Monday, 8 October 2018

Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040

quote [ A landmark United Nations report paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding damage requires quickly transforming the world economy. ]

Direct link to the IPCC Report which it should be noted, is considered to be largely conservative in its estimates.

Trump administration predicts a 7°F (~4°C) global temperature rise. Its policies assume planet’s fate is sealed.

In case you were wondering how that 'not going extinct in a hundred years' thing was working out for us. #YourMomIsAnEndangeredSpecies

Reveal
INCHEON, South Korea — A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”

The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population.

The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.

The authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty. Previous work had focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by a larger number, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), because that was the threshold scientists previously considered for the most severe effects of climate change. The new report, however, shows that many of those effects will come much sooner, at the 2.7-degree mark.

Avoiding the most serious damage requires transforming the world economy within just a few years, said the authors, who estimate that the damage would come at a cost of $54 trillion. But while they conclude that it is technically possible to achieve the rapid changes required to avoid 2.7 degrees of warming, they concede that it may be politically unlikely.

For instance, the report says that heavy taxes or prices on carbon dioxide emissions — perhaps as high as $27,000 per ton by 2100 — would be required. But such a move would be almost politically impossible in the United States, the world’s largest economy and second-largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China. Lawmakers around the world, including in China, the European Union and California, have enacted carbon pricing programs.

President Trump, who has mocked the science of human-caused climate change, has vowed to increase the burning of coal and said he intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement. And on Sunday in Brazil, the world’s seventh-largest emitter of greenhouse gas, voters appeared on track to elect a new president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has said he also plans to withdraw from the accord.

The report was written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries who analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies. The Paris agreement set out to prevent warming of more than 3.6 degrees above preindustrial levels — long considered a threshold for the most severe social and economic damage from climate change. But the heads of small island nations, fearful of rising sea levels, had also asked scientists to examine the effects of 2.7 degrees of warming.

Absent aggressive action, many effects once expected only several decades in the future will arrive by 2040, and at the lower temperature, the report shows. “It’s telling us we need to reverse emissions trends and turn the world economy on a dime,” said Myles Allen, an Oxford University climate scientist and an author of the report.

To prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, the report said, greenhouse pollution must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. It also found that, by 2050, use of coal as an electricity source would have to drop from nearly 40 percent today to between 1 and 7 percent. Renewable energy such as wind and solar, which make up about 20 percent of the electricity mix today, would have to increase to as much as 67 percent.

“This report makes it clear: There is no way to mitigate climate change without getting rid of coal,” said Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at Duke University and an author of the report.

The World Coal Association disputed the conclusion that stopping global warming calls for an end of coal use. In a statement, Katie Warrick, its interim chief executive, noted that forecasts from the International Energy Agency, a global analysis organization, “continue to see a role for coal for the foreseeable future.”

Ms. Warrick said her organization intends to campaign for governments to invest in carbon capture technology. Such technology, which is currently too expensive for commercial use, could allow coal to continue to be widely used.

Despite the controversial policy implications, the United States delegation joined more than 180 countries on Saturday in accepting the report’s summary for policymakers, while walking a delicate diplomatic line. A State Department statement said that “acceptance of this report by the panel does not imply endorsement by the United States of the specific findings or underlying contents of the report.”

The State Department delegation faced a conundrum. Refusing to approve the document would place the United States at odds with many nations and show it rejecting established academic science on the world stage. However, the delegation also represents a president who has rejected climate science and climate policy.

“We reiterate that the United States intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement at the earliest opportunity absent the identification of terms that are better for the American people,” the statement said.

The report attempts to put a price tag on the effects of climate change. The estimated $54 trillion in damage from 2.7 degrees of warming would grow to $69 trillion if the world continues to warm by 3.6 degrees and beyond, the report found, although it does not specify the length of time represented by those costs.

The report concludes that the world is already more than halfway to the 2.7-degree mark. Human activities have caused warming of about 1.8 degrees since about the 1850s, the beginning of large-scale industrial coal burning, the report found.

The United States is not alone in failing to reduce emissions enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change. The report concluded that the greenhouse gas reduction pledges put forth under the Paris agreement will not be enough to avoid 3.6 degrees of warming.

The report emphasizes the potential role of a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. “A price on carbon is central to prompt mitigation,” the report concludes. It estimates that to be effective, such a price would have to range from $135 to $5,500 per ton of carbon dioxide pollution in 2030, and from $690 to $27,000 per ton by 2100.

By comparison, under the Obama administration, government economists estimated that an appropriate price on carbon would be in the range of $50 per ton. Under the Trump administration, that figure was lowered to about $7 per ton.

Image

The World Coal Association disputed the conclusion that stopping global warming calls for an end of coal use. CreditKevin Frayer/Getty Images
Americans for Prosperity, the political advocacy group funded by the libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch, has made a point of campaigning against politicians who support a carbon tax.

“Carbon taxes are political poison because they increase gas prices and electric rates,” said Myron Ebell, who heads the energy program at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an industry-funded Washington research organization, and who led the Trump administration’s transition at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The report details the economic damage expected should governments fail to enact policies to reduce emissions. The United States, it said, could lose roughly 1.2 percent of gross domestic product for every 1.8 degrees of warming.

Image

A wildfire in Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California last month. The new I.P.C.C. research found that wildfires are likely to worsen if steps are not taken to tame climate change.CreditNoah Berger/Associated Press
In addition, it said, the United States along with Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam are home to 50 million people who will be exposed to the effects of increased coastal flooding by 2040, if 2.7 degrees of warming occur.

At 3.6 degrees of warming, the report predicts a “disproportionately rapid evacuation” of people from the tropics. “In some parts of the world, national borders will become irrelevant,” said Aromar Revi, director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and an author of the report. “You can set up a wall to try to contain 10,000 and 20,000 and one million people, but not 10 million.”

The report also finds that, in the likelihood that governments fail to avert 2.7 degrees of warming, another scenario is possible: The world could overshoot that target, heat up by more than 3.6 degrees, and then through a combination of lowering emissions and deploying carbon capture technology, bring the temperature back down below the 2.7-degree threshold.

In that scenario, some damage would be irreversible, the report found. All coral reefs would die. However, the sea ice that would disappear in the hotter scenario would return once temperatures had cooled off.

“For governments, the idea of overshooting the target but then coming back to it is attractive because then they don’t have to make such rapid changes,” Dr. Shindell said. “But it has a lot of disadvantages.”

Coral Davenport covers energy and environmental policy, with a focus on climate change, from the Washington bureau. She joined The Times in 2013 and previously worked at Congressional Quarterly, Politico and National Journal.
[SFW] [environment & nature] [+6 Underrated]
[by steele@5:30pmGMT]

Comments

ScoobySnacks said @ 6:38pm GMT on 8th Oct [Score:3 Underrated]


LurkerAtTheGate said @ 7:03pm GMT on 8th Oct
To their credit, if the point of no return passed years ago, then what difference does it make between confirming and denying the sky is falling?
steele said @ 7:12pm GMT on 8th Oct [Score:1 Underrated]
The results of the point of no return will be determined by our approach to it. I'd say full steam ahead is basically the worst case scenario. Accepting our fate could lead to a societal shift towards less materialism as we attempt to transition to a minimalist, nomadic, post-scarcity society that does it's best to accommodate everyone's needs through the trials to come... or we could run this bitch into the ground and play Mad Max. And let's be real, Mad Max is still going to require minimalist, nomadic behavior, but instead we'll be killing each other to get the bare necessities we need to survive.
Dienes said @ 1:34am GMT on 9th Oct [Score:1 Sad]
You say that like they don't furiously masturbate to the idea of being LMOEs on a Mad Max earth.
steele said @ 1:50am GMT on 9th Oct
No, I get that. And it's going to be a sobering reality when they find out that being a bootlicking coward in a stable society leads to a lateral promotion of cattle or leather fuck gimp in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
hellboy said @ 11:22pm GMT on 8th Oct
It's going to get worse, the only question is how bad it will be.
rylex said @ 12:41am GMT on 9th Oct
Frankly, I prepared and honed my skills for the mad max scenario.

I would be awfully disappointed if it didnt come about.
blacksun said @ 12:49am GMT on 9th Oct
Because admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. It's ridiculous to remove the conversation itself from the global narrative just because it may be too late. That's like telling your girlfriend you don't believe she's pregnant.
LurkerAtTheGate said @ 2:00pm GMT on 9th Oct
From their perspective, there is no recovery - the prognosis is terminal with a TTL of 20-40 years. Thus the 'point of no return.' As others have said, life won't immediately end, but what does that matter for a generation that sees change of lifestyle as tantamount to death? Clearly they've done their own math and determined the ethics, if not the conversation overall, is moot - might as well profit in the near term & endear themselves to the bunker-builders in the long term. Meanwhile the bunker-builders are more concerned with how to ensure the loyalty & obedience of their private security forces and personal chefs once the fiat currency runs out of fiat.
alloy said @ 12:03am GMT on 9th Oct [Score:1 Underrated]
I said this on another site, but ill repeat it again, we are all fucked.

While the baby-boomers are still in power we are all fucked.
bobolink said @ 1:09am GMT on 9th Oct [Score:2]
Ageism. It's cute when you're young. In an adult, it's just another kind of bigotry.
alloy said @ 3:37am GMT on 9th Oct
Im sure as hell that the 20 to 30 something crowd is not running the country right now.

Or lambasting science or the environment or basic human decency towards other races.
snagUber said @ 8:13am GMT on 10th Oct
yeah, right. Zuck is 34.
Hugh E. said @ 4:32am GMT on 9th Oct
Haven't you heard? All we have to do is wait for the old people to die out and suddenly the world will be free of racism, misogyny, and fossil fuels. The evidence is clear: Just look at all those old people marching in Charlottesville, filling the frat parties, and rolling coal.
alloy said @ 5:01am GMT on 9th Oct
If im gonna blame anyone is the ones who where there first and do nothing but fight change tooth and nail.
rylex said @ 12:40am GMT on 9th Oct
We probably just as fucked with the millenials becoming empowered.
steele said @ 5:33pm GMT on 8th Oct
It's all cool though. If we can find a way in which it's cheap enough, humanity will continue to exist. Perfectly sane approach to a perfectly sane problem, by a perfectly sane species.
conception said @ 6:10pm GMT on 8th Oct
Well, this is only a problem for the poor. The rich already have their bunkers.
steele said @ 6:18pm GMT on 8th Oct
Indeed. See my comment on your post. ;)
rylex said @ 7:44am GMT on 9th Oct
I see that as a problem for the rich.

They're outnumbered.

Reminded of charlie reese and his writings on 545 vs 300,000,000
hellboy said[1] @ 8:17am GMT on 11th Oct [Score:1 Underrated]
I'm convinced this is the reason why the zombie apocalypse is a permanent part of the pop culture zeitgeist. Everyone's imagining they're holding off the walking dead with a shotgun, no one is imagining that they will be the walking dead.
LurkerAtTheGate said @ 2:06pm GMT on 9th Oct
I wonder if this is stymying investment in longevity research - if you're convinced the world is going to shit do you spend your wealth now on trying to ensure you live longer in the postapocalypse? I'm sure at least some of them get off to the idea of being immortal with a multigenerational underground fuck-grotto. That's basically the Mormon afterlife.
Dr. Sofia Lamb said @ 6:58pm GMT on 8th Oct
If the modern world were a patient in my care... I would diagnose it suicidal.
rhesusmonkey said @ 4:23am GMT on 9th Oct
you know, i don't think the problem is really as hard to solve as people think. you just need to kill off about three billion people and we should be just fine. four billion just to be safe.
hellboy said @ 8:16am GMT on 11th Oct
The World Coal Association disputed the conclusion that stopping global warming calls for an end of coal use.

The World Baby-Eating Association disputed the conclusion that stopping global cannibalism calls for an end to eating people.
mechanical contrivance said @ 1:04pm GMT on 11th Oct [Score:1 Funny]
mmm, baby back ribs
Fish said @ 3:02pm GMT on 9th Oct [Score:-2 Boring]
filtered comment under your threshold
thepublicone said @ 8:29pm GMT on 10th Oct [Score:-1]
filtered comment under your threshold
Fish said @ 5:10am GMT on 11th Oct [Score:-3]
filtered comment under your threshold

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