Ecology, Climate Change and Related News

Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Tag Archive: 2C

  1. Positive Disruption: LIMITING GLOBAL TEMPERATURE RISE TO WELL BELOW 2 Cº; focus on energy, ag and land use

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    From the intro:

    Today, many experts doubt that energy systems can decarbonize fast enough to prevent this scenario. But this belief is both dangerous and wrong—dangerous because despair undercuts the will to act; and wrong because this view does not take into account events already taking place that indicate a possible pathway to a rapid energy transition.

    This paper describes scenarios for transitions in energy, agriculture, and land use that together are sufficient to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5–2 C°. Unlike conventional modeling approaches, these scenarios entail patterns of disruption, innovation, and nonlinear change, harnessed at global scale, that mirror the episodic and disruptive ways that individual industries and the economy as a whole have changed historically. The great transitions in the economy, such as the Industrial Revolution, have been driven by such self-reinforcing patterns of change. Their signs are all around us….

  2. Less than 2 °C warming by 2100 unlikely

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    • There’s a 5% chance Earth will warm 2 degrees or less by the end of this century
    • There’s a 90% chance that temperatures will increase from 2.0 to 4.9°C if historical trends continue unabated.

    With each passing year, the odds get worse that climate change mitigation efforts will be able to stave off catastrophic warming of more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

    A new study published on July 31 in Nature Climate Change is the opposite of reassuring when it comes to this math. Using statistical tools, the authors found that there’s a 5% chance Earth will warm 2 degrees or less by the end of this century and a 90% chance that temperatures will increase from 2.0 to 4.9°C if historical trends continue unabated. The other 5%, well that’s worst-case scenario runaway global warming—the kind of thing that keeps geoengineers up at night.

    As for the ambitious 1.5°C target included in the Paris Agreement, there’s apparently only a 1% chance of meeting that (not so surprising considering the planet has already warmed 1°C since pre-industrial times). So as climate change deniers like President Trump, EPA chief Scott Pruitt, and many GOP lawmakers put their money on taking little to no action and somehow escaping devastating warming, in truth it will take a herculean global effort to avoid costly and harmful impacts.

    The reality of human-caused climate change is increasingly clear for anyone to see. Last year was the hottest year on record, and the 12 warmed years on record have all occurred since 1998. 2017 is on track to be the second-warmest year on record; and this even in the absence of an El Niño warming event like 2016’s. According to NASA, the first six months of this year were 0.94°C above the 1950–1980 average…

    …Adrian Raftery, a UW professor of statistics and sociology and lead author on the new study, said while their analysis is compatible with previous estimates, it shows “we’re closer to the margin than we think….The goal of 2 degrees is very much a best-case scenario,” said Raftery in a statement. “It is achievable, but only with major, sustained effort on all fronts over the next 80 years.”

    …Richard Startz, an economist at the University of California at Santa Barbara who worked on the study, told Project Earth the most surprising finding was that population growth will not be a major factor in increased CO2 emissions over the course of the century. This is in large part because most of that growth will occur in Africa, where per capita emissions will remain relatively low.

    What matters a lot more for future warming is actually carbon intensity. According to the study, even though carbon intensity has dropped in recent decades as countries increase energy efficiency and enact carbon-reducing policies, it will need to drop much more to see the kind of progress the global climate community is aiming for with the Paris Agreement targets.

    “Our study already assumes that the trends in carbon intensity will continue to improve,” said Startz. “So more reductions in carbon intensity aren’t enough. We need much faster reductions in carbon intensity than we’ve already been seeing.”

    Startz said in his opinion there are two primary ways to accomplish this: Financial incentives to reduce carbon emissions—like carbon taxes or cap-and-trade programs—and a lot more support for scientific research that would help reduce emissions. “For example, the invention of practical LED lighting has been a small but significant achievement in reducing energy needs,” he said. “If someone could greatly increase battery cost-effectiveness, that would buy us a lot.”

    Adrian E. Raftery, Alec Zimmer, Dargan M. W. Frierson, Richard Startz & Peiran Liu. Less than 2°C warming by 2100 unlikely. Nature Climate Changedoi:10.1038/nclimate3352

  3. Underground magma triggered Earth’s worst mass extinction with greenhouse gases; similar to today’s symptoms

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    • it was principally greenhouse gas emissions triggered by magma intrusions that caused the extinction through abrupt global warming and ocean acidification
    • The more science learns of these past greenhouse gas-driven events, the more uncomfortable the parallels to today become.
    • Geologically fast build-up of greenhouse gas linked to warming, rising sea-levels, widespread oxygen-starved ocean dead zones and ocean acidification are fairly consistent across the mass extinction events, and those same symptoms are happening today as a result of human-driven climate change.

    1 August 2017 by Howard Lee Read full GuardianUK article here

    ….Of some 18 major and minor mass extinctions since the dawn of complex life, most happened at the same time as a rare, epic volcanic phenomenon called a Large Igneous Province (LIP)Many of those extinctions were also accompanied by abrupt climate warming, expansion of ocean dead zones and acidification, like today.

    Earth’s most severe mass extinction, the “Great Dying,” began 251.94 million years ago at the end of the Permian period, with the loss of more than 90% of marine species…. why was the mass extinction event much shorter than the eruptions? And why did the extinction happen some 300,000 years after the lava began to flow?

    In a new study published in Nature Communications, Seth Burgess of the US Geological Survey, along with James Muirhead of Syracuse University and Samuel Bowring of MIT, think they have the answer.

    ….In other words, it wasn’t the lava, it was the underground magma that started the killing, by releasing greenhouse gases.

    Norwegian scientist Henrik Svensen had earlier identified hundreds of unusual volcanic vents called “diatreme pipes” all over Siberia that connected underground intrusions of magma (“sills”) to the atmosphere, showing signs of violent gas explosions. This new work emphasizes the importance of Svensen’s 2009 conclusions:

    The diatremes that have been mapped are the geologic representation of that gas escape on a catastrophic level. Our hypothesis is that the first sills to be intruded are the ones that really do the killing [by] large scale gas escape likely via these diatremes.

    Svensen, who was not involved in Burgess’ study, commented:

    The Burgess et al paper is a crucial step towards a new understanding of the role of volcanism in driving extinctions. It’s not the spectacular volcanic eruptions that we should pay attention too – it’s their quiet relative, the sub-volcanic network of intrusions, that did the job. The new study shows convincingly that we are on the right track.

    Greenhouse gas as a killer

    While other scientists have proposed that an array of killers may have been involved in the end-Permian mass extinction, from mercury poisoning to ultraviolet rays and ozone collapse to acid rain, Burgess argues that it was principally greenhouse gas emissions triggered by magma intrusions that caused the extinction through abrupt global warming and ocean acidification.

    Geologically fast build-up of greenhouse gas linked to warming, rising sea-levels, widespread oxygen-starved ocean dead zones and ocean acidification are fairly consistent across the mass extinction events, and those same symptoms are happening today as a result of human-driven climate change. Even though the duration of those past events was longer, and the volume of emissions was larger than we will produce, we are emitting greenhouse gases around 10 times faster than the most recent, mildest example – the PETM. The rapidity of today’s emissions prompted scientists Richard Zeebe and James Zachos to observe in a 2013 paper:

    The Anthropocene will more likely resemble the end-Permian and end-Cretaceous disasters, rather than the PETM.

    When the promises made for the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change are added up, they aim to limit peak warming this century to about 3.3ºC compared to about 4.2ºC for the business-as-usual scenario, and the 2ºC limit the world is aiming to stay under. It’s sobering to compare those numbers to the majority of mass extinctions in the geological record which were characterized by abrupt warmings typically around 6-7ºC.

    S. D. Burgess, J. D. Muirhead & S. A. Bowring. Initial pulse of Siberian Traps sills as the trigger of the end-Permian mass extinction. Nature Communications 8, Article number: 164 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00083-9



  4. The World May Have Less Time to Address Climate Change Than Scientists; New Global Baseline Adds .2C Warming from 1750 – 1875

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    A new global temperature baseline casts doubt on humanity’s ability to meet the Paris target

    • Accounting for greenhouse gases released from about 1750 to 1875 would add another one-fifth of a degree to the baseline temperature, the study found (.2 C or .36 F).

    By Scott Waldman, E&E News on July 25, 2017

    The temperature baseline used in the Paris climate agreement may have discounted an entire century’s worth of human-caused global warming, a new study has found.

    Countries in the Paris climate agreement set a target of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius by curbing carbon emissions compared to their preindustrial levels. But a new study shows that the preindustrial level used in the agreement, based on temperature records from the late 19th century, doesn’t account for a potential century of rising temperatures caused by carbon dioxide emissions. Accounting for those gases, released from about 1750 to 1875, would add another one-fifth of a degree to the baseline temperature, the study found.

    Published yesterday in Nature Climate Change, the research suggests there’s less time than previously believed to address global warming, said Michael Mann, a climatologist at Pennsylvania State University.

    The study estimates that there may have already been 0.2 degree Celsius of warming, or 0.36 degree Fahrenheit, built into Earth, he said. That means the Paris Agreement would have to be more aggressive, according to the study, which was also written by researchers from the universities of Edinburgh and Reading in the United Kingdom.

    When you take that into account, it turns out we have 40 percent less carbon to burn than we thought we had,” Mann said….

    Andrew P. Schurer, Michael E. Mann, et al. Importance of the pre-industrial baseline for likelihood of exceeding Paris goals Nature Climate Change doi:10.1038/nclimate5


  5. Removing CO2 from air (“negative emissions” including nature-based solutions) required to get to 350 ppm CO2 (which is necessary to safeguard our future); World’s young face $535 trillion bill for climate

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    • Atmospheric CO2 should be reduced to less than 350 parts per million (ppm) from its present level of about 400 ppm
    • Reduction of CO2 below 350 ppm will cause temperature to peak and slowly decrease to about +1°C later this century. This goal requires negative CO2 emissions, that is, extracting CO2 from the air, in addition to rapid phase-down of fossil fuel emissions.
    • Reforestation and improved agricultural practices could remove 2/3 of atmospheric CO2 required to get to 350 ppm if start 6% CO2 reductions annually by 2021- relatively inexpensive and have added benefits such as improved soil fertility and forest products
    • Climate change will force today’s kids to pay for costly carbon removal technologies, study says;
    • World’s young face $535 trillion bill for climate.

    July 18, 2017  European Geosciences Union  See full ScienceDaily article here

    Reducing greenhouse-gas emissions is not enough to limit global warming to a level that wouldn’t risk young people’s future, according to a new study by scientists who say we need negative emissions. Measures such as reforestation could accomplish much of the needed CO2 removal from the atmosphere, but continued high fossil fuel emissions would demand expensive technological solutions to extract CO2 and prevent dangerous warming….

    ….”We show that a target of limiting global warming to no more than +2°C relative to pre-industrial levels is not sufficient, as +2°C would be warmer than the Eemian period, when sea level reached +6-9 metres relative to today,” says Hansen. The Eemian ended some 115,000 years ago and was a warm period in the Earth’s history between two glacial ages.

    The danger, according to the Earth System Dynamics study, is that a long-term global average temperature of +2°C — or even of +1.5°C, the other temperature limit discussed in the 2015 Paris Agreement — could spur ‘slow’ climate feedbacks. In particular, it could lead to partial melting of the ice sheets, which would result in a significant increase in sea-level rise as happened in the Eemian

    The Hansen-led team says that atmospheric CO2 should be reduced to less than 350 parts per million (ppm) from its present level of about 400 ppm. Global average temperature reached +1.3°C above pre-industrial levels in 2016 and will increase at least a few tenths of a degree more during the next few decades because of the delayed response to past increases in CO2 and other gases. Reduction of CO2 below 350 ppm will cause temperature to peak and slowly decrease to about +1°C later this century. This goal requires negative CO2 emissions, that is, extracting CO2 from the air, in addition to rapid phase-down of fossil fuel emissions.

    ….The team estimates that, if we start reducing CO2 emissions in 2021 at a rate of 6% a year, we’d need to also extract about 150 gigatonnes of carbon from the atmosphere by 2100. Most of this, about 100 gigatonnes, could come from improved agricultural and forestry practices alone. These measures can be relatively inexpensive and have added benefits such as improved soil fertility and forest products…

    ….However, if CO2 emissions grow at a rate of 2% a year (between 2000 and 2015 they rose on average 2.6% a year), we’d need to extract well over 1000 gigatonnes of carbon from the atmosphere by 2100. This could only be achieved with a costly technological solution, capable of sucking carbon from the atmosphere.….. The team estimates that the total cost of this technology could be up to 500 trillion euros, or about 535 [trillion] US dollars. They also point out that extraction technologies have “large risks and uncertain feasibility.”…

    James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Pushker Kharecha, Karina von Schuckmann, David J. Beerling, Junji Cao, Shaun Marcott, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Michael J. Prather, Eelco J. Rohling, Jeremy Shakun, Pete Smith, Andrew Lacis, Gary Russell, Reto Ruedy. Young people’s burden: requirement of negative CO2 emissions. Earth System Dynamics, 2017; 8 (3): 577 DOI: 10.5194/esd-8-577-2017


    The longer humans continue to pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the closer we draw to leaving the next generation with an unmanageable climate problem, scientists say. A new study, [see above] just out Tuesday in the journal Earth System Dynamics, suggests that merely reducing greenhouse gas emissions may no longer be enough — and that special technology, aimed at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, may also be necessary to keep the Earth’s climate within safe limits for future generations.The research was largely inspired by a landmark climate change lawsuit brought by 21 children against the federal government, which is scheduled to go to trial in February 2018, and will be used as scientific support in the case. In fact, its lead author, Columbia University climatologist and former NASA scientist James Hansen, is a plaintiff on the case, along with his now 18-year-old granddaughter.The new paper argues that the Paris Agreement’s target of keeping global temperatures within 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius (2.7 to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) of their preindustrial levels isn’t strong enough. During a previous warm period in the Earth’s history, known as the Eemian, or the last interglacial period, the planet experienced similar levels of warming, the authors note — and the resulting consequences included the disintegration of ice sheets and six to nine meters of sea level rise…….the paper calls for a more stringent target of bringing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels down from their current concentration of more than 400 parts per million to about 350 parts per million by the end of the century. This would bring global temperature closer to a 1-degree threshold, rather than 1.5 or 2 degrees, the authors say……..But the study has already come in from some criticism from other scientists, such as Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who told The Washington Post that some aspects of the study were “alarmist” and that if changes come slowly enough, society will be able to adapt to them. Trenberth said he disagreed that the 1 degree target is justified and thinks that even 1.5 degrees is “unrealistic.”……Other researchers are a little more cautiously accepting of the paper’s points.Cristian Proistosescu, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington who was not involved with the new research (but who recently led a major study, himself, on the potential future impact of slow-developing climate modes) expressed some skepticism about using the Earth’s ancient history as an analogy for the future. He noted that some of the conditions that were true during the Eemian — the existence of large ice sheets that have already disappeared, for instance — are not the same now. And because humans have not been around to witness some of the slow-developing climate processes that scientists fear will intensify in the future, there’s uncertainty about how and even whether they will affect future climate change.“But that would be the wrong way to think about it,” he added in an email to The Post. “The more important point is that we cannot rule out the very real probability that there are slow feedbacks — and risk is probability times cost. … Once you start thinking in terms of risks I would concur with Dr. Hansen that the current trajectory presents some unacceptable risks.”…
    World’s young face $535 trillion bill for climate.
    One of the world’s most famous climate scientists has just calculated the financial burden that tomorrow’s young citizens will face to keep the globe at a habitable temperature and contain global warming and climate change – a $535 trillion bill. Climate News Network, United Kingdom.
  6. Hopes of mild climate change dashed by new research- doubling of CO2 could lead to 6C warming

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    • Planet could heat up far more than hoped as new work shows temperature rises measured over recent decades don’t fully reflect global warming already in the pipeline (in the oceans).
    • The new research shows the 4.5C upper limit for climate sensitivity (for a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere) is real and could be as high as 6C.
    • The global temperature is likely to be 2.6C to 4.8C higher by the end of the century if emissions are not cut.

    ….how much global temperatures rise for a certain level of carbon emissions is called climate sensitivity and is seen as the single most important measure of climate change. Computer models have long indicated a high level of sensitivity, up to 4.5C for a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere.the new work, using both models and paleoclimate data from warming periods in the Earth’s past, shows that the historical temperature measurements do not reveal the slow heating of the planet’s oceans that takes place for decades or centuries after CO2 has been added to the atmosphere.

    …The new research, published in the journal Science Advances, has ended that. “The worrisome part is that all the models show there is an amplification of the amount of warming in the future,” he said. The situation might be even worse, as Proistosescu’s work shows climate sensitivity could be as high as 6C.

    ….“The models simulate a warming pattern like today’s, but indicate that strong feedbacks kick in when the Southern Ocean and Eastern Equatorial Pacific eventually warm, leading to higher overall temperatures than would simply be extrapolated from the warming seen to date,” said [co-author] Peter Huybers…“But there is no perfect analogue for the changes that are coming.”

  7. World has three years left to stop dangerous climate change, warn experts

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    • Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres among signatories of letter warning that the next three years will be crucial to stopping the worst effects of global warming
    • 6 goals for 2020– increasing renewable energy to 30% of electricity use; plans from leading cities and states to decarbonise by 2050; 15% of new vehicles sold to be electric; and reforms to land use, agriculture, heavy industry and the finance sector, to encourage green growth…..

    Avoiding dangerous levels of climate change is still just about possible, but will require unprecedented effort and coordination from governments, businesses, citizens and scientists in the next three years, a group of prominent experts has warned.

    Warnings over global warming have picked up pace in recent months, even as the political environment has grown chilly with Donald Trump’s formal announcement of the US’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement. This year’s weather has beaten high temperature records in some regions, and 2014, 2015 and 2016 were the hottest years on record.

    But while temperatures have risen, global carbon dioxide emissions have stayed broadly flat for the past three years. This gives hope that the worst effects of climate change – devastating droughts, floods, heatwaves and irreversible sea level rises – may be avoided, according to a letter published in the journal Nature this week.

    …..They calculate that if emissions can be brought permanently lower by 2020 then the temperature thresholds leading to runaway irreversible climate change will not be breached….They set out six goals for 2020 which they said could be adopted at the G20 meeting in Hamburg on 7-8 July.

    Six milestones

    To prioritize actions, we’ve identified milestones in six sectors….These goals may be idealistic at best, unrealistic at worst. However, we are in the age of exponential transformation and think that such a focus will unleash ingenuity. By 2020, here’s where the world needs to be:

    Energy. Renewables make up at least 30% of the world’s electricity supply — up from 23.7% in 2015 (ref. 8). No coal-fired power plants are approved beyond 2020, and all existing ones are being retired.

    Infrastructure. Cities and states have initiated action plans to fully decarbonize buildings and infrastructures by 2050, with funding of $300 billion annually. Cities are upgrading at least 3% of their building stock to zero- or near-zero emissions structures each year9.

    Transport. Electric vehicles make up at least 15% of new car sales globally, a major increase from the almost 1% market share that battery-powered and plug-in hybrid vehicles now claim. Also required are commitments for a doubling of mass-transit utilization in cities, a 20% increase in fuel efficiencies for heavy-duty vehicles and a 20% decrease in greenhouse-gas emissions from aviation per kilometre travelled.

    Land. Land-use policies are enacted that reduce forest destruction and shift to reforestation and afforestation efforts. Current net emissions from deforestation and land-use changes form about 12% of the global total. If these can be cut to zero next decade, and afforestation and reforestation can instead be used to create a carbon sink by 2030, it will help to push total net global emissions to zero, while supporting water supplies and other benefits. Sustainable agricultural practices can reduce emissions and increase CO2 sequestration in healthy, well-managed soils.

    Industry. Heavy industry is developing and publishing plans for increasing efficiencies and cutting emissions, with a goal of halving emissions well before 2050. Carbon-intensive industries — such as iron and steel, cement, chemicals, and oil and gas — currently emit more than one-fifth of the world’s CO2, excluding their electricity and heat demands.

    Finance. The financial sector has rethought how it deploys capital and is mobilizing at least $1 trillion a year for climate action. Most will come from the private sector. Governments, private banks and lenders such as the World Bank need to issue many more ‘green bonds’ to finance climate-mitigation efforts. This would create an annual market that, by 2020, processes more than 10 times the $81 billion of bonds issued in 2016.

    ….While the greenhouse gases poured into the atmosphere over the last two centuries have only gradually taken effect, future changes are likely to be faster, scientists fear.

    Christiana Figueres, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Gail Whiteman, Johan Rockström, Anthony Hobley & Stefan Rahmstorf. Three years to safeguard our climateNature 546, 593–595 () doi:10.1038/546593a

  8. Trump withdraws US from the Paris Climate Agreement; industry, states and cities break with Trump’s decision

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    Multiple Articles:

    These titans of industry just broke with Trump’s decision to exit the Paris accords  Washington Post June 1 2017

    Thirty states and scores of companies said Thursday that they would press ahead with their climate policies and pursue lower greenhouse gas emissions, breaking sharply with President Trump’s decision to exit the historic Paris climate accord.

    In a pointed rebuttal to Trump’s announcement in the rose garden of the White House, New York’s governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled a plan to invest $1.65 billion in renewable energy and energy efficiency on Thursday, the largest ever procurement of renewable energy by an American state.Meanwhile, more than two dozen big companies — including Apple, Morgan Stanley, and Royal Dutch Shell — urged Trump not to exit the Paris agreement on Thursday.President Trump framed his renunciation of the Paris climate accord as an historic moment in defense of American workers and the economy. But the actions of state capitols and corporate board rooms offer a counterpoint to the rationale behind Trump’s move.
    Across the nation and the economy, renewable energy technologies have taken root and have gathered momentum of their own while creating thousands of new jobs, state and corporate officials said. And the pressure on executives of companies to address the issue have grown greater as major financial firms for the first time press the issue.
    The Trump administration’s decision to exit the landmark climate agreement will damage America’s international standing on climate issues and make it nearly impossible for the world to reach internationally agreed goals of limiting global warming, officials said. Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, and Robert Iger, chief executive of Disney, both resigned from the president’s advisory council after the announcement. Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, tweeted that Trump’s decision “is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.’s leadership position in the world.”…


    Trump’s exit from Paris climate deal makes an already tough target harder to hit  June 1 2017 Washington Post

    June 1 at 8:19 PM

    President Trump’s decision Thursday to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement could make it difficult, if not impossible, for the world to stay on track to reach an internationally agreed-upon goal for limiting dangerous global warming, scientists said.

    That goal, which sought to limit warming to “well below” a 2-degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) rise above preindustrial temperatures, was already a stretch before Trump announced the U.S. exit in a speech in the White House Rose Garden.

    With the United States, the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse-gas emissions after China, walking away from the accord, other countries will presumably have to ramp up their ambitions still further if they want to avoid the prospect of dangerous warming.

    “Avoiding a 2-degree warming was already hard when all of the key countries were rowing together,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a climate researcher at Princeton University. “With the U.S. becoming a climate outlaw by withdrawing from Paris, that target becomes nearly impossible.

    “It looks like Trump has condemned the U.S., the rest of the world, and future generations to live in the climate danger zone,” he said….

    Trump Will Withdraw U.S. From Paris Climate Agreement  By MICHAEL D. SHEAR NY Times June 1 2017

    The withdrawal process could take four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election.

    Fact-checking Donald Trump’s statement withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement

    U.S. to Leave Paris Climate Accord. What Happens Now?  By BRAD PLUMER, A.J. CHAVAR and SUSAN JOAN ARCHER

    Brad Plumer, a climate reporter for The New York Times, explains the consequences of President Trump’s decision today that he will withdraw from the landmark global warming agreement….

    Climate Mayors commit to adopt, honor and uphold Paris Climate Agreement goals


    Thursday, June 1st 2017

    The President’s denial of global warming is getting a cold reception from America’s cities. As 83 Mayors representing 40 million Americans, we will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement. We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy.

    BirdLife International’s response 

    BirdLife International, along with Audubon (BirdLife in the US), has issued a statement reacting to this shocking news

    BirdLife International is deeply disappointed by US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Not only is this decision naïve and isolationist, it is wholly immoral.

    The Paris Agreement is critical for the future of our planet. It provides a strong framework for taking ambitious action to mitigate climate change, and to help people and ecosystems across the globe adapt to its impacts... Trump’s withdrawal from the Agreement will not stop global action on climate change….

    …Birds are powerful messengers showing us how our climate is changing”, says Patricia Zurita, CEO, BirdLife International. “A quarter of species studied in detail already show negative responses to recent climate change and 2,300 bird species worldwide are highly vulnerable to further change.”

    “Scrapping the Paris climate agreement is an abdication of American leadership in the fight against the biggest threat facing people and birds,” says David Yarnold, President & CEO, Audubon (BirdLife’s Partner in the US)….

    Skeptical Science by dana1981  June 1 2017

    ….Donald Trump has announced that he will begin the process to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate treaty, joining Nicaragua and Syria as the only world countries rejecting the agreement….Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris treaty is a mostly symbolic act. America’s pledges to cut its carbon pollution were non-binding, and his administration’s policies to date had already made it impossible for America to meet its initial Paris climate commitment for 2025. The next American president in 2020 can re-enter the Paris treaty and push for policies to make up some of the ground we lost during Trump’s reign.

    However, withdrawing from the Paris treaty is an important symbolic move … America is by far the largest historical contributor to climate change. Ironically, on the heels of Trump’s claim that most NATO members aren’t paying their fair share to the organization, America has announced that we won’t do our fair share to curb the climate change threats that we are the most responsible for.

    US cities, states vow to honour Paris climate accord despite Trump’s withdrawal June 1 2017 

    Mayors and governors across the United States have said they will continue to honour the Paris Agreement, even after US President Donald Trump announced Thursday he would withdraw his country from the historic climate accord….

    Trump’s Reckless Climate Decision By BILL McKIBBEN

    The president’s decision to quit the Paris climate accord undercuts the planet’s best hope..

  9. Heat island effect could double climate change costs; cool roofs and pavements key part of solution

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    • Measures that could limit the high economic and health costs of rising urban temperatures are a major priority for policy makers
    • Changing 20 per cent of a city’s roofs and half of its pavements to ‘cool’ forms could save up to 12 times what they cost to install and maintain, and reduce air temperatures by about 0.8 degrees

    May 29, 2017 University of Sussex  see full article here

    Overheated cities face climate change costs at least twice as big as the rest of the world because of the ‘urban heat island’ effect, new research shows.  …The urban heat island occurs when natural surfaces, such as vegetation and water, are replaced by heat-trapping concrete and asphalt, and is exacerbated by heat from cars, air conditioners and so on. This effect is expected to add a further two degrees to global warming estimates for the most populated cities by 2050. Higher temperatures damage the economy in a number of ways — more energy is used for cooling, air is more polluted, water quality decreases and workers are less productive, to name a few….Although cities cover only around one per cent of Earth’s surface, they produce about 80 per cent of Gross World Product, consume about 78 per cent of the world’s energy and are home to over half of the world’s population. Measures that could limit the high economic and health costs of rising urban temperatures are therefore a major priority for policy makers…The cheapest measure, according to this modelling, is a moderate-scale installation of cool pavements and roofs. Changing 20 per cent of a city’s roofs and half of its pavements to ‘cool’ forms could save up to 12 times what they cost to install and maintain, and reduce air temperatures by about 0.8 degrees….

    Francisco Estrada, W. J. Wouter Botzen, Richard S. J. Tol. A global economic assessment of city policies to reduce climate change impacts. Nature Climate Change, 2017; DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE3301

    Climate change could make cities 8C hotter – scientists Monday 29 May 2017

    Under a dual onslaught of global warming and localised urban heating, some of the world’s cities may be as much as 8C (14.4F) warmer by 2100, researchers have warned. Such a temperature spike would have dire consequences for the health of city-dwellers, rob companies and industries of able workers, and put pressure on already strained natural resources such as water. The projection is based on the worst-case scenario assumption that emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise throughout the 21st century. The top quarter of most populated cities, in this scenario, could see temperatures rise 7C or more by century’s end, said a study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

  10. Carbon tax needed to avoid climate catastrophe, say experts

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    A group of leading economists warned on Monday that the world risks catastrophic global warming in just 13 years unless countries ramp up taxes on carbon emissions to as much as $100 (£77) per metric tonne.

    Experts including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern said governments needed to move quickly to tackle polluting industries with a tax on carbon dioxide at $40-$80 per tonne by 2020.

    A tax of $100 a tonne would be needed by 2030 as one of a series of measures to prevent a rise in global temperatures of 2C. In a report by the High Level Commission on Carbon Prices, which is backed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, they suggest poor countries could aim for a lower tax since their economies are more vulnerable….

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