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GU STIA305 04

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  • FAQ 2.1, Figure 2. Summary of the principal components of the radiative forcing of climate change. All these radiative forcings result from one or more factors that affect climate and are associated with human activities or natural processes as discussed in the text. The values represent the forcings in 2005 relative to the start of the industrial era (about 1750). Human activities cause significant changes in long-lived gases, ozone, water vapor, surface albedo, aerosols and contrails. The only increase in natural forcing of any significance between 1750 and 2005 occurred in solar irradiance. Positive forcings lead to warming of climate and negative forcings lead to a cooling. The thin black line attached to each colored bar represents the range of uncertainty for the respective value. (Figure adapted from Figure 2.20 of this report.)

GU STIA305 04 GU STIA305 04 Presentation Transcript

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  • Story Line
    • ANTHROPOGENIC CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL. There is a Firm Scientific Consensus that People are Causing Major Changes in the Earth’s Climate.
    • This Consensus was and Still is Opposed by a Major Disinformation Campaign
      • At First, This Took Advantage of Lingering Scientific Uncertainty when this uncertainty still Existed
      • It Continues in the Absence of Significant Scientific Disagreement
      • Or Else It Argues that it’s too Expensive to Do Anything.
    • The Kyoto Protocol was Negotiated and Came into Effect
      • Legally Binding on Parties
      • US and Australia Refused to Join Kyoto Regime.
      • European Union and Some US States and Some Multi-National Firms are Taking Strong Precautionary Measures.
      • Kyoto Targets are not rigorous but are not being Met
    • Copenhagen Meeting in December 2009 agrees on broad objectives but not on binding targets for emissions reduction.
  • Climate as an Exemplar of a Science-Intensive Issue of International Affairs
    • Scientific Discoveries Put Issue on Agenda
    • Scientific Advice is Integrated into the Diplomatic Process
    • International Cooperation (Functionalism) is Needed to Manage a Global Issue
      • New Alliances are Formed
      • Nations Still May Decide not to Join – Sovereignty Still Controls
    • Politics Determines the Ultimate Outcome – But Nature’s Laws are Inexorable: Inaction has Unavoidable Consequences
      • Hard Constraint on Decisions: Pay Now or Suffer Later
    • SCIENCE CAN
      • Outline Possible Futures
      • Estimate Consequences
      • Estimate Uncertainties
      • Point out Areas of Ignorance
    • SCIENCE CANNOT
      • Dictate What is ‘Dangerous’ or ‘Too Risky’
      • Trade Off Climate vs. Other Costs and Risks
      • Make Judgments under Uncertainty
  • First, The Science
  • Natural Greenhouse Effect
    • The Sun’s Rays are Converted into Heat at the Earth’s Surface
    • Heat is Reradiated into Space and Temperature Equilibrium is Achieved
    • If the Earth were Bare Tumbling Rock, its Temperature would be about –18C (0F)
    • Natural Greenhouse Gases (Water, CO 2 , Methane) Absorb Reradiated Heat and Reradiate Some of it Back to Earth, Raising the Equilibrium Temperature to ~15C (55F)
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  • There’s Only One Earth, so We Can’t Do a Controlled Experiment – and the Future Hasn’t Happened Yet So Detection, Attribution, and Prediction All Depend on Models
  • How Do Climate Models Work?
    • Identify the Physical Principles underlying Climate (These are Well Known)
    • Incorporate them into Computer Models that Simulate the Workings of a System that Includes the Sun, the Atmosphere and the Oceans
    • Check that they ‘Post-Dict’: i.e., Reproduce Data Known from the Past
  • So What’s the Problem?
    • Climate is a Non-Linear System with Lots of Feedback Loops
    • Representation of Geography Requires that the Earth be Split into 50 km Squares – Not Enough to Produce Adequate Detail
    • Climate Involves Phenomena that span a Wide Range of Scales – from Clouds (1 km) to Oceans (10,000 km)
    • BUT THE MODELS ARE GETTING VERY MUCH BETTER at dealing with these and other issues
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  • Models Must Include Human Contribution in Order to be Able to Explain Past Records of
    • Average Temperatures in the Past at Many Time Scales
    • Ocean Heat Content
    • Regional and Altitude Temperature Patterns
    • Alternative Models (Sunspots, the ‘Iris’ Effect of Clouds) are NOT Consistent with the Data. This is the Basis for the IPCC’s Conclusion (90% subjective probability) that Global Warming is Real and Anthropogenic CO 2 is an Important Contributor
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  • Impacts of Climate Change
    • Physical Changes
      • Increased Average Temperature (1.4-5.8C)
      • Increase in Strong Hurricanes, Droughts, Floods
      • Sea Level Rise
      • Glaciers are Melting
    • Impact on People and Ecosystems
      • Glacier-Fed Rivers (Mekong, Indus, Yangtze) Have Less Water and Maximum Flow Before Farmers Need Irrigation Water
      • Insect-Borne Disease Spreads: Malaria, Dengue
      • Coasts Flood and Islands are Submerged
      • Heat Waves Damage Agriculture, Health
      • Extinctions: Biodiversity Can’t Adapt Fast Enough
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  • Regional Impacts: Developing Countries Bear the Brunt of Climate Change
    • Tropical Areas are Already Hot
    • Effects on Last Slide Affect Developing Countries Disproportionately
    • Adaptive Capacity is Less
      • Less Money for Dikes, Infrastructure
      • Less Technical and Managerial Capacity for Adaptation and Research
  • This will Change U.S. Geography – Although No one Is Sure Exactly How
  • Regional Impacts: Europe
    • All Europe
    • Retreating Glaciers
    • Longer Growing Seasons
    • Health Impacts from Heat Waves
    • Inland Flash Floods
    • More Frequent Coastal Flooding
    • Southern Europe
    • More Variability
    • High Temperatures and Drought
    • Less Water for Agriculture
    • Health Risks
    • More Wildfires
  • Regional Impacts: Africa
    • Highly Vulnerable
      • Lack of Capital and Technical Capacity
    • Climate Variability and Drought Hurt Agriculture
      • Decreased growing season
      • Decreased Arable Land
      • Decreased Yields
    • By 2020, 75-200 Million People Under Water Stress
    • Yields from Rain-Fed Agriculture (Most African Smallholders) Reduced by Up to 50% by 2020
  • Regional Impacts: Asia
    • Glacier Melting Increases Flooding, Changes Hydrology so Rivers Flow Before Farmers Need Irrigation
      • Major Investments in Water Storage will be Required
    • Lower Water Availability will Affect up to a Billion People by 2050
    • Risk of Coastal Flooding
    • Crop Yields Could Increase 20% in East and SE Asia, Decrease 30% in Central and South Asia by 2050
    • Diarrheal Disease to Increase in East, South and SE Asia
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  • Possibility of Major Sea Level Rise
    • Collapse of West Antarctic Ice Sheet
      • 7 meter sea level rise
    • Melting of Greenland Ice Sheet
      • 5 meter sea level rise
      • Melting recently measured to be much faster than previously thought
        • Melt Water Sinks via Moulins and Lubricates Interfaces Between Glacier Ice and Earth at its Base, Speeding Glacier Flow
        • Plugs Melt and No Longer Hold Back Glacier Flow
  • This Would Happen to Florida if the Antarctic Ice Sheet Melts
  • Another Outside but Scary Possibility: Changes in the Thermohaline Circulation that Warms Europe
  • We Don’t Yet Know
    • Regional Impacts
    • Ecosystem and Health Vulnerabilities
    • Possibility of Major Climate Change (e.g., a Much Colder Europe)
    • Possibility of Abrupt Climate Changes (Years Rather than Centuries)
    • Costs of Mitigation
  • It’s Also Possible but Unlikely that the Impact of Global Warming will be Minor or Even Beneficial. Would You Like to Take this Risk? Or Would You Prefer to Take Precautions?
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  • Turning the Battleship
    • Reduce Use of Carbon-Intensive Sources of Energy
    • Use Renewable Sources
    • Geoengineering
      • Capture Greenhouse Gases
      • Increase the Earth’s Reflectance
  • New Technology Will Help
    • Carbon Capture and Sequestration
    • Advanced Geothermal
    • Plug-In Hybrid Cars
    • ‘ Smart Grid’
    • ‘ Smart Houses’
    • But There’s Plenty to Do with Technology that is Ready or Nearly So
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  • The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
    • 1988: Formation of IPCC, >2000 Scientists Advising the UN
    • Comprehensive, 3-volume Review of Evidence Every 5 Years:
      • Science, Impacts, and Human Dimensions
      • Percent Scale to Indicate Uncertainty
    • Findings
      • 1995: ‘Balance of Evidence’ Favors Human Role
      • 2001: ‘Detectable’ Anthropogenic Change
      • 2007: “Human Effect ‘Very Likely’
        • 90% Subjective Probability
  • Attacks on the IPCC Reports
    • A Minority of ‘Climate Skeptics,’ a Few of them Scientifically Qualified, Argue that the Danger from Global Warming is Minor or Non-Existent
      • Generous Backing from the Fossil Fuel Industry Allows them a High Profile
    • Their Criticisms of the ‘Mainstream Position’ Did Not Hold Up
    • New Scientific Evidence Has Eroded the Position of the Climate Skeptics, although they have not Stopped Repeating Discredited Arguments
    • What Began as a Legitimate Scientific Argument Evolved into a Major Disinformation Campaign that is Still Underway
    • Scientists Struggle to Overcome Well-Orchestrated Campaign of Ignorant or Malevolent Criticism
  • Kyoto Protocol
    • Binding Targets for Developed Country Parties: 5% Below 1990 Levels by 2012
    • No Binding Targets for Developing Country Parties
    • ‘ Clean Development Mechanism’: Get Credit for Emissions Reductions by Paying for Emission Savings in Other Countries
    • Seen as First Step: Little Net Emissions Reduction because Increased Emissions in Developing Countries Compensate for Decreased Emissions in Developed Countries
  • Underlying Ethical Issue : Who Should Pay the Costs of Precautionary Measures?
    • Developing Countries Argue for More Time: the Advanced Countries Put the CO 2 into the Atmosphere
      • LDC Annual Contribution has only just Caught Up with OECD Countries’
      • LDC Aggregate Contribution Catches up in ~2100
    • OK, But We’re All on the Same Planet – and China is Now the #1 Emitter
  • US Senate (1998) Refuses (95-0) to Ratify Kyoto Protocol Unless LDCs Agree to Conservation Targets. Newly Installed Bush Administration Abandons Kyoto Protocol on the Grounds of Damage to Economy ‘ Inadequate Science.’ Little Net Reduction in Emissions Refusal to Try to Improve Kyoto Furiously Resented by Europeans
  • Present Situation
    • Kyoto Entered into Force,
    • EU Has Instituted a Mandatory Trading Regime, and EU Members have Instituted Domestic Measures so as to Reach 2012 Targets
      • UK and Germany have an Advantage Because of Special Circumstances: UK Shrank Inefficient Coal Industry, Switched to Natural Gas. East Germany Closed Massively Inefficient Industry.
    • Targets, However Modest, are Now Out of Reach for Nearly All Other Countries, Given 1990s Economic Boom.
      • US Target Would Require 30% Cut in Energy Use.
  • Policies for Reducing Emissions
    • Regulated Emissions Reduction
    • Market-Based Policy Instruments
      • Carbon Tax (i.e., a Tax on CO 2 Emissions)
        • Economically Logical but Politically Difficult
      • Emissions Trading (not formally a tax)
    • A Cap-and-Trade Bill (Waxman-Markey) has Passed the House, is Pending in the Senate
      • Passage Not Assured: Impact is Especially Heavy on States Dependent on Coal for Power
  • Post-Kyoto Regime Now Being Negotiated
  • Cap-and-Trade Issues
    • How is the Cap to be Set?
      • By Science? by Politics? or Both?
    • How are Allowances to be Allocated?
      • By Auction? By Past CO 2 Emissions?
    • Are there to be Escape Clauses (‘Off-Ramps’) if Carbon Credits Become Too Expensive?
    • Are International Transactions Allowed?
      • ‘ Joint Implementation’? ‘Clean Development Mechanism’?
    • How Will Free Riders be Dealt with?
      • Impose a ‘Border Adjustment’ on Imports from Non-Participating Countries? (It’s in the House Bill.)
      • This may or may not pass muster with WTO, and Would Threaten a Major Trade War
  • Existing Emissions Markets
    • Public Systems
      • European Union, 2005
        • Teething Troubles: Price Collapse in 2006 from Over-Allocation
    • Private Sector
      • Internal Corporate Programs (BP)
      • Voluntary Multi-Corporation Programs
        • Chicago Voluntary Exchange
    • Voluntary Offsets
  • Technical Post-Kyoto Issues
      • Collaboration on Technology Development
        • Carbon Sequestration is Particularly Important, Since China and India Have Huge Coal Reserves
    • Forests as Carbon Sinks
      • Credit for Planting Forests
      • Credit for ‘Avoided Deforestation’?
        • How to Verify?
        • Who Gets the Money?
          • Government?
          • Concessionaires?
          • Forest People?
    • ‘ Geoengineering’: Fertilizing the Ocean to Increase Carbon Capture by Plankton
      • This May be within the Resources of Wealthy Individuals
      • An International Legal Limbo
  • Post-Kyoto Non-Technical Issues
    • Targets? – Binding or Not?
    • ‘ Measurable, Verifiable, Reportable’ (MRP) Actions
    • Money
  • Bali Action Plan (2008): Basis for Post-Kyoto Regime
    • Small Adjustment Fund to Help LDCs Adjust to Global Warming
    • Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation (REDD)
    • Non-Binding National Action Plans for Developing countries
    • Parallel Negotiating Tracks (Complicated!)
      • Technical Cooperation (Under UNFCC)
      • Working Group on Extending Kyoto
  • An International Conference in Copenhagen in December Begins to Negotiate Post-Kyoto Regime
    • US Failure to Pass Waxman-Markey Hangs over Conference
    • Developing Countries Refuse Binding Targets but Acknowledge Importance
    • Progress on REDD, Less on Other Issues, No Formal Agreement
    • Obama Negotiates Last-Minute ‘Accord’
      • Legal Status Unclear – But If Nations Comply, Who Cares?
    • Major Economies Forum Will Continue Discussions and Technical Cooperation
      • Numerous Bilateral Agreements Exist, at Least on Paper
  • Take-Home Lessons (STIA)
    • Science Puts Issue on the Agenda,
    • Governments Recognize the Value of Regular Scientific Advice, and Integrate it into the Diplomatic Process
    • However, Even the Strongest Scientific Consensus is not Proof against a Determined Counter-Attack by Powerful Vested Interests
    • Multilateral For a are Tough Places to Negotiate Complex Technical Issues
    • Sovereign Nations Decide the Political Response – but Nature Has the Last Word
  • Take-Home Lessons (International Relations)
    • A Change in Our Notion of Security?
      • If the Ocean Rises and Floods the Coast, What Good was the Navy?
    • A Blurring of the Distinction Between Public and Private Issues
      • Exxon’s and BP’s Policies are as Important as Australia’s
    • A Blurring of The Distinction Between Domestic and International Issues
      • If CO 2 Originating in the US Affects the European Climate and the Flow of Major Asian Rivers, US Energy Policy Isn’t a Purely Domestic Issue Any More. It’s ‘Intermestic’!
      • The Same is True of China and India
  • We Will Return to these Issues When We Discuss Energy.