COP21 climate change summit reaches deal in Paris

Dec 12, 2015

A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C has been agreed at the climate change summit in Paris after two weeks of negotiations.
The pact is the first to commit all countries to cut carbon emissions.
The agreement is partly legally binding and partly voluntary.

Earlier, key blocs, including the G77 group of developing countries, and nations such as China and India said they supported the proposals.
President of the UN climate conference of parties (COP) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: “I now invite the COP to adopt the decision entitled Paris Agreement outlined in the document.
“Looking out to the room I see that the reaction is positive, I see no objections. The Paris agreement is adopted.”

COP21: In summary
As he struck the gavel to signal the adoption of the deal, delegates rose to their feet cheering and applauding.

Nearly 200 countries have been attempting to strike the first climate deal to commit all countries to cut emissions, which would come into being in 2020.
The chairman of the group representing some of the world’s poorest countries called the deal historic, adding: “We are living in unprecedented times, which call for unprecedented measures.
“It is the best outcome we could have hoped for, not just for the Least Developed Countries, but for all citizens of the world.”

Key points

The measures in the agreement included:
• To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century
• To keep global temperature increase “well below” 2C (3.6F) and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C
• To review progress every five years
• $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future.

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32 comments on “COP21 climate change summit reaches deal in Paris

  • I have opened the Sauvignon Blanc.

    This is a start. A principle of fairness is understood to be needed if not adequately fulfilled this time.

    This can be built on.

    Politicians have a much clearer signal of what is expected of them.

    Now if we could only find what eats bankers and re-introduce them into their economic habitat, we could all sleep easier in our beds.

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  • “Now if we could only find what eats bankers and re-introduce them into their economic habitat, we could all sleep easier in our beds.”.

    Greed, perhaps?

    I submit that, in the UK, one guilty party was Nigel Lawson, who, as Chancellor of The Exchequer in 1980, called for the lessening of restrictions on the financial services; one result of which was the Harry Enfield character who’s catch phrase was “I got loads of money!”.

    I can remember flash harries in the City of London, with brightly coloured trouser braces, having long, sticky, liquid lunches; they’d just been released from the stock exchange floors by the so called technological “big bang”; where did they end up? Some of them, probably, as Hedge Fund managers; in any case, gone was the era of “My word is my bond”.

    The American economist Joseph Stiglitz has a few things to say about that period; he reckons that our current financial woes were set in train at that time.

    This agreement is heartening, but let’s wait until the ink is dry before breaking out the booze.

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  • Neodarwinian
    Dec 12, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Temperature Fahrenheit = Temperature Celsius(1.80) + 32

    Quick approximate room temperature calculation:

    50° Fahrenheit = 10° Celsius = + 10°C for every 18°F + a further 1°C for every 2°F. (1.8°F rounded to 1°C )

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  • CO2 is at 400ppm. It was the same 4 million years ago, and back then the world was about 4 degrees warmer than pre-industrial, so if we stop burning carbon tomorrow we can expect to overshoot the target anyway. And with emissions set to continue for a long time, you can add a few more degrees to the eventual warming.

    There is a lot of pain ahead, whatever the politicians do.

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  • Agreed that this is meaningless in itself. But I see it as a psychological tide change that could better engage politics and politicians by de-risking their better intentions.

    Besides the Sauvignon Blanc had been cooled to a perfect 281 Kelvin.

    Yes Nigel and Reaganomics. The insane removal of legislation sensibly put in after the Wall street crash to stop people gambling with our money. The creation of huge valued “instruments” both abstract and junk to gamble with, because playing with big chips distorts the market in your favour.

    Its curious how long it has taken the watchdogs to come to the idea that nowhere near enough people have gone to prison for this.

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  • phil rimmer
    Dec 13, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Agreed that this is meaningless in itself. But I see it as a psychological tide change that could better engage politics and politicians by de-risking their better intentions.

    I like the idea of 5 year reviews monitoring progress – especially as targets are short of required objectives and some changes are voluntary.

    Once commercial initiatives gather momentum among the leaders, foot-draggers will look increasingly lame!

    Of course the bills for increasing damage, floods, crop-failures, and insurance claims etc. will also build over time, so we need fingers to keep pointing to the charlatans, liars, and carbonaceous stooges, who are responsible for the political prevarication!

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  • bonnie
    Dec 13, 2015 at 9:43 am

    farmers vs. G. Britain energy company.

    Pig-headed stupidity or greed V national cooperation – with generous payment!

    @link – The transmission line would have required an easement 150 to 200 feet wide. Clean Line offered to pay 100 percent market value per acre even though farmers could continue to use the land for crops and cattle.

    Depending on what style of tower, the company offered annual payments of $500 to $1,500 or one-time payments of $6,000 to $18,000.

    Opponents wanted no part of it. They argued that wind farms could be built off the Atlantic coast to serve the East, an idea deemed doable by experts, if not for the exorbitant cost. Opponents also thought the lines could be buried, though industry experts say that’s not practical for such high voltage.

    And some opponents simply distrusted big business. Clean Line is backed by National Grid, based in Great Britain and one of the largest international energy companies in the world.

    They can “sell or rent out” their land and still use it for farming, if they allow the company the small areas for the tower-bases plus access for maintenance of power-lines!

    UK farmers have been benefiting from this sort of regular income for years!

    The farmers talked about what 150-foot towers strung with high-voltage cable on 200-foot easements would look like coming across their fields and pastures. Some said it would ruin the land for the next generation.

    While the square area under a tower pylon cannot be used for grain because ploughs and combine-harvesters cannot work under the towers, animals can graze there quite happily!

    It is only in forested areas where the land has to be cleared of entangling vegetation to allow the setting up of the actual power-lines.

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  • The final agreement to combat ‘climate change’ in Paris that the world’s most powerful nations have signed up to and would limit warming to well below 2C (according to France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius) is just pie-in-the-sky as usual. Yes they will all sign it, but as previous analysis has shown, emissions have gone up alarmingly after similar signings. This will be no different as the world’s most powerful companies do what ever they want in the quest of evermore profits, to the total long-term determent of humanity. You see they have no moral conscience when it comes to continually concentrating wealth into the hands of the top 1%, who control over 50% of all the world’s total wealth according to Credit Suisse’s most recent publication ‘Global Wealth Report’, and unfortunately for us all, they want more. Added to this some have already stated that to implement COP21 it will cost US$16.5 TRILLION and business has never really given money away as anything like a charitable concern.

    For let’s get realistic about who controls if the world is destroyed ultimately or it survives. The latest decisions made in Paris will certainly not do this and only when politicians, industrialists and the super-rich change to a ‘sustainable’ economic model, will we save humanity from its ultimate extinction. Fact not fiction and signatures on paper will have no effect, as only when mindsets totally change to full ‘sustainability’, will planet Earth be allowed to survive.

    ‘House backs bill to exclude climate change from trade deals’ –

    Therefore if these massive trades deals (the biggest in history) where the TTIP alone covers 45%+ of all world trade (and with the others going through and already in place, will with the TTIP & TPP equate to over 75% of all global trade), are not included, the Paris Accord is not worth the paper it is wrote on, as global industry accounts for most of the pollution. Let this off the hook and you have hardly anything in meaningful emissions reduction and 2%+ is assured, not reduced.

    But overall it has also to be asked with the growing intensity of the global economy, ‘Is War Inevitable or is it Planned by Powerful People Behind Closed Doors in the Interests of Personal Economic Gains? Daesh could be an indicator of the Truth’ –

    Consequently, it is not ‘climate change’ that has to be regulated, but ‘corporate change’ that has to be ‘fully’ regulated for all our sakes and humanity’s future (if it is to have one?).

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  • David Hill
    Dec 13, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Added to this some have already stated that to implement COP21 it will cost US$16.5 TRILLION and business has never really given money away as anything like a charitable concern.

    These sorts of heavily biased alarmist figures, have been regularly bandied around by the carbon industry stooges.

    As usual, they omit to put in the massively larger costs, which will be incurred by globally failing to deal with reducing the climate impacts, as more intense droughts, floods, storms, desertification, loss of water supplies, and forms coastal retreat, have to be accommodated.

    Personally, I have no problem with terminally stupid investors, losing money they have put into exploring and developing unburnable coal or oil deposits, – providing it is their own money, and not that of the tax-payer or some savings or pension fund!

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  • Most of the cost burdens are merely alternate investment strategies in underdeveloped and new businesses.

    Governments can help by adopting policies and legislating to favour longer investment cycles. Sustainability and cash stream businesses are the growing preferred model of new businesses (and banks). Sustainability, and hence predictability, creates far more opportunities for investment. Capital (quite a lot of it once ours), post crash and in the face of future economic uncertainty is grossly under-utilised hiding safely in the off-shore matresses of the greedy.

    We can afford the investment.

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  • The environment, our health, the feel good factor in knowing those at the top are doing something and business is not just take take take might make the rest of us recycle more. Pretty good investment whichever way you look at it.

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  • phil rimmer
    Dec 14, 2015 at 4:33 am

    Most of the cost burdens are merely alternate investment strategies in underdeveloped and new businesses.

    It is a laughable pretence of carbon industry stooges, that money is being “given away” or “lost”, by investing in green technologies.

    What is ironically being “lost”, is carbon polluters’ access to investment money from bank loans, insurance companies and investors, when business capital is redirected into clean technologies, rather than giving to corporations who would pour it down the “investment” black-holes of exploring for, and mining, unburnable carbon, where the money will eventually be written off as bad debt!

    Of course for a bonus collecting executive director in a carbon polluting business, the money and bonus share options, are indeed being taken away!

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  • It seems Scotland has had no problem in evaluating Trump’s small minded egotistical ideas!!

    Donald Trump’s legal challenge to a planned offshore wind farm has been rejected by the UK’s Supreme Court.

    Developers hope to site 11 turbines off Aberdeen, close to Mr Trump’s golfing development on the Aberdeenshire coast.

    The US businessman and presidential hopeful was taking on the Scottish government, which approved the plan.

    The Trump Organisation said it was an “extremely unfortunate” ruling and it would “continue to fight” the wind farm proposal.

    Former First Minister Alex Salmond said the latest court verdict left Mr Trump a “three-time loser”.

    .The Trump Organisation responded: “Does anyone care what this man thinks? He’s a has-been and totally irrelevant.”

    (Classic psychological projection!!!)

    He was furious when the Scottish government approved plans for the renewable energy development within sight of his multi-million pound golf development on the Menie estate, north of Aberdeen.

    He said the turbines would spoil the view.

    As we all know, what the planet really needs is more snobbish golf courses!!! 🙂

    He argued that planning consent for the wind farm was so imprecise as to make it legally invalid.

    The Supreme Court judges delivered a unanimous ruling.

    .The Trump Organisation said: “This is an extremely unfortunate verdict for the residents of Aberdeen and anyone who cares about Scotland’s economic future.

    “The EOWDC (European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre) will completely destroy the bucolic Aberdeen Bay and cast a terrible shadow upon the future of tourism for the area.

    “History will judge those involved unfavourably and the outcome demonstrates the foolish, small-minded and parochial mentality which dominates the current Scottish government’s dangerous experiment with wind energy.

    ◙ ◙ ◙ ◙

    Andy Paine, project director for Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Ltd, said: “This is another significant step forward for the EOWDC.

    “It affirms the scheme’s potential to position Scotland, and particularly the north east, as a centre of innovative offshore wind power.”

    Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “I am pleased that the Supreme Court has unanimously found in our favour.

    “The proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre is an important project for Aberdeen and north east Scotland.

    “It will give the industry the ability to test and demonstrate new technologies to enable costs to be further reduced.

    “Aberdeen is already of global importance for hydrocarbons and this wind deployment centre cements its role in renewable offshore development, further positioning Aberdeen as the energy capital of Europe and a world energy centre.”

    SNP MP and MSP Mr Salmond, who led the Scottish government until a year ago, said: “As first minister, I was cited in Trump’s legal action. Now that it is concluded, I am free to speak my mind on the damaging impact of his interventions on the Scottish economy.

    “These proceedings have been dragged out for years through three successive court judgements by Donald Trump as he tried to stop an offshore Aberdeen wind turbine demonstrator by means of legal action.

    “In doing so he has at best postponed, and at worst jeopardised, a
    vital £200m boost for the economy of the north east of Scotland

    “The offshore project could have been built by now with Aberdeen benefiting from becoming the offshore wind research centre of Europe – a vital development at a time of rock bottom oil prices.”

    WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “This result is great news for Scotland and for all those interested in tackling climate change and creating jobs.

    “Having failed in his attempt to undermine Scotland’s renewables ambitions, it’s now time for Mr Trump to move on.”

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  • spoil the view

    Trump & co. had no qualms over Menie golf course construction (make that destruction) which upset > natural flow of Aberdeen sand dunes Site of Scientific Special Interest, and Whimbrel / shore birds habitat.

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  • Meanwhile the the melting of polar caps continues to be mapped with ever greater accuracy, as they disappear into the oceans! (See the brilliant animated video of both poles and the Arctic Ocean on the link.)
    It is one of the clearest views we have yet had of the recent changes occurring across Greenland’s ice sheet.

    Scientists using Europe’s Cryosat radar spacecraft are now routinely mapping variations in height on a fine scale, both in time and in area.

    The UK-led team’s analysis shows that Greenland is shedding ice to the ocean.

    Their preliminary assessment is very close to that produced from gravity satellites, which currently see losses of over 250bn tonnes of ice each year.

    But while the headline numbers may be similar, Cryosat brings important additional detail to the picture.

    It allows the team to study changes across the entire ice sheet at fine resolution, meaning the scientists are able to monitor the behaviour of individual glaciers.

    Cryosat is also helping them to track seasonal variations in the elevation of the ice sheet, which will permit the researchers to investigate how the ice sheet changes from year to year.

    “These results allow us to identify key glaciers which, in the last few years, are showing signs of rapid change,” said Dr Malcolm McMillan from the NERC Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) at Leeds University.

    The new study updates a previous assessment by the Alfred Wegener Institute, and complements existing measurements made by the US space agency’s GRACE gravity satellites. These are spacecraft that can essentially “weigh” the ice sheet from orbit.

    Researchers have previously used space- and plane-borne laser altimeters to produce the kind of maps now coming from Cryosat.

    “Radar altimeters bounce their signals off a horizon that is below the top of the snow, where the ice becomes compacted,” explained Leeds co-worker Prof Andy Shepherd.

    “But if there is a big melt, as we saw in the middle of Greenland in 2012, the snowpack conditions change and this scattering horizon is re-set, making it appear as if the ice sheet has gained one to two metres in height.

    “With these new results, we have been able to correct for this, and that allows us to confidently map changes in elevation.”

    A similar assessment has been done for Antarctica, and the spacecraft is also now consistently monitoring the thickness of Arctic sea-ice, its primary mission goal.

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  • I see that Chilean scientists have opened up a whole new field of climate science, based on evolutionary biology and ecology!

    It is hard to imagine you could reconstruct a record of fog dating back thousands of years, but this is exactly what Chilean scientists have done.

    The low-lying cloud is seemingly so transient and intangible, and unlike rivers and glaciers it leaves no easy-to-read impressions on the landscape.

    And yet, a Santiago team has been able to trace the fog history of the Atacama Desert by studying Tillandsia plants.

    Their chemistry suggests strongly that this local fog has increased over time.

    It is a period covering the last 3,500 years.

    “I don’t think there’s any other place in the world where I’ve actually seen a record of fog, even spanning the last hundred years,” said Claudio Latorre Hidalgo from the Catholic University of Chile.

    “What little we know about fog is from measurement instrumental data that we have, and from satellite data that only spans the last 20 years.

    “So, this is actually a unique opportunity to study the evolution of a fog ecosystem over the Late Holocene, and what are the major drivers and controls of the mechanisms that produce that fog in the long term – the very long term.”

    The palaeoclimate expert was discussing his team’s research here at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union – the world’s largest annual gathering of Earth scientists.

    The Atacama is famous for its super-arid conditions; there are places where it has not rained for years.

    But life can eke out an existence if it can exploit the fog that rolls in off the Pacific. Tillandsia are a perfectly adapted opportunist.

    These wiry, grey plants have no roots. They clutch weakly at sand dunes, but arrange themselves at every spatial scale to maximise their capture of the fog.

    They derive everything they need from the damp air – not simply the must-have water, but also all the chemical nutrients required to underpin their biology.

    Dr Latorre Hidalgo and colleagues have dug deep into the dunes to uncover a multi-millennia succession of Tillandsia; and they have described a pronounced trend: the younger the plants, the more of the lighter type, or isotope, of nitrogen atom that they have incorporated into their tissues.

    Analysis of modern fog suggests this lighter nitrogen is favoured, and so the observed trend in the Tillandsia would strongly indicate the fogs of the Atacama have increased over time… with some complications.

    “How the nitrogen gets into the fog is a much more complex question,” said Dr Latorre Hidalgo.

    “I suspect a lot of that nitrogen is of marine origin. There is a huge oxygen-minimum zone off the coast of northern Chile, where there is a lot of denitrification going on.

    “So, there is a lot of molecular nitrogen going into the air and a lot of nitrogen oxide as well.

    “We know there is both ammonia and nitrate in the fog. So, you get both organic and inorganic forms of nitrogen.”

    Oxygen-minimum zones are mid-water regions in the ocean that are extremely low in oxygen abundance, in part because marine organisms are removing it very fast and also because the waters that move into the zone fail to replenish the oxygen as they themselves are depleted. This is usually cold, upwelling water. And, again, this fits the overall picture because cold coastal waters will produce more fog.

    “Our monthly fog collector data shows there is a significant trend with the coastal sea-surface temperatures and the fog. So, when you get El Nino events (and local surface waters warm), this warm water dissipates the thermal inversion that’s holding in the low-lying cloud and this dissipates the fog.

    “We think that over the last three thousand years, the coastal waters have gotten much colder, much more productive and that’s releasing nitrogen from this oxygen-minimum zone to fertilise the plants.”

    Tillandsias are quite spectacular plants, often growing in the strangest places such as on overhead telephone wires.

    There are also some of the most extremophile Cacti growing in the Atacama and the Chilean Andes.

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  • bonnie
    Dec 21, 2015 at 7:18 am

    Just googled the image, fascinating. What specific property does this plant posses to efficiently cling.

    Aerial roots.

    They are Bromeliads, with many related species growing epiphytically on tree branches.

    Some people grow them on pieces of twig, as curiosities at home.

    The Atacama species collect dust and moisture from mist rather than rain as some other species do.

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  • bonnie
    Dec 21, 2015 at 7:18 am

    Much of the Atacama perennial plant life is extremely slow growing and long lived. That is why it can be used as a climate record in an area with a long-term stable dry climate.

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