[Vision2020] 10-8-2018 New York Times: Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Sun Oct 7 23:11:50 PDT 2018

New York Times article copied lower down, below the IPCC content:


Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett


Climate change, the GOP and Trump

Dave Anderson, May 17, 2018
The Republican Party is “the most dangerous organization in world history,”
argues Noam Chomsky.

The GOP controls the entire national government — executive, legislative
and judicial branches — of the most powerful country while being the only
governing political party on the planet which denies the existence of
climate change. Chomsky says the Republicans are “dedicated to the
destruction of organized human life on Earth,” because they want to
“maximize the use of fossil fuels.” This sounds hyperbolic but he is being
quite reasonable.

Time is running out. There are literally millions of lives at stake.
Extreme weather events are getting fiercer and more common. Polar regions
are melting as global warming accelerates. The wildfire season is longer
every year.


8 October 2018

*Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC
approved by  governments*

INCHEON, Republic of Korea, 8 Oct - Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would
require rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of
society, the IPCC said in a new assessment.

With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global
warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC could go hand in hand with ensuring a more
sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) said on Monday.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC was approved by the IPCC on
Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input
into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when
governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

“With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated
contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide,
this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the
IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040

4 hrs ago

INCHEON, South Korea — A landmark report from the United Nations’
scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the
immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says
that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed
and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”

The report <http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/>, issued on Monday by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened
by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of
worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs
as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global

The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an
author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics,
a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.”
The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the
Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming

The authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current
rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5
degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines
and intensifying droughts and poverty. Previous work had focused on
estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by a larger
number, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), because that was the
threshold scientists previously considered for the most severe effects of
climate change.

The new report, however, shows that many of those effects will come much
sooner, at the 2.7-degree mark.

Avoiding the most serious damage requires transforming the world economy
within just a few years, said the authors, who estimate that the damage
would come at a cost of $54 trillion. But while they conclude that it is
technically possible to achieve the rapid changes required to avoid 2.7
degrees of warming, they concede that it may be politically unlikely.

For instance, the report says that heavy taxes or prices on carbon dioxide
emissions — perhaps as high as $27,000 per ton by 2100 — would be required.
But such a move would be almost politically impossible in the United
States, the world’s largest economy and second-largest greenhouse gas
emitter behind China. Lawmakers around the world, including in China, the
European Union and California, have enacted carbon pricing programs.

President Trump, who has mocked the science of human-caused climate change,
has vowed to increase the burning of coal and said he intends to withdraw
from the Paris agreement. And on Sunday in Brazil, the world’s
seventh-largest emitter of greenhouse gas, voters appeared on track to
elect a new president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has said he also plans to
withdraw from the accord.

The report was written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries who
analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies. The Paris agreement set out to
prevent warming of more than 3.6 degrees above preindustrial levels — long
considered a threshold for the most severe social and economic damage from
climate change. But the heads of small island nations, fearful of rising
sea levels, had also asked scientists to examine the effects of 2.7 degrees
of warming.

Absent aggressive action, many effects once expected only several decades
in the future will arrive by 2040, and at the lower temperature, the report
shows. “It’s telling us we need to reverse emissions trends and turn the
world economy on a dime,” said Myles Allen, an Oxford University climate
scientist and an author of the report.

To prevent 2.7 degrees of warming, the report said, greenhouse pollution
must be reduced by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100 percent by
2050. It also found that, by 2050, use of coal as an electricity source
would have to drop from nearly 40 percent today to between 1 and 7 percent.
Renewable energy such as wind and solar, which make up about 20 percent of
the electricity mix today, would have to increase to as much as 67 percent.

“This report makes it clear: There is no way to mitigate climate change
without getting rid of coal,” said Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at
Duke University and an author of the report.

The World Coal Association disputed the conclusion that stopping global
warming calls for an end of coal use. In a statement, Katie Warrick, its
interim chief executive, noted that forecasts from the International Energy
Agency <https://www.iea.org/>, a global analysis organization, “continue to
see a role for coal for the foreseeable future.”

Ms. Warrick said her organization intends to campaign for governments to
invest in carbon capture technology. Such technology, which is currently
too expensive for commercial use, could allow coal to continue to be widely

Despite the controversial policy implications, the United States delegation
joined more than 180 countries on Saturday in accepting the report’s
summary for policymakers, while walking a delicate diplomatic line. A State
Department statement said that “acceptance of this report by the panel does
not imply endorsement by the United States of the specific findings or
underlying contents of the report.”

The State Department delegation faced a conundrum. Refusing to approve the
document would place the United States at odds with many nations and show
it rejecting established academic science on the world stage. However, the
delegation also represents a president who has rejected climate science and
climate policy.

“We reiterate that the United States intends to withdraw from the Paris
agreement at the earliest opportunity absent the identification of terms
that are better for the American people,” the statement said.

The report attempts to put a price tag on the effects of climate change.
The estimated $54 trillion in damage from 2.7 degrees of warming would grow
to $69 trillion if the world continues to warm by 3.6 degrees and beyond,
the report found, although it does not specify the length of time
represented by those costs.

The report concludes that the world is already more than halfway to the
2.7-degree mark. Human activities have caused warming of about 1.8 degrees
since about the 1850s, the beginning of large-scale industrial coal
burning, the report found.

The United States is not alone in failing to reduce emissions enough to
prevent the worst effects of climate change. The report concluded that the
greenhouse gas reduction pledges put forth under the Paris agreement will
not be enough to avoid 3.6 degrees of warming.

The report emphasizes the potential role of a tax on carbon dioxide
emissions. “A price on carbon is central to prompt mitigation,” the report
concludes. It estimates that to be effective, such a price would have to
range from $135 to $5,500 per ton of carbon dioxide pollution in 2030, and
from $690 to $27,000 per ton by 2100.

By comparison, under the Obama administration, government economists
estimated that an appropriate price on carbon would be in the range of $50
per ton. Under the Trump administration, that figure was lowered to about
$7 per ton

Americans for Prosperity, the political advocacy group funded by the
libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch, has made a point of
campaigning against politicians who support a carbon tax.

“Carbon taxes are political poison because they increase gas prices and
electric rates,” said Myron Ebell, who heads the energy program at the
Competitive Enterprise Institute, an industry-funded Washington research
organization, and who led the Trump administration’s transition at the
Environmental Protection Agency.

The report details the economic damage expected should governments fail to
enact policies to reduce emissions. The United States, it said, could lose
roughly 1.2 percent of gross domestic product for every 1.8 degrees of

In addition, it said, the United States along with Bangladesh, China,
Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam are home to 50
million people who will be exposed to the effects of increased coastal
flooding by 2040, if 2.7 degrees of warming occur.

At 3.6 degrees of warming, the report predicts a “disproportionately rapid
evacuation” of people from the tropics. “In some parts of the world,
national borders will become irrelevant,” said Aromar Revi, director of the
Indian Institute for Human Settlements and an author of the report. “You
can set up a wall to try to contain 10,000 and 20,000 and one million
people, but not 10 million.”

The report also finds that, in the likelihood that governments fail to
avert 2.7 degrees of warming, another scenario is possible: The world could
overshoot that target, heat up by more than 3.6 degrees, and then through a
combination of lowering emissions and deploying carbon capture technology,
bring the temperature back down below the 2.7-degree threshold.

In that scenario, some damage would be irreversible, the report found. All
coral reefs would die. However, the sea ice that would disappear in the
hotter scenario would return once temperatures had cooled off.

“For governments, the idea of overshooting the target but then coming back
to it is attractive because then they don’t have to make such rapid
changes,” Dr. Shindell said. “But it has a lot of disadvantages.”
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