies have been proposed, e.g. refrigerators and freezers are now made that do not use gases for cooling. The IPCC should not have used pathways that are wrong in the first place. Instead, the IPCC should have pointed at the policies that can best facilitate the necessary transitions, because the scientific evidence is overwhelming and it's the right thing to do.

  12. Not pointing at the best and much-needed policy tools
    The IPCC report fails to point out that imposing fees on polluting products is the most effective policy instrument, the more so when the revenues are used to support rebates on better alternatives supplied locally.
The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.

Prof. Peter Wadhams and Stuart Scott discuss the IPCC Global Warming of 1.5ºC report

Extended version of above video

Paul Beckwith on baseline, methane and more

Stuart Scott talks with Prof. Peter Wadhams on Arctic sea ice

Magnificent work by Stefanie Steven

[ budget ]
Proper analysis would have pointed at what the best action is to improve the situation.

However, the IPCC does not do that. Instead, the IPCC keeps stating that there was a carbon budget to be divided and consumed, while advocating non-solutions such as BECCS and while hiding the full extent of how threatening the situation is.

A quick word count of the IPCC report Global Warming of 1.5°C (SPM) shows paragraphs full of words such as budget (1st image right) and of non-solutions such as BECCS (2nd image right).

At the same time, it fails to mention biochar, meat or local feebates. It fails to mention the huge threat of feedbacks and tipping points such as methane hydrates and Arctic sea ice, instead making it look as if all that could only pose potential problems over longer timescales.

This is indicative of how much the IPCC is part of the problem and part and parcel of the wilful destruction of life itself that is taking place so obviously all around us.

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) might as well change its name to IPCD (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Destruction).

It's not as if people weren't warned.
The danger was described back in 2007: Total Extinction.
The mechanism was depicted back in 2011: Runaway Global Warming.
And still, in 2018, the IPCC sadly keeps on feeding the addiction.


• IPCC special report Global Warming of 1.5°C

• Paris Agreement

• How much warming have humans caused?

• Climate Plan

• Feedbacks

• Extinction

• Can we weather the Danger Zone?

• How much warmer is it now?

• 100% clean, renewable energy is cheaper

• Fridges and freezers that don't use gases

• Negative-CO2-emissions ocean thermal energy conversion

• 'Electrogeochemistry' captures carbon, produces fuel, offsets ocean acidification

• Olivine weathering to capture CO2 and counter climate change

• Biochar group at facebook

• Aerosols

• IPCC seeks to downplay global warming

• Blue Ocean Event

• What Does Runaway Warming Look Like?

• Ten Dangers of Global Warming

• AGU poster, AGU Fall Meeting 2011

Thursday, January 19, 2017

2016 well above 1.5°C

In December 2016, it was 6.58°C (11.84°F) warmer from latitude 83°N to the North Pole. In December 2016, the world as a whole was on average 0.82°C (1.47°F) warmer than in 1951-1980.

Temperatures are rising fast, and especially so over the Arctic Ocean. In February 2016, the world was 1.34°C (2.41°F) warmer than 1951-1980, while part of the Kara Sea was 11.3°C (20.34°F) warmer than 1951-1980, as the image on the right illustrates.

The 1951-1980 period is the default baseline used by NASA. When comparing the current temperature to years such as 1900 or 1750, the difference will be even larger, as illustrated by the image below.

In 2016, the global temperature was well above the 1.5°C (2.7°F) guardrail set by the Paris Agreement. This is illustrated by the different baselines used in image below (the use of different baselines was discussed in an earlier post), given that the Paris Agreement uses preindustrial levels as baseline.

[ click on images to enlarge ]
To some extent, the rise above 1.5°C was due to El Niño, as the trendline indicates, but the trend also indicates that temperatures will cross the 1.5°C mark in 2017 even if 2017 will be El Niño/La Niña-neutral.

Worryingly, another El Niño is actually forecast for 2017, as discussed in an earlier post.

Even more worrying is that rise of this trendline could well be too conservative.

Ocean temperatures are rising rapidly, as illustrated by the image on the right, and the rapid warming of the oceans is causing a dramatic fall in sea ice extent, as illustrated by the image below and as discussed in an earlier post.

The lack of sea ice spells trouble. Not only is snow and ice decline causing more sunlight to be absorbed (rather than getting reflected back into space as before), there are further feedbacks associated with this. As the temperature difference between the Arctic and the Equator decreases, changes are taking place to wind patterns that cause further acceleration of warming in the Arctic, as discussed in an earlier post. This in turn threatens to trigger huge amounts of methane to erupt abruptly from the seafloor.

Methane levels over the Arctic Ocean are much higher than over the rest of the world, as illustrated by the image below, showing the situation in the afternoon of January 17, 2017, with peaks reaching levels as high as 2406 ppb. Particularly worrying are the solid magenta-colored areas over the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, indicating methane levels above 1950 ppb.

When also taking into account further elements that could cause warming, a potential warming of 10°C (18°F) could eventuate by the year 2026, i.e. within about nine years from now, as discussed at the extinction page and as illustrated by the image below, from the Temperature page.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.


• Climate Plan

• Extinction

• Temperature

• Accelerating Warming of the Arctic Ocean

• Global sea ice extent falling off chart

• How much warming have humans caused?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Paris Agreement

At the Paris Agreement, nations committed to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

How much have temperatures risen already? As illustrated by above image, NASA data show that during the three-month period from September through November 2015, it was ~1°C warmer than it was in 1951-1980 (i.e the baseline).

A polynomial trend based on the data from 1880 to 2015 for these three months indicates that a temperature rise of 1.5°C compared to the baseline will be reached in the year 2024.

Let's go over the calculations. The trendline shows it was ~0.3°C colder in 1900 compared to the baseline. Together with the current ~1°C rise, that implies that since 1900 there's been a rise of 1.3°C compared to the baseline. This makes that another rise of 0.2°C by 2024, as pointed at by the trendline, would result in a joint rise in 2024 of 1.5°C compared to the baseline.

The situation is even more worse than this. The Paris Agreement seeks to avoid a temperature increase of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. When we include temperature rises from pre-industrial levels to the year 1900, it becomes evident that we have already surpassed a rise of 1.5°C since pre-industrial levels. This is illustrated by above image, earlier added at How much time is there left to act? (see notes there) and by the graph below, from a recent post by Michael Mann, who adds that ~0.3°C greenhouse warming had already taken place by the year 1900. 
~0.3C greenhouse warming had already taken place by 1900, and ~0.2C warming by 1870
Let's add things up again. A rise of ~0.3°C before 1900, a further rise of 0.3°C from 1900 to the baseline (1951-1980) and a further rise of ~1°C from the baseline to date, together that adds up to a rise of ~1.6°C from pre-industrial levels.

In other words, we have already surpassed a rise of 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels by 0.1°C.

The trendline indicates that a further rise of 0.5°C will take place by the year 2030, i.e. that without comprehensive and effective action, it will be 2°C warmer than pre-industrial levels before the year 2030.

Full wrath of emissions yet to come

The full wrath of global warming is yet to come and the situation is even more threatening than pictured above, for the following reasons:
  1. Half of global warming has until now been masked by aerosols, particularly sulfates that are emitted when some of the dirtiest fossil fuels are burnt, such as coal and bunker oil. As we make the necessary shift to clean energy, the masking effect that comes with those emissions will disappear. 
  2. As Ricke and Caldeira point out, the carbon dioxide that is released now will only reach its peak impact a decade from now. In other words, we are yet to experience the full wrath of the carbon dioxide emitted over the past decade. 
  3. The biggest threat comes from temperature peaks. People in some parts of the world will be hit  harder, especially during summer peaks, as discussed in the next section of this post. As temperatures rise, the intensity of such peaks will increase.
    The image on the right illustrates this with a forecast for December 25, 2015, showing extreme weather for North America, with temperatures as low as 30.6°F or -0.8°C in California and as high as 71.5°F or 22°C in North Carolina. 
  4. Feedbacks such as rapid albedo changes in the Arctic and large amounts of methane abruptly released from the Arctic Ocean seafloor could dramatically accelerate the temperature rise. Furthermore, water vapor will increase by 7% for every 1°C warming. Water vapor is one of the strongest greenhouse gases, so increasing water vapor will further contribute to a non-linear temperature rise. The resulting temperature rises threaten to be non-linear, as discussed in the final section of this post.  
Situation even worse for some

Such temperature rises will hit some people more than others. For people living on the Northern Hemisphere, the outlook is worse than for people on the Southern Hemisphere.

NOAA data show that the November global land and ocean temperature anomaly was 0.97°C, while the 3-month global land and ocean temperature anomaly was 0.96°C. The 12-month anomaly on November 2015 on land on the Northern Hemisphere (where most people live) was 1.39°C, as shown on the image below, while the trendline shows that for people living on the Northern Hemisphere, a 1.5°C rise compared to 1910-2000 could be reached as early as in 2017.

Similarly, the outlook is worse for people living in regions that are already now experiencing high temperatures during the summer peaks. As said, as temperatures rise, the intensity of such peaks will increase.

Feedbacks in the Arctic

The image below, from an earlier post, depicts the impact of feedbacks that are accelerating warming in the Arctic, based on NASA data up to November 2013, and their threat to cause runaway global warming. As the image shows, temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than elsewhere in the world, but global warming threatens to catch up as feedbacks start to kick in more. The situation obviously has deteriorated further since this image was created in November 2013.
[ click on image at original post to enlarge ]
Above image, from an earlier post, depicts the impact of feedbacks that are accelerating warming in the Arctic, based on NASA data up to November 2013. The image shows that temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than elsewhere in the world. Global warming threatens to catch up as feedbacks start to kick in more, triggering runaway global warming. The situation obviously has deteriorated further since this image was created in November 2013.

The image below shows sea surface temperature anomalies on the Northern Hemisphere in November.

The image below gives an indication of the high temperatures of the water beneath the sea surface. Anomalies as high as 10.3°C or 18.5°F were recorded off the east coast of North America (green circle on the left panel of the image below) on December 11, 2015, while on December 20, 2015, temperatures as high as 10.7°C or 51.3°F were recorded near Svalbard (green circle on the right panel of the image below), an anomaly of 9.3°C or 16.7°F.

This warm water is carried by the Gulf Stream into the Arctic Ocean, threatening to unleash huge amounts of methane from its seafloor. The image below illustrates the danger, showing huge amounts of methane over the Arctic Ocean on December 10, 2015.

Methane is released over the Arctic Ocean in large amounts, and this methane is moving toward the equator as it reaches high altitudes. The image below illustrates how methane is accumulating at higher altitudes.

Above image shows that methane is especially prominent at higher altitudes recently, having pushed up methane levels by an estimate average of 9 ppb or some 0.5%. Annual emissions from hydrates were estimated to amount to 99 Tg annually in a 2014 post (image below).

An additional 0.5% of methane represents an amount of some 25 Tg of methane. This comes on top of the 99 Tg of methane estimated in 2014 to be released from hydrates annually. 

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action as described at the Climate Plan.


• How Close Are We to 'Dangerous' Planetary Warming? By Michael Mann, December 24, 2015

• Maximum warming occurs about one decade after a carbon dioxide emission, by Katharine L Ricke and Ken Caldeira (2014)

• How much time is there left to act?

• Feedbacks in the Arctic

• Climate Plan

During the three-month period from September through November 2015, it was 1°C warmer than it was in 1951-1980,...
Posted by Sam Carana on Wednesday, December 16, 2015