Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t JoNova; If you thought the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on your financial circumstances or the national or global economy was bad, imagine if a similar amount of money was cumulatively sliced permanently off the global economy every year for the next 10 years. This is what the UN and national science bodies like the CSIRO want the world to accept, to hit their 1.5C Paris Agreement target.
Carbon dioxide levels over Australia rose even after COVID-19 forced global emissions down. Here’s why
August 13, 2020 12.18pm AEST
Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO
Senior research scientist, CSIRO Climate Science Centre, CSIRO
Research Group Leader, CSIRO
Scientist at CSIRO Atmospheric Research, CSIRO
COVID-19 has curtailed the activities of millions of people across the world and with it, greenhouse gas emissions. As climate scientists at the Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station, we are routinely asked: does this mean carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have fallen?
The answer, disappointingly, is no. Throughout the pandemic, atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO₂) levels continued to rise.
Research in May estimated that due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, global annual average emissions for 2020 would be between 4.2% and 7.5% lower than for 2019.
The road ahead
It’s clear COVID-19 has not solved the climate change problem. But this fact helps us understand the magnitude of change required if we’re to stabilise the global climate system.
The central aim of the Paris climate agreement is to limit global warming to well below 2℃, and pursue efforts to keep it below 1.5℃. To achieve this, global CO₂ emissions must decline by 3% and 7% each year, respectively, until 2030, according to the United Nations Emissions Gap Report.
Thanks to COVID-19, we may achieve this reduction in 2020. But to lock in year-on-year emissions reductions that will be reflected in the atmosphere, we must act now to make deep, significant and permanent changes to global energy and economic systems.
The following is a scolding from the United Nations, explaining what we naughty children have to do to get back onto the CO2 emissions path the UN has set out for us.
5. Dramatic strengthening of the NDCs is needed in 2020. Countries must increase their NDC ambitions threefold to achieve the well below 2°C goal and more than fivefold to achieve the 1.5°C goal.
- The ratchet mechanism of the Paris Agreement foresees strengthening of NDCs every five years. Parties to the Paris Agreement identified 2020 as a critical next step in this process, inviting countries to communicate or update their NDCs by this time. Given the time lag between policy decisions and associated emission reductions, waiting until 2025 to strengthen NDCs will be too late to close the large 2030 emissions gap.
- The challenge is clear. The recent IPCC special reports clearly describe the dire consequences of inaction and are backed by record temperatures worldwide along with enhanced extreme events.
- Had serious climate action begun in 2010, the cuts required per year to meet the projected emissions levels for 2°C and 1.5°C would only have been 0.7 per cent and 3.3 per cent per year on average. However, since this did not happen, the required cuts in emissions are now 2.7 per cent per year from 2020 for the 2°C goal and 7.6 per cent per year on average for the 1.5°C goal. Evidently, greater cuts will be required the longer that action is delayed.
- Further delaying the reductions needed to meet the goals would imply future emission reductions and removal of CO2 from the atmosphere at such a magnitude that it would result in a serious deviation from current available pathways. This, together with necessary adaptation actions, risks seriously damaging the global economy and undermining food security and biodiversity.
United Nations personnel, top civil servants and government scientists would be unlikely to experience any personal hardship if the proposed cuts were implemented.
via Watts Up With That?
August 15, 2020 at 12:40AM