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Climate Change: Current Status, Impacts and Solutions by Mario Molina

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Dr. Mario Molina, Nobel Laureate and Foundation of the Mario Molina Center, presented in the Friday (6 November) WILD9 Plenary on "Climate Change, Energy and Wilderness," specifically speaking on …

Dr. Mario Molina, Nobel Laureate and Foundation of the Mario Molina Center, presented in the Friday (6 November) WILD9 Plenary on "Climate Change, Energy and Wilderness," specifically speaking on 'Climate Change: The Current Status, Potential Impacts and What we can do."

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  • Jean Baptiste Fourier (1768 – 1830): 1824: Gases might increase temperature (chaleur obscure: IR); Planetary energy balance John Tyndall (1820-1893): In 1859 British physicist John Tyndall made laboratory measurements of infrared absorption by CO2. He realized that CO2 in the air, and water vapor that goes along with it, acts like a blanket, trapping the Earth’s heat that was created by sunlight, and keeping the Earth’s surface tens of degrees warmer than it otherwise would be without these ‘greenhouse’ gases. Tyndall also realized that the amount of CO2 in the air could change, and he speculated, correctly as it turns out, that CO2 changes may have been one of the principal agents involved in the waxing and waning of ice ages and warm interglacial periods. ( James Hansen ) Svante Arrhenius: 1895: In 1895 Svante Arrhenius followed with a climate prediction based on greenhouse gases, suggesting that a 40% increase or decrease in the atmospheric abundance of the trace gas CO2 might trigger the glacial advances and retreats. ( IPCC WG1 Fourth Assessment Report ) Nobel Prize: 1903 (or theory of electrolytic dissociation)
  • Health Impacts Climate change impacts the transmission of infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever as insects carrying diseases migrate northward.
  • Cost: 1% (-2% to +5%) of GDP for 550 ppmv CO 2 equivalent (3 o C); Damage: 5% - 20% of GDP 2 o C: 450 ppmv; 4 o C: 750 ppmv Sir Nicholas Stern: a former chief economist with the World Bank; Review comissioned by the Treasury of the UK
  • Cost: 1% (-2% to +5%) of GDP for 550 ppmv CO 2 equivalent (3 o C); Damage: 5% - 20% of GDP 2 o C: 450 ppmv; 4 o C: 750 ppmv Sir Nicholas Stern: a former chief economist with the World Bank; Review comissioned by the Treasury of the UK
  • Notice that the air over the Tibetan Plateau to the north of the Himalayas is very clear, whereas the view of the land surface south of the mountains is obstructed by the brownish haze. Most of this air pollution comes from human activities. The aerosol over this region is notoriously rich in sulfates, nitrates, organic and black carbon, and fly ash. These particles not only represent a health hazard to those people living in the region, but scientists have also recently found that they can have a significant impact on the region's hydrological cycle and climate. http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/viewrecord?10980
  • The Kyoto protocol was set up as a first step, with each participating industrial nation given its own target for 2012.
  • Transcript

    • 1. CLIMATE CHANGE Current Status- Impacts - Solutions Mario Molina Miembro del Colegio Nacional University of California, San Diego Mario Molina Center for Strategic Studies in Energy and the Environment 9 th World Wilderness Congress Merida, Yucatan November 6, 2009
    • 2. LAND TRANSFORMATION • > ½ of Land Surface Transformed by Human Action
    • 3. MANGROVES 50% have been converted to shrimp ponds, agricultural lands or residential areas
    • 4. FISHERIES • ~ 75% of major global fisheries are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted • 50 years ago, was 5%
    • 5. OUTLOOK FOR CHINA Assuming China’s economy continues to grow at 8%/year: Income per person in 2031: same as USA’s in 2004 Source: Lester R. Brown, PlanB 2.0, Norton & Co, 2006 World Consumption in 2004 China’s Consumption in 2031 Grains 1.74 billion tons 1.31 billion tons Paper 161 million tons 305 million tons Oil 84 million barrels / day 99 million barrels / day
    • 6.  
    • 7.  
    • 8. The Pulse of the Planet
    • 9. Source: Charles David Keeling, Scripps Institution of Oceanography CO 2 in the Atmosphere: 1957 - 1978
    • 10. ATMOSPHERIC CONCENTRATIONS CO 2 and CH 4 for the past 10,000 years IPCC AR4, WG1 SPM, 2007
    • 11. Global Mean Surface Temperature Reconstructions
    • 12. Muir Glacier, Alaska NSIDC/WDC for Glaciology, Boulder, compiler. 2002, updated 2006. Online glacier photograph database. Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center. August 1941 August 2004 Coastal glaciers
    • 13. FLOODS 1950-2000
    • 14. MAJOR WILD FIRES 1950-2000
    • 15. DROUGHTS
      • 400,000,000 people are living under extreme drought conditions
      • “ Very Dry” Land, Worldwide:
            • 15% in 1970
            • 30% in 2002
    • 16. Potential Climate Change Impacts
    • 17. Impacts of Climate Change Source: Stern Review, adapted from IPCC
    • 18. Emissions trajectories consistent with stabilizing atmospheric CO 2 at va (2005 = 380 ppmv) CO 2 EMISSIONS TRAJECTORIES 4 °C 3 °C 2°C
    • 19. Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies S. Pacala & R. Socolow Improved fuel economy More efficient buildings Improved power plant efficiency Substituting natural gas for coal Carbon capture and storage Nuclear fission Wind electricity Solar energy Biofuels Forest management
    • 20. VALUE OF A CLIMATE POLICY UNDER UNCERTAINTY [email_address] A NEW WHEEL with lower odds of EXTREMES What would we buy with STABILIZATION of CO 2 at 550 ppm? NO POLICY Source: MIT 2003
    • 21. VALUE OF A CLIMATE POLICY UNDER UNCERTAINTY [email_address] A NEW WHEEL with lower odds of EXTREMES What would we buy with STABILIZATION of CO 2 at 550 ppm? NO POLICY Source: MIT 2009
    • 22. Actions Needed To Address Climate Change
      • Put a price on carbon emissions so marketplace can work to find cheapest reductions, through a new international agreement in the post-Kyoto period
      • Increase investments in energy-technology research , development and demonstration
      • Expand international cooperation on deploying advanced energy technologies
      • Accelerate “win-win” measures
    • 23. McKinsey Cost Curve February 2009
    • 24. Mexico’s Climate Change Program 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050
    • 25. McKinsey Cost Curve for Mexico
    • 26.
      • Tipping Point Definitions
      • 1. Tipping Level
      • - Climate forcing (greenhouse gas amount)
      • reaches a point such that no additional
      • forcing is required for large climate
      • change and impacts
      • 2. Point of No Return
      • - Climate system reaches a point with
      • unstoppable irreversible climate impacts
      • (irreversible on a practical time scale)
      • Example: disintegration of large ice sheet
    • 27. Tipping elements in the Earth’s climate system Timothy M. Lenton, Hermann Held, Elmar Kriegler , Jim W. Hall, Wolfgang Lucht, Stefan Rahmstorf, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 2008
    • 28. Source: V. Ramanathan V, Y. Feng On avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system: Formidable challenges ahead. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:14245-14250, 2008 Probability distribution for the committed warming by GHGs between 1750 and 2005
    • 29.  
    • 30.
      • The skies over Northern India are filled with aerosol particles all along the southern edge of the Himalayan Mountains, and streaming southward over Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal.
      Outflow of Aerosol, Northern India
    • 31.  
    • 32. Effective climate forcings 1750-2000 Units are watts per square meter alteration in global-average atmospheric radiation flow WARMING COOLING Source: Hansen et al., JGR, 110 , D18104, 2005.
    • 33. Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions S. Solomon, G.-K. Plattner, R. Knutti, and P. Friedlingstein Proccedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2008 1200 ppm CO 2 450 ppm CO 2 2%/año; Actual warming 2%/año; Warming in equilibrium with actual CO 2 Surface Warming (K)
    • 34. REDUCING ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE RISK USING THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL AND OTHER REGULATORY ACTIONS TO COMPLEMENT CUTS IN CO 2 EMISSIONS Mario Molina, Durwood Zaelke, Madhava Sarma, Stephen Andersen, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, and Donald Kaniaru PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES 2009
      • Soot
      • Tropospheric Ozone
      • Hidrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
    • 35. KYOTO PROTOCOL to the UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE The Parties to this Protocol , Being Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, … have agreed as follows: …(28 articles) ------------------------------------------------- Countries that ratify this protocol commit to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases, or engage in emissions trading.
    • 36. UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM (UNEP) International Agreement to Control CFC Emissions
    • 37. Human Population Growth