Have We Solved Climate Change Yet?

Apr 25, 2016

By Tim McDonnell

A lot of Champagne was popped on the night of Dec. 12, when diplomats from almost every country on Earth finalized the text of the historic global agreement to combat climate change. In the Paris Agreement, countries committed to hold global temperature increases to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, an ambitious target considering that the world is already more than halfway to that limit. The deal also laid out a system for wealthier nations to help poorer ones pay for adapting to unavoidable climate impacts.

But finalizing the agreement was only one step on the long road to actually achieving its aims. The next step is happening Friday, on Earth Day, as heads of state and other top officials from more than 150 countries will gather at the United Nations headquarters in New York City to put their signatures on the deal. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was a driving force in Paris, will sign the document on behalf of the United States.

Signing the document is mostly a symbolic step, indicating a country’s intent to formally “join” the agreement at some later stage. In order to “join” the agreement, national governments have to show the U.N. the piece of domestic paperwork—a law, executive order, or some other legal document—in which the government consents to be bound by the terms of the agreement. Some small countries, including some island states that are among the most vulnerable to climate impacts, are expected to offer up those documents at the same time they sign. Other countries will take longer. The agreement doesn’t take legal effect until it is formally joined by both 55 individual countries and by enough countries to cover 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions (a threshold that essentially mandates the participation of the U.S. and China).


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11 comments on “Have We Solved Climate Change Yet?

  • @OP – Have We Solved Climate Change Yet?

    NO! We have made a start, but much more needs to be done!

    There are graphs and a map on this link which summarise the situation

    (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36098310](http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36098310)
    Nearly 170 countries are expected to formally sign the deal at the UN, setting in motion events that could see the treaty operational within a year.

    The UN says the expected record turnout for the signing shows overwhelming global support for tackling rising temperatures.

    http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/800/cpsprodpb/15F3D/production/_87071998_climate_change_fallbacks-05.png

    http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/800/cpsprodpb/1111D/production /_87071996_climate_change_fallbacks-06.png



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  • Divestment in oil as the alternatives replace it is underway, but for some it is a matter of finance rather than caring about the planet or its people!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-36131391

    The Saudi cabinet has approved sweeping economic reforms aimed at moving the country away from its dependence on oil profits.

    Close to 80% of Saudi Arabia’s revenue comes from oil but it has been hit by falling prices in the past year.

    One part of the plan will see shares sold in state-owned oil giant Aramco to create a sovereign wealth fund.

    Announcing the reforms, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman described his country as being addicted to oil.

    The Vision 2030 plan, he told the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel, would ensure “we can live without oil by 2020”.

    Among the reforms he announced in his interview were:

    Shares worth less than 5% of Aramco, a company he valued at up to $2.5tn (£1.7tn), will be sold

    Some of the proceeds will go towards a sovereign wealth fund worth $2tn

    A new visa system will allow expatriate Muslims and Arabs to work long term in Saudi Arabia

    Steps will be taken to diversify the economy, including investment in mineral mining and expanding military production.



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  • Global warming or climate change has been established as a fact; but precisely what percentage of it is anthropogenic?

    Naturally, environmental frugality is always the first order of the day, so perhaps this state of affairs could turn out to be beneficial, in that we mend our ways, even if the level of human influence is finally determined to be lower than feared.

    I await an authoritative response to my question.



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  • Stafford Gordon #4
    Apr 29, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Global warming or climate change has been established as a fact; but precisely what percentage of it is anthropogenic?

    We can calculate the world-wide CO2 emissions from the production and consumption figures of oil oil and gas.

    We can also check the percentage of CO2 from fossil sources as fossil carbon contains no Carbon14 isotope.

    The carbon 14 isotope is formed by solar radiation hitting nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere.
    Carbon 14 decays to Carbon12 in a few thousand years (look up carbon dating), so there is none in ancient coal deposits, but iC14 is present in carbon recently acquired from the atmosphere – as in wood, peat etc.

    Graphs – millions of tons of coal production.
    https://yearbook.enerdata.net/coal-and-lignite-production.html

    Millions of tons of oil production by countries.

    https://yearbook.enerdata.net/crude-oil-production.html

    Natural gas production.

    https://yearbook.enerdata.net/world-natural-gas-production.html

    CO2 emissions from fuel combustion Million tons CO2

    https://yearbook.enerdata.net/CO2-emissions-data-from-fuel-combustion.html

    Temperatures, insolation, rainfall, and climate records, are kept by meteorologists and climatologists.



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  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36212145

    El Niño and ongoing climate change have both contributed to the devastating Alberta wildfires according to experts.

    The weather phenomenon has caused much drier conditions than normal, leading to a massive increase in the number of fires in the province.

    Alberta has had 330 wildfires already this year, more than double the recent annual average.

    Global warming has also seen wildfire seasons lengthen considerably since 1979, according to studies.



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  • @OP – Have We Solved Climate Change Yet?

    Nope! . . . and it is already too late for some!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36255749
    Five tiny Pacific islands have disappeared amid rising seas and erosion, Australian researchers say.

    The missing islands, part of the Solomon Archipelago, were not inhabited by human beings.

    But six other islands were found to have seen swathes of land turn into sea, destroying entire villages.

    The researchers say it is the first scientific confirmation of the impact of climate change on Pacific coastlines.

    The study, published in Environmental Research Letters, looked at 33 islands using aerial and satellite imagery from 1947 to 2014, combined with historical insight and local knowledge.

    It found that the archipelago had seen sea levels rise as much as as 10mm (0.4in) every year for the past two decades.

    The five that have vanished were all vegetated reef islands of up to five hectares (12 acres) in size that were occasionally used by fishermen but not populated.

    “They were not just little sand islands”, leader author Simon Albert said.

    One of the six islands that have been heavily eroded is Nuatambu Island, home to 25 families. The research says it has lost 11 houses and half its inhabitable area since 2011.

    The researchers say their study is the first that scientifically “confirms the numerous anecdotal accounts from across the Pacific of the dramatic impacts of climate change on coastlines and people”.

    However, the report stresses that the inundation does not result from rising sea levels alone.

    It found that shoreline recession was substantially worse in areas exposed to high wave energy, and that extreme events and inappropriate development were also factors contributing to the erosion.

    Mmmmm! Rising seas, extreme events, and increased wave energy!



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  • Its a race and China is galloping ahead. On BBC R4s program “Costing the Earth” they explored to the very rapid deployment of solar especially small solar thermal engaging with Huand Ming.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006r4wn/episodes/downloads

    His organisation and university are a major driving force for solar renewable expertise, his mantra that solar is an economic winner. China is taking out their worst coal fired plants with alacrity. They have committed to peak CO2 by 2030. The program observed they would probably achieve it by 2020 if they had not already reached that state.

    Others? Way behind and pointing fingers at China as the bad boy. Keep up world, the paradigm’s just about flipped. Technology, wholeheartedly embraced, can turn on a dime as we know only too well. Old technologies spend lobbying dollars and buy politicians as their investment in their own business. AGW deniers stick their fingers in their ears rather than hear about the massive political liberation from self sufficiency and sustainability and understand the howling immorality of spending the wealth of their kids and theirs etc. etc. Selfishness abounds.



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  • @OP – Have We Solved Climate Change Yet?

    Nope! But some people are making serious attempts to pull the foot-draggers into the 21st century!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36332076

    A significant group of shareholders are seeking to force Exxon Mobil to acknowledge the growing threat from climate change at the company’s AGM on Wednesday.

    These investors want the world’s biggest publicly traded oil company to support the goal of a 2C global temperature limit.

    Exxon Mobil is also being investigated for potential fraud by withholding information on the role of fossil fuels in driving up temperatures.

    The company says that the shareholder resolutions are unnecessary, while the investigations by several states are “politically motivated.”

    For around a quarter of a century, a varied collection of climate activists and institutions concerned about rising temperatures have attempted to get Exxon Mobil to move forward on the issue of climate change.

    This year, they believe the coalition attempting to force change on the issue, is the strongest ever assembled. Investors with at least $8tn under management have indicated they will support greater recognition of the climate change issue.

    At the AGM here in Dallas, the company faces resolutions including one to appoint a board member who has a high degree of climate expertise.

    One motion asks the company to support the goal of limiting warming to below 2 degrees in line with the Paris climate agreement. Another asks Exxon to disclose how resilient its investments would be if policy measures to restrict warming to 2 degrees were implemented.

    This motion has a number of supporters including the Norwegian government’s pension fund, the world’s largest.

    It’s being co-sponsored by the Church Commissioners, who manage the Church of England’s investment fund.

    The shareholders’ hopes of success have been boosted by a number of factors, including a growing number of institutional investors Schroders, AXA and Legal and General which have supported the proposal. They are also backed by the largest pension fund in the US, CalPERS.

    The world’s leading advisers to proxy voters, ISS and Glass Lewis, have also come out in favour of the resolution on climate risk disclosure. A group of 1,000 academics from leading institutions have written to support the resolutions.

    Shareholder pressure has also been successful at other large oil companies, with BP and Shell both accepting resolutions to routinely report on their asset portfolio’s resilience to climate change.

    The board of Exxon Mobil are resolutely opposed to the motions on increased cognisance of climate change issues.

    Exxon can trace its origins back to 1870 when John D Rockefeller created the Standard Oil Company .

    Exxon and Mobil merged in 1999 in a deal valued around $80bn. The combined value of the company in 2015 was $353bn, making it the world’s most valuable, publicly traded oil company.

    In 2016, the Rockefeller foundation said it would eliminate its holdings in Exxon, saying the company had misled the public over climate change.



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  • Meanwhile, Australian politicians are determined to keep their heads in the sand!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-36376226

    All references to climate change’s impact on World Heritage sites in Australia have been removed from a United Nations report.

    But Australia’s Department of the Environment requested that Unesco scrub these sections from the final version.

    Prof Will Steffen, an emeritus professor at the Australian National University and head of Australia’s Climate Council, was one of the scientific reviewers on the paper.

    He told the BBC that he was “amazed by the apparent overreaction that’s gone on”.

    Prof Steffen was sceptical about official explanations that the report risked causing confusion over the status of the reef and could impact tourism.

    “There’s no substance to either of those arguments,” he said.



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  • There is progress in the global picture!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36420750

    New solar, wind and hydropower sources were added in 2015 at the fastest rate the world has yet seen, a study says.

    Investments in renewables during the year were more than double the amount spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants, the Renewables Global Status Report found.

    For the first time, emerging economies spent more than the rich on renewable power and fuels.

    Over 8 million people are now working in renewable energy worldwide.

    For a number of years, the global spend on renewables has been increasing and 2015 saw that arrive at a new peak according to the report.
    Falling costs key

    About 147 gigawatts (GW) of capacity was added in 2015, roughly equivalent to Africa’s generating capacity from all sources.

    China, the US, Japan, UK and India were the countries adding on the largest share of green power, despite the fact that fossil fuel prices have fallen significantly. The costs of renewables have also fallen, say the authors.

    “The fact that we had 147GW of capacity, mainly of wind and solar is a clear indication that these technologies are cost competitive (with fossil fuels),” said Christine Lins, who is executive secretary of REN21, an international body made up of energy experts, government representatives and NGOs, who produced the report.

    “They are the preference for many countries and more and more utilities and investors and that is a very positive signal.”

    Investment in renewables reached $286bn worldwide in 2015.

    “It clearly shows that the costs have come down so much that the emerging economies are now really focussing on renewables,” said Christine Lins.



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