I attended a joint presentation by the Met Office and the Committee on Climate Change this week. Julia Slingo, Chief Scientist at the Met Office’s Hadley Centre, gave an illuminating presentation, highlighting the fact that we have reached the global temperature which is halfway to “dangerous climate change”. For those that could understand its implications, it was a frightening presentation. Sadly, I suspect many did not want to understand.
Lord Deben, Chair of the Committee on Climate Change, gave an inspiring talk about UK involvement in international climate negotiations, especially the successful negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol. However, his talk omitted one significant issue: the carbon emissions from UK consumption. Although the Government is proud that carbon emissions from UK production (e.g. steel making) have decreased substantially since 1990, it downplays the fact that carbon emissions from UK consumption (e.g. imported steel) have risen. (See Spin:UK footprint)
To Lord Deben’s credit, the CCC has published a report on detailing consumption emissions but this measure may not be welcome to all and Lord Deben knows that “only so much [is] politically possible“.
Julia Slingo mentioned the current wildfires in Indonesia as additional climate feedback that would cut the remaining climate budget. Carbon Brief explains the remaining carbon budget like this
“The concept of a ‘carbon budget’ first appeared in the IPCC’s report on the physical basis of climate change, released last September. 
The IPCC calculated how much carbon we can emit and still have a good chance of limiting global warming to below two degrees above pre-industrial levels. Two degrees is the UNFCCC internationally-accepted point beyond which the risks become unacceptably high.”
Before I left, I picked up a Met Office handout which says “There is also a number of additional Earth system feedbacks that could affect the future budget, including the nitrogen cycle contraints on the carbon cycle, and emissions of greenhouse gasses from permafrost and methane hydrates. These are expected to place further limitations on the total global carbon budget.” (These feedbacks are also mentioned in Parliamentary POSTnote 454,”Risks from Climate Feedbacks”, January 2014),
“These are expected to place further limitations on the total global carbon budget.” Is that a polite way of saying the IPCC have been too optimistic and have overestimated the remaining budget?
… and the IPCC doesn’t count the emissions from wildfires yet. (See “IPCC carbon budget: Missing feedbacks ignored“.)