Author: Alex Kirby

About Alex Kirby

Alex Kirby is a former BBC journalist and environment correspondent. He now works with universities, charities and international agencies to improve their media skills, and with journalists in the developing world keen to specialise in environmental reporting.

More states opt to phase out oil production

Cutting fossil fuel supply can help to limit demand, and more governments are deciding to phase out oil production, a new study finds.

LONDON, 29 November, 2018 – A growing number of governments are choosing to phase out oil production, reasoning that cutting the availability of fossil fuels can help to cut the demand for them.

The world needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as fast as possible, yes? And one of the main causes of the emissions is the burning of fuels such as oil, gas and coal? Right again. So the simple and obvious answer, these governments are deciding, is to stop the drilling and mining which extract fossil fuels.

That’s the argument examined in a report by researchers from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). There’s already a growing movement to leave fossil fuels in the ground. But their study concentrates specifically on governments.

They say phasing out oil production could be the next big step in climate policy, thanks to an initial group of first-movers who’ve already taken the plunge.

One is Spain, which announced this month that it plans to completely decarbonise its electricity system by mid-century, a move which includes a total ban on all oil and gas exploration.

“Limiting fossil fuel production is an important complement to limiting demand”

The SEI team outlines its findings in the journal Nature Climate Change. The authors will present their results in greater detail in the Polish city of Katowice on 5 December at this year’s UN global climate summit, COP24.

They focus on California as the possible next addition to this growing list of governments choosing to forego oil extraction. The study finds numerous benefits to restricting production, including not only reducing global emissions but also helping to revoke the “social licence” of fossil fuel producers – the public acceptance of their activities.

“Countries like France, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Belize and – just last week – Spain are sending a clear signal by phasing out oil production,” said Georgia Piggot, an SEI sociologist and co-author of the study. “The fossil fuel era needs to end soon, and governments need to have clear plans in place to ensure an orderly and fair transition.”

With California as a case study, the SEI report points to a resolution by the state’s Air Resources Board to “evaluate and explore” reducing the production of petroleum.

Boosting environmental justice

It finds that phasing out oil in California would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by roughly the same amount as many of the other climate policies currently planned by the state. And, because most oil drilling there happens in the most pollution-vulnerable communities, phasing it out would have important environmental justice benefits as well.

“Gradually phasing down oil production is a reasonable approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said SEI senior scientist Peter Erickson, the study’s lead author.

“California is one of the top oil-producing states in the US, but it is also a climate leader. Restricting oil production would complement the state’s flagship policies, such as strengthened standards for clean power or energy efficiency.”

The study’s lessons apply to other states too. It concludes that governments that aim to demonstrate leadership and meet the Paris Agreement goals have “a number of policy options that can limit future production of oil and other fossil fuels, while delivering important global emissions and local environmental benefits.”

Limiting temperature rise

The Paris Agreement settled on a target that global temperatures should increase by no more than 2°C above their pre-industrial levels, with governments striving to keep the rise to just 1.5°C.

Peter Erickson told the Climate News Network that the scenarios published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with its recent report Global Warming of 1.5°C provided guideposts to the SEI’s work.

He said: “The median results of those scenarios suggest that global oil production (and consumption) needs to decline more than 40% between 2020 and 2030 to meet a 1.5°C target, global coal production (and consumption) more than 80%, and global gas production (and consumption) by more than 40% (the declines are rather less for meeting a 2°C goal).

“These declines could be accomplished most effectively with both demand and supply-side measures. That is our central point – that limiting fossil fuel production is an important complement to limiting demand.” – Climate News Network

Cutting fossil fuel supply can help to limit demand, and more governments are deciding to phase out oil production, a new study finds.

LONDON, 29 November, 2018 – A growing number of governments are choosing to phase out oil production, reasoning that cutting the availability of fossil fuels can help to cut the demand for them.

The world needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as fast as possible, yes? And one of the main causes of the emissions is the burning of fuels such as oil, gas and coal? Right again. So the simple and obvious answer, these governments are deciding, is to stop the drilling and mining which extract fossil fuels.

That’s the argument examined in a report by researchers from the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). There’s already a growing movement to leave fossil fuels in the ground. But their study concentrates specifically on governments.

They say phasing out oil production could be the next big step in climate policy, thanks to an initial group of first-movers who’ve already taken the plunge.

One is Spain, which announced this month that it plans to completely decarbonise its electricity system by mid-century, a move which includes a total ban on all oil and gas exploration.

“Limiting fossil fuel production is an important complement to limiting demand”

The SEI team outlines its findings in the journal Nature Climate Change. The authors will present their results in greater detail in the Polish city of Katowice on 5 December at this year’s UN global climate summit, COP24.

They focus on California as the possible next addition to this growing list of governments choosing to forego oil extraction. The study finds numerous benefits to restricting production, including not only reducing global emissions but also helping to revoke the “social licence” of fossil fuel producers – the public acceptance of their activities.

“Countries like France, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Belize and – just last week – Spain are sending a clear signal by phasing out oil production,” said Georgia Piggot, an SEI sociologist and co-author of the study. “The fossil fuel era needs to end soon, and governments need to have clear plans in place to ensure an orderly and fair transition.”

With California as a case study, the SEI report points to a resolution by the state’s Air Resources Board to “evaluate and explore” reducing the production of petroleum.

Boosting environmental justice

It finds that phasing out oil in California would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by roughly the same amount as many of the other climate policies currently planned by the state. And, because most oil drilling there happens in the most pollution-vulnerable communities, phasing it out would have important environmental justice benefits as well.

“Gradually phasing down oil production is a reasonable approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said SEI senior scientist Peter Erickson, the study’s lead author.

“California is one of the top oil-producing states in the US, but it is also a climate leader. Restricting oil production would complement the state’s flagship policies, such as strengthened standards for clean power or energy efficiency.”

The study’s lessons apply to other states too. It concludes that governments that aim to demonstrate leadership and meet the Paris Agreement goals have “a number of policy options that can limit future production of oil and other fossil fuels, while delivering important global emissions and local environmental benefits.”

Limiting temperature rise

The Paris Agreement settled on a target that global temperatures should increase by no more than 2°C above their pre-industrial levels, with governments striving to keep the rise to just 1.5°C.

Peter Erickson told the Climate News Network that the scenarios published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with its recent report Global Warming of 1.5°C provided guideposts to the SEI’s work.

He said: “The median results of those scenarios suggest that global oil production (and consumption) needs to decline more than 40% between 2020 and 2030 to meet a 1.5°C target, global coal production (and consumption) more than 80%, and global gas production (and consumption) by more than 40% (the declines are rather less for meeting a 2°C goal).

“These declines could be accomplished most effectively with both demand and supply-side measures. That is our central point – that limiting fossil fuel production is an important complement to limiting demand.” – Climate News Network

Tripled climate cuts needed to fulfil pledge

The gap between the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and countries’ planned reductions is growing, and only tripled climate cuts can reduce global warming enough, researchers say.

LONDON, 28 November, 2018 − The world is not yet living up to its undertaking to tackle global warming, and it will have to make tripled climate cuts − at least − if it is to do so, a report says.

The emissions gap − the difference between the global emissions of greenhouse gases scientists expect in 2030 and the level they need to be at to honour the world’s promises to cut them − is the largest ever.

The 2018 Emissions Gap Report is published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). While it is still possible to keep global warming below 2°C, its authors say, the world’s current pace of action to cut emissions must triple for that to happen.

In 2015 almost 200 governments adopted the target of keeping global warming to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to try for a lower level, 1.5°C. Their decision is set out in the Paris Agreement.

Inadequate targets

But the Gap Report spells out in detail a criticism scientists have been making since soon after the Agreement was reached, saying the current pace of countries’ plans for reducing emissions − which they decide for themselves − is not enough to meet the Paris targets.

As well as allowing signatories the freedom to cut emissions as savagely or as modestly as they wish, the Agreement is also condemned by those who believe its targets are themselves so unrealistic that they fail to measure up to the scale and urgency of the climate crisis.

The combination of increasing greenhouse gas emissions and increasingly inadequate action to slow them means that the emissions gap is bigger than it has ever been.

Meeting the 2°C target will require climate action efforts to triple, the Gap Report says. But to meet the 1.5°C limit, which many governments and scientists are urging, needs nations not just to triple their efforts, but to increase them five-fold.

“The science is clear … governments need to move faster and with greater urgency. We’re feeding this fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach”

Current action to limit emissions suggests that global warming will reach about 3°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, and will continue to rise after that. If the gap is not closed by 2030, the report’s authors say, it is highly unlikely that the 2°C target can be reached.

In 2017 global emissions rose again, after a three-year decrease, as countries’ efforts to combat climate change fell short of what was necessary for global emissions to peak. That year global emissions reached reached 53.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e), the highest levels yet recorded. Just 57 countries, representing 60% of global emissions, were on track to peak emissions by 2030.

(A gigatonne is a thousand million tonnes. “GtCO2e” is an abbreviation for “gigatonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide” − emissions of various GHGs put on a common footing to express them in terms of the amount of CO2 that would have the same global warming effect.)

The Gap Report has been released just before this year’s UN global climate summit, the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the Polish city of Katowice.

Critical decade ahead

Two of the contributors are researchers from IIASA, based in Laxenburg, Austria: Joeri Rogelj and Daniel Huppmann.
“This year’s report shows with renewed urgency that emissions reductions in the next decade are critical, and that there are readily available options to achieve this”, said Dr Rogelj.

He is a lead author of the chapter that updated the assessment of the emissions gap, which found that little or no progress had been made in the past year on new policies or more ambitious pledges.

New, more conservative assumptions about the potential contribution of negative emissions technologies (geoengineering) in the future mean that even bigger emissions cuts will be needed.

Dr Huppmann led the year-long effort to compile a large database of emissions scenarios through the IIASA Scenario Explorer. The 2018 Emissions Gap Report draws from this database, first published in Nature Climate Change.

Closing the gap

The report outlines a roadmap which could still meet the Paris Agreement targets and close the emissions gap by 2030. It includes possible contributions by government fiscal policy, the pace of innovation, and a review of climate action by groups other than governments.

If they make commitments to the strongest climate action globally, the authors say, emissions could be cut by 19 GtCO2e, enough to close the 2°C gap.

Governments could subsidise low-emission alternatives and impose higher taxes on fossil fuels. If a carbon price of US$70 a tonne were adopted, emissions could be cut by 40% in some countries.

Removing fossil fuel subsidies would cut global emissions by 10% by 2030, compared with a situation where no climate policies were imposed.

“If the IPCC report represented a global fire alarm, this report is the arson investigation,” said UN Environment’s deputy executive director, Joyce Msuya. “The science is clear; for all the ambitious climate action we’ve seen, governments need to move faster and with greater urgency. We’re feeding this fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach.” − Climate News Network

The gap between the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and countries’ planned reductions is growing, and only tripled climate cuts can reduce global warming enough, researchers say.

LONDON, 28 November, 2018 − The world is not yet living up to its undertaking to tackle global warming, and it will have to make tripled climate cuts − at least − if it is to do so, a report says.

The emissions gap − the difference between the global emissions of greenhouse gases scientists expect in 2030 and the level they need to be at to honour the world’s promises to cut them − is the largest ever.

The 2018 Emissions Gap Report is published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). While it is still possible to keep global warming below 2°C, its authors say, the world’s current pace of action to cut emissions must triple for that to happen.

In 2015 almost 200 governments adopted the target of keeping global warming to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to try for a lower level, 1.5°C. Their decision is set out in the Paris Agreement.

Inadequate targets

But the Gap Report spells out in detail a criticism scientists have been making since soon after the Agreement was reached, saying the current pace of countries’ plans for reducing emissions − which they decide for themselves − is not enough to meet the Paris targets.

As well as allowing signatories the freedom to cut emissions as savagely or as modestly as they wish, the Agreement is also condemned by those who believe its targets are themselves so unrealistic that they fail to measure up to the scale and urgency of the climate crisis.

The combination of increasing greenhouse gas emissions and increasingly inadequate action to slow them means that the emissions gap is bigger than it has ever been.

Meeting the 2°C target will require climate action efforts to triple, the Gap Report says. But to meet the 1.5°C limit, which many governments and scientists are urging, needs nations not just to triple their efforts, but to increase them five-fold.

“The science is clear … governments need to move faster and with greater urgency. We’re feeding this fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach”

Current action to limit emissions suggests that global warming will reach about 3°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, and will continue to rise after that. If the gap is not closed by 2030, the report’s authors say, it is highly unlikely that the 2°C target can be reached.

In 2017 global emissions rose again, after a three-year decrease, as countries’ efforts to combat climate change fell short of what was necessary for global emissions to peak. That year global emissions reached reached 53.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e), the highest levels yet recorded. Just 57 countries, representing 60% of global emissions, were on track to peak emissions by 2030.

(A gigatonne is a thousand million tonnes. “GtCO2e” is an abbreviation for “gigatonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide” − emissions of various GHGs put on a common footing to express them in terms of the amount of CO2 that would have the same global warming effect.)

The Gap Report has been released just before this year’s UN global climate summit, the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the Polish city of Katowice.

Critical decade ahead

Two of the contributors are researchers from IIASA, based in Laxenburg, Austria: Joeri Rogelj and Daniel Huppmann.
“This year’s report shows with renewed urgency that emissions reductions in the next decade are critical, and that there are readily available options to achieve this”, said Dr Rogelj.

He is a lead author of the chapter that updated the assessment of the emissions gap, which found that little or no progress had been made in the past year on new policies or more ambitious pledges.

New, more conservative assumptions about the potential contribution of negative emissions technologies (geoengineering) in the future mean that even bigger emissions cuts will be needed.

Dr Huppmann led the year-long effort to compile a large database of emissions scenarios through the IIASA Scenario Explorer. The 2018 Emissions Gap Report draws from this database, first published in Nature Climate Change.

Closing the gap

The report outlines a roadmap which could still meet the Paris Agreement targets and close the emissions gap by 2030. It includes possible contributions by government fiscal policy, the pace of innovation, and a review of climate action by groups other than governments.

If they make commitments to the strongest climate action globally, the authors say, emissions could be cut by 19 GtCO2e, enough to close the 2°C gap.

Governments could subsidise low-emission alternatives and impose higher taxes on fossil fuels. If a carbon price of US$70 a tonne were adopted, emissions could be cut by 40% in some countries.

Removing fossil fuel subsidies would cut global emissions by 10% by 2030, compared with a situation where no climate policies were imposed.

“If the IPCC report represented a global fire alarm, this report is the arson investigation,” said UN Environment’s deputy executive director, Joyce Msuya. “The science is clear; for all the ambitious climate action we’ve seen, governments need to move faster and with greater urgency. We’re feeding this fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach.” − Climate News Network

Biofuel land grab will slash nature’s space

Growing enough greenery to provide cleaner fuel and slow climate change will need a biofuel land grab: a 10 to 30-fold rise in land devoted to green crops.

LONDON, 21 November, 2018 − Replacing fossil fuels with alternatives derived from some natural sources may be prohibitively high: the biofuel land grab needed could require at least 10% more land than the world uses now to grow green crops, conservationists say.

But that’s the good news. They believe the total increase in green energy-related land use could be much higher, closer to 30%, meaning “crushing” pressure on habitats for plants and animals, and undermining the essential diversity of species on Earth.

Their warning was spelt out at a UN biodiversity meeting in Egypt by Anne Larigauderie, executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES.

IPBES says it exists to organise knowledge about the Earth’s biodiversity to offer information for political decisions globally, like the work over the last 30 years of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC.

Extremely urgent

She said the latest IPCC report, on limiting climate warming to 1.5°C, had given “a sense of extreme urgency for these exchanges on tradeoffs and synergies between climate, biodiversity and land degradation.”

Dr. Larigauderie said most IPCC scenarios foresaw a major increase in the land area needed to cultivate biofuel crops like maize (or corn, as it is also known) to slow the pace of warming by 2050 − up to 724 million hectares in total, an area almost the size of Australia. The current amount of land used for biofuel crops is uncertain, but conservationists say it lies somewhere between 15 and 30m ha.

“The key issue here is: where would this huge amount of new land come from”, she asked. “Is there currently such a large amount of ‘marginal land’ available or would this compete with biodiversity? Some scientists argue that there is very little marginal land left.

“Protecting the invaluable contributions of nature to people will be the defining challenge of decades to come”

“This important issue needs to be clarified, but the demand for land for energy will almost certainly increase, with negative consequences for biodiversity.”

Dr. Larigauderie was speaking at the start of the annual conference of the states which support the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Deep cuts in the greenhouse gas emissions from human activities which drive global warming would be possible without massive bioenergy resources, she said, but this would need substantial cuts in energy use as well as rapid increases in the production of low-carbon energy from wind, solar and nuclear power.

Safeguarding the variety of plant and animal species and the services nature provides was itself essential to reducing global warming, she said. Land ecosystems today soak up about a third of annual carbon dioxide emissions, with the world’s oceans accounting for about another quarter annually.

Forests achieve more

In any case, Dr Larigauderie said, reforestation was better at protecting the climate than most biofuel crops. In temperate climates, one reforested hectare was four times more effective in climate mitigation than a hectare of maize used for biofuel.

“All methods that produce healthier ecosystems should be promoted as a way to combat climate change”, she said. “This includes afforestation and reforestation, as well as restoration − implemented properly using native species, for example.”

IPBES plans to publish a primer detailing elements of its Global Assessment of Biodiversity in May 2019. The British scientist Sir Robert Watson, formerly chair of the IPCC and now chair of IPBES, says: “The loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is already a global and generational threat to human well-being. Protecting the invaluable contributions of nature to people will be the defining challenge of decades to come.

“Policies, efforts and actions − at every level − will only succeed, however, when based on the best knowledge and evidence. This is what the IPBES Global Assessment provides.” − Climate News Network

Growing enough greenery to provide cleaner fuel and slow climate change will need a biofuel land grab: a 10 to 30-fold rise in land devoted to green crops.

LONDON, 21 November, 2018 − Replacing fossil fuels with alternatives derived from some natural sources may be prohibitively high: the biofuel land grab needed could require at least 10% more land than the world uses now to grow green crops, conservationists say.

But that’s the good news. They believe the total increase in green energy-related land use could be much higher, closer to 30%, meaning “crushing” pressure on habitats for plants and animals, and undermining the essential diversity of species on Earth.

Their warning was spelt out at a UN biodiversity meeting in Egypt by Anne Larigauderie, executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES.

IPBES says it exists to organise knowledge about the Earth’s biodiversity to offer information for political decisions globally, like the work over the last 30 years of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC.

Extremely urgent

She said the latest IPCC report, on limiting climate warming to 1.5°C, had given “a sense of extreme urgency for these exchanges on tradeoffs and synergies between climate, biodiversity and land degradation.”

Dr. Larigauderie said most IPCC scenarios foresaw a major increase in the land area needed to cultivate biofuel crops like maize (or corn, as it is also known) to slow the pace of warming by 2050 − up to 724 million hectares in total, an area almost the size of Australia. The current amount of land used for biofuel crops is uncertain, but conservationists say it lies somewhere between 15 and 30m ha.

“The key issue here is: where would this huge amount of new land come from”, she asked. “Is there currently such a large amount of ‘marginal land’ available or would this compete with biodiversity? Some scientists argue that there is very little marginal land left.

“Protecting the invaluable contributions of nature to people will be the defining challenge of decades to come”

“This important issue needs to be clarified, but the demand for land for energy will almost certainly increase, with negative consequences for biodiversity.”

Dr. Larigauderie was speaking at the start of the annual conference of the states which support the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Deep cuts in the greenhouse gas emissions from human activities which drive global warming would be possible without massive bioenergy resources, she said, but this would need substantial cuts in energy use as well as rapid increases in the production of low-carbon energy from wind, solar and nuclear power.

Safeguarding the variety of plant and animal species and the services nature provides was itself essential to reducing global warming, she said. Land ecosystems today soak up about a third of annual carbon dioxide emissions, with the world’s oceans accounting for about another quarter annually.

Forests achieve more

In any case, Dr Larigauderie said, reforestation was better at protecting the climate than most biofuel crops. In temperate climates, one reforested hectare was four times more effective in climate mitigation than a hectare of maize used for biofuel.

“All methods that produce healthier ecosystems should be promoted as a way to combat climate change”, she said. “This includes afforestation and reforestation, as well as restoration − implemented properly using native species, for example.”

IPBES plans to publish a primer detailing elements of its Global Assessment of Biodiversity in May 2019. The British scientist Sir Robert Watson, formerly chair of the IPCC and now chair of IPBES, says: “The loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is already a global and generational threat to human well-being. Protecting the invaluable contributions of nature to people will be the defining challenge of decades to come.

“Policies, efforts and actions − at every level − will only succeed, however, when based on the best knowledge and evidence. This is what the IPBES Global Assessment provides.” − Climate News Network

UK scientists risk prison to urge action

A group of British scientists and their supporters is willing to risk a prison term to press governments to tackle climate change and environmental crisis.

LONDON, 31 October, 2018 − A growing number of British academics, writers and activists say they are ready to go to prison in support of their demands for action on the environment.

Scientists are not normally renowned for their political activism, and the UK is hardly a hotbed of determined and risky protest against its rulers. But, if this group of nearly 100 British scientists and their backers is right, all that may be on the brink of changing.

Today sees the launch of ExtinctionRebellion, which describes itself as an international movement using mass civil disobedience to force governments to enter World War Two-level mobilisation mode, in response to climate breakdown and ecological crisis.

The group is launching a Declaration of Rebellion against the UK government “for criminal inaction in the face of climate change catastrophe and ecological collapse” at the Houses of Parliament in central London.

“We need ExtinctionRebellion as part of the mosaic of responses to the extremely precarious situation we now find ourselves in”

From today it promises “repeated acts of disruptive, non-violent civil disobedience” if the government does not respond seriously to its demands, and says “there will be mass arrests.”

“Now is the time because we are out of time. There is nothing left to lose.”

The group’s demands include the declaration by the UK government of a state of emergency, action to create a zero carbon economy by 2025, and the establishment of a national assembly of “ordinary people” to decide what the zero carbon future will look like.

Based on the science, it says, humans have ten years at the most to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to zero, or the human race and most other species will be at high risk of extinction within decades.

“Children alive today in the UK will face unimaginable horrors as a result of floods, wildfires, extreme weather, crop failures and the inevitable breakdown of society when the pressures are so great. We are unprepared for the danger our future holds.”

Ecological crisis

On 30 October the Worldwide Fund for Nature reported that humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, something it says threatens the survival of civilisation. ExtinctionRebellion says the loss of species shows that “the planet is in ecological crisis, and we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event this planet has experienced.”

Its members say they are willing to make personal sacrifices, to be arrested and to go to prison. They hope to inspire similar actions around the world and believe this global effort must begin in the UK, today, where the industrial revolution began.

Many of the Declaration’s signatories are well-known in the academic world. They include Danny Dorling, professor of geography at the University of Oxford, and Dr Ian Gibson, who formerly chaired the Parliamentary science and technology select committee. Serving Members of Parliament who support ExtinctionRebellion include the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas.

Other backers are probably better-known for their achievements beyond science, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, now the Master of Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge, and the journalist George Monbiot.

Cry of desperation

Another supporter is Andrew Simms of the New Weather Institute. He told the Climate News Network: “This is almost a cry of desperation. People are bewildered. But almost every profound change in British society, from the abolition of slavery to the improvement of shipping safety, has involved people risking arrest.

“The signs I am getting from the UK government now are that it is a reckless administration putting its own people and others at risk by putting climate change virtually nowhere.

“The Declaration alone won’t bring about change: we’ll need people working practically to make change happen on the ground. But we need ExtinctionRebellion as part of the mosaic of responses to the extremely precarious situation we now find ourselves in.”

Simms, convinced that an entirely new potential for rapid societal change now exists, says: “We know what’s needed, and the resources to do it are there. ExtinctionRebellion is one example of how new ideas can spread quickly and rapid shift − and radical action − can come closer.” − Climate News Network

A group of British scientists and their supporters is willing to risk a prison term to press governments to tackle climate change and environmental crisis.

LONDON, 31 October, 2018 − A growing number of British academics, writers and activists say they are ready to go to prison in support of their demands for action on the environment.

Scientists are not normally renowned for their political activism, and the UK is hardly a hotbed of determined and risky protest against its rulers. But, if this group of nearly 100 British scientists and their backers is right, all that may be on the brink of changing.

Today sees the launch of ExtinctionRebellion, which describes itself as an international movement using mass civil disobedience to force governments to enter World War Two-level mobilisation mode, in response to climate breakdown and ecological crisis.

The group is launching a Declaration of Rebellion against the UK government “for criminal inaction in the face of climate change catastrophe and ecological collapse” at the Houses of Parliament in central London.

“We need ExtinctionRebellion as part of the mosaic of responses to the extremely precarious situation we now find ourselves in”

From today it promises “repeated acts of disruptive, non-violent civil disobedience” if the government does not respond seriously to its demands, and says “there will be mass arrests.”

“Now is the time because we are out of time. There is nothing left to lose.”

The group’s demands include the declaration by the UK government of a state of emergency, action to create a zero carbon economy by 2025, and the establishment of a national assembly of “ordinary people” to decide what the zero carbon future will look like.

Based on the science, it says, humans have ten years at the most to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to zero, or the human race and most other species will be at high risk of extinction within decades.

“Children alive today in the UK will face unimaginable horrors as a result of floods, wildfires, extreme weather, crop failures and the inevitable breakdown of society when the pressures are so great. We are unprepared for the danger our future holds.”

Ecological crisis

On 30 October the Worldwide Fund for Nature reported that humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, something it says threatens the survival of civilisation. ExtinctionRebellion says the loss of species shows that “the planet is in ecological crisis, and we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event this planet has experienced.”

Its members say they are willing to make personal sacrifices, to be arrested and to go to prison. They hope to inspire similar actions around the world and believe this global effort must begin in the UK, today, where the industrial revolution began.

Many of the Declaration’s signatories are well-known in the academic world. They include Danny Dorling, professor of geography at the University of Oxford, and Dr Ian Gibson, who formerly chaired the Parliamentary science and technology select committee. Serving Members of Parliament who support ExtinctionRebellion include the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas.

Other backers are probably better-known for their achievements beyond science, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, now the Master of Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge, and the journalist George Monbiot.

Cry of desperation

Another supporter is Andrew Simms of the New Weather Institute. He told the Climate News Network: “This is almost a cry of desperation. People are bewildered. But almost every profound change in British society, from the abolition of slavery to the improvement of shipping safety, has involved people risking arrest.

“The signs I am getting from the UK government now are that it is a reckless administration putting its own people and others at risk by putting climate change virtually nowhere.

“The Declaration alone won’t bring about change: we’ll need people working practically to make change happen on the ground. But we need ExtinctionRebellion as part of the mosaic of responses to the extremely precarious situation we now find ourselves in.”

Simms, convinced that an entirely new potential for rapid societal change now exists, says: “We know what’s needed, and the resources to do it are there. ExtinctionRebellion is one example of how new ideas can spread quickly and rapid shift − and radical action − can come closer.” − Climate News Network

Doubled raw materials use is climate risk

We’re using more and more raw materials to build the world anew: our demands will almost have doubled by 2060. That’s bad news for the climate.

LONDON, 24 October, 2018 − Just when you might think the world has heard an unmistakable warning of the need to curb climate change drastically and fast, along comes another warning, about humans’ voracious appetite for the raw materials we use so profligately.

Its message is simple: one of the main causes of the Earth’s growing warmth is likely to be twice as severe 40 years from now as it is today.

This latest warning, from the club of the world’s richest countries, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says consumption of raw materials is on course to nearly double by 2060 as the global economy expands and living standards rise.

And that will mean a steep increase in emissions of the greenhouse gases which drive global warming. Total emissions are projected to reach 75 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq.) by 2060, of which materials management would constitute about 50 Gt CO2-eq. A gigatonne is a thousand million tonnes. Gt CO2eq is an abbreviation for “gigatonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide”, a unit based on the global warming potential of different gases.

“More than half of all greenhouse gas emissions are related to materials management activities”

If you find it hard to visualise raw material, the OECD offers some helpful examples. The main sort of “stuff” it’s talking about includes the building blocks of the modern world: sand, gravel and crushed rock. Metals are next, and third is coal. It uses a disarmingly wide image to bring the message home: “The total raw materials consumed by an average family in a day would fill up a bathtub”.

The full OECD report, the Global Material Resources Outlook to 2060, will be available from 27 November, but a preview  was released this week at the World Circular Economy Forum in Yokohama, Japan.

The Outlook expects global materials use to rise from 90 gigatonnes (GT) today to 167 GT in 2060, because of the increase in world population to 10 billion people expected by then, and the rise in average global income per capita to converge with the current OECD level of US$40,000 (€34,900).

Immense human footprint

The projected figures are immense. But so are those that quantify today’s hunger for materials. Scientists calculate, for instance, that the weight of objects made by humans is about 30 trillion tonnes, and that by 2050 we shall have built another 25 million km of roads, enough to circle the Earth 600 times. None of this bodes well for us, let alone for the other species that share the planet.

Without action to address these challenges, the projected increase in the extraction and processing of raw materials such as biomass, fossil fuels, metals and non-metallic minerals is likely to worsen the pollution of air, water and soils, and contribute significantly to climate change, the OECD says.

This increase will happen despite both a shift from manufacturing to service industries and continual improvements in manufacturing efficiency, which has lessened the amount of resources consumed for each unit of GDP.

Without this, it says, environmental pressures would be even worse. The projection also acknowledges flattening demand in China and other emerging economies as their infrastructure booms end.

Coal boom

The preview report says the biggest rises in resource consumption will be in minerals, including construction materials and metals, particularly in fast-growing developing economies. The OECD projects a big increase in coal consumption by 2060, but a much smaller increase for oil.

Its overall conclusion on the impact of materials use on climate change is bleak: “More than half of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are related to materials management activities. GHG emissions related to materials management will rise to approximately 50 Gt CO2-equivalent by 2060.”

The report’s global environmental impact analysis of the extraction and production of seven metals (iron, aluminium, copper, zinc, lead, nickel and manganese) plus building materials − concrete, sand and gravel − also shows significant impacts in areas like acidification, air and water pollution, energy demand, human health and the toxicity of water and land. − Climate News Network

We’re using more and more raw materials to build the world anew: our demands will almost have doubled by 2060. That’s bad news for the climate.

LONDON, 24 October, 2018 − Just when you might think the world has heard an unmistakable warning of the need to curb climate change drastically and fast, along comes another warning, about humans’ voracious appetite for the raw materials we use so profligately.

Its message is simple: one of the main causes of the Earth’s growing warmth is likely to be twice as severe 40 years from now as it is today.

This latest warning, from the club of the world’s richest countries, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says consumption of raw materials is on course to nearly double by 2060 as the global economy expands and living standards rise.

And that will mean a steep increase in emissions of the greenhouse gases which drive global warming. Total emissions are projected to reach 75 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq.) by 2060, of which materials management would constitute about 50 Gt CO2-eq. A gigatonne is a thousand million tonnes. Gt CO2eq is an abbreviation for “gigatonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide”, a unit based on the global warming potential of different gases.

“More than half of all greenhouse gas emissions are related to materials management activities”

If you find it hard to visualise raw material, the OECD offers some helpful examples. The main sort of “stuff” it’s talking about includes the building blocks of the modern world: sand, gravel and crushed rock. Metals are next, and third is coal. It uses a disarmingly wide image to bring the message home: “The total raw materials consumed by an average family in a day would fill up a bathtub”.

The full OECD report, the Global Material Resources Outlook to 2060, will be available from 27 November, but a preview  was released this week at the World Circular Economy Forum in Yokohama, Japan.

The Outlook expects global materials use to rise from 90 gigatonnes (GT) today to 167 GT in 2060, because of the increase in world population to 10 billion people expected by then, and the rise in average global income per capita to converge with the current OECD level of US$40,000 (€34,900).

Immense human footprint

The projected figures are immense. But so are those that quantify today’s hunger for materials. Scientists calculate, for instance, that the weight of objects made by humans is about 30 trillion tonnes, and that by 2050 we shall have built another 25 million km of roads, enough to circle the Earth 600 times. None of this bodes well for us, let alone for the other species that share the planet.

Without action to address these challenges, the projected increase in the extraction and processing of raw materials such as biomass, fossil fuels, metals and non-metallic minerals is likely to worsen the pollution of air, water and soils, and contribute significantly to climate change, the OECD says.

This increase will happen despite both a shift from manufacturing to service industries and continual improvements in manufacturing efficiency, which has lessened the amount of resources consumed for each unit of GDP.

Without this, it says, environmental pressures would be even worse. The projection also acknowledges flattening demand in China and other emerging economies as their infrastructure booms end.

Coal boom

The preview report says the biggest rises in resource consumption will be in minerals, including construction materials and metals, particularly in fast-growing developing economies. The OECD projects a big increase in coal consumption by 2060, but a much smaller increase for oil.

Its overall conclusion on the impact of materials use on climate change is bleak: “More than half of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are related to materials management activities. GHG emissions related to materials management will rise to approximately 50 Gt CO2-equivalent by 2060.”

The report’s global environmental impact analysis of the extraction and production of seven metals (iron, aluminium, copper, zinc, lead, nickel and manganese) plus building materials − concrete, sand and gravel − also shows significant impacts in areas like acidification, air and water pollution, energy demand, human health and the toxicity of water and land. − Climate News Network

Weakened hurricanes may be wind farm bonus

When high winds meet tall sails in the right place, something’s got to give. Offshore wind farms may lead to weakened hurricanes.

LONDON, 23 October, 2018 − US scientists have identified yet another wonder of that icon of renewable energy, the offshore wind farm: they may result in weakened hurricanes. Turbines in the right place could not just take the heat out of a hurricane, they could reduce the risk of catastrophic flooding as well.

The prediction is based entirely on computer simulation: the US so far has just one 30MW commercial wind farm in operation with just five turbines, off the coast of Rhode Island.

But the reasoning begins from the basic laws of physics, and the answer delivers yet another argument for investment in renewable sources of energy, if only because the ferocity and destructive power of US hurricanes is set to increase with ever-greater emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel combustion, and consequent ever-greater global warming.

Cristina Archer, a scientist at the University of Delaware, has already studied the ideal placing of wind turbines to extract maximum energy from the world’s winds, and more recently confirmed, with other researchers, that any hurricane that blew over a big enough marine wind farm would shed energy and hit the land with less destructive power.

“If you have arrays of wind turbines in the areas where there are hurricanes, you will likely see a reduction in precipitation inland”

It is an axiom of physics that energy is always conserved: if a turbine’s sails generate electrical energy from wind, then some of the kinetic energy of the wind must be surrendered.

Professor Archer and her colleagues report in the journal Environmental Research Letters that they took, among others, the case of Hurricane Harvey, which in 2017 deposited almost two thirds of a metre of rainwater on Houston, Texas, to cause devastating floods. They tested the behaviour of the simulated hurricane as it blew across a hypothetical barrier of from zero to 74,619 turbines.

When strong winds hit the turbines, they slow down. Wind scientists call this convergence. Winds slow, and are more likely to dump the water they hold, and then rise. Then the winds speed up again, a phenomenon known as divergence.

“Divergence is the opposite effect. It causes a downward motion, attracting air coming down, which is drier, and suppresses precipitation. I was wondering what would also happen when there is an offshore farm”, she said.

Multiple simulations

The researchers modelled a range of simulations with hypothetical wind farms staggered along the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. Hypothetical hurricanes caught up in a pattern of convergence would drop their rain before they hit the coast, and then begin divergence, which would mean that even less rain would be carried to landfall.

“By the time the air reaches the land, it’s been squeezed out of a lot of moisture,” Professor Archer said. “We got a 30% reduction of the precipitation with Harvey simulations. That means, potentially, if you have arrays of wind turbines in the areas where there are hurricanes, you will likely see a reduction in precipitation inland if the farm is there.”

This doesn’t mean that wind farms can always take the heat out of a hurricane: important factors include the hurricane’s precise track and the distance offshore of the turbines. There are no wind farms anywhere in the world with the tens of thousands of turbines modelled in the simulation: one of the world’s biggest, off Anholt Island, Denmark, has only 111 turbines.

“The more windfarms you have, the more impact they will have on a hurricane,” Professor Archer said. “By the time a hurricane actually makes a landfall, these arrays of turbines have been operating for days and days, extracting energy and moisture out of the storm. As a result, the storm will be weaker. Literally.” − Climate News Network

When high winds meet tall sails in the right place, something’s got to give. Offshore wind farms may lead to weakened hurricanes.

LONDON, 23 October, 2018 − US scientists have identified yet another wonder of that icon of renewable energy, the offshore wind farm: they may result in weakened hurricanes. Turbines in the right place could not just take the heat out of a hurricane, they could reduce the risk of catastrophic flooding as well.

The prediction is based entirely on computer simulation: the US so far has just one 30MW commercial wind farm in operation with just five turbines, off the coast of Rhode Island.

But the reasoning begins from the basic laws of physics, and the answer delivers yet another argument for investment in renewable sources of energy, if only because the ferocity and destructive power of US hurricanes is set to increase with ever-greater emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel combustion, and consequent ever-greater global warming.

Cristina Archer, a scientist at the University of Delaware, has already studied the ideal placing of wind turbines to extract maximum energy from the world’s winds, and more recently confirmed, with other researchers, that any hurricane that blew over a big enough marine wind farm would shed energy and hit the land with less destructive power.

“If you have arrays of wind turbines in the areas where there are hurricanes, you will likely see a reduction in precipitation inland”

It is an axiom of physics that energy is always conserved: if a turbine’s sails generate electrical energy from wind, then some of the kinetic energy of the wind must be surrendered.

Professor Archer and her colleagues report in the journal Environmental Research Letters that they took, among others, the case of Hurricane Harvey, which in 2017 deposited almost two thirds of a metre of rainwater on Houston, Texas, to cause devastating floods. They tested the behaviour of the simulated hurricane as it blew across a hypothetical barrier of from zero to 74,619 turbines.

When strong winds hit the turbines, they slow down. Wind scientists call this convergence. Winds slow, and are more likely to dump the water they hold, and then rise. Then the winds speed up again, a phenomenon known as divergence.

“Divergence is the opposite effect. It causes a downward motion, attracting air coming down, which is drier, and suppresses precipitation. I was wondering what would also happen when there is an offshore farm”, she said.

Multiple simulations

The researchers modelled a range of simulations with hypothetical wind farms staggered along the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. Hypothetical hurricanes caught up in a pattern of convergence would drop their rain before they hit the coast, and then begin divergence, which would mean that even less rain would be carried to landfall.

“By the time the air reaches the land, it’s been squeezed out of a lot of moisture,” Professor Archer said. “We got a 30% reduction of the precipitation with Harvey simulations. That means, potentially, if you have arrays of wind turbines in the areas where there are hurricanes, you will likely see a reduction in precipitation inland if the farm is there.”

This doesn’t mean that wind farms can always take the heat out of a hurricane: important factors include the hurricane’s precise track and the distance offshore of the turbines. There are no wind farms anywhere in the world with the tens of thousands of turbines modelled in the simulation: one of the world’s biggest, off Anholt Island, Denmark, has only 111 turbines.

“The more windfarms you have, the more impact they will have on a hurricane,” Professor Archer said. “By the time a hurricane actually makes a landfall, these arrays of turbines have been operating for days and days, extracting energy and moisture out of the storm. As a result, the storm will be weaker. Literally.” − Climate News Network

Well-fed world can slow warming too

The well-fed world scientists say is possible by 2050 could also halve global warming emissions. But it would have to lose its appetite for meat.

LONDON, 12 October, 2018 – The hopeful news is that by mid-century a well-fed world may be able to feed everyone alive, while halving the gases causing global warming. There’s just one snag: for most of us it would mean an almost meatless diet.

On 8 October global scientists said the world must make “rapid and far-reaching changes in all aspects of society” to keep global warming from reaching unacceptably dangerous levels.  They included the food we eat as one sector demanding radical change.

Bang on cue, a report by a separate group of scientists says the 10 billion people expected to be living by 2050 could enjoy sustainable food supplies – while emissions of the greenhouse gases that are warming the Earth fall by more than 50%.

But, for this to happen, the rich world would have to pay a high price, while the poorest people still faced malnutrition and hunger.

Less animal protein

The report says Westerners need to make a drastic switch away from meat and dairy products, cutting their consumption of beef by 90% and eating five times more beans and pulses than they do today to stave off hunger. Similar though slightly less radical changes are in prospect for people in other prosperous countries.

The researchers who wrote the report, published in the journal Nature, say it is the first to quantify how food production and consumption affect the planetary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity, and beyond which the Earth’s vital systems could become unstable.

“No single solution is enough to avoid crossing planetary boundaries. But when the solutions are implemented together, our research indicates that it may be possible to feed the growing population sustainably,” said Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food and the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the study.

“Many of the solutions we analysed are being implemented in some parts of the world, but it will need strong global co-ordination and rapid upscale to make their effects felt”

“Without concerted action, we found that the environmental impacts of the food system could increase by 50-90% by 2050 as a result of population growth and the rise of diets high in fats, sugars and meat. In that case, all planetary boundaries related to food production would be surpassed, some of them by more than twofold.”

A global shift towards healthy and more plant-based diets, halving food loss and waste (about a third of the food produced is lost before it can reach consumers), and improving farming practices and technologies, is needed to feed 10 billion people sustainably by 2050, the study says. Adopting these options cuts the risk of crossing global environmental limits on climate change.

But there will be other advantages too, the researchers say – reductions in the use of agricultural land and freshwater, and in the pollution of ecosystems through the over-use of fertilisers.

The study, funded by EAT as part of the EAT-Lancet Commission for Food, Planet and Health and by Wellcome’s “Our Planet, Our Health” partnership on Livestock Environment and People, combined detailed environmental accounts with a model of the global food system that tracks the production and consumption of food across the world. With this model, the researchers analysed several options that could keep the food system within environmental limits.

Multiple gains

They found that climate change can be checked enough only if diets change to include more plant-based food and reductions in meat and dairy products. Adopting more of these plant-based “flexitarian” diets globally could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than half and cut fertiliser application and the use of cropland and freshwater by between a tenth and a quarter.

But dietary changes alone will not be enough, the researchers say. They argue that improved agricultural management and technology will be essential too. Increasing yields from existing cropland, balancing fertiliser application and recycling and improving water management could, with other changes, reduce those impacts by around half.

A significant contributor to food insecurity is the deterioration and loss of soil. By one calculation, a third of the world’s arable land has been lost to erosion or pollution over the last 40 years. Restoring lost soil quality helps to increase harvests and slow warming.

The report says the world will have to halve wasted food to keep within environmental limits. If that happened worldwide, it would reduce environmental impacts by up to 16%.

Healthy eating

EAT is a science-based global platform for food system transformation founded by the Stordalen Foundation, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Wellcome.

Fabrice de Clerck, its director of science, said: “Tackling food loss and waste will require measures across the entire food chain, from storage and transport, over food packaging and labelling, to changes in legislation and business behaviour that promote zero-waste supply chains.”

“Many of the solutions we analysed are being implemented in some parts of the world, but it will need strong global co-ordination and rapid upscale to make their effects felt,” said Dr Springmann.

“When it comes to diets, important aspects include school and workplace programmes, economic incentives and labelling, and aligning national dietary guidelines with the current scientific evidence on healthy eating and the environmental impacts of our diet.” – Climate News Network

The well-fed world scientists say is possible by 2050 could also halve global warming emissions. But it would have to lose its appetite for meat.

LONDON, 12 October, 2018 – The hopeful news is that by mid-century a well-fed world may be able to feed everyone alive, while halving the gases causing global warming. There’s just one snag: for most of us it would mean an almost meatless diet.

On 8 October global scientists said the world must make “rapid and far-reaching changes in all aspects of society” to keep global warming from reaching unacceptably dangerous levels.  They included the food we eat as one sector demanding radical change.

Bang on cue, a report by a separate group of scientists says the 10 billion people expected to be living by 2050 could enjoy sustainable food supplies – while emissions of the greenhouse gases that are warming the Earth fall by more than 50%.

But, for this to happen, the rich world would have to pay a high price, while the poorest people still faced malnutrition and hunger.

Less animal protein

The report says Westerners need to make a drastic switch away from meat and dairy products, cutting their consumption of beef by 90% and eating five times more beans and pulses than they do today to stave off hunger. Similar though slightly less radical changes are in prospect for people in other prosperous countries.

The researchers who wrote the report, published in the journal Nature, say it is the first to quantify how food production and consumption affect the planetary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity, and beyond which the Earth’s vital systems could become unstable.

“No single solution is enough to avoid crossing planetary boundaries. But when the solutions are implemented together, our research indicates that it may be possible to feed the growing population sustainably,” said Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food and the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the study.

“Many of the solutions we analysed are being implemented in some parts of the world, but it will need strong global co-ordination and rapid upscale to make their effects felt”

“Without concerted action, we found that the environmental impacts of the food system could increase by 50-90% by 2050 as a result of population growth and the rise of diets high in fats, sugars and meat. In that case, all planetary boundaries related to food production would be surpassed, some of them by more than twofold.”

A global shift towards healthy and more plant-based diets, halving food loss and waste (about a third of the food produced is lost before it can reach consumers), and improving farming practices and technologies, is needed to feed 10 billion people sustainably by 2050, the study says. Adopting these options cuts the risk of crossing global environmental limits on climate change.

But there will be other advantages too, the researchers say – reductions in the use of agricultural land and freshwater, and in the pollution of ecosystems through the over-use of fertilisers.

The study, funded by EAT as part of the EAT-Lancet Commission for Food, Planet and Health and by Wellcome’s “Our Planet, Our Health” partnership on Livestock Environment and People, combined detailed environmental accounts with a model of the global food system that tracks the production and consumption of food across the world. With this model, the researchers analysed several options that could keep the food system within environmental limits.

Multiple gains

They found that climate change can be checked enough only if diets change to include more plant-based food and reductions in meat and dairy products. Adopting more of these plant-based “flexitarian” diets globally could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than half and cut fertiliser application and the use of cropland and freshwater by between a tenth and a quarter.

But dietary changes alone will not be enough, the researchers say. They argue that improved agricultural management and technology will be essential too. Increasing yields from existing cropland, balancing fertiliser application and recycling and improving water management could, with other changes, reduce those impacts by around half.

A significant contributor to food insecurity is the deterioration and loss of soil. By one calculation, a third of the world’s arable land has been lost to erosion or pollution over the last 40 years. Restoring lost soil quality helps to increase harvests and slow warming.

The report says the world will have to halve wasted food to keep within environmental limits. If that happened worldwide, it would reduce environmental impacts by up to 16%.

Healthy eating

EAT is a science-based global platform for food system transformation founded by the Stordalen Foundation, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Wellcome.

Fabrice de Clerck, its director of science, said: “Tackling food loss and waste will require measures across the entire food chain, from storage and transport, over food packaging and labelling, to changes in legislation and business behaviour that promote zero-waste supply chains.”

“Many of the solutions we analysed are being implemented in some parts of the world, but it will need strong global co-ordination and rapid upscale to make their effects felt,” said Dr Springmann.

“When it comes to diets, important aspects include school and workplace programmes, economic incentives and labelling, and aligning national dietary guidelines with the current scientific evidence on healthy eating and the environmental impacts of our diet.” – Climate News Network

Slower climate warming is still possible

The world can achieve slower climate warming, preventing temperatures from rising by more than 1.5˚C, a global scientific panel says. But time is short.

LONDON, 8 October, 2018 – The good news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is that slower climate warming is still within reach. With an enormous and united effort, it says, the world is certainly still capable of keeping global temperatures from increasing by more than 1.5˚C over historic levels (they’ve already risen by over 1˚C).

The more worrying findings in the IPCC’s report, described by one scientist as “historic”, show that the impacts of even 1.5˚C of warming are far greater than previously thought, and that the problem is far more urgent than most governments have acknowledged.

The IPCC, set up 30 years ago, assesses the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options, to provide a scientific base to help governments to decide policy.

Its conclusions are published in the Panel’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, which says limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid and far-reaching changes in all aspects of society of a sort not yet seen.

One British IPCC scientist, Jim Skea, said: “Limiting warming to 1.5ºC is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes.”

“Act now, because it’s almost too late! … We have to phase out CO2 emissions completely”

In one cautionary section the report warns that letting the global temperature temporarily exceed 1.5ºC would require more reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return it to below 1.5ºC by 2100. “The effectiveness of such techniques is unproven at large scale”, it says judiciously.

But the report says there is plenty of action that will help. “Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5ºC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner of the IPCC’s Working Group II.

For instance, the report says, by 2100 global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C.

The 1.5ºC limit was accepted as a goal by 195 governments in 2015 in the Paris Agreement, which committed them to work to keep temperatures “well below” the 2°C previously agreed and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.

The IPCC’s report has been widely welcomed. Climate Analytics is a global research organisation whose scientists have contributed widely to the literature used by the IPCC and also advise small island developing states and least developed countries on climate change. It says the IPCC has shown that it is “definitely still feasible to hold warming to that level” [1.5ºC].

Hopeful message

Bill Hare, the CEO of Climate Analytics, said: “We welcome the conclusions of this historic report, one that should give the international community not just a wake-up call, but also hope that we can avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.”

He said the report was “very clear in its confirmation that wide-ranging impacts of climate change will be much worse at 2˚C of warming than at 1.5˚C. This report shows the longer we leave it to act, the more difficult, the more expensive and the more dangerous it will be.”

The report says renewable energy must make up half of the global energy mix by 2050, and coal needs to be out of the power sector altogether by then. Carbon dioxide emissions must be halved by 2030, and reach zero by 2050.

“The advantages of early action are made stark in this report – especially regarding the sustainable development benefits, around poverty alleviation, health and access to clean energy,” said Hare.

“It is clear that governments must be preparing now to commit to much stronger 2030 targets under the Paris Agreement that need to be submitted by all governments no later than 2020, and they have to ditch coal.”

Complete CO2 phase-out

Niklas Höhne of the NewClimate Institute is an author of the IPCC ‘s Fourth and Fifth Assessment reports. He says the IPCC report sends a clear message to policymakers: “Act now, because it’s almost too late! Fulfilling the 1.5°C limit is extremely difficult, but not impossible. We have to phase out CO2 emissions completely.”

Limiting warming to 1.5 °C is technically and economically feasible and, properly implemented, it can contribute to sustainable development, he says – but only if all join forces. Almost every area of life will have to be turned upside down: how we live, eat, move around, what we consume.

Accurately, as regular readers of the Climate News Network will recognise, Professor Höhne points out that the report contains nothing new: it sums up what has already been published. But it does it starkly, in black and white..

The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, published in 2007, and its Fifth (2013) both expected a probable temperature rise by 2100 of up to 4°C. Less than a year ago, one leading climatologist suggested that was too optimistic. Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, said there was a 93% chance that global warming would exceed 4°C by the century’s end.

The IPCC reminds us that 2100 is really quite close. Even its mix of rigorous science with unambiguous explanation of what it will bring is familiar. We have been here before. But this report leaves us with less room than ever for doubt. – Climate News Network

The world can achieve slower climate warming, preventing temperatures from rising by more than 1.5˚C, a global scientific panel says. But time is short.

LONDON, 8 October, 2018 – The good news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is that slower climate warming is still within reach. With an enormous and united effort, it says, the world is certainly still capable of keeping global temperatures from increasing by more than 1.5˚C over historic levels (they’ve already risen by over 1˚C).

The more worrying findings in the IPCC’s report, described by one scientist as “historic”, show that the impacts of even 1.5˚C of warming are far greater than previously thought, and that the problem is far more urgent than most governments have acknowledged.

The IPCC, set up 30 years ago, assesses the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options, to provide a scientific base to help governments to decide policy.

Its conclusions are published in the Panel’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, which says limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid and far-reaching changes in all aspects of society of a sort not yet seen.

One British IPCC scientist, Jim Skea, said: “Limiting warming to 1.5ºC is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes.”

“Act now, because it’s almost too late! … We have to phase out CO2 emissions completely”

In one cautionary section the report warns that letting the global temperature temporarily exceed 1.5ºC would require more reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return it to below 1.5ºC by 2100. “The effectiveness of such techniques is unproven at large scale”, it says judiciously.

But the report says there is plenty of action that will help. “Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5ºC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner of the IPCC’s Working Group II.

For instance, the report says, by 2100 global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C.

The 1.5ºC limit was accepted as a goal by 195 governments in 2015 in the Paris Agreement, which committed them to work to keep temperatures “well below” the 2°C previously agreed and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C.

The IPCC’s report has been widely welcomed. Climate Analytics is a global research organisation whose scientists have contributed widely to the literature used by the IPCC and also advise small island developing states and least developed countries on climate change. It says the IPCC has shown that it is “definitely still feasible to hold warming to that level” [1.5ºC].

Hopeful message

Bill Hare, the CEO of Climate Analytics, said: “We welcome the conclusions of this historic report, one that should give the international community not just a wake-up call, but also hope that we can avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.”

He said the report was “very clear in its confirmation that wide-ranging impacts of climate change will be much worse at 2˚C of warming than at 1.5˚C. This report shows the longer we leave it to act, the more difficult, the more expensive and the more dangerous it will be.”

The report says renewable energy must make up half of the global energy mix by 2050, and coal needs to be out of the power sector altogether by then. Carbon dioxide emissions must be halved by 2030, and reach zero by 2050.

“The advantages of early action are made stark in this report – especially regarding the sustainable development benefits, around poverty alleviation, health and access to clean energy,” said Hare.

“It is clear that governments must be preparing now to commit to much stronger 2030 targets under the Paris Agreement that need to be submitted by all governments no later than 2020, and they have to ditch coal.”

Complete CO2 phase-out

Niklas Höhne of the NewClimate Institute is an author of the IPCC ‘s Fourth and Fifth Assessment reports. He says the IPCC report sends a clear message to policymakers: “Act now, because it’s almost too late! Fulfilling the 1.5°C limit is extremely difficult, but not impossible. We have to phase out CO2 emissions completely.”

Limiting warming to 1.5 °C is technically and economically feasible and, properly implemented, it can contribute to sustainable development, he says – but only if all join forces. Almost every area of life will have to be turned upside down: how we live, eat, move around, what we consume.

Accurately, as regular readers of the Climate News Network will recognise, Professor Höhne points out that the report contains nothing new: it sums up what has already been published. But it does it starkly, in black and white..

The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, published in 2007, and its Fifth (2013) both expected a probable temperature rise by 2100 of up to 4°C. Less than a year ago, one leading climatologist suggested that was too optimistic. Ken Caldeira, an atmospheric scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, said there was a 93% chance that global warming would exceed 4°C by the century’s end.

The IPCC reminds us that 2100 is really quite close. Even its mix of rigorous science with unambiguous explanation of what it will bring is familiar. We have been here before. But this report leaves us with less room than ever for doubt. – Climate News Network

Protecting public health shows way on climate

Tackling climate change is urgent. Can we act in time? Yes, one argument runs. What we are doing in protecting public health shows how.

LONDON, 1 October, 2018 – The world’s growing urgency in protecting public health is an encouraging example of what we can do to slow planetary warming, a new group says.

Most climate scientists – and many politicians – agree that the time left for effective action to tackle climate change is frighteningly short. A report due out on 8 October from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is expected to say that only radical and systemic change now will avert disaster.

One of the report’s co-authors has said already that it will be “extraordinarily challenging” for the world to reach the target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, and that governments are “nowhere near on track” to do so.

He urges “a real sea change” leading to “a massive, immediate transformation” of global production and use of energy, transport and agriculture.

The 1.5°C limit, agreed by 195 nations in Paris in 2015, is approaching fast: world temperatures have already risen by about 1°C over their historic level.

“We’ve shown in the past that surprising changes are possible … We now know more than ever about how to create the conditions for this kind of change”

But one group of researchers argues that we are not bound to breach it: there may still be time to save the day. In a report they say efforts to alter people’s behaviour so that they address climate change seriously must learn from the great public health campaigns of the past: on smoking, drink-driving and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Their report (sub-titled “Evidence-based hope”) reviews lessons from campaigns not only for public health but for disaster awareness and equality as well. It is the first publication of the Rapid Transition Alliance (RTA), a global initiative which aims to learn from rapid change to address urgent environmental problems.

It suggests that rapid change may now be more possible than ever. The authors say recent cultural shifts in diet and single-use plastics, sexism and attitudes to gender and identity are examples of accelerating change in society and culture, aided by the speed of new communication technologies and social media in spreading ideas.

The report finds that while measures focused on modifying behaviour have been sidelined in the mix of policies considered for tackling climate change, the past shows that people can change even the most ingrained and addictive behaviours.

Wider changes

Campaigns have succeeded especially when accompanied by transformations in finance, infrastructure and culture and to be effective, the report says, behavioural change campaigns must be linked to wider structural changes.

“The complexity of climate change means that to address it, we’ll need changes in areas ranging from food, to transport, manufacturing, water use, urban planning and finance. To be legitimate and effective, these need to be fair and democratic,” says Andrew Simms, the report’s lead author.

He and his colleagues say such changes are not simple to achieve. For example, cutting smoking in the UK needed legislation on age limits and workplace smoking, public awareness campaigns, taxation and information campaigns, and advertising. They say long-term support and helpful  pricing mechanisms will also be essential, even though these can never be enough on their own.

Pollution linked to climate change is already causing unprecedented concern, the report points out. In September the European Union Court of Auditors found that air pollution is responsible for an estimated 400,000 premature deaths a year across the EU. Climate, the report says, needs to be seen in the context of dementia, asthma and deaths from extreme weather.

Tipping point

“Climate now and into the future is set to be among our greatest public health challenges,” says Simms. And that is what encourages him to think that global society may be approaching a tipping point where radical change is possible.

“We’ve shown in the past that surprising changes are possible in how people behave, in smoking, driving, antibiotics, and sexual health. We now know more than ever about how to create the conditions for this kind of change.

“Past radical changes in behaviour are about inclusive cultural movements, not just government campaigns. In moving urgently to address climate change, we should ensure that the onus for change falls on those most responsible for it, and the benefits are shared by all.

“The climate is changing faster than we are”, says Simms. But we can change too. “First, we can’t imagine a situation being different. Then things change and we can’t imagine going back to how they were before.” – Climate News Network

* * * * * *

The Rapid Transition Alliance will be launched later in 2018. It is being coordinated by the New Weather Institute, the STEPS Centre at the Institute of Development Studies, and the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex, UK.

Tackling climate change is urgent. Can we act in time? Yes, one argument runs. What we are doing in protecting public health shows how.

LONDON, 1 October, 2018 – The world’s growing urgency in protecting public health is an encouraging example of what we can do to slow planetary warming, a new group says.

Most climate scientists – and many politicians – agree that the time left for effective action to tackle climate change is frighteningly short. A report due out on 8 October from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is expected to say that only radical and systemic change now will avert disaster.

One of the report’s co-authors has said already that it will be “extraordinarily challenging” for the world to reach the target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, and that governments are “nowhere near on track” to do so.

He urges “a real sea change” leading to “a massive, immediate transformation” of global production and use of energy, transport and agriculture.

The 1.5°C limit, agreed by 195 nations in Paris in 2015, is approaching fast: world temperatures have already risen by about 1°C over their historic level.

“We’ve shown in the past that surprising changes are possible … We now know more than ever about how to create the conditions for this kind of change”

But one group of researchers argues that we are not bound to breach it: there may still be time to save the day. In a report they say efforts to alter people’s behaviour so that they address climate change seriously must learn from the great public health campaigns of the past: on smoking, drink-driving and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Their report (sub-titled “Evidence-based hope”) reviews lessons from campaigns not only for public health but for disaster awareness and equality as well. It is the first publication of the Rapid Transition Alliance (RTA), a global initiative which aims to learn from rapid change to address urgent environmental problems.

It suggests that rapid change may now be more possible than ever. The authors say recent cultural shifts in diet and single-use plastics, sexism and attitudes to gender and identity are examples of accelerating change in society and culture, aided by the speed of new communication technologies and social media in spreading ideas.

The report finds that while measures focused on modifying behaviour have been sidelined in the mix of policies considered for tackling climate change, the past shows that people can change even the most ingrained and addictive behaviours.

Wider changes

Campaigns have succeeded especially when accompanied by transformations in finance, infrastructure and culture and to be effective, the report says, behavioural change campaigns must be linked to wider structural changes.

“The complexity of climate change means that to address it, we’ll need changes in areas ranging from food, to transport, manufacturing, water use, urban planning and finance. To be legitimate and effective, these need to be fair and democratic,” says Andrew Simms, the report’s lead author.

He and his colleagues say such changes are not simple to achieve. For example, cutting smoking in the UK needed legislation on age limits and workplace smoking, public awareness campaigns, taxation and information campaigns, and advertising. They say long-term support and helpful  pricing mechanisms will also be essential, even though these can never be enough on their own.

Pollution linked to climate change is already causing unprecedented concern, the report points out. In September the European Union Court of Auditors found that air pollution is responsible for an estimated 400,000 premature deaths a year across the EU. Climate, the report says, needs to be seen in the context of dementia, asthma and deaths from extreme weather.

Tipping point

“Climate now and into the future is set to be among our greatest public health challenges,” says Simms. And that is what encourages him to think that global society may be approaching a tipping point where radical change is possible.

“We’ve shown in the past that surprising changes are possible in how people behave, in smoking, driving, antibiotics, and sexual health. We now know more than ever about how to create the conditions for this kind of change.

“Past radical changes in behaviour are about inclusive cultural movements, not just government campaigns. In moving urgently to address climate change, we should ensure that the onus for change falls on those most responsible for it, and the benefits are shared by all.

“The climate is changing faster than we are”, says Simms. But we can change too. “First, we can’t imagine a situation being different. Then things change and we can’t imagine going back to how they were before.” – Climate News Network

* * * * * *

The Rapid Transition Alliance will be launched later in 2018. It is being coordinated by the New Weather Institute, the STEPS Centre at the Institute of Development Studies, and the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex, UK.

Clean energy can provide 100% of electricity

All the electricity the world needs can come from clean energy, reliably and throughout the year, British researchers say, at any time of day or night.

LONDON, 12 September, 2018 – Imagine a world with so much renewable, clean energy that it could provide all the electricity society needed, reliably and without any interruption, round the clock. If UK researchers are correct, you shouldn’t need to imagine it. It could soon be a reality.

A report by the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) says clean energy could now meet all our electricity needs, using only existing technology, at all times of the day, and all year round. The report draws on “scenarios” designed to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, developed at the global, regional, national and sub-national scales.

Scenarios, in the sense used in the report, are emissions reduction models describing possible futures in which society has managed to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases.

The report’s insistence that renewables can power the world is a challenge to earlier studies which have suggested that the obstacles to a fossil fuel-free economy remain for the moment insurmountable.

The researchers assessed and mapped more than 130 of these scenarios, including 18 in-depth case studies. They draw on cutting-edge modelling work for a net zero world, with deep decarbonisation, and for up to 100% renewable energy. Their geographical range extends from East Africa to the US west coast, and from southern Asia to northern Europe.

“Tackling climate change and creating a fairer future for everyone is no longer a technological challenge, it’s a challenge of will, of ambition, and of vision”

“This summer the climate crisis became horrifically real for people experiencing record weather extremes from the United States to Japan and Bangladesh. We have produced the largest survey yet of scenarios for switching to climate-friendly energy, and the good news is that they show it is within our power to make the changes needed to meet carbon reduction targets and halt the worst of global climatic upheaval,” said Paul Allen, project coordinator of Zero Carbon Britain, CAT’s flagship research project.

Since a previous assessment in 2015 the number of scenarios has grown by 30% and their scope has spread to include more developing countries. They incorporate raised ambitions for decarbonising electricity supplies by up to 100%, and doing so between 2030 and 2050.

The results also show the ability of renewable power to provide reliable electricity supplies both around the clock and all year round. This is significant because of the insistence of many industries which continue to use fossil fuels that they have to do so to guard against “intermittency” – the inability of some forms of renewable energy to guarantee an uninterrupted supply of power. Another research project concluded that the sheer scale of the change needed to achieve zero emissions was likely to be too much for human societies to achieve in time.

But the CAT team remain upbeat. “These scenarios are increasingly based on hourly modelling, including for developing countries, which means we can show that green energy supplies can meet demand 24 hours a day and across the seasons,” Allen said. “Through demonstrating the potential of intelligent, mixed supply systems we can show that renewables deliver whatever the weather.”

Cheap renewables

The mapping in the report shows the range of new scenarios which are now emerging, including for many of the world’s largest emitters. It comes at a time when it is increasingly clear that, with all associated costs included, renewable energy is becoming the cheapest option for most parts of the world.

Many of the scenarios show that making the switch to 100% renewables is increasingly cheaper than taking a business-as-usual approach.

But the report does disclose a number of key challenges. While the global and regional scenarios show great potential, it says, too many countries have still not yet prepared scenarios that align their short-term actions and long-term plans with the levels of ambition required by the Paris Agreement. Of the world’s countries – almost 200 in total – the study found only 32 had developed scenarios for deep decarbonisation, 100% renewable energy or net zero emissions.

To deliver on Paris, scenarios must go beyond electricity, the CAT team says. The world needs to get to zero in all sectors. For that, multi-sector modelling is needed to offer fully integrated net-zero carbon scenarios which include emissions from transport, buildings, industry and agriculture.

Remaining emissions

And even with a 100% renewable energy system, plus reduced agricultural emissions, and more efficient industrial processes, there will still be significant amounts of unavoidable residual greenhouse gas emissions which need to be balanced by genuinely sustainable net-negative processes.

Land-use is important but is overlooked in meeting the climate challenge, the report says. Society can revitalise natural systems, for example by restoring forests, peatlands and soils. These can absorb and sequester unavoidable residual greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, to achieve an overall balance, while also regenerating and protecting natural systems.

To take the Paris climate targets seriously, the researchers say, all countries must be supported to prepare full net-zero scenarios which link energy, transport, buildings, diets, land-use and sustainable, natural carbon sinks.

Paul Allen says: “From researching this report, we know that tackling climate change and creating a fairer future for everyone is no longer a technological challenge, it’s a challenge of will, of ambition, and of vision.” – Climate News Network

All the electricity the world needs can come from clean energy, reliably and throughout the year, British researchers say, at any time of day or night.

LONDON, 12 September, 2018 – Imagine a world with so much renewable, clean energy that it could provide all the electricity society needed, reliably and without any interruption, round the clock. If UK researchers are correct, you shouldn’t need to imagine it. It could soon be a reality.

A report by the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) says clean energy could now meet all our electricity needs, using only existing technology, at all times of the day, and all year round. The report draws on “scenarios” designed to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, developed at the global, regional, national and sub-national scales.

Scenarios, in the sense used in the report, are emissions reduction models describing possible futures in which society has managed to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases.

The report’s insistence that renewables can power the world is a challenge to earlier studies which have suggested that the obstacles to a fossil fuel-free economy remain for the moment insurmountable.

The researchers assessed and mapped more than 130 of these scenarios, including 18 in-depth case studies. They draw on cutting-edge modelling work for a net zero world, with deep decarbonisation, and for up to 100% renewable energy. Their geographical range extends from East Africa to the US west coast, and from southern Asia to northern Europe.

“Tackling climate change and creating a fairer future for everyone is no longer a technological challenge, it’s a challenge of will, of ambition, and of vision”

“This summer the climate crisis became horrifically real for people experiencing record weather extremes from the United States to Japan and Bangladesh. We have produced the largest survey yet of scenarios for switching to climate-friendly energy, and the good news is that they show it is within our power to make the changes needed to meet carbon reduction targets and halt the worst of global climatic upheaval,” said Paul Allen, project coordinator of Zero Carbon Britain, CAT’s flagship research project.

Since a previous assessment in 2015 the number of scenarios has grown by 30% and their scope has spread to include more developing countries. They incorporate raised ambitions for decarbonising electricity supplies by up to 100%, and doing so between 2030 and 2050.

The results also show the ability of renewable power to provide reliable electricity supplies both around the clock and all year round. This is significant because of the insistence of many industries which continue to use fossil fuels that they have to do so to guard against “intermittency” – the inability of some forms of renewable energy to guarantee an uninterrupted supply of power. Another research project concluded that the sheer scale of the change needed to achieve zero emissions was likely to be too much for human societies to achieve in time.

But the CAT team remain upbeat. “These scenarios are increasingly based on hourly modelling, including for developing countries, which means we can show that green energy supplies can meet demand 24 hours a day and across the seasons,” Allen said. “Through demonstrating the potential of intelligent, mixed supply systems we can show that renewables deliver whatever the weather.”

Cheap renewables

The mapping in the report shows the range of new scenarios which are now emerging, including for many of the world’s largest emitters. It comes at a time when it is increasingly clear that, with all associated costs included, renewable energy is becoming the cheapest option for most parts of the world.

Many of the scenarios show that making the switch to 100% renewables is increasingly cheaper than taking a business-as-usual approach.

But the report does disclose a number of key challenges. While the global and regional scenarios show great potential, it says, too many countries have still not yet prepared scenarios that align their short-term actions and long-term plans with the levels of ambition required by the Paris Agreement. Of the world’s countries – almost 200 in total – the study found only 32 had developed scenarios for deep decarbonisation, 100% renewable energy or net zero emissions.

To deliver on Paris, scenarios must go beyond electricity, the CAT team says. The world needs to get to zero in all sectors. For that, multi-sector modelling is needed to offer fully integrated net-zero carbon scenarios which include emissions from transport, buildings, industry and agriculture.

Remaining emissions

And even with a 100% renewable energy system, plus reduced agricultural emissions, and more efficient industrial processes, there will still be significant amounts of unavoidable residual greenhouse gas emissions which need to be balanced by genuinely sustainable net-negative processes.

Land-use is important but is overlooked in meeting the climate challenge, the report says. Society can revitalise natural systems, for example by restoring forests, peatlands and soils. These can absorb and sequester unavoidable residual greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, to achieve an overall balance, while also regenerating and protecting natural systems.

To take the Paris climate targets seriously, the researchers say, all countries must be supported to prepare full net-zero scenarios which link energy, transport, buildings, diets, land-use and sustainable, natural carbon sinks.

Paul Allen says: “From researching this report, we know that tackling climate change and creating a fairer future for everyone is no longer a technological challenge, it’s a challenge of will, of ambition, and of vision.” – Climate News Network