Thongchai Thailand

POTSDAM INSTITUTE OF CLIMATE

Posted on: May 22, 2020

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Turning the Climate Tide by 2020

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THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF AN ASSESSMENT OF CLIMATE ACTION BY THE POTSDAM INSTITUTE IN COOPERATION WITH CHRISTIANA FIGUERES IN JUNE 2017 WITH EMISSION REDUCTION TARGETS FOR THE YEAR 2020. THE ARTICLE APPEARS BELOW AND IS ALSO AVAILABLE ONLINE [LINK] . THE CITED PAPER BY CHRISTIANA FIGUERES IS AVAILABLE HERE [CLICK TO DOWNLOAD]

 

 

CRITICAL COMMENTARY

  1. CLAIM: The climate math is brutally clear. RESPONSE: Except for where it isn’t [LINK] .
  2. CLAIM: The world needs high-speed climate action for an immediate bending-down of the global greenhouse-gas emissions curve, leading experts caution. Aggressive reduction of fossil-fuel usage is the key to averting devastating heat extremes and unmanageable sea level rise, the authors argue. RESPONSE: The climate science lead author in the Nature article is UN bureaucrat and climate activist Christiana Figueres. It was published June 28 2017. The full text of her paper is posted at this site [CLICK TO DOWNLOAD] . The author is the UN bureaucrat who had said about the COVID-19 tragedy, “Well, that is, ironically, of course, the other side of this right? It may be good for climate. But I think because there is less trade, there’s less travel, there’s less commerce. Expect more disease outbreaks if we continue to deny, delude and delay on climate change. If we continue to eat animals, we will be poisoning ourselves and being the genesis of new diseases we have not seen before“. In the rest of this critical commentary we study the content of her 2017 paper described above.
  3. CLAIM:  In the past three years, global emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels have leveled after rising for decades. This is a sign that policies and investments in climate mitigation are starting to pay off. The United States, China and other nations are replacing coal with natural gas and boosting renewable energy sources. There is almost unanimous international agreement that the risks of abandoning the planet to climate change are too great to ignore. RESPONSE:  This is apparently good news that the UN’s climate activism is working, that emissions are going down, that even China and the USA are cooperating, and the result of that activism success is that global fossil fuel emissions have stopped rising and have flattened.
  4. CLAIM: Protection of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular the eradication of extreme poverty. RESPONSE: SUPPORT FOR SDG IS INCONSISTENT WITH ERADICATION OF POVERTY [LINK]
  5. CLAIM: The climate math is brutally clear: While the world can’t be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence until 2020. RESPONSE: There are serious flaws in the math of climate science. Some of these flaws are described in these related posts [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] . The rest of the statement is the kind of bureaucratic gobbledygook that is typical of the way UN bureaucrats talk [LINK] .
  6. CLAIM: We have been blessed by a remarkably resilient planet over the past 100 years, able to absorb most of our climate abuse. RESPONSE: Translation: All our prophecies of climate doom have proven false.
  7. CLAIM: The great sustainability transformation: The authors are confident that both technological progress and political momentum have reached a point now that allows to kick-start the ‘great sustainability transformation. RESPONSE: UN bureaucratic word soup. These impressive sounding words and phrases are thrown around by these people a lot but they don’t have any rational interpretation in plain language. If you actually have something to say, please use plain language.
  8. CLAIM: The authors and co-signatories to the Nature article comprise over 60 scientists, business and policy leaders, economists, analysts and influencers. RESPONSE: So what? Is that some kind of seal of truth?
  9. CLAIM: “This monumental challenge coincides with an unprecedented openness to self-challenge on the part of sub-national governments inside the US, governments at all levels outside the US, and of the private sector in general. RESPONSE: This is bureaucratic word soup typical of UN bureaucrats. [LINK] .
  10. CLAIM: But there is still a long way to go to decarbonize the world economy. The year 2020 is crucially important because if emissions continue to rise after 2020, the Paris climate goal becomes unattainable. Mission 2020 is a campaign to raise ambition. We must bend the greenhouse-gas emissions curve downwards by 2020. Mission 2020 is a campaign to raise ambition and bend the greenhouse-gas emissions curve downwards by 2020. RESPONSE:  Her prayers have apparently been answered by the COVID-19 as seen in the chart below. EMISSIONS

 

 

WHAT THE POTSDAM ARTICLE SAYS & THE LANGUAGE OF ALARM IT USES

Turning the Climate Tide by 2020

  1.  The world needs high-speed climate action for an immediate bending-down of the global greenhouse-gas emissions curve, leading experts caution. Aggressive reduction of fossil-fuel usage is the key to averting devastating heat extremes and unmanageable sea level rise, the authors argue in a comment published in the renowned scientific journal Nature this week [LINK] .
  2. The article sets six milestones for a clean industrial revolution. This call for strong short-term measures complements the longer-term ‘carbon law‘ approach introduced earlier this year by some of the current co-authors, including the Potsdam Institute’s Director Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, in the equally eminent journal Science.
  3. Thus a full narrative of deep decarbonization emerges. We stand at the doorway of being able to bend the GHG emissions curve downwards by 2020, as science demands, in protection of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular the eradication of extreme poverty,
  4. Christiana Figueres says “This monumental challenge coincides with an unprecedented openness to self-challenge on the part of sub-national governments inside the US, governments at all levels outside the US, and of the private sector in general. The opportunity given to us over the next three years is unique in history.” Figueres is the convener of Mission 2020, a broad-based campaign calling for urgent action now to make sure that carbon emissions begin an inexorable fall by 2020.
  5. The authors and co-signatories to the Nature article comprise over 60 scientists, business and policy leaders, economists, analysts and influencers, including Gail Whiteman from Lancaster University; Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation; Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer of Unilever plc; Anthony Hobley, Chief Executive of Carbon Tracker; Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, CEO of Statkraft; and Jonathan Bamber, President of the European Geosciences Union.
  6. The great sustainability transformation: The authors are confident that both technological progress and political momentum have reached a point now that allows to kick-start the ‘great sustainability transformation’. 2020 is crucial, because in that year the US will be legally able to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Even more compelling are the physics-based considerations, however: Recent research has demonstrated that keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius becomes almost infeasible if we delay climate action beyond 2020. And breaching the 2°C-line would be dangerous, since a number of Earth system tipping elements, such as the great ice sheets, may get destabilized in that hot-house.
  7. We have been blessed by a remarkably resilient planet over the past 100 years, able to absorb most of our climate abuse,” says Johan Rockström from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, co-author of the Nature comment and lead-author of the Science article. “Now we have reached the end of this era, and need to bend the global curve of emissions immediately, to avoid unmanageable outcomes for our modern world.”
  8. Six milestones for 2020: Indeed, a social tipping point for the better is in sight, the experts show. Power generation from wind and solar is booming already. In Europe, for instance, more than three quarters of new energy capacities installed rely on those renewable sources. China is quickly establishing a national emissions trading scheme. Financial investors such as BlackRock in the US are growing wary of carbon risks. The six milestones for 2020 as defined in the article reach from energy (pushing renewables to 30% of total electricity supply and retiring all coal-fired power plants) to transport (electric vehicles making up 15% of new car sales globally, up from roughly 1% today) and finance (mobilize 1 trillion US dollars a year for climate action).
  9. The climate math is brutally clear: While the world can’t be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence until 2020,”      concludes Hans Joachim Schellnhuber from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, co-author of both the Nature comment and the Science article. Action by 2020 is necessary, but clearly not sufficient – it needs to set the course for halving CO2 emissions every other decade. In analogy to the legendary Moore’s Law, which states that computer processors double in power about every two years, the ‘carbon law’ can become a self-fulfilling prophecy mobilizing innovations and market forces, says Schellnhuber. “This will be unstoppable – yet only if we propel the world into action now.”
  10. It is noted that although these individuals speak as scientists for the science of climate science, their language and their agenda is one of activism against fossil fuels. No matter what its grander pretensions may be, this statement by the Potsdam Institute makes it clear that it is a climate activism organization and that makes it impossible for it to be a scientific organization. It is not possible to carry out unbiased scientific inquiry into a research question if the researcher has an activism agenda in terms of the research question. This relationship holds no matter how academically qualified the researcher may be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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