14 February 2024

As warming accelerates and 1.5°C is breached faster than forecast, Australian Government stumbles on climate risks

 by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop, first published at Pearls and Irritations


If there was shock and awe last week when the Copernicus Climate Change Service announced that global average warming over the last twelve months — February 2023 to January 2024 — had exceeded 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C), it was likely because too many people had succumbed to the predominant but delusional policy-making narrative that holding warming to 1.5–2°C was still on the cards.

What does this symbolically important moment mean for the poor understanding of climate-risk analysis by Australian governments? To begin, the idea that emissions could continue till 2050 and still achieve the 1.5–2°C goal was always a con; now it is fully exposed.

26 January 2024

Towards an unliveable planet: Climate’s 2023 annus horribilis

The "production gap". Government plans and projections would lead to an increase in global coal production until 2030, and in global oil and gas production until at least 2050 (UNEP).
 

by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop, first published at Pearls and Irritations.

This is the second article in a two-part series.  Read the first part here.

 The heat and extreme climate records of 2023 shocked scientists. So where are we heading? Given current trends, the world will zoom past 2°C of warming and the Paris climate goal of limiting warming to 1.5-2°C.

Climate model scenarios similar to current policies project 2°C of warming before 2050; if James Hansen is right (see Part 1) and warming sharply accelerates, it could be a decade sooner. These outcomes will be driven by the high energy imbalance, continuing high emissions, the accelerating accumulation of heat in the oceans, and decreases in short-term aerosol cooling.

Several years ago a group of eminent scientists proposed a “carbon law”, which said that keeping warming to 2°C required emissions to be halved every decade from 2020 onwards, including a halving between 2020 and 2030, plus some carbon drawdown. Instead, the level of greenhouse gases and coal use both hit record highs in 2023. And the largest national fossil fuel producers plan to keep on expanding production As a result, current government plans worldwide will likely result in emissions in 2050 almost as high as they are today, according to the UN Environment Programme’s 2023 Production Gap report.

25 January 2024

Humanity’s new era of “global boiling”: Climate’s 2023 annus horribilis

 

by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop, first published at Pearls and Irritations

For climate change, 2023 was an “unprecedented” year, “absolutely gobsmackingly bananas” and “scary” and “frightening”. And that was what climate scientists said! The UN Secretary General called it the year in which humanity crossed into a new climate era — an age of “global boiling”.

Climate disruption shocked climate scientists in 2023. “Surprising. Astounding. Staggering. Unnerving. Bewildering. Flabbergasting. Disquieting. Gobsmacking. Shocking. Mind boggling,” said Prof. Ed Hawkins when September 2023 exceeded the previous September record by a huge 0.5°C.

The decline in Antarctic sea-ice extent was much greater than model projections, leading the National Snow and Ice Data Centre’s Walt Meier to exclaim: “It’s so far outside anything we’ve seen, it’s almost mind- blowing.”

Many records were set for new climate extremes — record heat, rainfall and floods — with some of it driven by the destabilisation of the polar jet stream. “We are hitting record breaking extremes much sooner than I expected. That’s frightening, scary, and concerning, and it really suggests that we’re not as aware of what’s coming as we thought we were,” said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick of the University of NSW.