President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change has raised questions about the effectiveness of the accord, and how that will change without the US. In his announcement, Trump incorrectly claimed the deal would avoid just 0.2C of warming. In fact, nine separate studies show, on average, that full implementation of current climate pledges would avoid 1C of warming, compared to a business-as-usual world.
An analysis by Carbon Brief finds that if the US reneges on its Paris pledge and takes no action to reduce emissions, it could result in around 0.2C to 0.3C additional warming, whereas a delay in implementation of four or eight years would have minimal impact.
Carbon Brief explains how these temperature estimates are made and explores the impacts of Paris, with and without US participation….
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.”…
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….
STATEMENT FROM THE CLIMATE MAYORS IN RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT TRUMP’S WITHDRAWAL FROM THE PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT
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, 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)….
….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.
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….
In order to have a good chance of meeting the limits set by the Paris Agreement, it will be necessary to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions while preserving carbon sinks, with net emissions peaking in the next 10 years, according to a new study.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can be reduce in two ways — by cutting our emissions, or by removing it from the atmosphere, for example through plants, the ocean, and soil. The historic Paris Agreement set a target of limiting future global average temperature increase to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to even further limit the average increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Yet the timing and details of these efforts were left to individual countries.
…”The study shows that the combined energy and land-use system should deliver zero net anthropogenic emissions well before 2040 in order to assure the attainability of a 1.5°C target by 2100,” says IIASA Ecosystems Services and Management Program Director Michael Obersteiner, a study coauthor.
…In a “high-renewable” scenario where wind, solar, and bioenergy increase by around 5% a year, net emissions could peak by 2022, the study shows. Yet without substantial negative emissions technologies, that pathway would still lead to a global average temperature rise of 2.5°C, missing the Paris Agreement target.
Walsh notes that the high-renewable energy scenario is ambitious, but not impossible — global production of renewable energy grew 2.6% between 2013 and 2014, according to the IEA. In contrast, the study finds that continued reliance on fossil fuels (with growth rates of renewables between 2% and 3% per year), would cause carbon emissions to peak only at the end of the century, causing an estimated 3.5°C global temperature rise by 2100.
…According to the study, fossil fuel consumption would likely need to be reduced to less than 25% of the global energy supply by 2100, compared to 95% today. At the same time, land use change, such as deforestation, must be decreased. This would lead to a 42% decrease in cumulative emissions by the end of the century compared to a business as usual scenario.
Brian Walsh, Philippe Ciais, Ivan A. Janssens, Josep Peñuelas, Keywan Riahi, Felicjan Rydzak, Detlef P. van Vuuren, Michael Obersteiner. Pathways for balancing CO2 emissions and sinks. Nature Communications, 2017; 8: 14856 DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS14856
By allowing countries to decide how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the landmark Paris climate agreement opened the door to new solutions. And over the past year, many countries, particularly in the developing world, decided that an especially effective way to reach those targets is through their farms. Nearly 80 percent of the countries said they would use agricultural practices to curb climate change, and more than 90 percent said they would use those practices in addition to changes in forestry and land use linked to farming…
…the UNFCCC launched a program that pays developing countries to preserve their carbon-absorbing forests, including standards for measuring, reporting and verifying the emissions cuts. Similar standards haven’t been developed yet for agriculture.
…Farm industry leaders and academics formed the North American Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance in 2015 to prompt changes in agricultural practices that have climate benefits. ….”People are turned off by the climate change conversation,” Shea said. “Once you get into a conversation about improving productivity, you can get into a conversation about co-benefits.”
Greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture sector in developed countries average about 12 percent, compared to 35 percent in developing countries…. advocates are pushing agricultural interests and regulators in the U.S. to do their part, pointing to research that says reaching the goals of the Paris agreement will be impossible without agriculture’s contribution….
…A network of local governments, pension funds, faith organizations, philanthropies and wealthy individuals representing $5.2 trillion in assets have committed to — and in some cases already started — divesting from fossil fuel companies, according to a report released on Monday.
That’s a huge sum of money for a movement that started just four years ago on U.S. college campuses and its growth is likely to continue as the world strives to reach its climate goals.
“It’s pretty clear that the growth trajectory is enormous,” said Ellen Dorsey, the executive director of the Wallace Global Fund. In the past 15 months alone, the assets represented by the fossil fuel divestment movement have doubled.
…Those divesting include Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, Germany-based financial services giant Allianz, and Amalgamated Bank, which in September became the first U.S bank to divest. Private businesses represent $4.6 trillion in assets being divested, nearly 90 percent of the overall total.
Dorsey said that the Paris Agreement, which was finalized one year ago on Monday and went into effect last month, raises the stakes of divestment and also sends a message that more money will need to flow into clean energy if the world is to stay below the 2°C threshold. That’s led firms representing $1.2 trillion in assets in the report to move toward a divest-invest strategy of taking the money they’re pulling out fossil fuels and putting it into clean energy…
Humans will have to not only stop emitting greenhouse gases by 2085, but also develop technology that will result in negative emissions — the removal of 15 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year by the end of the century — in order to prevent global warming from exceeding 2°C (3.6°F), according to a new study.
Human greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and carbon dioxide, have already warmed the globe more than 1°C (1.8°F) compared to pre-industrial levels. The Paris Climate Agreement negotiated last year seeks to cap warming to below 2°C, while at the same time pursuing an even more ambitious goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C.
But according to a new National Center for Atmospheric Research study, just cutting emissions under the Paris agreement may not be enough to keep global warming from blasting past 2°C, said Benjamin Sanderson, the study’s lead author.
Meeting the Paris agreement as written will require a long-term commitment to negative emissions in the last two decades of the century, he said…
Sanderson et al. What would it take to achieve the Paris temperature targets? Geophysical Research Letters Full publication history DOI: 10.1002/2016GL069563
The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is a disaster for our climate and everything under it. But thanks to the Paris Agreement and the broader arrangements around it, the coming of Trump will not be as bad as it might have been. The Paris system’s flexibility makes it resilient in ways more traditional international regimes (like trade agreements or NATO) will come to envy under President Trump….
Experts agree that a new era for climate policy here. But the hard work starts now.
The Paris climate agreement, first struck in December 2015, enters into force today. The treaty commits countries worldwide to keep carbon emissions “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C”.
Countries will pursue self-determined emissions targets, agreed upon before the last round of climate talks, from 2020 onwards. The national targets will be reviewed and strengthened every five years.
The agreement also commits richer countries to provide funding to poorer countries, which have done the least to contribute to climate change but will suffer its worst effects.
As the world embarks on its most dedicated effort yet to prevent catastrophic climate change, The Conversation asked a panel of international experts to give their view on the significance of the agreement coming into force.
Stefan Rahmstorf: Governments should be in emergency mode
The Paris Agreement is the best we could have expected at this point in history. It is a beacon of hope. Almost all nations on Earth have decided to move towards net zero emissions.
It was high time, and in some respects too late. Paris came almost exactly 50 years after the famous Revelle report from the US president’s scientific advisory panel issued a stark warning of global warming, melting ice caps and rising seas due to our carbon dioxide emissions.
The long delay in confronting this threat is not least a result of a major, still ongoing obfuscation campaign by fossil fuel interests.
Two degrees would be very likely to destabilise the West Antarctic ice sheet (evidence is mounting that this has already happened). Such an increase might even destabilise the Greenland ice sheet and parts of the East Antarctic ice sheet, locking in more than ten metres of sea-level rise and sealing the fate of coastal cities and island nations.
Some major impacts of our fossil fuel burning cannot be prevented now, thanks to the fateful delays already mentioned. But every 0.1°C of warming we avoid helps contain further massive risks to humanity, including major threats to food security.
Because of all the time that was lost, the remaining emissions budget is very tight: at current rate, we are eating up the budget to stay below 1.5°C (with a 50:50 chance) in about ten years. The budget for 2°C would allow us to keep emitting for about 30 years. If we ramp down emissions rapidly we can stretch these budgets out to last longer, but the key here is to turn the tide of emissions now or we can give up on staying well below 2°C.
If we take the Paris Agreement seriously (and we should), governments around the world should be in emergency mode, taking rapid and decisive measures to get their emissions down.
third-largest country for emissions, after the U.S. and China, to have done so
ratified countries total ~ 41% of global emissions; need to get to 55% for agreement to go into effect
remaining countries that emit more than Brazil, but have not yet ratified, are Russia (7.5 percent of emissions), India (4.1 percent), Japan (3.79 percent), and Germany (2.56). If all four of those countries also ratified this year, the agreement would easily enter into force.
RIO DE JANEIRO–Brazil, the country that’s home to the largest tropical rainforest on Earth, ratified the Paris climate agreement Monday — making it the third-largest country for emissions, after the U.S. and China, to have done so… Brazil’s ratification is significant because in order for the climate agreement to enter into force, 55 separate countries, accounting for 55 percent of global emissions, must sign and then ratify or otherwise approve it. Currently, according to the World Resources Institute, 27 countries have done so, representing 39.08 percent of those emissions (this total does not include Brazil).
However, the majority of those are small countries that don’t contribute much global carbon pollution (though the total also includes a few moderate sized countries like Norway and Peru). And then there are the U.S. and China, which just joined the agreement and account for a whopping 38 percent. Brazil, however, accounts for a very significant 2.48 percent of global emissions — making it the globe’s 7th highest emitter, and also a rather unique one in that so many of its emissions are due to deforestation of the Amazon, rather than the burning of fossil fuels.
…The country has reduced deforestation by 80 percent since 2004 — but significant portions of the vast Amazon rain forest are disappearing every year, and after a steady decline in deforestation rates from 2005 onwards, deforestation rose in both 2013 and 2015….The only remaining countries that emit more than Brazil, but have not yet ratified, are Russia (7.5 percent of emissions), India (4.1 percent), Japan (3.79 percent), and Germany (2.56). If all four of those countries also ratified this year, the agreement would easily enter into force. But other countries could also contribute to tipping the world into an officially active Paris regime, including Canada (1.95 percent), South Korea (1.85 percent), Mexico (1.7 percent), the U.K. (1.55 percent), Indonesia (1.49 percent), South Africa (1.46 percent) and Australia (1.46 percent).
Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, has called world leaders to the U.N. headquarters on the 21st of this month for a ratification ceremony for the Paris agreement. Some 175 have already signed, and along with the recent move by the U.S. and China, Brazil’s move just considerably increased the likelihood that there will be something to celebrate.
Staff writer Phillips contributed to this report from Rio de Janeiro; Chris Mooney from Washington.
Humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years and there may be none left within a century if trends continue, according to an authoritative new study. Researchers found a vast area the size of two Alaskas – 3.3m square kilometres – had been tarnished by human activities between 1993 and today, which experts said was a “shockingly bad” and “profoundly large number”.
The Amazon accounted for nearly a third of the “catastrophic” loss, showing huge tracts of pristine rainforest are still being disrupted despite the Brazilian government slowing deforestation rates in recent years. A further 14% disappeared in central Africa, home to thousands of species including forest elephants and chimpanzees. The loss of the world’s last untouched refuges would not just be disastrous for endangered species but for climate change efforts, the authors said, because some of the forests store enormous amounts of carbon….
…. The ramifications of remaining wilderness being corrupted were wide-ranging and irreversible for both people and wildlife, Watson said. “There are four reasons why we need to protect these places. One is biodiversity, the second is carbon, the third is the poorest of the poor are living in them, and the fourth is this is a reference point for nature, of pre-human environments,” he told the Guardian….
… Carlos Rittl, executive secretary of the Brazilian Climate Observatory, said: “This paper is a powerful reminder of the key role forests play on climate targets, and should be taken at heart by policymakers. Despite the recent drop in deforestation rates, Brazil is still the tropical country that most loses forests every year. “Our Paris pledge on deforestation is shamefully weak – we are comformed with ending only illegal deforestation only by 2030 and only in Amazonia – and we don’t even have a plan for achieving that little. Brazil will ratify the Paris agreement next Monday. If the government is serious about meeting the deal’s long-term goal, it should be talking about zero deforestation.“…
Catastrophic Declines in Wilderness Areas Undermine Global Environment Targets