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IPCC WG2 report now out

Filed under: — group @ 30 March 2014

Instead of speculations based on partial drafts and attempts to spin the coverage ahead of time, you can now download the final report of the IPCC WG2: “Climate Change 2014:Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” directly. The Summary for Policy Makers is here, while the whole report is also downloadable by chapter. Notably there are FAQ for the whole report and for each chapter that give a relatively easy way in to the details. Note too that these are the un-copyedited final versions, and minor edits, corrections and coherent figures will be forthcoming in the final published versions. (For reference, the WG1 report was released in Sept 2013, but only in final published form in Jan 2014). Feel free to link to interesting takes on the report in the comments.


131 Responses to “IPCC WG2 report now out”

  1. 101
    Hank Roberts says:

    My purely personal complaint about the GDR is only this:

    … “negative emissions” designates CO2 that is removed from the atmosphere, and can refer to either techno-industrial processes (e.g., Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Sequestration, or BECCS) or changes in land-use practices that yield substantial enhancement of carbon sinks (e.g. afforestation and low-carbon agro-ecological techniques).[11]

    What’s missing? Changes in ocean-use practices, e.g. restoring a source of biologically available iron to the upper ocean. How much difference would that make, if indeed enough plankton will remain available to rapidly increase the number of whales? Dunno.

    Just a feeling I have. But, glory be, scientists are doing those numbers among much else.

    Now, land use, that should figure on restoring the elephants and bison and, perhaps, mammoths where their range has been appropriated.

  2. 102
    Tony Weddle says:

    Chris,

    Can you point to some data that shows emissions due to US economic activity (to the American way of life) are decreasing? Please don’t limit your data to just the emissions which physically occur within the US borders. Even emissions within US borders are not decreasing intentionlly, but largely as a by-product of economic decisions (the phrase “is cutting emissions” implies a conscious decision to cut emissions).

    As Hansen has pointed out, the US has by far the largest responsibility for total GHG emissions; the warming that is occurring now is due to emissions (by everyone) that occurred decades ago. The UK is also well up there, especially in terms of total per capita emissions. China is well down the chart in terms of per capita emissions.

    Walter,

    You seem to be washing your hands of blame for any of the situation by defining responsibility as the ability to respond. Whatever an individual’s response to the problem (predicament, really), all of us (pretty much) in developed countries are to blame for what is happening.

  3. 103
    Fred Magyar says:

    Hank Roberts @ 101,

    “What’s missing?”

    A serious discussion about how we are going to drastically reduce human global population in a humane and equitable manner before nature and the four horsemen of the apocalypse do it for us.

    I’d much rather do that before I start tinkering with ocean ecosystems by tring to produce plankton blooms with iron, before you do that you might want to consult some marine ecologists, just sayin.

  4. 104
    Chris Dudley says:

    Hank (#97),

    Not bogus. Read your cite: “…there is no climate change commitment because of climate inertia.”

  5. 105
    Chris Dudley says:

    Walter (#95),

    You are correct that future US emissions will lead to warming. However, sufficient persuasion has been brought upon the US that it is cutting emissions. Dangerous climate change arrives and the US applies the brakes. Future Chinese emissions will also contribute to warming. But there is a difference, their emissions are growing. Thus, there is need for a persuasive method that is thus far lacking to get them to change. Since they don’t have an internal mechanism such as the EPA’s endangerment finding, external persuasion seems like it must be necessary. The US is in the best position to lead in this effort owing to both our military superiority at sea and our large trade relationship with China.

    There are a number of possible approaches. Personal diplomacy is being carried out by Al Gore, Amory Lovins, Bill McDonough etc…. trying to guide China to a clean development path. The current administration is attempting to work on side agreements on issues like methane. However, on carbon dioxide, the prior administration poisoned the well with “carbon intensity” which is a nod and a wink. So, we need something more concrete at this point. UN sanctions against Security Council members don’t work so that is one less stopping point prior to the naval blockade-type approach. In between, we do have China’s very sincere interest in trade. That provides leverage through the environmental language of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade. The US has standing to invoke this owing to the Clean Air Act and resultant regulation of emissions.

    If we don’t do something to turn China around, when we are in a position to lead, then we ourselves will have failed all the undeveloped nations whose futures will be wrecked by the depredations of dangerous climate change. As AR5 points out, adaptation is not really an out for them, they just get morbidity and mortality consequences.

  6. 106

    From Hank’s #98:

    Such examinations can be quite striking, for they plainly show that wealthy countries with high RCIs are obligated to deliver reductions far larger than even the ambitious “90 percent by 2050” targets now being discussed (at least by Al Gore and a few others) for Annex I countries. Indeed, for key wealthy countries, reduction obligations exceed even total reference trajectory emissions. So that even if these countries were to reduce their emissions to zero, they would still be obligated to pay for further emission reductions internationally.

    This result, though striking, is not surprising. In fact, it exists by design. It is the logical outcome of the fact – for it is a fact – that any framework that actually preserves the right to development must obligate the wealthy nations to rapidly reduce their own emissions at the same time as they pay to accelerate the decarbonization of the developing world. It follows, just as implacably, from an allocation of reduction obligations on the basis of responsibility and capacity. It is the reason that Greenhouse Development Rights works, the way it drives global decarbonization, the means by which it creates the atmospheric space needed by those who are still “under-developed.”

  7. 107
    Chris Dudley says:

    flxible (#96),

    You might want to think things through a little more carefully. Chinese dumping of solar panels has the effect that manufacturing in the Pacific Northwest is reduced. Consequently, more panels are built using coal power in China rather than hydro power here. It makes sense to shift smelting of aluminum and refining of silicon to clean energy regions I think.

    In any case, research sponsored in the Carter administration is the reason we have RCP2.6 as an option now. You are going off the topic confusing deployment with R&D.

  8. 108
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Walter @ 87, I disagree that you are “…relaying the factual history….”
    I take it you have not looked up when the big jump in politicization of the climate discussion did and did not occur.

    Walter @ 91 “…a 50% reduction by 2050 is not enough to stop runaway climate change ….”

    What do you know that the RC team doesn’t know?

  9. 109
    Chris Dudley says:

    Tony (#102),

    Well here is a news report on the US cutting emissions intentionally. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-26/u-s-carbon-emissions-on-track-to-fall-17-meeting-obama-goal.html I posted another with a graph not too long ago. New CAFE standards are an example of regulating emissions.

    I think you need to find an exact quote where Hansen has said that. Every time I’ve heard him say something along those lines, he points out that he is talking about a concentration/forcing stabilization trajectory. But, as Gavin reminds us here http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/04/impacts-of-climate-change-part-2-of-the-new-ipcc-report-has-been-approved/comment-page-2/#comment-496541 Ending greenhouse gas emissions now does not have a serious future warming commitment and leads to cooling, though associated ending of aerosol emissions may have a warming effect. It has been suggested recently that biomass burning would replace those aerosols. http://climate.uvic.ca/people/ahmacd/Publications_files/MacDougallEtAl2013.pdf However, biomass sulfur content is usually low.

    China is not all that far down on per capita emissions. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jul/18/china-average-europe-carbon-footprint And, in three years may pass the US: http://e360.yale.edu/digest/chinas_per_capita_emissions_could_rival_us_by_2017_report_predicts/3141/ Regarding per capita emissions, everyone who is above the US 2050 per capita emissions goal should be cutting emission now, as we are, not later. Those who are below should be getting clean development subsidies to stay there payed for by tariffs on exports of countries who haven’t gotten with the program yet.

    Gavin, please don’t think I’m citing you to lend this response credibility. I’m just acknowledging you as a source of information as is polite ;-)

  10. 110
    wili says:

    The US is sending coal overseas where it will be burnt. We are not free of responsibility for that. (Did we think they were going to use it for art?) When you add in the effect of these exports, plus the effect of all the manufacturing of consumer goods that we buy from China and other places that burn coal to make it, there is no _real_ reduction in US’s effective emissions.

  11. 111
    Walter says:

    108 Pete “What do you know that the RC team doesn’t know?”

    A lot!

    Why do you ask? Because you would not believe me or accept it anyway.

    Direct refs never seem to make any difference here. One more or a 1000 will make no difference. Neither does Logic and Reason most of the time with most of the public commentators or scientists. Best.

  12. 112
    Walter says:

    Tony 102, “defining responsibility as the ability to respond.” and ” (pretty much) in developed countries are to blame for what is happening.”

    Like many others you’re conflating BLAME and FAULT with the word “responsibility”.

    Almost everyone does this as soon as they hear the word “responsibility”.

    That assumption is not correct. I have explained that multiple times here (and on my ex-blog) in various ways over months, to no effect. I can do no more.

    Almost no one is capable of listening to anyone else anymore … and I mean that in a holistic sense regarding climate change and economic issues across the board. Good luck. I recommend you and everyone else buy some land (or make friends with someone who does) with a reliable water supply and survive as best you can.

    History repeats until the lessons are learned. After the crash of 1929 everything was going to be fine, that was the propaganda of those days for several years, until 1933 rolled around, then the shit hit the fan big time.

    GFC v2.0 is knocking on the door. If you’re lucky enough to own shares, a 401K, or have money in the bank get it all cashed out now and then use that sensibly. And far better before Easter than after. By the time the planned G20 in Australia arrives in Nov 2014, it will be a completely different world. American’s would be wise to look to Greece for what the future holds for you. Best.

    ReCaptcha says: 2008

  13. 113
    Walter says:

    #109, Gavin’s judgment and conclusions are far from perfect. He and other scientists here who run RC are as human as the next guy is, and not Gods.

    And anyone who has to quote “newspaper” articles to support their “beliefs” is seriously conflicted.

  14. 114
    Walter says:

    Kevin 106, now that’s 100% rational and the Truth of the matter right there. But it is also logical and rational that that will NOT happen… until something else happens to change forever, the status quo.

  15. 115
    Chris Dudley says:

    wili (110),

    The US does not make choices for China on emissions, so China’s emissions are not our emissions. Because we are now cutting emissions, we can place tariffs on imports from China. Not too sure about your fossil fuel export argument. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/04/impacts-of-climate-change-part-2-of-the-new-ipcc-report-has-been-approved/comment-page-2/#comment-496927 Additionally, are you willing to say that the oil we import is not a part of our emissions when we burn it? That accounting seems like it would get pretty squirrelly pretty fast.

  16. 116
    Chris Dudley says:

    Walter (#113),

    Actually, what Gavin has to say about climate models is rather informed. He’s put a lot of effort into knowing what he is taking about.

    And, news reports have a basis, so if you are worried about their accuracy, you can check on them. Here is the horse’s mouth if you don’t appreciate the service Bloomberg provides in synthesizing things.

    The US intentionally cutting emissions: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/

    US emissions going down: http://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/carbon/?src=Environment-b2

    And here are the 17% and 83% cut goals from the State Department: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/140007.pdf

    And here is the overall plan so far. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/image/president27sclimateactionplan.pdf

    Thus far WTO only comes into the plan as a carrot:

    “The U.S. will work with trading partners to launch negotiations at the World Trade Organization towards global free trade in environmental goods, including clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, hydro and geothermal.”

    I think that tracking RCP2.6 will require a stick as well, though it is possible that just gabbing about it here could save the White House or State Department from ever mentioning it except obliquely in private. But, you want your ducks in a row. There is never any official mention of gunboats on the Yangtze or US assistance with ending the opium trade, but they definitely color relations between the US and China to this day.

  17. 117
    wili says:

    cd @ 115 wrote: “The US does not make choices for China on emissions”

    Riiight. So we sell all those millions of tons of coal to China, but we think that China might ‘choose’ to not burn them. Sound a bit more like rationalization than reason to me.

  18. 118
    Chris Dudley says:

    wili (#117),

    Read the link I included for you. There are reasons not to export coal, but controlling China’s emissions is not one of them without forming a coal exporting cartel.

  19. 119
    Walter says:

    105 “You are correct that future US emissions will lead to warming.”

    Not only that, but even a reduced amount of emissions into the future than are currently put out means additional ‘forcing’ that must add to further warming ….. for millennia. Which 99.9% of readers here probably already understand, bar one.

    116 “Actually, what Gavin has to say about climate models is rather informed. He’s put a lot of effort into knowing what he is taking about.”

    Just to be clear about my view – Of course he is. Gavin is an expert in his field, maybe the best, I don’t know how to judge such a ranking though. The point is, like me, like everyone on earth, Gavin is not an omniscient god either. Cherry picking out one article, sentence, or comment by gavin on RC that appears on the surface to support one’s irrational and unfounded political argument is not a valid way to proceed whilst ignoring multiple other scientific papers and research data for energy use, (as others have already noted quite well.)

    I have no reason to doubt that at some time in his life gavin has been faced with some compelling evidence which required him to shift his opinions and conclusions about a subject. That’s universal, but in science it is critical if one wishes to be successful in their field, which gavin most certainly is. But this is not about gavin personally or his models, but how his comments have been used, nay mis-used.

    There nothing wrong in realising one has got something not quite right in their past ‘opinion/belief’ due to a prior lack useful information, incorrect assumptions, or by some faulty thinking. Refusing to even look at new information or another science paper on the subject, and refusing to budge one inch in reviewing their beliefs is. The former is a sign of wisdom, the latter self-defeating. imho.

  20. 120
    Chris Dudley says:

    Walter (#119),

    So, at some time you will begin to budge. I’m obviously citing Gavin on a scientific question, not a political one. Once you take the time to understand the underlying issue, you’ll see that I have been careful to get it right and include the appropriate caveats.

    You can agree or disagree on RCP2.6 being the correct choice. One reason to disagree might be that pushing a fellow security council member that hard could lead to war. Better to let people in undeveloped counties die than our sailors and soldiers. But, quantitatively, RCP2.6 does seem to require a strong push soon which means using existing strong tools. GATT seems like what is available. Both China and the US have agreed to its terms while China’s refusal to accept some limit in Kyoto kept the US out. The Framework Convention on its own does not seem to have what it takes to do RCP2.6.

    If you feel RCP2.6 is too difficult, just come out and say you support mass extinction of species, creating climate refugees and resource wars like the Darfur genocide. That is a political choice too. But don’t mix up the scientific issue of how the climate behaves with politics.

  21. 121
    Chris Dudley says:

    Further to my (#116),

    It is is interesting that the current administration’s view of GATT is that energy issues have yet to be addressed while the perpetrator of the prior administration is sticking his oar in saying export restriction on US oil are prohibited by GATT, despite the rather obvious strategic nature of the resource and the existence of an international cartel in oil (no free market). http://www.bushcenter.org/blog/2013/09/11/us-export-restraints-crude-oil-violate-international-agreements

    To me this seems like a rather unseemly interference in the present administration’s attempts to get things done. But perhaps tone deafness is the least flaw we should expect from that quarter. But I do think that paint-by-numbers is a better pursuit than this.

  22. 122
    Tony Weddle says:

    Chris,

    I’m not sure which reference you’re after but figures 25 and 27 in Hansen’s “storms” book show the cumulative and per-capita emissions for various countries. If you’re after the percentage of climate response for a particular forcing, Hansen mentioned 40% within 5 years, 60% within a century and 100% in a millennium. However, forcing would start to decrease if all emissions cease, though not immediately. As Gavin’s second link points out, warming could continue for several decades before declining, when a fuller range of factors is considered. However, I’m not sure if slow acting feedbacks are included there.

    Your referenced article attempting to show that the decrease in emissions was caused by actions intended to reduce emissions, rather that as a consequence of actions occurring for other reasons (economic downturn or a switch to cheaper gas), doesn’t do the job. You are still assuming that the reduction in emissions is intentional and will continue. Also, you have not addressed emmissions that are occurring outside of the US but as a result of economic activity in the US (e.g. exporting manufacturing and coal).

  23. 123
    Tony Weddle says:

    Walter,

    I checked Merriam Webster for the definition of “responsible”. There are several; here is a common one:

    liable to be called to account as the primary cause

    This is the definition I was using when referring to countries being responsible for the bulk of emmissions that have caused warming.

  24. 124
    Fred Magyar says:

    Chris Dudley @ 121,

    “…despite the rather obvious strategic nature of the resource and the existence of an international cartel in oil (no free market).”

    Surely you jest Mr. Dudley!

    http://peakoilbarrel.com/

    A Look At OPEC Plus US States January Production Numbers
    by RON PATTERSON posted on MARCH 28, 2014

    “The notion persist that OPEC has millions of barrels per day of spare capacity and could increase production if only they desired to do so. Many, in fact most people, really believe that all 12 OPEC nations are operating as a cartel and that perhaps all OPEC nations could increase production if they got the word. I think that idea is absurd and only the truly naive and those who know virtually nothing about the history and ability of OPEC could possibly believe such nonsense. And OPEC has done nothing to squash that idea.”

    BTW the reductions in US emissions that you continually tout as being a policy goal, probably have a lot more to do with the realities of peak oil and it’s consequences on both the US and the global economy than a sane look at reality by the current US administration and any real desire to move our economy away from fossil fuels. We certainly live in interesting times, as in the infamous Chinese curse!

  25. 125
    Chris Dudley says:

    Tony (#112),

    Emissions cuts are the law. Can’t get much more intentional than that for a nation. http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/

    Book cites for Chinese emissions are out-of-date before delivery owing to very rapid growth.

    I do think that placing tariffs on Chinese imports would address external emissions, though since China is sovereign their emissions are their own. We can pressure China, but we don’t control China.

  26. 126
    Chris Dudley says:

    Fred (#124),

    OPEC is a cartel. It is its ability to idle capacity without cutting prices, not the existence of currently idle capacity that makes it so.

  27. 127
    Fred Magyar says:

    Chris Dudley @126,

    Huh?! I guess you didn’t even bother to read Ron’s post. The point was OPEC neither has any idle capacity left, much less the ability to idle capacity without cutting prices. To make matters even worse there is the problem of the Export Land Model. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_Land_Model

    OPEC, simply put, is no longer a real cartel with any clout. If anything they are now a paper tiger.

  28. 128
    Tony Weddle says:

    Chris, whether those vehicle emissions changes will result in reduced emissions overall is something we’ll have to wait and see on (anecdotally, I hear SUV sales are an increasing proportion of an increasing number of car sales). But there’s a bigger picture as to what has caused emissions reductions since the GFC. If you’d like to believe that US legislators are having an impact in order to reduce climate changing emmissions, that’s up to you.

  29. 129
    Chris Dudley says:

    Fred (#127),

    OPEC only breaks when the Saudis have more that 50% idle capacity. So, even at 30% electrification of transportation, oil prices will remain high, causing reduced prosperity throughout the world. That is what cartels do. TOD gets many things backwards.

  30. 130
    Chris Dudley says:

    Tony (#128),

    Congress last spoke on this issue in 1990. This is the EPA acting under the authority of the Clean Air Act as it must once pollutants have been found to be dangerous, which they have.

    I understand it is complicated, but the US has pretty sophisticated environmental laws which are set up to run on the basis of science. Essentially Congress already acted. They may act again to set up cap-and-trade as they did with sulfur emissions, but if not, each source or industry will be regulated individually, the default method. All road transportation is now under regulation and shortly large stationary sources will be as well. The regulations are out of the EPA and at the White House for review right now. http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/energy-environment/202281-crucial-climate-regs-head-to-white-house

  31. 131
    William Gloege says:

    Ray of hope: The California drought may be the “Pearl Harbor” moment in climate change. Reports say a strong El Nino is forming and that may magnify the effects of the drought (although other climate experts say it will bring needed rain). In any event over the next few years the drought will produce heavy casualties on the disbelieving population.

    Central Valley farmers are feeling the early effects that will continue and grow worse as the heat is ratcheted upwards, emptying reservoirs of their last water. This will be a sign hard to ignore when all this hits the California $2 trillion economy supporting 38 million people.

    How will the decision makers react? We shall soon see.


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