1.5 Degrees: Meeting the challenges of the Paris Agreement

This is my comment on an article by Carbon Brief
Highlights: Day one at the 1.5C conference on climate change in Oxford

The website related to the conference can be found at “1.5 degrees

My comment on Carbon Brief:

Thanks to Carbon Brief and Rosamund Pearce for an excellent report.

There are a few points I will make.

[1] In the embedded  video, Professor Corrinne Le Quere says

“[to keep within 1.5°C] it is necessary to be “completely de-carbonising the economy in just a few decades.”

Earlier this year Carbon Brief said

Analysis: Only five years left before 1.5C carbon budget is blown”.

There is a big difference between “a few decades” and five years.

[2] Corrine also says “Global emissions have stalled in the past few years”. Apart from the fact that “stalled” is nowhere good enough to keep within 1.5°C , this reduction is not yet seen in the increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere.

These concentrations may be subject to lags or effects such as El Nino but, after allowance for El Nino at least, the statistician, Tamino writes :

“There’s been no deceleration. Whatever emissions reductions have happened, haven’t yet slowed down the rise of CO2.”

[3] The article reports

“Up for discussion is what kind of evidence the scientific community will need to produce to feed into a special report on 1.5°C, requested by the United Nations after Paris and due for publication in 2018.”

Will that be 3 years left of the 1.5°C carbon budget at current emissions?

[4] In the video Prof David Keith says

“We could make the world a little bit more reflective cool down the planet and reduce climate effects.”

This sort of geoengineering may help but it does nothing for ocean acidification, Sir David King once told me it was the worst aspect of CO2 increase. A google search confirms my recollection

“When [Sir David King was] questioned, during the panel discussion, he says that ocean acidification is a serious threat to ecosystems on which we all depend and we ignore the ocean at our peril.”

[5] What influence does the new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have over this conference. They are now the UK Government Department in charge of climate change and are the sponsoring department for the Hadley Centre.

Their agenda must be economic growth and for those that can count, economic growth is incompatible with 1.5°C.

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