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Climate change means the weather report is:
“Hot as hell and could get worse”
This is the earth’s weather report.To get the message across, we summarise three “climate reports” here: One from Kelsey Warner of the Christian Science Monitor – “Paris climate pledges won’t stop dangerous warming. But what will?” Another from Damian Carrington in The Guardian – “2015 and 2016 set to break global heat records, says Met Office”. And a significant report from AFP, published in The Straits Times with the heading: “Time and tide not waiting for climate negotiators”. Read More
Climate Report 1:
Paris climate pledges won’t stop dangerous warming. But what will?
In December 190 nations are set to convene in Paris to discuss reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, but the UN warns plans are already coming up short.
By Kelsey Warner, Christian Science Monitor 20 SEPTEMBER 2015
If climate policy were Sesame Street, it would be sponsored by the number 2.
A broad scientific consensus sets 2 degrees Celsius – about 3.6 Fahrenheit – as the maximum level our planet’s surface can warm before climate change gets especially dangerous.
A maximum of 2 degrees is also the goal of the the UN’s climate summit in Paris at the end of this year, but now the UN’s climate chief warns that nations are already falling short.
The UN’s climate chief, Christiana Figueres, told reporters in Brussels that so far 62 countries had submitted promises of emissions cuts ahead of the Paris meeting, covering about 70 percent of global emissions. UK government sources told the Guardian that pledges, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), were expected from India, Brazil, Indonesia and other nations before Paris.
The expected pledges are likely to limit temperature rises to about 3 degrees Celsius.
“What the INDCs will do is mark a very substantial departure from business as usual,” Figueres said. But she added: “Is 3C acceptable? No.”
But those negotiating towards a global agreement that will reach a resolution in December are still optimistic. If nothing is done to cut emissions, climate experts project a temperature increase of 5 degrees Celsius. The talks in Paris, which will begin on Nov 30, are expected to yield mandates to ramp up emissions cuts in future years.
Hurdles remain over how much money developing nations will receive to handle global warming and how oversight will be managed once deals are done.
The debate over climate aid will evolve starting Oct. 9, with the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Lima, Peru convening to identify how much capital is already going via existing international NGOs. Developed nations have already pledged $100 billion a year to poorer nations by 2020.
The UN has said it will add up the pledges by the start of October and issue a report by Nov. 1, Reuters reports.
The summit in Paris contrasts with the last major climate deal to come from talks in Copenhagen in 2009: the proposed Paris deal will take commitments from each participating nation and incorporate those into the global deal, instead of attempting a strict global deal that then mandates what individual nations can do.
“We are going to get an agreement and it will have all the major countries in it, which did not look likely a few years ago,” said Nick Mabey, an expert on climate change negotiations and chief executive of green non-profit organisation E3G, in an interview with the Guardian. “It is not going to deliver 2C overnight, but it will put in place immediate action and reduce warming.”
Climate report 2:
Time and tide not waiting for climate negotiators
Damian Carrington in The Guardian 14 September 2015
The world’s climate has reached a major turning point and is set to deliver record-breaking global temperatures in 2015 and 2016, according to a new report from the UK Met Office.
Natural climate cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans are reversing and will amplify the strong manmade-driven global warming, the report concludes. This will change weather patterns around the world including more heatwaves, but it is possible that the UK will actually have cooler summers.
“We will look back on this period as an important turning point,” said Professor Adam Scaife, who led the Met Office analysis. “That is why we are emphasising it, because there are so many big changes happening at once. This year and next year are likely to be at, or near, record levels of warming.”
The record for the hottest year was broken in 2014, when heatwaves scorched China, Russia, Australia and parts of South America. But, despite rising greenhouse gas emissions continuing to trap more heat on Earth, the last decade has seen relatively slow warming of air temperatures, dubbed a “pause” in climate change by some.
In fact, global warming had not paused at all. Instead, natural climate cycles led to more of the trapped heat being stored in the oceans. Now, according to the Met Office report, all the signs are that the pause in rising air temperatures is over and the rate of global warming will accelerate fast in coming years.
The warning comes ahead of a crunch UN summit in Paris in November at which the world’s nations must hammer out a deal to halt climate change. Opponents of action to curb climate change have cited the pause as a reason to reject urgent cuts in carbon emissions.
But Professor Rowan Sutton, at the University of Reading and who reviewed the Met Office report, said: “None of the debate around the pause has changed our long term understanding of greenhouse-gas-driven climate change. That is the most fundamental point for Paris. The fact that 2014, 2015 and 2016 look like being among the very warmest years on record is a further reminder about climate change.”
The report analyses the latest data on all the key factors that combine to determine the global climate. The warming caused by carbon emissions is the largest influence and continues to rise.
But the El Niño natural cycle of warming in the equatorial Pacific, that can be a significant peak in this cycle, is now underway. It is expected to be the strongest El Niño since 1998 and will push up global temperatures – it has already weakened the Indian monsoon and the Atlantic hurricane season. Another longer-term natural cycle in the Pacific (the Pacific Decadal Oscillation) also looks to be shifting into its warmer phase.
In contrast, there are now strong signs that a natural cycle in the North Atlantic is moving into a cooler period. This has less impact on global temperature than manmade climate change or Pacific ocean cycles but it influences conditions in the UK and Northern Europe.
“If the Atlantic cooling continues as we expect, that would favour cooler and on the whole, drier summers, but there are other factors that compete to affect our climate,” said Sutton. Periods of cooler Atlantic waters in the past, such the 1980s, have also been associated with severe African droughts but more rain in the US.
Scaife said the weather experienced in specific places from year-to-year results from the combined effects of all the natural cycles and manmade global warming. “A lot of these cycles can occur without the influence of human beings, but they are now occurring on top of the influence of man’s activities,” he said. “So now, for example, when an El Niño comes and raises the global temperature, that is the icing on the cake, the extra bit that creates the record year.”
“Although these natural variations continue to be important, and will probably determine exactly which year breaks the record, you have to put them into context,” Scaife said. “In terms of global temperature, they are all smaller than the amount of warming we have already created.”
Climate report 3:
Time and Tide not waiting for climate negotiators: Deadline looms for nations to seal global deal to stem the tide of global warming
Straits Times 31 August 2015
AFP report from PARIS
Diplomats are gathering in Bonn from today to thrash out the draft of a climate-rescue pact to be adopted at a year-end United Nations conference in Paris.
With just 10 official negotiating days before 195 nations must seal the deal in the French capital, time is running out to bridge deep and long-standing divisions on who should do what to halt the march of global warming.
Just in recent days, there were fresh reminders of what is at stake if the world misses the UN goal to limit global warming to 2 deg C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. We have already reached 0.8 deg C
Government scientists in the United States recently declared July the hottest month in history and said this year appears set to overtake 2014 as the hottest year since records began in 1880. India and Pakistan have been hit by killer heatwaves this year and California is in the grip of a historic drought.
Nasa warned last week that one metre of average sea level rise is unavoidable over the next 100 to 200 years because of melting ice and ocean warming.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon urged countries last Wednesday to “accelerate the rhythm of negotiations” ahead of the Nov 30-Dec 11 climate conference, saying: “We don’t have much time.”
THE HEAT IS ON
The five-day Bonn round will show whether rank-and-file diplomats are taking recent cues from political bosses, analysts say.
In July, France announced that ministers had made a “breakthrough” at a huddle in Paris.
Crucially, they agreed on a review every five years after 2020, when the agreement kicks in, of the collective effort to curb planet-warming greenhouse gases to ensure the 2 deg C target remains within sight.
All eyes will be on Bonn to see if the ministerial rapprochement on this issue filters through.
“Just trying to get a bit of the spirit of the ministerials back into Bonn would be great,” said Ms Liz Gallagher, climate diplomacy leader at the E3G think-tank.
Mr Alden Meyer, an analyst with the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists, said there must be close coordination between negotiators and their political bosses.
“Negotiators need to do the job of clarifying where things stand, framing options very sharply,” he said. “But then it’s really the ministers and the leaders that have to find… some of the compromises.”
Ministers will next meet in Paris on Sept 6-7, and again in Lima in October at an IMF-World Bank pow-wow with climate finance on the agenda. On Sept 27, Mr Ban and heads of state will talk climate on the sidelines of a UN summit in New York.
While these talks are not part of official negotiations, they should guide the pact-crafting efforts.
“The political decisions and compromises are going to be made above the pay grade of the negotiators,” said Mr Meyer.
As things stand, the draft agreement under review in Bonn runs over 80 pages – largely a laundry list of countries’ often conflicting options, in places as many as 11 per issue, for ensuring a liveable planet.
The disagreements are fundamental. How to divvy out responsibility for carbon cuts between rich nations, which have polluted for much longer, and developing countries which need to power fast-growing populations and economies?
How will developed nations meet their promise of US$100 billion (S$140.9 billion) of climate finance per year from 2020?
To date, more than 50 countries responsible for nearly 70 per cent of global emissions have submitted carbon-curbing plans.
But scientists say the numbers do not add up and the world is on track for warming way above 2 deg C – a recipe for ever more extreme droughts and floods, disease spread and island-drowning sea-level rise.
To aid negotiators, the co-chairmen of the talks have re-packaged the draft text into three sections – the first containing the binding, overarching goal, set in stone; the second with elements that can be altered over time; and the third, by far the biggest, those that remain in dispute.
There will be a final pre-Paris negotiating round, also five days, in Bonn in October.
“It’s a race against the clock,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said at a meeting with Mr Ban. “Last year was the hottest on record. It seems that this year will be even hotter. There is no plan B, there is no planet B.”