Tibor Farago, Honorary professor at St. Istvan University/ former Hungarian chief negotiator for UNFCCC and IPCC national focal contact

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  • 1. CLIMATE CHANGE: SCIENCE-POLICY INTERFACE AND CHALLENGES DR. TIBOR FARAGÓ European Journalism Centre's Climate Action Conference, Budapest, 23 March 2011
    • 1. Unprecedented ?
    • are there precedents and other processes from which we can learn ?
    • 2. Uncertainties ?
    • what we know already with adequate level of certainty to act ?
    • 3. Concern ?
    • why this problem "bothers" even the high-level policymakers ?
    • 4. Re paration ?
    • we have interfered with the global env/climate system; how to heal it ?
    • 5. Adaptation ?
    • mitigation and/or adaptation ?
    • 6. Responsibility ?
    • common but differentiated responsibility and how to quantify it ?
    • 7. Convergence ?
    • i nternational sci and pol developments: convergence or divergence ?
  • 2. 1. UNPRECEDENTED ? are there precedents and other processes from which we can learn ?
    • many other forms of human interference with Earth's env.
      • Theme of global climate change is very "popular" . For many this hazard seems to be an unprecedented one, a large-scale env ironm- l problem caused inadvertently by human activities .
      • There are many other incidences identified by science .. But managed successfully? Good for dealing with c.c.?
    • various components of global environment
      • rapidly increasing rate of loss of global forest cover ; generally :
      • global land use change (agric . , urbanization, transport systems)
      • significant rate of loss of global biodiversity (shrinking habitats, invasive species ..)
      • release of chemicals to environment and their long-range transmission and impacts
      • over-consumption of finite, non-renewable natural resources
    • atmosphere
      • long-range transboundary air pollution (SO2, NOx) and the environmental acidification
      • production and release of ODS (CFC etc.) and the ozone layer depletion
      • emission of greenhouse gases (CO2 etc.) and the global climate change process
    acidification: emisson-transmission-deposition „ ozone hole”: 1979-1988 (UNEP, 2005)
  • 3. UNPRECEDENTED ? comparison of "perception" of atmo-related pressures
    • Time period from sci. discovery to pol. agreement:
    • "some" hypothesis sci. linking pol. perception pol. agreement
    • SO2 ……………………. 1967 Odén: 1972 UNCHE 1979 C-LRTAP
    • acid-rain & SO2 1977 OECD, EMEP
    • CFC 1971 Crutzen ……. 1974 Molina- 1985 Farman: 1985 C-POL
    • Rowland: CFC ozone-hole
    • CO2 1895 Arrhenius ….. 1938 Callendar 1979 WCC-1 1988 , 1990 UNGA
    • 1957 Revelle 1988 Toronto 1992 UNFC-CC
    • Reasons for the very long time period in case of CO2/ghg emissions?
      • longer time for "enough" sci. certainty, less evident potential adverse consequences, significant and multiple sectoral policy consequences, WW2 and cold war period .. ..
    • What could be learnt from the precedents?
      • realization of ability for global level interference; listening to science; precautionary approach; understanding of mutual international interdependence (E-W; N-S); modalities of international pol. negotiations
      • BUT: complexity of the problem and the policy conflicts turned to be unprecedented ..
  • 4. 2. UNCERTAINTIES ? w hat we know already with adequate level of certainty to act ?
    • Emission , concentration of greenhouse gases : evidence
      • CO2 : man-made emissions contribute to incr. concentrations other greenhouse gases ( CH4, N2O etc. )
      • A tmospheric R esidence /life- T ime ; Glob a l Wa rming P otential ART: CO2 ~100ys CH 4 _12ys N 2 O_114ys .. SF 6 _3200ys! GWP: CO 2 _1 CH 4 _25 N 2 O_298 .. CFC11_4750 SF 6 _22800
      • emissions 1970-2004: +70%
      • deforestation ~25% of ghg-em. + lessening C- sink capacities
      • C oncentrations from preind (1750) by 2010 (CDIAC): 280 -> 389ppm CO2 : +39% CH4: +159% N2O +20%
    • Global climate: causes of recent changes - very likely
      • complex system: atmo/hydro-/cryo-/lito-/bio-..
      • past: long-term changes , variability ( composition, cl.param - s ) Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age ..
      • since pre-industrial period > 0.7 C warming
      • Attribution (IPCC) : " Most of the .. increase in globally-averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the .. increase in anth ropogenic ghg concentrations "
    • Obs-ed i mpacts on reg . climates , env . , soc-econ systems
      • ice cover, permafrost, glaciers; circulation; extreme events
      • on natural systems: water cycle, biosphere / vegetation ..
      • on social systems: water management, agriculture etc. ..
    climate system and processes CO2 1958- CO2: 900-                                                                  900 1000 1100 1200 1300 1400 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900 2000 260 280 300 320 340 360 380 CO2 Concentration (ppmv)
  • 5. UNCERTAINTIES ? decision-making under uncertainties and the precautionary approach
    • Scenarios "if-then": emissions, atm comp. , climate, impacts
      • climate system modeling - assessments 1990-2100 (IPCC, 2007) global aver. surface temp. rise: 1,8 - 4,0C (sea: + 18-59 cm ) huge spatial differences ..
      • scaling the levels of hazard - if temp increases 1-2-3-4-5C impacts on water, ecosystem, food, coasts, health if 2C < terrestrial biosph. tends toward net C-source tendencies for cereal prod. to decrease in low lat-s
    • Irreversibility
      • change in the state of the system ..
      • impacts: loss of ice sheets on polar land >> metres of sea-level rise etc.
    • Decision-making under uncertainties
      • precaution : &quot; take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing such measures &quot;
      • set thresholds: < 2C  CO2eq < 450 ppm (445-490ppm  2.0-2.4C)  emission s: peaking by 2015 and red. by at least 50 % by 2050
    emission red. pathway .. 2C
  • 6. 3. CONCERN ? why this problem &quot; bothers &quot; even the high-level policymakers ?
    • Sources: sectors/activities of man-made emissions
      • energy production/cons. CO 2 ; transport CO 2 ; agriculture ( plant cultiv. CO 2 , N 2 O , animal husb. CH 4 ); manufacturing ind-s CO 2 ; other ind-s HFCs, PFC, SF6
      • s inks/reservoirs capacities' decrease forest management, land use (change)
    • Impacts : sectors/activities influenced by env. chang e
      • water management, agriculture, forestry, energy management, health and healthcare; nat.systems
    •  these are key sectors of soc-econ development: significant changes are (would be) required .. = at stake e.g.: global energy or food supply future of the societies; its national and internat'l aspects
    • Extreme concerns: c.c. enthusiasts and skeptics
      • (+) oversimpl., overlook.uncertainties, exaggeration ..
      • (-) pos.impacts; neglecting the hazard, other reasons ..
    share of sectors in glob ghg-emissions sectors bearing the c.c. impacts
  • 7. 4. RE PARATION ? we have interfered with the global env/climate system: how to heal it?
    • Natural carbon cycle and human interference
      • natural carbon cycle: dyn . equilibrium for quite a long time period
      • man-made CO2 emissions : small compared to nat. sources (3-4%)
      • man-made reduction of CO2 sink capacities : small compared to ..
      • but these were leading to an imbalance , atm. accum . of CO2/ghg-s
    • Gradual refinement of &quot;todo's&quot; i.e. options:
      • 1972 UNCHE: be mindful of activities in which there is an appre - ciable risk of effects on climate ; monitor long-term global trends in atm. constituents and properties which may cause ..climatic changes
      • 1987 WCED: formulate and agree upon management policies for all env iron- ly reactive chemicals released into the atmo . by human activities, particularly those that can influence the radiation balance
      • 1988 Toronto: dev elope d countries ' gov - s pledged: vol-ly cut CO2 emissions by 20% by the year 2005
      • 1990 IPCC, WCC2 -d e cl aration : dev elope d c ountrie s limit emissions ..
      • 1992 UNFCCC: Dev elope d countries: taking the lead in modifying longer-term trends in anthropogenic emissions .. and as 1st step: stabilize emissions by 2000 at 1990 level
    Global carbon cycle (IPCC, 2007, Fig. 7.3.) Toronto, 1988:
  • 8. RE PARATION ? options to stabilize atmospheric ghg concentrations (at a level ..)
    • reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion (all sector s)
      • energy (supply and demand side): saving, effic . ( conver t, use ),chp,&quot;clean-coal&quot;,coal-to-gas ..
      • transp ort (terr it .planning; modal shift, less fuel; fuel eff. ) , agric ulture , indust ry etc.
    • reduce CO2 em. by switch ing to non-fossil fuels for energy:
      • renewables (?) , nuke (?) ; hydrogen (?)
    • collect CO2 (post comb ., from atm. ) and dispose or convert
      • carbon capture and storage (CCS)
      • CO2 to methanol (?)
    • enhance CO2 sink capacities:
      • save forests (red. em-s from deforestation , degrad. , REDD)
      • reforest, a f forest .. ; harvested wood products ..
    • reduce other GHG emissions from sectoral activities:
      • industries (also &quot;ind. gases&quot;), agriculture (CH4, N2O) ..
    • collect , use CH4 as energy resource
      • agriculture, landfill, coal bed methane ..
    • broader context and approach:
      • decarbonisation : less C-intensive ( low-carbon ) development
      • fossil fuels ' reserves (&quot;peak oil&quot;); en ergy supply security
    a fforestation, re-, red-def reduce: CO2-emission convert to methanol sequestration: capture, storage em-reduction: save. efficien. em-reduction: renewables em-reduction: coal-to-gas enhance: CO2-removal
  • 9. 5. ADAPTATION ? mitigation and/or adaptation ? - case of natural env variability
    • Vulnerability & ad aptation to natural climatic variability
      • vulnerability of natural systems and human soc-s to varying env . conditions - to diff erent extent
      • resilience depend s on adapt ation ability, capacity (early perception, preparedness, means, flexibility etc.)
    • West-Europe: the Little Ice Age
      • after a warm period prolonged cold centuries (14)16-19 c-s 1-2C below average, large interannual/-seasonal variability
      • impacts: agric. - shorter veget . seasons; fishing, settlements some adaptation since limited options .. ( changes in plant cultivation, abandon ing settlements ..)
    • Africa: the Sahel belt and the famine of 1970s
      • long-term adaptation to general severe conditions: traditional cattle pastoralism and migration ~ key to lower vulnerability
      • unusual good conditions 1950s-60s and rapid adaptation: fast agric. development ( mal adaptation), pastoralism marginalized
      • abrupt switch to usual dryness from late 1960s: starvation ~200 tho usands of people, millions of animals were dead ..
    •  Mitigation i n case of natural env/clim. variability
      • only for the human factors exacerbating vulnerability to natural env. variability
    Little Ice Age : 14 /16 -19 centuries , Northern -H, W-Europe (Mann, 2002) Sahel: annual rainfall, 1900- 2007 1968-74 and recurring dr. periods 1400 1600 1800 1200
  • 10. ADAPTATION ? mitigation and/or adaptation ? - case of man-made env. change
    •  Mitigation in case of man-made env/clim. change
      • both for the human factors causing and/or exacerbating the changes in env. conditions and the vulnerability to the changes
    • Limits in adaptability: extent and rate of the change
      • Ecosys : Approximately 20-30% of plant and animal species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature exceed 1.5-2.5ºC
      • Agric.: Adaptations such as altered cultivars and planting times allow low- and mid- to high-latitude cereal yields to be maintained at or above baseline yields for modest warming
      • IPCC : Even the most stringent mitigation efforts cannot avoid further impacts of climate change in the next few decades, which makes adaptation essential .. . Unmitigated climate change would, in the long term, be likely to exceed the capacity of natural, managed and human systems to adapt . (AR4, WGII)
      • UNFCCC : The ultimate objective is to achieve stabilization of ghg concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system . Such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change .. and to enable economic dev . to proceed in a sustainable manner .
      • Cancun Adaptation Framework - 2010 // DCs: 45 NAPAs
    EU: adaptation policy (COM: White Paper, 2009) Addressing c . c . requires two types of response. Firstly, and importantly, we must reduce our gh g emissions and secondly we must take adap - tation action to deal with the unavoidable impacts . C limate change, Hungary mitigating the hazard . pre - paring for impacts (2003-8) O bjective of the Project : systemization of the scientific results on the c . c . hazard, assessment of its impacts , the science-based national mitigation and adaptation response policy options . NAPA: Maldives .. to present a coherent frame -__ work to c . c . adaptation that enhances the resilience of the natural, human, and social systems and ensures their sustainability in the face of predicted climate hazards
  • 11. 6. RESPONSIBILITY ? - common but differentiated responsibility and how to quantify it ?
    • Who is responsible: extent, indicator?
      • present emissions (ghg-s + lucf): huge diff-s *traditional distinction between I Cs and DCs *diff-s within groups (ICs: EiTs / DCs: emerg, LDCs)
      • &quot;accumulative&quot; type problem vs today's emissions: grad. changing contributions
      • responsibility at various stages of interference: ultimately, the share in resp. for adverse impacts
      • responsibility at diff. levels of &quot;emitters&quot;: groups of countries, countries, companies, individuals
      • present-future: intra- & intergenerational equity
    • Historical responsibility
      • past and future C-based dev and em-s: I Cs and DCs
      • accepted in principle (FCCC): largest share of hist . glob emissions has originated in IC s - should take the lead
    • At which stage of interference?
      • emissions? + concentration s ? +GWP? + temperature?
      • responsibility for adverse global impacts ?
    • P er capita responsibility : present (and future ?)
      • Carbon-footprint for each individual vs glb=3.8 tCO2
      • GHGs+lucf 2000 (WRI) tCO2eqL: MY 37 AUS 26 CAN 24 USA 23 RF 14 DE 12 UK 11 HU 7 CN 4 IN 2 vs glb=6.8
    CO2-emissions tCO2/cap, 2002 (UNEP-GRID, 2005) US 20 S-Arabia, AUS 18 CAN 14 RF 10 UK, DE 10 S-Afr 7.5 CN 2 IN 1 Togo 0.5 Malaysia 6 1960-2005 US CN CN US
  • 12. 7. CONVERGENCE ? i nternational sci . and pol . developments: convergence or divergence ?
    • Past: side-by-side sci and pol developments
      • 1988 establ of IPCC - spec mandate, spec. structure 1988 Toronto meeting and UNGA resolution
      • 1990 WCC2; IPCC AR1: &quot; Emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atm . conc entration s of ghg - s .. &quot; 1990 UNGA, 1991 nego-s, 1992 UNFCCC stabilize (ICs)
      • 1997 AR2: &quot; The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate .. &quot; 1997 Kyoto Protocol - reduce (ICs)
      • 2001 AR3: &quot; An increasing body of observations gives a collective picture of a warming world and other changes in the climate system &quot; 2001 Marrakech Accords - completing the KP ..
      • 2007 AR4: &quot; Continued ghg emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the glob climate system during the 21st century &quot; 2007 Bali Mandate for further nego-s - to agree by 2009 ..
    • Future ? more evidence, pol icy options but more diff to agree
      • 2010 : CO2 389 ppm +39% and other obs, but 2014 : AR5
      • 2009-2010 Copenhagen-Cancun > post-2012 agreement?
    C.Y.Lam, Hong Kong Observatory 2007 + completed 2010: 389 '07 BM '97 KP '97 AR2 2013 ? '14 AR5 COP15: HOPE nhagen and there are still hopes after Cancun towards next COPs
  • 13.
      • THANK YOU
      • - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
      • dr. Tibor Faragó hon. professor, former national focal point for the UNFCCC and the IPCC
      • [email_address]
      • - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -