OU Climate, Arctic & International SecurityPresentation Transcript
Climate Change, the Arctic and International SecurityWith John Topping, Founder and President of the Climate Institute A lecture for the University of Oklahoma Inaugural Event of the Global Sustainability Series S February 19, 2013
Climate Change’s Acceleration S Source: NASA Source: NASA Image
Humanity’sEmissionsare Playing aRoleGreenhouse gases &aerosols are having animpact on climate
S Poses increasing risk:Climate S enhanced sea level rise affecting coastal areas andChange’s island nations S threat to water resources andAcceleration agriculture S a realistic possibility of more extreme events; swings―Oklahomans are between floods and droughtsaccustomed to cruel climate.Frigid winters and searing S possible increased occurrencesummers are often made of severe storms (*sciencemore unbearable by scouring uncertain on tornadoes)winds. But even byOklahoma standards, its On a local level in recentbeen a year of whipsaw years, The National Weatherweather.‖ Service has determined 90.92% of Oklahoma is in D3- Los Angeles Times, August (extreme) and D4 (exceptional)24, 2011 levels. This is the worst drought Oklahoma has
Oklahoma’s CurrentDrought Conditions
Weather Events and Climate Variability S While no single weather related event — flood, drought, fire or severe storm — can be attributed to climate change, it is prudent to build climate resilience. S There is a probability that investment decisions will need to be made for waterTushka, Oklahoma tornado, an resources, agricultural and/orEF3 which struck the town on April infrastructure planning to offset14, 2011, during the Mid-April 2011 risks.tornado outbreak. Shot by Gabe S National Weather ServiceGarfield and Marc Austin of the Weather Center in NormanNational Weather Service. places OU at center of
UncertaintiesS Pace of change S How do we improve our understanding of what is atS Regional implications risk and possibleS Will there be changed responses? S Crucial considerations for frequency of extreme coastal and flood plain events? planning, water resource S Severe storms, floods planning, and droughts infrastructure and building design, etc.
S Not only adverse human orForces natural stress affecting ecosystems or areas inOccurring which we live.Together to S Growing ocean acidification.Accelerate S Depletion of fossil aquifers. S Land degradation.Stress S Destruction of forests, especially in the tropical regions.
Systems areInterdependentProtecting the Ogallala Aquiferfor Future Use
Some Encouraging Trends Energy Use &U.S. Greenhouse Gases EmissionsS Total emissions levels have dropped almost to 1994 levels due largely to increased efficiency and greater use of renewables.S Should continue to be amplified by substitution in U.S. of natural gas for coal in the utility sector.S To maximize climate benefits of coal to gas switch, it is crucial to minimize methane leaks from natural gas system.
U.S. Position: OpportunityS How can our energy S Leverage our good fortune as planning and foreign policy soon-to-be world’s leading energy promote results that producer; ensure continued prosperity and catalyze effective will sustain our national national response to climate economy, reduce risk of change. climate disruption, and meld S In natural gas sector: hold into climate protection overall methane leakage from natural gas responses, benefits to extraction, transmission human health and food and distribution to below 1%. production?
U.S. OpportunitiesS Reduce federal and state S Wide political support here. April regulatory barriers to energy recycling 22, 2009, joint sponsorship of (cogeneration). successful legislation by Senators Inhofe, Carper, Boxer and Kerry to mandate U.S. EPA to developS Promote aggressive international options for black carbon attack on Short- Lived Climate reductions here and abroad. Forcers that affect climate and S Encourage special focus on human health and where benefits emission reductions in regions can be realized soon. such as Arctic, where we may be at near irreversible climate tipping points.
Global Emission Trends Climate and Clean Air Challenges Coalition S Barrier to be overcome: failureS Rapid growth of CCAC action of Kyoto Protocol-based trading on black carbon, systems to incentivize methane, hydrofluorocarbons and tr these reductions. opospheric ozone that together produce as much an effect on climate change as CO2.S Reductions will often yield not only climate benefits but enhanced human health (BC), and sometimes economic (recovery for energy of leaking methane) or safety (harvesting of methane from coal mines).
Rethinking How We Compare GHGsS Common Metric: 1 tonne of methane = 22 tonnes of CO2S Possible New Metric: 1 tonne of methane = 75 tonnes of CO2 What’s the difference? (Hint: Methane only lasts 12 years)
Tropospheric OzoneS Formed as a secondary product of other emissions S By oxidation of methane, CO, and VOCs in the presence of NOxS Once formed, lasts 20 – 24 daysS Warming Effect is ~ 0.3 W/m2 S 18% of CO2 effect
MethaneS Atmospheric concentrations rising after several years of stabilityS Lasts 12 years in atmosphereS Warming Effect is ~ 0.86 W/m2 S 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 heat S Stays in atmosphere for only 1 – 2 weeksS Atmospheric Warming Effect is 0.44 – 0.9 W/m2 S 28 – 55% of CO2 effectS Decreased snow albedo in Arctic and Himalayas S Enormous regional increase in warming effect S Globally averaged, is an additional 0.1 – 0.2 W/m2S Harmful to human respiratory health
Regional Effects• ―Troposphericozone and BC snow albedo effect contribute substantially to rapid warming and sea ice loss in 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˚C Shindell estimates that combined sulfate decrease and BC increase caused 75% of direct Arctic warming over past 30 years
Benefits from Black Carbon ReductionS Atmospheric loading and warming influence will drop as emissions dropS Acute decrease in Arctic warmingS Reducing certain BC emissions will result in: S Reduced indoor air pollution, which kills 1.9M annually S Reduced outdoor air pollution, which kills 0.8M annually
Warming Effect During 21st Century Aggressive Reductions in both GHGs and Black Carbon 8 7 6Radiative Forcing (watts per sq meter) 5 4 3 2 21st Century CO2 only 1 20th Century GHG Emissions 0 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 2060 2070 2080 2090 2100Credit: MacCracken 2009 YEAR
Near-Term Changes in Warming Effect Black Carbon is Critical to Reducing Near-Term Warming 6 6 Business as Usual Aggressive Reductions in BC and GHGsRadiative Forcing (watts per sq meter) 5 5 4 4 3 3 2 2 1 1 0 0 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 YEAR YEAR Credit: MacCracken 2009
The Four Crucial Regions Amazonian Rainforest & Himalayas Andean Mountains
The Four Crucial RegionsAntarctica The Arctic
Short-Lived Climate ForcersS Decisive global action targeting S Amazon SLCFs the next best step to bide S Amazon land and time for the regions in danger of conversion forest loss irreversible damage. may push to point of dieback. Andes may be affected both by S Increased efficiency, non or warming and SLCF deposition. low-carbon fuel sources. Could mean loss of water resources for tens of millions.S Antarctic S Himalayas/Tibetan Plateau S Parts warming rapidly with S Water resources for at least a potential for adding to sea level sixth of humanity could be rise from melting of glaciers in Greenland and imperiled. other regions and warming of upper layers of ocean.
South America: Closely Interconnected Ecosystems Amazon Rainforest Andes MountainsS The Amazonian Rainforest is the S Glaciers in the mountains provide greatest treasure trove of biodiversity water supplies for tens of millions on the planet. in South America and hydropower for millions.S It is disappearing rapidly due to land conversion for cattle farms, mining and S Rapid glacial melt imperils this small farmers. water supply.S Brazilian Scientists (Simoes& S Efforts are underway to install Evangelista) report that emissions from cleaner cook stoves in many Andean communities and reduce burning for land clearing in the black carbon emissions. Amazon, especially for cattle farms, may be producing as much as half of black carbon deposition in the Antarctic.
S Glacial thinning:AntarcticaGlaciers in Antarctica containabout 70% of all the freshwater on Earth; if all were tomelt, global sea levels wouldrise over 60 meters — morethan 200 feet.
AntarcticaS Although Antarctica is the coldest S There is a modest net loss now region on Earth, some portions in the from Antarctica, about 150 Antarctic Peninsula and West cubic kilometers each year Antarctic are among the most (Hansen, 2007) but if this accelerates it could add significantly rapidly warming parts of the planet. to global sea level rise.S Most Antarctic ice loss seems S Deposition of significant quantities of attributable to interaction with black carbon from fires in warming waters of the Southern South America and Africa has Ocean more than to warming on the been detected in Antarctica and linked to agricultural burning. No land. linkage has yet been done on their role in ice loss.
Himalayas – Tibetan PlateauS Provides water supplies for about S Emissions of black one of every six humans on earth. carbon, especially from diesel Rapid glacial melt underway that transport and cook may reduce water availability. stoves, appear as great a factor as overall global warming in spurring glacial melting.S Project Surya seeks to reduce S Indian Supreme Court has black carbon emissions, save lives mandated that in public transport and reduce climate forcing through compressed natural gas vehicles replacement of cook stoves and replace current diesel and other kerosene lanterns with cleaner alternatives http://www.projectsur vehicles. ya.org/
The Arctic’s RoleAnd Functions of the Arctic Climate Action Registry S
The Arctic CrisisS Scientists have confirmed that the Arctic is in crisis, and acts as a bellwether as a sensitive region.S At the current rate of warming, Arctic summers will be ice-free within five to ten years, for the first time in 65 million years.S There will be enormous disruption to local communities Source: http://www.arcticclimateregistry.org/ and wildlife. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg—a melting Arctic will have dire consequences for the entire
Climate Change in the Arctic Economist, August 28 2012In 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.
Climate Change in the ArcticS Melting of the Greenland ice sheet, contributing to global sea level rise Significant erosion, threatening villages Collapse of whole ecosystems Scientists at NASA first thought satellite Melting of permafrost readings were a mistake after images and release of trapped showed 97% surface melt over four days methane hydrates
Chief CausesS Global Warming CO2 and other Kyoto GHGsS Arctic Regional Contribution (50-70%) Methane Black Carbon Tropospheric Ozone Methane Hydrate Pulse 5,000 billion tons trapped ~ all CO2 and CH4 combined
Climate Change ImpactsS Displacement of villages due to sea level rise and melting permafrostS Public infrastructure damageS Ecosystem impacts (e.g., new pests, migratory species)S Food security (e.g., fisheries, subsistence hunting, melting ice cellars)S Human health issues (e.g., disease, asthma)
Climate Change ImpactsALASKAThe Government Accountability Office (GAO) has reported:S Almost all of Alaska’s 200+ villages have been affected by flooding and erosion, with 4 requiring relocationS 31 villages face imminent threatsS 12 of the 31 villages are exploring relocation options
Locations of ArcticIndigenous Peoples
Arctic Climate Action Registry (ACAR)S An effort to incentivize reductions of emissions of soot, methane and tropospheric ozone forming compounds.S No other organization in the world is taking action fast enough to save the Arctic. The Arctic Climate Action Registry will certify projects that immediately counteract the meltdown in the Arctic using metrics defined in the new Draft American (ANSI) Greenhouse Gas Accounting Standard.S The Arctic Climate Action Registry Network is a social network consisting of scientists, business leaders, government officials, educators, and consumers. Its goal is to help members communicate about taking action to save the Arctic.S If successful, could be adapted and extended to the Antarctic, Amazon-Andes and Himalayas.
ACAR Vision, Mission and StrategyS VISION: Slow down and ultimately end climate change in the Arctic region and, in so doing, slow down climate change around the globe.S MISSION: Mitigate greenhouse gases and other climate forcers affecting the Arctic region.S STRATEGY: Stimulate projects and activities in support of our mission, based on incentives and market mechanisms, with measurable progress within the decade.
ACAR Registry Project OpportunitiesExamplesShipping – Equipping ships with technology to capture blackcarbon, and using or purchasing turbine-powered ships.Forest fires – Boreal forest crown fire suppression managementunder Forest Stewardship Council guidelines.Airlines – Reduced emissions from airline fleets, e.g., somererouting of 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.
Significance for International SecurityS Aside from a scramble for energy S Potential unpredictable effects on resources, there are negative weather patterns and world agriculture implications of enhanced Greenland at loss of year round Arctic Sea Ice. melt for U.S. and other major world cities.
Summation & Action PlanS The focus on the Arctic is S The three other vulnerable justified and mitigation should regions: Antarctic, Himalayas- be viewed in a global context. Tibetan Plateau and Amazon- S e.g., Greenland melting is a Andes, may ultimately be crucial threat to sea targets of regional SLCF levels worldwide because focused mitigation strategies. of annual ice loss of 150 S Why? 150 cubic km annual cubic km (Hansen). ice loss is also true for Antarctica (Hansen).
Climate Changeand theInternationalStage Thank you! Questions/Comments? Acknowledgments: Principally Jillian Jordan, thanks also to Michael MacCracken, John - Michael Cross, Matt Vetter, Christopher Philipp and Linda Brown. Climate.org& Arctic Climate Action Registry (ACAR)