SSlowing Arctic Melting:Beginnings of a Regional Strategyto Mitigate Climate ChangeJohn Topping, Founder and President, Climate Institute.A lecture to the Hertog Global Strategy Initiative At ColumbiaUniversityJune 13, 2013
Forces OccurringTogether toAccelerate StressS Climate change not the onlyadverse human or naturalstress affectingecosystems or areas inwhich we live.S Growing ocean acidification.S Depletion of fossil aquifers.S Land degradation.S Destruction offorests, especially in thetropical regions.Source: Upwell conservation
Momentum Gaining on theClimate FrontS China (the leading greenhouse emitter)— spurred by air quality, climate andtrade competiveness concerns — ismoving to institute a greenhouse capand trade system and national carbontax, and is now largest investor inrenewable energy.S U.S., historically source of about a thirdof industrial era anthropogenicgreenhouse emissions, seems on adownward trajectory despite impasse inWashington.S Increased efficiency (in energy use andvehicles), state and city renewableenergy incentives, and natural gas forS A draft ANSI voluntary Life CycleAssessment standard providingthe most ambitious standards onthe planet may become final in2014; the standard would valuereductions of black carbon andestablish an Arctic RegionalWarming Indicator.
Global Motivation:Benefits from ActionS There is growing interest in rich andpoor nations alike in acting to slashemissions of black carbon and othersubstances whose reduction willyield health and climate benefits.S Mexico, driven by a public clamorfor climate protection, in June 2012adopted the most ambitious climateprotection law of any OECD nation.S Pictured: Tickell Network ClimateTheatre. Flor del BosqueEducational Park, Mexico.
Lecture FocusTARGET: Short-LivedClimate Forcers & RegionsS Double down on growing interest byfocusing efforts on black carbon andthe Arctic.S Other SLCFs: tropospheric ozoneforming compounds and methaneS Other regions near tipping point: theHimalayas- Tibetan Plateau, theAndes and Amazonian Basin, andAntarctica.Arctic Climate ActionRegistry (ACAR)S Effort of the Climate Institute, other USand international NGOs and climateand forestry scientists to increaseincentives for reduction of SLCFs.S Seeks to slow the precipitous loss ofArctic sea ice that could rescrambleweather and ocean circulationpatterns.S Establish a precedent for regionallyfocused strategies to minimize climatedisruption in other vulnerable regions.
Short-Lived Climate ForcersS AmazonS Amazon land andconversion forest lossmay push to point of dieback.Andes may be affected both bywarming and SLCF deposition.Could mean loss of waterresources for tens of millions.S Himalayas/Tibetan PlateauS Water resources for at least asixth of humanity could beimperiled.S Decisive global action targetingSLCFs the next best step to bidetime for the regions in danger ofirreversible damage.S Increased efficiency, non orlow-carbon fuel sources.S AntarcticS Parts warming rapidly withpotential for adding to sea levelrise from melting ofglaciers in Greenland andother regions and warming ofupper layers of ocean.
Global Action on Short-LivedClimate ForcersClimate and Clean AirCoalitionS Rapid growth of CCAC action on blackcarbon,methane, hydrofluorocarbons and tropospheric ozone that together produceas much an effect on climate change asCO2.S Reductions will often yield not onlyclimate benefits but enhanced humanhealth (BC), and sometimes economic(recovery for energy of leakingmethane) or safety (harvesting ofmethane from coal mines).ChallengesS Barrier to be overcome: failureof Kyoto Protocol-based tradingsystems to incentivizethese reductions.
Tropospheric OzoneS Formed as a secondary product of other emissionsS By oxidation of methane, CO, and VOCs in the presence of NOxS Once formed, lasts 20 – 24 daysS Warming Effect is ~ 0.3 W/m2S 18% of CO2 effect
MethaneS Atmospheric concentrations rising after several years ofstabilityS Lasts 12 years in atmosphereS Warming Effect is ~ 0.86 W/m2S Just over 50% of CO2 effectS Win-Win opportunities to reduce methane
Black Carbon (Soot)S Dark-colored type of aerosol / particulate matter (PM)S Absorbs sunlight and heatS Stays in atmosphere for only 1 – 2 weeksS Atmospheric Warming Effect is 0.44 – 0.9 W/m2S 28 – 55% of CO2 effectS Decreased snow albedo in Arctic and HimalayasS Enormous regional increase in warming effectS Globally averaged, is an additional 0.1 – 0.2 W/m2S Harmful to human respiratory health
Regional Effects• ―Tropospheric ozone and BC snow albedo effectcontribute substantially to rapid warming and sea ice lossin the Arctic‖ - James Hansen et al. 2005• Arctic Warming Since 1890 (Shindell et al. 2009)• Black carbon: 0.5 – 1.4˚C• Trop. Ozone: 0.2 – 0.4˚CShindell estimates that combinedsulfate decrease and BC increasecaused 75% of direct Arcticwarming over past 30 years
Benefits from Black CarbonReductionS Atmospheric loading and warming influence will drop asemissions dropS Acute decrease in Arctic warmingS Reducing certain BC emissions will result in:S Reduced indoor air pollution, which kills 1.9M annuallyS Reduced outdoor air pollution, which kills 0.8M annually
0123456781990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 2060 2070 2080 2090 2100RadiativeForcing(wattspersqmeter)YEAR20th Century GHG Emissions21st Century CO2 onlyWarming Effect During 21st CenturyAggressive Reductions in both GHGs and Black CarbonCredit: MacCracken 2009
01234561990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040RadiativeForcing(wattspersqmeter)YEAR01234561990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040YEARNear-Term Changes in Warming EffectBlack Carbon is Critical to Reducing Near-Term WarmingBusiness as Usual Aggressive Reductionsin BC and GHGsCredit: MacCracken 2009
Biomass Burning - LargestCurrent Arctic Climate ForcerS Recent studies indicate that about75% of light absorbing aerosols(black and brown carbon)deposited on Arctic snowand ice are attributable to cropand grass burning (Hegg etal, 2010).S ARCTAS mission found itcontributed 39 %of Arctic blackcarbon, 69 %of Arctic methane and38 % of Arctic carbon monoxide, aprecursor of troposphericozone.(Wedderburn-Bisshop, 2012).S Agricultural and grassland fires areresponsible for 69 % of Arctic fireactivity with forest and shrubland firesresponsible for 24% (Wedderburn-Bisshop, 2012).
Biomass Burning - LargestCurrent Arctic Climate ForcerS The leadsourcesof these emissions in descending order areRussia, Kazakhstan, China, United States, Canada and Ukraine (Pettus, Clean AirTask Force, 2009).S Most of these nations have some form ofrestrictions on agricultural burning butenforcement is generally lax, especially inplaces such as northeast China whereemissions are most likely to affect the Arctic(Pettus, 2009).S Potential mitigation strategies mightinclude increased enforcement of existingrules and changed seasonality of burning.
Arctic Air Overflights - A Source ofBlack Carbon and Other ClimateWarming EmissionsS Beginning in 1998 when Russiaagreed to permit foreign carriercommercial aviation overflightsthis has grown to over 40,000flights a year with significantclimate forcing effect.Especially significant is theresidence time of black carbonemitted in the stratosphere, asmuch as an order of magnitudegreater than at ground level(Jacobson et al. 2012)S Mark Jacobson at Stanford andcolleagues, after an extensive analysisof trans- Arctic flights, concluded itwould be possible to reduce emissionsby as much as 83 % by rerouting. Theyproject this could significantly delayloss of Arctic sea ice with annual costsglobally of about $ 99 million.(Jacobson et al. 2012).
Arctic Air Overflights - A Source ofBlack Carbon and Other ClimateWarming EmissionsS Breakthroughs in early June by members of International AirTransport Association (IATA) in urging governments to adopt asingle market based system to offset post -2020 growth inaircraft emissions may be a heartening sign of growing airlinereceptivity to climate friendly activity.
Development Related to ArcticWarming Produces SizableEmissions GrowthS Shipping - Volume likely to increase as sea ice meltsS Potential response -Requiring electrostatic precipitators orchanged fuel mix to minimize black carbon emissions on bothcommercial vessels and icebreakers.S Oil and gas development -Likely to increase, especially in Russiaand some other offshore parts of Arctic and near Arctic.S Potential response - Besides seeking universal provisions tominimize oil spills, encouraging near zero black carbon emissionsand zero methane releases.S Mining- Although a modest source of emissions, mostly in Russiaand Canada, there is large potential for growth of mining industryin Greenland with international investors looking to extract ironand rare earths.
Possible RegionalGeoengineering StrategiesS Changing seasonality oficebreaking- doing less icebreaking in the spring when itreinforces sea ice loss and more inthe fall.S Catalyzing natural processes toabsorb Arctic methane-researchersare looking at use of supplementssuch as nitrate or sulfate to boostproductivity of methanotrophs.S Bacteria are responsible for aerobicmethane oxidation; archea areresponsible for anaerobic oxidation.This might reduce methane release inArctic oceans, as well as promote amore suitable climate for fishhabitation, and thereforefor fishfarms.S Sending small ships to dispersesea salt, forming clouds to hold inArctic heat- Salter and Latham anda UK based Arctic MethaneEmergency Group have been theleading advocates for this strategy.
The Four Crucial RegionsHimalayasAmazonian Rainforest &Andean Mountains
South America: CloselyInterconnected EcosystemsAmazon RainforestS The Amazonian Rainforest is thegreatest treasure trove of biodiversityon the planet.S It is disappearing rapidly due to landconversion for cattle farms, mining andsmall farmers.S Brazilian Scientists (Simoes&Evangelista) report that emissions fromburning for land clearing in theAmazon, especially for cattlefarms, may be producing as much ashalf of black carbon deposition in theAntarctic.Andes MountainsS Glaciers in the mountains providewater supplies for tens of millionsin South America and hydropowerfor millions.S Rapid glacial melt imperils thiswater supply.S Efforts are underway to installcleaner cook stoves in manyAndean communities and reduceblack carbon emissions.
AntarcticaS Glacial thinning:Glaciers in Antarctica containabout 70% of all the freshwater on Earth; if all were tomelt, global sea levels wouldrise well over 60 meters-more than 200 feet.
AntarcticaS There is a modest net loss nowfrom Antarctica, about 150cubic kilometers each year(Hansen, 2007) but if thisaccelerates it could add significantlyto global sea level rise.S Deposition of significant quantities ofblack carbon from fires inSouth America and Africa hasbeen detected in Antarctica andlinked to agricultural burning. Nolinkage has yet been done ontheir role in ice loss.S Although Antarctica is the coldestregion on Earth, some portions in theAntarctic Peninsula and WestAntarctic are among the mostrapidly warming parts of the planet.S Most Antarctic ice loss seemsattributable to interaction withwarming waters of the SouthernOcean more than to warming on theland.
Himalayas – Tibetan PlateauS Emissions of blackcarbon, especially from dieseltransport and cookstoves, appear as great a factoras overall global warming inspurring glacial melting.S Indian Supreme Court hasmandated that in public transportcompressed natural gas vehiclesreplace current diesel and othervehicles.S Provides water supplies for aboutone of every six humans onearth. Rapid glacial melt underwaythat may reduce water availability.S Project Surya seeks to reduceblack carbon emissions, save livesand reduce climate forcing throughreplacement of cook stoves andkerosene lanterns with cleaneralternatives http://www.projectsurya.org/
SThe Arctic’s RoleAnd Functions of the Arctic Climate Action Registry
Climate Change in the ArcticIn September 2012, a new record level of Icemelt was recorded. At this rate the Arcticcould be ice-free in summer by the end of thisdecade.Economist, August 28 2012
Climate Change in the ArcticS Melting of the Greenlandice sheet, contributing toglobal sea level riseScientists at NASA first thought satellitereadings were a mistake after imagesshowed 97% surface melt over four days Significant erosion,threatening villages Collapse of wholeecosystems Melting of permafrostand release of trappedmethane hydrates
Chief CausesS Global Warming CO2 and other Kyoto GHGsS Arctic Regional Contribution (50-70%) Methane Black Carbon Tropospheric Ozone Methane Hydrate Pulse5,000 billion tons trapped ~all CO2 and CH4 combined
Climate Change ImpactsS Displacement of villages due to sea level rise and meltingpermafrostS Public infrastructure damageS Ecosystem impacts (e.g., new pests, migratory species)S Food security (e.g., fisheries, subsistence hunting, melting icecellars)S Human health issues (e.g., disease, asthma)
ALASKAThe Government AccountabilityOffice (GAO) has reported:S Almost all of Alaska’s 200+villages have been affected byflooding and erosion, with 4requiring relocationS 31 villages face imminentthreatsS 12 of the 31 villages areexploring relocation optionsClimate Change Impacts
Significance forInternational SecurityS Accelerated glacial melting inGreenland and Antarctica couldenhance projected sea levelrise, threatening the US, other coastalnations and island states.S Potential unpredictable effects onweather patterns and worldagriculture at loss of year roundArctic Sea Ice.
Arctic Climate ActionRegistry (ACAR)S An effort to incentivize reductions of emissions of soot, methane andtropospheric ozone forming compounds.S No other organization in the world is taking action fast enough to savethe Arctic. The Arctic Climate Action Registry will certify projects thatimmediately slow the meltdown in the Arctic using metrics defined in thenew Draft American (ANSI) Greenhouse Gas Accounting Standard.S The Arctic Climate Action Registry Network is a social networkconsisting of scientists, business leaders, governmentofficials, educators, and consumers. Its goal is to help memberscommunicate about taking action to save the Arctic.S If successful, could be adapted and extended to the Antarctic, Amazon-Andes and Himalayas.
ACAR Vision, Missionand StrategyS VISION: Slow down and ultimatelyend climate change in the Arcticregion and, in so doing, slow downclimate change around the globe.S MISSION: Mitigate greenhousegases and other climate forcersaffecting the Arctic region.S STRATEGY: Stimulate projects andactivities in support of ourmission, based on incentives andmarket mechanisms, withmeasurable progress within thedecade.
ACAR ParticipantsTRANSACTIONAL REGISTRYManaged by theAmerican Carbon RegistryBased on Arctic ClimateMetricsfrom LEO-SCS-002ARCTIC CLIMATEPROTECTION NETWORKCompaniesGovernment agenciesInstitutionsIndividualsARCTIC CLIMATE FOOTPRINT&3rd PARTY OFFSETVERIFICATIONSCS Global ServicesACAR HOMEThe Climate InstituteSteering Committee
Current SteeringCommittee MembersCharles Bayless, Chair, Chairmen of the Board Essential PowerLuis Roberto Acosta, President, Instituto del ClimaSenator Heherson Alvarez, Commissioner for Climate Change, Philippines; Former PhilippineSecretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform and the Department of Environment and NaturalResourcesSteve Apfelbaum, President, Applied Ecological ServicesPaul Bartlett, Environmental ScientistRobert W. Corell, Principal, Global Environmental Technology Foundation; Chair, Arctic Climate ImpactAssessmentGary Dodge, Director of Science and Certification, Forest Stewardship Council U.S.Robert Engelman, President, Worldwatch InstitutePeter A. Globensky, Principal Consultant, BASA; Former CEO, Canadian Council of Ministers of theEnvironment
Current SteeringCommittee MembersJohn Kadyszewski, Director, American Carbon RegistryStephen Leatherman, Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida InternationalUniversityMichael MacCracken, Chief Scientist, The Climate InstituteJohn Noel, President, Southern Alliance for Clean EnergyConn Nugent, President, Heinz CenterAta Qureshi, Team Leader, Asia Climate Study.Stanley Rhodes, President, Scientific Certification SystemsTerry Root, Senior Fellow, Stanford Woods Institute for the EnvironmentLinda Schade, Executive Director, The Black Carbon Reduction CouncilTim Warman, Former Vice President, Climate and Energy, National Wildlife FederationCarol Werner, Executive Director, Environmental and Energy Study InstituteDaniel Wildcat, Professor, Haskell Indian Nations University; Founder, Indigenous Peoples Climate ChangeWorking Group
ACAR Registry ProjectOpportunitiesExamplesShipping – Equipping ships with technology to capture blackcarbon, and using or purchasing turbine-powered ships.Agricultural Burning - Reduce and change seasonalityAirlines– Reduced emissions from airline fleets, e.g., some reroutingof flights, increased fuel efficiency.Pollution Prevention –Stack emissions captured at electricityproduction and other industrial facilities.Methane Capture – Methane capture for energy generation.Natural Cycle Enhancement – Micronization of sea water to helpcool the region, i.e., ships generating spray to promote cooling.
Some Encouraging TrendsU.S. Greenhouse GasesS Total emissions levels havedropped almost to 1994 levelsdue largely to increasedefficiency and greater use ofrenewables.S Should continue by a substitutionin U.S. of natural gas for coal inthe utility sector.S To maximize climate benefits ofcoal to gas switch, it is crucial tominimize methane leaksfrom natural gas system.Energy Use &Emissions
U.S. Position: OpportunityS Leverage our good fortune assoon-to-be world’s leadingenergy producer; ensurecontinued prosperity andcatalyze effective national andinternational response toclimate change.S In natural gas sector: holdoverall methane leakagefrom natural gasextraction, transmissionand distribution to below1%.S How can our energy planningand foreign policy promoteresults that will sustain ournational economy, reduce riskof climate disruption, and meldinto climate protectionresponses, benefits to humanhealth and food production?
U.S. OpportunitiesS Wide political support here. April22, 2009, joint sponsorship ofsuccessful legislation by SenatorsInhofe, Carper, Boxer and Kerry tomandate U.S. EPA to developoptions for black carbonreductions here and abroad.S Encourage special focus onemission reductions in regionssuch as Arctic, where we may beat near irreversible climatetipping points.S Reduce federal and stateregulatory barriers to energy recycling(cogeneration).S Promote aggressive internationalattack on Short- Lived ClimateForcers that affect climate andhuman health and where benefitscan be realized soon.
China Moving Forward inClimate ProtectionS As RamezNaam noted in Slate May 8, 2013 China now seems determined tobe a world leader in climate protection:1. Moving forward with a cap andtrade plan in seven regions Includingprovinces of Guangdong and Hubeiand cities ofBeijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqingand Shenzhen, with a goal of linkingby 2020 to a national carbon market.2. Planning to institute a tax on CO2emissions, as early as 2015 or 2016.
China Moving Forward inClimate Protection3. Investing $65 billion on renewable energy in 2012,compared with $35 billion in the US the same year.4. China now produces over half of the globalproduction of solar panels with the US nowproducing less than 10 percent.Significantly, driven by both climate and air qualityconcerns, China appears to be considering theintegration of valuation for reduction of emissionsof black carbon and other short- lived climateforcers into their cap and trade plans. A chef in Chinas Shandongprovince removes chickenfrom a solar cooker
A Region SpecificMitigation StrategyS Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau: rapid glacial melt imperils the watersupplies of much of humanity; mitigation action (cleaner cook stoves andtransport systems) can avert hundreds of thousands of air pollutiondeaths annually.S Latin America: glacial melt in the Andean region and drying out of keyagricultural lands in South America is spurred by burning and landconversion.S ACAR to leverage growing public interest in slowing climatic disruption inthe regions closest to a tipping point, corporate interest in avertingclimatic chaos and voluntary emission reduction incentive systems toslow loss of sea ice and glacial melting.ACAR TARGET: Black carbon, ozone forming compounds andmethane
Climate Changeand theInternational StageThank you!Questions/Comments?Acknowledgments:Principally HumiunMiah and JillianJordan, thanks also toMichael MacCracken, John - MichaelCross, Matt Vetter, Christopher Philipp, andLinda Brown.www.climate.org & Arctic Climate Action Registry(ACAR) athttp://www.climate.org/programs/acar/index.html