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Real Clothes for the Emperor:
facing the challenges of climate change




                                Kevin Anderson
                                         Tyndall Centre
                               University of Manchester
                                                  2012
Context

The international energy agency‟s (IEA) view on climate change

  “When I look at this [CO2] data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase
   of 6 degrees Celsius, which would have devastating consequences for the planet.”

  “we have 5 years to change the energy system – or have it changed”


                                                   Fatih Birol - IEA chief economist




 Similar concerns are forthcoming from government chief scientists and the recent PwC report
Climate change commitments


 International ‘To hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius
                  and take action .. consistent with science and on the basis of equity‟



 EU             „must ensure global average temperature increases do not exceed
                  preindustrial levels by more than 2°C‟



 UK              “average global temperatures must rise no more than 2°C”
How consistent are 2°C & 4°C futures with
  emission trends and climate science?
Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement)
                     90.0



                     80.0



                     70.0



                     60.0
Billion tonnes CO2




                     50.0



                     40.0



                     30.0



                     20.0



                     10.0



                      0.0
                         1980   1990    2000    2010      2020   2030     2040     2050

                                                   Year
Billion tonnes CO2




                                                                      70.0




       0.0
                 10.0
                        20.0
                                 30.0
                                            40.0
                                                     50.0
                                                               60.0
                                                                             80.0
                                                                                    90.0




          1980
                               IPCC established
                                   First report




       1990
                                       RIO Earth Summit
                                                   Second report
                                                    RCEP report (60% by 2050)




       2000
                                                        Third report
                                                            most dangerous threat
                                                                Fourth report
                                                                  Copenhagen




       2010
                                                                      Rio + 20




Year
       2020
       2030
       2040
                                                                                           Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement)




       2050
Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement)
                     90.0




                                                   Rio + 20
                     80.0



                     70.0



                     60.0
Billion tonnes CO2




                     50.0



                     40.0



                     30.0



                     20.0



                     10.0



                      0.0
                         1980   1990    2000    2010          2020   2030   2040   2050

                                                   Year
Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement)
                     90.0




                                                                  Rio + 20
                     80.0




                                                Global economic downturn
                     70.0



                     60.0
Billion tonnes CO2




                     50.0
                                                                             … yet emissions have continued to rise
                                                                             (~6% in 2010, ~3% 2011 & 12)
                     40.0



                     30.0



                     20.0



                     10.0



                      0.0
                         1980   1990    2000    2010                           2020      2030     2040      2050

                                                                 Year
Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement)
                     90.0




                                                   Rio + 20
                     80.0



                     70.0



                     60.0
Billion tonnes CO2




                     50.0
                                                               … so what of future emissions?

                     40.0



                     30.0



                     20.0



                     10.0



                      0.0
                         1980   1990    2000    2010          2020     2030     2040      2050

                                                   Year
Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement)
                     90.0




                                                   Rio + 20
                     80.0
                                                              Energy system design lives (lock-in)
                     70.0                                      Supply technologies 25-50 year
                                                               Large scale infrastructures
                     60.0                                                                      30-100 years
Billion tonnes CO2




                                                               Built environment
                     50.0
                                                               Aircraft and ships ~30 years

                     40.0



                     30.0



                     20.0



                     10.0



                      0.0
                         1980   1990    2000    2010             2020     2030      2040       2050

                                                   Year
Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement)
                     90.0



                                                              Emission assumptions




                                                   Rio + 20
                     80.0


                                                               OECD emissions reduce from 2012
                     70.0
                                                               India/Africa join globilisation 2020/25
                     60.0
                                                               China/India peaks emissions by 2030/45
Billion tonnes CO2




                     50.0                                      Africa emissions rise to peak in 2060

                     40.0



                     30.0



                     20.0



                     10.0



                      0.0
                         1980   1990    2000    2010          2020     2030      2040      2050

                                                   Year
Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement)
                     90.0




                                                   Rio + 20
                     80.0



                     70.0



                     60.0
Billion tonnes CO2




                     50.0
                                                                       ~3000GtCO2 for 2000-2050
                     40.0                                              ~5000GtCO2 for 2000-2100

                     30.0
                                                              … i.e. a 4°C – 6°C rise between 2050 & 2100
                     20.0



                     10.0



                      0.0
                         1980   1990    2000    2010            2020        2030    2040     2050

                                                   Year
Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement)
                     90.0




                                                   Rio + 20
                     80.0


                                                                                          A1FI
                     70.0

                                                                                             RCP8.5
                     60.0
Billion tonnes CO2




                     50.0



                     40.0



                     30.0
                                                              … i.e. a 4°C – 6°C rise between 2050 & 2100
                     20.0



                     10.0



                      0.0
                         1980   1990    2000    2010            2020      2030     2040          2050

                                                   Year
Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement)
                     90.0




                                                   Rio + 20
                     80.0



                     70.0



                     60.0
Billion tonnes CO2




                     50.0



                     40.0
                                                                     … outside chance
                     30.0



                     20.0



                     10.0



                      0.0
                         1980   1990    2000    2010          2020     2030   2040      2050

                                                   Year
Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement)
                     90.0




                                                        Rio + 20
                     80.0



                     70.0



                     60.0
Billion tonnes CO2




                     50.0                                                    demand technologies: 1-10 years
                                                                             demand behaviours: now-10 years
                     40.0


                                                                    D
                     30.0
                                                               Too eearly
                                                               for supply
                                                                   m
                     20.0
                                                                    a
                     10.0                                           n        Supply
                                                                    d              &
                                                                                demand
                      0.0
                         1980        1990    2000    2010           2020       2030      2040    2050

                                                       Year
The Emperor's undergarments
   an „orthodox‟ view on 2°C
“To keep … global average temperature rise close to 2°C … the UK [must] cut
emissions by at least 80% ... the good news is that reductions of that size are
possible without sacrificing the benefits of economic growth and rising prosperity.”
                                                                       CCC 2009/11
Still looks naked to me

2°C – a alternative take …
“… it is difficult to envisage anything other than a planned economic recession
being compatible with stabilisation at or below 650ppmv CO2e”

                                                    Anderson & Bows 2008/11
Do climate ‘scientists’ take any
responsibility for the streaking
          Emperor?
EU




                      Inconsistencies in 2°C targets

        Copenhagen Accord:                     “hold … below 2 degrees Celsius”
        EU:                                    “do not exceed 2°C”
        UK Low Carbon Transition Plan:         “must rise no more than 2°C”

IPCC language: a “very unlikely” to “exceptionally unlikely” chance of exceeding 2°C
                      i.e. less than a 10% chance of exceeding 2°C

Despite this:
        UK Government has adopted a pathway with a 63% of exceeding 2°C
… even then it assumes the UK should have a very
inequitable share of the 63% chance of exceeding 2°C

… a position far removed from the Copenhagen Accord
and Cancun Agreement‟s “… on the basis of equity”.
Anderson-Bows: (CO2 only)
(Royal Society‟s Philosophical Transactions – Jan 2011
          ~50:50 chance of exceeding 2°C
Anderson-Bows: (CO2 only)
(Royal Society‟s Philosophical Transactions – Jan 2011
          ~50:50 chance of exceeding 2°C




                                 Peak 2025
                                 Growth 3.5% p.a
                                 Reduction 7% p.a.
                                   (2x Stern!)
Anderson-Bows: (CO2 only)
(Royal Society‟s Philosophical Transactions – Jan 2011
          ~50:50 chance of exceeding 2°C
Anderson-Bows: (CO2 only)
(Royal Society‟s Philosophical Transactions – Jan 2011
          ~50:50 chance of exceeding 2°C




                                 Peak ~2010


                                 Reduction   ∞% p.a.
… for a still lower chance of 2°C,
               Annex 1 nations need at least a…

        … 10% reduction in emissions year on year


                    40% reduction by 2015
                    70%                   2020
                    90+%                  2030

                            Impossible?


… is living with a 4°C – 6°C global rise by 2050-2100 less impossible?
How do two such fundamentally different
interpretations of the challenge arise
from the same science?
… for many analysis/scenarios:

    Recent historical emissions sometimes ‘mistaken’ or ‘massaged’
    Short-term emission growth seriously down played
    Peak year choice ‘Machiavellian’ & dangerously misleading
    Reduction rate universally dictated by economists
    Geoengineering widespread in low carbon scenarios
    Assumptions about ‘Big’ technology naively optimistic

Collectively – they have a magician‟s view of time & a linear view of problems ?
2°C – a political & scientific creed?
Senior political scientist (2010)



“Too much is invested in 2°C for us to say its not possible – it
would undermine all that‟s been achieved

It‟ll give a sense of hopelessness – we may as well just give in

Are you suggesting we have to lie about our research findings?
Well, perhaps just not be so honest – more dishonest …”
Senior Government Advisor
                      (2010)


“We can‟t tell them (ministers & politicians) it‟s impossible


We can say it‟s a stretch and ambitious – but that, with
political will, 2°C is still a feasible target”
DECC SoS (2010)
               - day before attending Copenhagen



“Our position is challenging enough, I can‟t go with the message
that 2°C is impossible – it‟s what we‟ve all worked towards”
… the IEA, PwC et al reports demonstrate how
scientists are slowly beginning to acknowledge that
we‟re heading towards 4°C; but still very few are
yet prepared to be candid about what 2°C or 3°C
demands in terms of mitigation
… in the meantime were planning for:

 up to 30GW of new gas fired powerstations
 tax breaks for shale gas
 the rejection of a 2030 decarbonisation standard for electricity
 the collapse of a large-scale CCS demonstration plant
 new airport capacity
 aviation dropped from EUETS
 weakened EU standards for cars
 shipping planning for a four-fold increase in emissions by 2050
and for Wales …

  Plan for:
         regional impacts of global ~4°C by ~2050 & ~6°C by ~2100 (Vicky)
         global repercussions, including
                     - disruption to food imports
                     - potential mass migration
                     - military tension


There are no precedents for a 9 billion population with such rapidly rising temperatures
But

“… this is not a message of futility, but a wake-up call of
where our rose-tinted spectacles have brought us. Real
hope, if it is to arise at all, will do so from a bare
assessment of the scale of the challenge we now face.”

                                                               Anderson & Bows.
                                              Beyond „dangerous climate change
                                   Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
                                                                         Jan 2011
… a final message of hope ..

“at every level the greatest obstacle to
transforming the world is that we lack the
clarity and imagination to conceive that it
could be different.”
                             Roberto Unger

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Professor Kevin Anderson | Real Clothes for the Emperor: facing the challenges of climate change

  • 1. Real Clothes for the Emperor: facing the challenges of climate change Kevin Anderson Tyndall Centre University of Manchester 2012
  • 2. Context The international energy agency‟s (IEA) view on climate change  “When I look at this [CO2] data, the trend is perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius, which would have devastating consequences for the planet.”  “we have 5 years to change the energy system – or have it changed” Fatih Birol - IEA chief economist Similar concerns are forthcoming from government chief scientists and the recent PwC report
  • 3. Climate change commitments  International ‘To hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius and take action .. consistent with science and on the basis of equity‟  EU „must ensure global average temperature increases do not exceed preindustrial levels by more than 2°C‟  UK “average global temperatures must rise no more than 2°C”
  • 4. How consistent are 2°C & 4°C futures with emission trends and climate science?
  • 5. Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement) 90.0 80.0 70.0 60.0 Billion tonnes CO2 50.0 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Year
  • 6. Billion tonnes CO2 70.0 0.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 60.0 80.0 90.0 1980 IPCC established First report 1990 RIO Earth Summit Second report RCEP report (60% by 2050) 2000 Third report most dangerous threat Fourth report Copenhagen 2010 Rio + 20 Year 2020 2030 2040 Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement) 2050
  • 7. Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement) 90.0 Rio + 20 80.0 70.0 60.0 Billion tonnes CO2 50.0 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Year
  • 8. Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement) 90.0 Rio + 20 80.0 Global economic downturn 70.0 60.0 Billion tonnes CO2 50.0 … yet emissions have continued to rise (~6% in 2010, ~3% 2011 & 12) 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Year
  • 9. Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement) 90.0 Rio + 20 80.0 70.0 60.0 Billion tonnes CO2 50.0 … so what of future emissions? 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Year
  • 10. Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement) 90.0 Rio + 20 80.0 Energy system design lives (lock-in) 70.0  Supply technologies 25-50 year  Large scale infrastructures 60.0 30-100 years Billion tonnes CO2  Built environment 50.0  Aircraft and ships ~30 years 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Year
  • 11. Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement) 90.0 Emission assumptions Rio + 20 80.0  OECD emissions reduce from 2012 70.0  India/Africa join globilisation 2020/25 60.0  China/India peaks emissions by 2030/45 Billion tonnes CO2 50.0  Africa emissions rise to peak in 2060 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Year
  • 12. Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement) 90.0 Rio + 20 80.0 70.0 60.0 Billion tonnes CO2 50.0 ~3000GtCO2 for 2000-2050 40.0 ~5000GtCO2 for 2000-2100 30.0 … i.e. a 4°C – 6°C rise between 2050 & 2100 20.0 10.0 0.0 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Year
  • 13. Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement) 90.0 Rio + 20 80.0 A1FI 70.0 RCP8.5 60.0 Billion tonnes CO2 50.0 40.0 30.0 … i.e. a 4°C – 6°C rise between 2050 & 2100 20.0 10.0 0.0 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Year
  • 14. Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement) 90.0 Rio + 20 80.0 70.0 60.0 Billion tonnes CO2 50.0 40.0 … outside chance 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Year
  • 15. Global emission of fossil fuel CO2 (inc. cement) 90.0 Rio + 20 80.0 70.0 60.0 Billion tonnes CO2 50.0  demand technologies: 1-10 years  demand behaviours: now-10 years 40.0 D 30.0 Too eearly for supply m 20.0 a 10.0 n Supply d & demand 0.0 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050 Year
  • 16. The Emperor's undergarments an „orthodox‟ view on 2°C
  • 17. “To keep … global average temperature rise close to 2°C … the UK [must] cut emissions by at least 80% ... the good news is that reductions of that size are possible without sacrificing the benefits of economic growth and rising prosperity.” CCC 2009/11
  • 18. Still looks naked to me 2°C – a alternative take …
  • 19. “… it is difficult to envisage anything other than a planned economic recession being compatible with stabilisation at or below 650ppmv CO2e” Anderson & Bows 2008/11
  • 20. Do climate ‘scientists’ take any responsibility for the streaking Emperor?
  • 21. EU Inconsistencies in 2°C targets  Copenhagen Accord: “hold … below 2 degrees Celsius”  EU: “do not exceed 2°C”  UK Low Carbon Transition Plan: “must rise no more than 2°C” IPCC language: a “very unlikely” to “exceptionally unlikely” chance of exceeding 2°C i.e. less than a 10% chance of exceeding 2°C Despite this:  UK Government has adopted a pathway with a 63% of exceeding 2°C
  • 22. … even then it assumes the UK should have a very inequitable share of the 63% chance of exceeding 2°C … a position far removed from the Copenhagen Accord and Cancun Agreement‟s “… on the basis of equity”.
  • 23. Anderson-Bows: (CO2 only) (Royal Society‟s Philosophical Transactions – Jan 2011 ~50:50 chance of exceeding 2°C
  • 24. Anderson-Bows: (CO2 only) (Royal Society‟s Philosophical Transactions – Jan 2011 ~50:50 chance of exceeding 2°C Peak 2025 Growth 3.5% p.a Reduction 7% p.a. (2x Stern!)
  • 25. Anderson-Bows: (CO2 only) (Royal Society‟s Philosophical Transactions – Jan 2011 ~50:50 chance of exceeding 2°C
  • 26. Anderson-Bows: (CO2 only) (Royal Society‟s Philosophical Transactions – Jan 2011 ~50:50 chance of exceeding 2°C Peak ~2010 Reduction ∞% p.a.
  • 27. … for a still lower chance of 2°C, Annex 1 nations need at least a… … 10% reduction in emissions year on year  40% reduction by 2015  70% 2020  90+% 2030 Impossible? … is living with a 4°C – 6°C global rise by 2050-2100 less impossible?
  • 28. How do two such fundamentally different interpretations of the challenge arise from the same science?
  • 29. … for many analysis/scenarios:  Recent historical emissions sometimes ‘mistaken’ or ‘massaged’  Short-term emission growth seriously down played  Peak year choice ‘Machiavellian’ & dangerously misleading  Reduction rate universally dictated by economists  Geoengineering widespread in low carbon scenarios  Assumptions about ‘Big’ technology naively optimistic Collectively – they have a magician‟s view of time & a linear view of problems ?
  • 30. 2°C – a political & scientific creed?
  • 31. Senior political scientist (2010) “Too much is invested in 2°C for us to say its not possible – it would undermine all that‟s been achieved It‟ll give a sense of hopelessness – we may as well just give in Are you suggesting we have to lie about our research findings? Well, perhaps just not be so honest – more dishonest …”
  • 32. Senior Government Advisor (2010) “We can‟t tell them (ministers & politicians) it‟s impossible We can say it‟s a stretch and ambitious – but that, with political will, 2°C is still a feasible target”
  • 33. DECC SoS (2010) - day before attending Copenhagen “Our position is challenging enough, I can‟t go with the message that 2°C is impossible – it‟s what we‟ve all worked towards”
  • 34. … the IEA, PwC et al reports demonstrate how scientists are slowly beginning to acknowledge that we‟re heading towards 4°C; but still very few are yet prepared to be candid about what 2°C or 3°C demands in terms of mitigation
  • 35. … in the meantime were planning for:  up to 30GW of new gas fired powerstations  tax breaks for shale gas  the rejection of a 2030 decarbonisation standard for electricity  the collapse of a large-scale CCS demonstration plant  new airport capacity  aviation dropped from EUETS  weakened EU standards for cars  shipping planning for a four-fold increase in emissions by 2050
  • 36. and for Wales … Plan for:  regional impacts of global ~4°C by ~2050 & ~6°C by ~2100 (Vicky)  global repercussions, including - disruption to food imports - potential mass migration - military tension There are no precedents for a 9 billion population with such rapidly rising temperatures
  • 37. But “… this is not a message of futility, but a wake-up call of where our rose-tinted spectacles have brought us. Real hope, if it is to arise at all, will do so from a bare assessment of the scale of the challenge we now face.” Anderson & Bows. Beyond „dangerous climate change Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Jan 2011
  • 38. … a final message of hope .. “at every level the greatest obstacle to transforming the world is that we lack the clarity and imagination to conceive that it could be different.” Roberto Unger

Editor's Notes

  1. Quotation marks added to first quote for consistency