The fevered arguments about how the world can reach the Paris climate goals on cutting the greenhouse gases which are driving global heating may be a waste of time. An international team of scientists has learned more about the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (CO2) − and it’s not good news. Teams in six countries, using new climate models, say the warming potential of CO2 has been underestimated for years. The new models will be used in revised UN temperature projections next year. If they are accurate, the Paris targets of keeping temperature rise below 2°C − or preferably 1.5°C − will belong to a fantasy world. Vastly more data and computing power has become available since the current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections were finalised in 2013. “We have better models now,” Olivier Boucher, head of the Institut Pierre Simon Laplace Climate Modelling Centre in Paris, told the French news agency AFP, and they “represent current climate trends more accurately”. Projections from government-backed teams using the models in the US, UK, France and Canada suggest a much warmer future unless the world acts fast: CO2 concentrations which have till now been expected to produce a world only 3°C warmer than pre-industrial levels would more probably heat the Earth’s surface by four or five degrees Celsius.
Climate News Network 23rd Jan 2020 read more »
The devastating bushfires in Australia are likely to cause a jump in carbon concentrations in the atmosphere this year, a forecast suggests, bringing the world closer to 1.5C of global heating. The fires have not only released vast amounts of carbon dioxide and soot, but the unusual extent of the blazes means regrowth is likely to be slower than in previous years. That will reduce the amount of vegetation available to act as a carbon sink, meaning less carbon dioxide is removed from the air. Experts at the UK’s Met Office have predicted that this year will see another large rise in the carbon content of the atmosphere, which has been measured at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii since 1958. They predict that carbon dioxide will peak at more than 417 parts per million in May, usually the highest point of the year for carbon concentrations, and settle to about 414ppm as the average for 2020.
Guardian 24th Jan 2020 read more »