Carbon cuts possible for manageable warming, experts say

Ottmar Edenhofer attends a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi on May 9, 2
Ottmar Edenhofer attends a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi on May 9, 2011

The world, acting urgently, can curb carbon emissions enough to avert worst-case scenarios for climate change, UN experts said Monday as envoys met in Berlin to weigh the options for action.

"The literature here shows that deep cuts in to limit warming to 2 C... remain possible," said Ottmar Edenhofer, who helped oversee the latest volume in a report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

But achieving this goal, Edenhofer warned, will require a break from today's relentlessly upward trend in emissions.

It will entail "challenging technological, economic, institutional and ," he said.

Envoys and scientists from the panel's 195 member countries are meeting after the IPCC issued its starkest-ever warning about the perils of a ravaged climate system for future generations.

The risk of conflict, hunger, floods and mass displacement increase with every upward creep of the mercury, the IPCC said.

"The impacts of will leave no part of the world untouched and unaffected," IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri told Monday's opening session.

The upcoming volume is the last major piece of the Fifth Assessment Report—the first overview by the Nobel-winning climate panel since 2007.

The product of four years' work by over 200 experts, it aims at providing governments with the latest scientific knowledge and informing the struggling effort to forge a worldwide pact on climate change by the end of next year.

A draft summary of the report, seen by AFP, expresses no preferences for how to tame the problem, nor does it state what a safe level of warming would be.

But it says there is a 15-year window for affordable action to safely reach the UN's target of limiting warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times.

The goal remains attainable if "all countries" act quickly to ease , it says. "Delaying mitigation through 2030 will increase the challenges."

In raw terms, of 49 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2010 will have to be pegged to 30-50 billion tonnes in 2030.

Most scenarios that meet the 2 C target entail a "tripling to nearly a quadrupling" in the share of energy from renewable and nuclear sources and the capture and storage of emissions from , according to the draft.

Government representatives and scientists will go through the summary line by line over the next few days.

"In the plenary, all countries can voice their concerns and all of them are heard," said co-chairman Youba Sokona.

"In the end, it is scientific accuracy that decides."

The summary will be publicly released in the German capital on Sunday, and the full 2,000-page report—authored by scientists and not subject to this week's scrutiny—will be released shortly afterwards.

Green group Friends of the Earth International said the science demanded a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, coupled to a massive investment in renewable alternatives.

"So far, world leaders have sorely lacked the political will to make the shift to low-carbon societies," it said.

Oxfam, for its part, said climate change would have a severe impact on hunger.

"It is estimated there could be 25 million more malnourished children under the age of five in 2050 compared to a world without climate change – the number of all under-fives in the US and Canada combined," it said.

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© 2014 AFP

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Apr 07, 2014
The world, acting urgently, can curb carbon emissions enough to avert worst-case scenarios for climate change...

So far the warming observed is less than the best-case scenarios of virtually all the computer-generated climate models. Why would we arbitrarily limit carbon emissions when there is little evidence that it's even necessary?

Observed temps vs. climate models, from IPCC AR5:

Since all of the inexpensive methods of energy production which have lifted the world out of poverty over the last century (and continue to do so) emit carbon into the atmosphere, the "social cost" of arbitrarily limiting energy production would be enormous and the benefits dubious.

Technology is already reducing emissions, and nuclear fission, if it hadn't been so wrongly stigmatized by low-information environmentalists, is an excellent "clean" and extremely efficient source of energy.

Apr 07, 2014
100% of all scientists believe the planet is NOT flat.
We can only "believe" what science "believes" and in 32 years they have NEVER "believed" beyond 95% certainty that billions of children are at threat in a global CO2 climate crisis.

Prove me wrong and stop scaring my kids like a neocon!

Apr 07, 2014
"Generally speaking, I'm much more of a conformist, but it happens I have strong views about climate because I think the majority is badly wrong, and you have to make sure if the majority is saying something that they're not talking nonsense." - Freeman Dyson

"What I'm convinced of is that we don't understand climate." - Freeman Dyson

As a general rule, if Freeman Dyson doesn't understand something, you don't, either. And yes, Michael Mann, algore and Ottmar Edenhofer, I am talking to you.

Apr 07, 2014
YOH, Edenhofer take your head out of the sand and look at the evidence because your models have failed miserably. No warming in 13 to almost 18 yrs depending on the data set. Including your CAGW Alarmists data sets.

Change your models CO2 sensitivity to ~0.03°C/decade and I'll bet you'll be much closer to the collected evidence.

Ah, but it's the end, i.e. another Stalinist, Maoist, Pol Potist Socialist Utopian dictatorship - this time world wide, that justifies your means of lying, cheating, refusing to debate, ignoring and disparaging everything that doesn't support your puerile dogma.

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