24 December 2015

COP21 Kevin Anderson the crisis is worse than we think & scientists are self-censoring to downplay risk

Kevin Anderson talking to Amy Goodman of Democracy Now at COP21 Paris.

COP21 Paris Agreement Johan Rockstrom Kevin Anderson

Johan Rockstrom and Kevin Anderson speaking as a panel of 5 scientists commenting on the final text of the Paris Agreement.

22 December 2015

Must-Read Kevin Anderson views on the Paris Agreement and COP21

The Paris Agreement: 10/10 for presentation; 4/10 for content. Shows promise.

"If the global community is to maintain emissions with the 2°C carbon budget, there needs to be much greater recognition of the profound and immediate challenges we face. The scale of emission reductions will not be delivered through eloquent speeches, win-win rhetoric and green-growth spin. Zero carbon energy technologies are a prerequisite of a 2°C future – but they are far from sufficient. They will only deliver the necessary levels of mitigation if they are accompanied by fundamental changes to the political and economic framing of contemporary society. This is a mitigation challenge far beyond anything discussed in Paris – yet without it our well-intended aspirations will all too soon wither and die on the vine. We owe our children, our planet and ourselves more than that. So let Paris be the catalyst for a new paradigm – one in which we deliver a sustainable, equitable and prosperous future for all."

Talks in the city of light generate more heat. Nature

"The allying of deep and early reductions in energy demand with rapid substitution of fossil fuels by zero-carbon alternatives frames a 2 °C agenda that does not rely on negative emissions. So why was this real opportunity muscled out by the economic bouncers in Paris? No doubt there are many elaborate and nuanced explanations — but the headline reason is simple. In true Orwellian style, the political and economic dogma that has come to pervade all facets of society must not be questioned. For many years, green-growth oratory has quashed any voice with the audacity to suggest that the carbon budgets associated with 2 °C cannot be reconciled with the mantra of economic growth."

I can't really add anything to Anderson's analysis. I strongly recommend that you read both items.

20 December 2015

Minister for Climate Change Paula Bennett's first act is confirming 'Hot Air' creative accounting with surplus Kyoto Protocol units

Paula BennettNew Zealand's new Minister for Climate Change Issues, Paula Bennett, has just confirmed New Zealand will be "carrying forward" 127 million "Hot Air" emissions units (or offsets) under the Kyoto Protocol rules. These units mostly do not represent a tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent reduced somewhere else and yet the Government intends to use them to allow New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions to continue to increase.

On Thursday 17 December 2015, Ms Bennett released a statement stating that New Zealand had met it's 2008 to 2012 Kyoto Protocol emissions reduction target and was well on the way to meeting the 2013 to 2020 target.

The Minister's statement linked to four reports on the Ministry for the Environment's website;

  1. the Biennial report and net position snapshot 2015,
  2. the Biennial Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,
  3. the Report upon expiration of the additional period for fulfilling commitments by New Zealand and finally
  4. the updated Latest update on New Zealand's 2020 net position

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In two scathing posts No Right Turn assesses the dubious use of the Ukrainian and Russian units derived from coal stockpile projects; Climate change: A policy based on fraud and Climate change: How bad is New Zealand's climate fraud?.

My previous estimate of the amount of surplus units was 86 million units. The reports confirm 127 million units. I did a back-of-envelope calculation to relate the numbers of units cancelled (to match 2008 2012 emissions) and the numbers left over as 'surplus' which may be carried forward.

The updated Latest update on New Zealand's 2020 net position explicitly confirms that New Zealand is 're-using' the surplus units in assessing compliance with the 2020 target of a 5% reduction in emissions from a 1990 gross emissions base. So we will 'meet' the 2020 target in spite of projected increases in both gross emissions and net emissions. Gross emissions in 2020 are estimated to be 83 million tonnes, or 24% higher than 1990's 67 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Net emissions in 2020 are estimated to be 59 million tonnes, or 54% higher than 1990's 38 million tonnes.

Manipulating accounting rules like this, so that an adverse trend is systematically misrepresented is as it's opposite, a positive trend - is the text-book definition of creative accounting. I agree with No Right Turn that this is another example of New Zealand's completely unethical climate change policy.

09 December 2015

Kevin Anderson shocks Bloomberg with net zero carbon message by 2050

More COP21 media coverage. Kevin Anderson does a five minute interview emphasizing the need for carbon dioxide emissions to drop to zero by 2050 with the slightly incredulous Bloomberg Business channel hosts. I don't think rapid and radical decarbonization of the economy is really part of their world view!

COP 21 and the path to controlling climate change.