Monday, July 16, 2007

Is the ‘emissions control’ figure in the UK Government’s credible?

The state of UK Climate Policy From the Global Commons Institute mailing list.

The control figure is minus 60% UK emissions by 2050 against a 1990

It isn’t credible as it is randomly generated and inadequate. It also
flatly contradicts the scientific view of safety provided by the IPCC on
the extent of emissions control now needed to avoid runaway climate

In a nutshell, DEFRA - the Ministry responsible - are promoting a number
that is too little too late.

The Fourth Assessment of the IPCC science working group contains for the
first time, coupled modelling [some climate system feedbacks now
included] that comes from the UK Hadley Centre, DEFRA’s first source of
expert analysis.

The 450 ppm atmospheric CO2 concentration threshold is the now widely
cited value beyond which runaway climate change becomes unavoidable. The
coupled results show that the total weight of global CO2 emissions
contraction needed to stay below this threshold should reduced by about
a third of the previously published values. [IPCC FAR WG1 Chapter Ten p

This projects the need to achieve nearly zero emissions globally by
around 2050: (link) [see p2] and this analysis corroborates the C&C
risk-analysis on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate
Change DVD (here)

It should be noted as a matter of concern that the negative-albedo
consequent on ice-melt - another positive-feedback from the system as a
whole - is still omitted from the coupled models cited.

Small talk in Whitehall policy circles still persists with the myth that
it is too soon to achieve a global deal, while this evidence shows that
it is virtually too late to get one that might yet be effective.

A view still cited here is that developing countries just don’t yet take
the problem seriously enough. This view is refuted by the recent HSBC
poll: (link)

The Government’s control figure is simply not credible. It flatly
contradicts the expert view from its own Hadley Centre. It also
interestingly contradicts the advice of their big name climate advisor
Al Gore in that he wants a 90% cut for the UK within a generation
[typically 30 years]. Will he fire them up, or will they just fire him?

To get support the government has to be seen to be attempting to do
enough soon enough nationally as a function of a coherent international
and global study. They have this and know appalling consequences of
failing to do this will be felt as increasing desperation. Is this why
we also hear that the Ministry of Defence now argue for enhanced
measures to deal with the insecurities arising.

To seek support for what is palpably inadequate loses time and trust and
possibly the match itself. Perhaps the arrival of Bob Watson may yet
help . . .


Climate Change Action

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