October 31, 2016

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Green Army: Research and Development

Developers can still get rich, politicians can still get payoffs, megaprojects can still be funded, but it needs to be in the context of strengthening defenses against environmental change, not weakening them — because once they get too weak, no one is going to be making money anymore.
In a time of environemntal change, limiting loss will be just as important as promoting growth.


— Cleo Paskal, Global Warring, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, p 245.


Caroline Ash, Elizabeth Culotta, Julia Fahrenkamp-Uppenbrink, David Malakoff, Jesse Smith, Andrew Sugden and Sacha Vignieri:
Anthropogenic climate change is now a part of our reality.
Even the most optimistic estimates of the effects of contemporary fossil fuel use suggest that mean global temperature will rise by a minimum of 2°C before the end of this century and that CO2 emissions will affect climate for tens of thousands of years. …
[Terrestrial ecosystems] will face rates of change unprecedented in the past 65 million years.
(Science, Vol 314, AAAS, 2 August 2013, p 473)

IPCC AR5 Working Group I:
The globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature data as calculated by a linear trend, show a warming of 0.85 [0.65 to 1.06] °C [3], over the period 1880–2012, when multiple independently produced datasets exist.
(Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis — Summary for Policymakers, 27 September 2013, p 4)

Alan Austin:
In [the fourth biennual] Global Green Economy Index released yesterday [by Dual Citizen, Australia fell 27 places to] 37th out of 60 countries on clean energy performance [and ranked] last on global leadership.
(Abbott takes Australia to last place on global climate change leadership, Independent Australia, 21 October 2014, emphasis added)

Dangerous Interference With The Climate System


Rachel Warren: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia

Based on peer-reviewed literature, climate change impacts on the earth system, human systems and ecosystems are summarised for different amounts of annual global mean temperature change (ΔT) relative to pre-industrial times. …
  • At ΔT = 1°C world oceans and Arctic ecosystems are damaged.
  • At ΔT = 1.5°C [irreversible] Greenland Ice Sheet melting begins.
  • At ΔT = 2°C agricultural yields fall,
    • billions experience increased water stress,
    • additional hundreds of millions may go hungry,
    • sea level rise displaces millions from coasts,
    • malaria risks spread,
    • Arctic ecosystems collapse and
    • extinctions take off as regional ecosystems disappear.
    Serious human implications exist in Peru and Mahgreb.
  • At ΔT = 2–3°C the Amazon and other forests and grasslands collapse.
    • At ΔT = 3°C millions [are] at risk [of] water stress,
    • flood, hunger and dengue and malaria increase and
    • few ecosystems can adapt.
The thermohaline circulation could collapse in the range ΔT = 1–5°C, whilst the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may commence melting and Antarctic ecosystems may collapse.
Increases in extreme weather are expected.

("Impacts Of Global Climate Change At Different Annual Mean Global Temperature Increases" in Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change; Editor in Chief Hans Joachim Schellnhuber; Co-editors Wolfgang Cramer, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Tom Wigley, Gary Yohe; Cambridge University Press, 2006, p 92)


State of the Climate 2015: Record Heat and Weather Extremes


World Meteorological Organization

The [combined] global average [land and sea] near-surface temperature for 2015 was the warmest on record by a clear margin …
The global average temperature for the year was … approximately 1 °C above the 1850–1900 average.


Figure 1.
Global annual average temperature anomalies (relative to 1961–1990) for 1850–2015.
The black line and grey shading are from the HadCRUT4 analysis produced by the Met Office Hadley Centre in collaboration with the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
The grey shading indicates the 95% confidence interval of the estimates.
The orange line is the NOAAGlobalTemp dataset produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA NCEI).
The blue line is the GISTEMP dataset produced by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA GISS).
(Source: Met Office Hadley Centre, United Kingdom, and Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom)
(p 5)


Figure 6
Global annual average temperature anomalies (difference from the 1961–1990 average) based on an average of the three global temperature datasets.
Coloured bars indicate years that were influenced by El Niño (red) and La Niña (blue), and the years without a strong influence (grey).
The pale red bar indicates 2015.
(Source: Met Office Hadley Centre, United Kingdom, and Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom)
(p 8)


Australia had its warmest October on record.
The anomaly for October was also the highest anomaly for any month since records began. …
[For Australia, it] was the fifth-warmest year on record as a whole.
(p 17)

(WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2015, WMO-No 1167, 2016)


Rising Global Mean Temperature


World Bank

[Observational data corrected for sources of short-term variability (El Nino/Southern Oscillation, volcanic aerosols and solar variability) reveals the underlying trend.]




(Foster & Rahmstorf, Global temperature evolution 1979–2010, Environmental Research Letters, 6(4), 2011)


CSIRO: State of the Climate 2016


Monitoring Greenhouse Gases at Cape Grim


Background hourly clean-air CO2 as measured at Cape Grim.
The blue hourly data represent thousands of individual measurements.
To obtain clean air measurements, the data are filtered for only times when weather systems have come across the Southern Ocean, and thus the air is not influenced by local sources of pollution.
(p 18)

Carbon Sources and Sinks


Annual fluxes of CO2 and their changing sources (eg fossil fuels) and sinks (eg the ocean absorbing CO2).
About 30% of the anthropogenic (caused by human activity) CO2 emissions have been taken up by the ocean and about 30% by land.
The remaining 40% of emissions have led to an increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
(p 21)

Business As Usual


Climate Action Tracker

In a world first for climate policy, the Australian Government repealed core elements of Clean Energy Future Plan, effectively abolishing the carbon pricing mechanism, sought to reduce the Australian renewable target, and block other clean energy and climate policy measures in Australia.
The carbon pricing mechanism introduced had been working effectively, with emissions from the electricity and other covered sectors reducing by about 7% per annum.

Up until the time of repeal, the implemented climate policy was effective and was projected to have been sufficient to meet Australia’s unconditional Copenhagen pledge for a 5% reduction from 2000 levels by 2020.
Our new, post-repeal assessment shows, however, that this target is no longer in reach and the currently proposed new legislation will result in emissions increasing by 49-57% above 1990 levels.

(11 December 2014)


Climate Equity Reference Calculator




Given a Strong 2℃ pathway target, the global mitigation requirement in 2020 is 19.8 gigatonnes.

Australia’s fair share of this 2020 global mitigation requirement is 1.7%, which is 342 million tonnes.
Australia’s 2020 unconditional mitigation pledge (150 tonnes) falls short of its fair share of the global effort by 192 million tonnes.

In per-capita terms, Australia’s fair share of the 2020 global mitigation requirement comes to 13.5 tonnes.
Its reduction pledge, however, is only 5.9 tonnes per person, which falls short of its fair share by 7.6 tonnes per person.
Its score is therefore −7.6. …

Australia’s fair share can be expressed as … 34% reduction below national 1990 emissions. …
A country’s fair share is a function of both its capacity and its responsibility.
Australia is projected in 2020 to have 1.9% of global capacity and 1.5% of global responsibility.

(Accessed 1 January 2015)

Would you like to know more?


Tyndall Centre For Climate Change Research


School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia.

  • Characteristics of mitigation pathways, IPCC Fifth Assessment Synthesis Report, 1 November 2014.

    Global GHG emissions under most scenarios without additional mitigation (baseline scenarios) [fall between] the RCP 6.0 and RCP 8.5 pathways. …
    (p 38)

    Key characteristics of the scenarios collected and assessed for WGIII AR5

    (Adapted from Table 3.1, p 64)

    Representative Concentration Pathway

    CO2eq in 2100

    ΔT relative to 1850-1900

    (+0.2°C for 1750)
    RCP2.6430-580>50% risk of exceeding 1.5°C
    RCP4.5580-720>50% risk of exceeding 2°C
    RCP6.0720-1000>50% risk of exceeding 3°C
    RCP8.5>1000>50% risk of exceeding 4°C

  • Technical Report, Climate Change in Australia: Projections for Australia's National Resource Management Regions, CSIRO, 2015, p 27.

    Future Scenarios of Greenhouse Gas Concentrations

    • RCP8.5 represents a future with little curbing of emissions with a CO2 concentration continuing to rapidly rise, reaching 940 ppm by 2100.
      Resultant forcing is close to that of SRES A1FI.
    • RCP6.0 represents lower emissions, achieved by application of some mitigation strategies and technologies.
      This scenario results in the CO2 concentration rising less rapidly than RCP8.5, but still reaching 660 ppm by 2100 and total radiative forcing stabilising shortly after 2100.
    • RCP4.5 concentrations are slightly above those of RCP6.0 until after mid-century, but emissions peak earlier (around 2040), an the CO2 concentration reaches 540 ppm by 2100.
      Carbon dioxide concentrations under RCP4.5 closely mimic those of SRES scenario B1, the lowest emission scenario considered in the previous [IPCC] report.
    • RCP2.6 (which can also be referred to as RCP3-PD for ‘peak and decline’) is the most ambitious mitigation scenario, with emissions peaking early in the century (around 2020), then rapidly declining.
      Such a pathway would require early participation from all emitters, including developing countries, as well as the application of technologies for actively removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
      The CO2 concentration reaches 440 ppm by 2040 then slowly declines to 420 ppm by 2100).
      There was no equivalent scenario under SRES.


  • WMO Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 2015, WMO-No 1167, 2016.
    World Meteorological Organization.

    The NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index shows that, from 1990 to 2014, radiative forcing by long-lived greenhouse gases increased by 36%, with CO2 accounting for about 80% of that increase.
    The increase in total radiative forcing by all long-lived greenhouse gases since pre-industrial times reached +2.94 W/m^2.
    The total radiative forcing by all long-lived greenhouse gases corresponds to a CO2-equivalent mole fraction of 481 ppm.
    (p 11)


    Total Anthropogenic Radiative Forcing relative to 1750

    (WMO / IPCC AR4 & AR5)

    Year

    RF (W/m^2)

    1950+0.57
    1980+1.25
    2005+1.72
    2011+2.29
    2014+2.94


  • Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change; Editor in Chief — Hans Joachim Schellnhuber; Co-editors — Wolfgang Cramer, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Tom Wigley, Gary Yohe; Cambridge University Press, 2006.

    Impacts Of Global Climate Change At Different Annual Mean Global Temperature Increases


    Rachel Warren

    Note that impacts are cumulative (that is those accruing at ΔT = 2°C are additional to those accruing at ΔT = 1°C) except for the agricultural sector.


    Summary of Climate Change Impacts on the Earth System, Human Systems and Ecosystems

    (Adapted from Table 11.5, pp 95-7)
    Of a Global Average Surface Temperature rise of 1°C above pre-industrial
    GLOBAL
    • Oceans continue to acidify, with unknown consequences for entire marine ecosystem
    • 80% of coral reefs damaged by climate-change induced changes in water chemistry and bleaching
    • Potential disruption of ecosystems as predators, prey and pollinators respond at different rates to climatic changes and damage due to pests and fire increases
    • 10% ecosystems transformed, variously losing between 2 to 47% of their extent
      • Loss of cool conifer forest
      • Further extinctions in cloud forests
    • Increase in heatwaves and associated mortality
    • Decrease in cold spells and associated mortality
    • Further increase in extreme precipitation causing drought, flood, landslide, likely to be exacerbated by more intense El Nino
    • Increased risk malaria & dengue
    • Rise in insurance prices and decreased availability of insurance
    • 18–60 million additional millions at risk to hunger and 20 to 35 million ton loss in cereal production depending on socioeconomic scenario, GCM and realisation of CO2 fertilisation effect
    • 300–1600 additional millions suffer increase in water stress depending on socioeconomic scenario and GCM
    REGIONAL
    Arctic
    • Only 53% wooded tundra remains stable
    Africa
    • Decreases in crop yields e.g. barley, rice estimated ~10%
    • Significant loss of Karoo the richest floral area in world
    • Increased risk of death due to flooding
    • Southern Kalahari dunefield begins to activate
    Americas
    • Serious drinking water, energy and agricultural problems in Peru following glacier melt
    • Increased risk death due to flooding
    • Increased crop yields in N America in areas not affected by drought if carbon fertilisation occurs
    Europe / Russia
    • Increased crop yields if carbon fertilisation occurs in areas not affected by drought
    • Increased drought in steppes and Mediterranean causing water stress and crop failure
    Australia
    • Extinctions in Dryandra forest
    • Queensland rainforest 50% loss endangering endemic frogs & reptiles

    Of a Global Average Surface Temperature rise of 1.5°C above pre-industrial
    GLOBAL
    • Onset of irreversible melting of Greenland ice sheet causing eventual additional sea level rise of 7m over several centuries (over and above that due to thermal expansion)
    REGIONAL
    Australia
    • 50% loss Kakadu of wetlands

    Of a Global Average Surface Temperature rise of 2°C above pre-industrial
    GLOBAL
    • Agricultural yields being to fall in the developed world
    • 1.0 to 2.8 billion people experience increase in water stress
    • 97% loss of coral reefs
    • Sea level rise and cyclones displace increasing numbers (12–26 million, less those protected by adaptation schemes) of people from coasts
    • Additional millions at risk to malaria particularly in Africa and Asia, depending on socioeconomic scenario
    • 16% global ecosystems transformed: ecosystems variously lose between 5 and 66% of their extent
    • −12 to +220 additional millions at risk of hunger and 30–180 million ton loss global cereal production depending on socioeconomic scenario, GCM and realisation of CO2 fertilisation effect
    REGIONAL
    Arctic
    • Destruction of Inuit hunting culture
    • Total loss of summer Arctic sea ice
    • Likely extinction polar bear, walrus
    • Disruption of ecosystem due to 60% lemming decline
    • Only 42% existing Arctic tundra remains stable
    • High arctic breeding shorebirds & geese in danger
    • Common mid-arctic species also impacted
    Antarctic
    • Potential ecosystem disruption due to extinction of key molluscs
    Africa
    • Large scale displacement of people (climate refugees from low food security, poverty and water stress) in Mahgreb as rainfall declines by at least 40%
    • All Kalahari dunefields begin to activate
    Americas
    • Vector borne disease expands poleward eg 50% increase in malarial risk in North America
    • Extinction of many Hawaiian endemic birds and impacts on salmonid fish
    Europe / Russia
    • Tripling of bad harvests increasing Russian inter-regional political tensions
    Asia
    • 1.8 to 4.2 billion experience decrease in water stress (again depending on socioeconomic scenario and GCM model used) but largely in wet season and not in arid areas
    • Vector borne disease increases poleward
    • 50% loss of Chinese boreal forest
    • 50% loss of Sundarbans wetlands in Bangladesh
    Australia
    • Risk of extinctions accelerates in northern Australia, eg Golden Bowerbird

    Of a Global Average Surface Temperature rise of 2.5°C [2-3] above pre-industrial
    GLOBAL
    • Conversion of vegetation carbon sink to source
    • Collapse of Amazon rainforest
    • 0.9–3.5 billion additional persons suffer increased water stress
    REGIONAL
    Africa
    • 80% Karoo lost endangering 2800 plants with extinctions
    • Loss Fynbos causing extinction of endemics
    • 5 southern African parks lose >40% animals
    • Great Lakes wetland ecosystems collapse
    • Fisheries lost in Malawi
    • Crop failures of 75% in southern Africa
    • All Kalahari dunefields may be mobile threatening sub-Saraharan ecosystems and agriculture
    Americas
    • Maples threatened in north American temperate forest
    Asia
    • Large impacts (desertification, permafrost shift) on Tibetan plateau
    • Vector borne disease increases poleward
    • 100% loss of Chinese boreal forest
    • Food production threatened in south Asia
    Australia
    • Risk of extinctions accelerates in northern Australia, eg Golden Bowerbird
    • 100% loss Kakadu wetlands and alpine zone

    Of a Global Average Surface Temperature rise of 3°C above pre-industrial
    GLOBAL
    • Few ecosystems can adapt
    • 50% nature reserves cannot fulfil conservation objectives
    • 22% ecosystems transformed
    • 22% loss coastal wetlands
    • Ecosystems variously lose between 7 and 74% of their extent
    • 65 countries lose 16% agricultural GDP even if CO2 fertilisation assumed to occur
    • Irrigation requirements increase in 12 of 17 world regions
    • 17–18% increase in seasonal and perennial potential malarial transmission zones exposing 200 to 300 additional people — overall increase for all zones 10%
    • 50–60% world population exposed to dengue compared to 30% in 1990
    • 25 to 40 additional millions displaced from coasts due to sea level rise, less those protected by adaptation schemes
    • 1200 to 3000 additional millions suffer increase in water stress depending on socioeconomic scenario and GCM.
    • −20 to +400 additional millions at risk of hunger and 20–400 million tonne loss global cereal production depending on socioeconomic scenario and realisation of CO2 fertilisation effect
    REGIONAL
    Africa
    • 70–80% of those additional millions at risk from hunger are located in Africa
    Americas
    • 50% loss world’s most productive duck habitat; large loss migratory bird habitat
    Europe / Russia
    • Alpine species near extinction
    • 60% species lost from Mediterranean region
    • High fire risk in Mediterranean region
    • Large loss migratory bird habitat
    Asia
    • Chinese rice yields fall by 10–20% or increase by 10–20% if CO2 fertilisation is realised
    Australia
    • 50% loss of eucalypts
    • 24% loss suitable (80% loss original) range endemic butterflies

    Of a Global Average Surface Temperature rise of 3.5°C [2-4.5] above pre-industrial
    REGIONAL
    Antarctic
    • Potential to trigger melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet raising sea levels by a further 5 to 6 m ie 60 to 120 cm/century
    Africa
    • 70 to 80% of those additional millions at risk from hunger are in Africa

    Of a Global Average Surface Temperature rise of 4°C above pre-industrial
    GLOBAL
    • Entire regions out of agricultural production
    • 25% increase in potential malarious zones:
      • 40% increase in seasonal zones and
      • 20% decrease in perennial zones
    • Timber production increases by 17%
    • Probability of thermohaline shutdown at or above 50% according to many experts
    • 44% loss taiga
    • 60% loss tundra
    • −30 to +600 additional millions at risk of hunger
    REGIONAL
    Americas
    • 50% loss world’s most productive duck habitat
    • Large loss migratory bird habitat
    Europe / Russia
    • 38% European alpine species lose 90% range
    • 5–12% drop in Russian production including 14–41% in agricultural regions
    Australia
    • Out of agricultural production

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