Chris Stark is awaiting the IPCC report with baited breath, believing it will give the CCC some new material to help assess how credible potential pathways to 1.5C really are. But does Stark believe a 1.5C target, or net zero emissions goal, is achievable? “I am optimistic actually, but I am equally realistic about how difficult it is,” he replies. “Can it be done? Well of course it can be done. But is there a will to do it? I would definitely like to see the UK do this and be ahead of the pack. That is the implication of the Paris Agreement – it’s actually quite explicit that developed countries should go first.” Equally, Stark sees it as part of his job to highlight the very clear economic risks of inaction. He reiterates that he “absolutely believes” the risks and costs of not acting on climate change have been understated, but that the huge benefits of decarbonisation have been massively underestimated too – as Lord Stern himself has recently admitted of his own seminal 2006 review of the economic implications of climate change.
Business Green 5th Oct 2018 read more »
The warning signals of climate change that have hit people around the world in the last few months must be heeded by national governments at key meetings later this year, political leaders and policy experts are urging, as the disruption from record-breaking weather continues in many regions. Extreme weather events have struck around the world – from the drought and record temperatures in northern Europe, to forest fires in the US, to heatwaves and drought in China, to an unusually strong monsoon that has devastated large areas of southern India. As the northern hemisphere summer closes, polar observations have just establi shed that the Arctic sea ice narrowly missed a record low this year. The sea ice extent was tied for the sixth lowest on record with 2008 and 2010. Sea currents and wind conditions can have large effects on sea ice extent from year to year, but the trend is starkly evident. “Put simply, in the last 10 years the Arctic is melting faster than it ever has previously since records began,” said Julienne Stroeve, professor at University College London. “We have lost over half of the summer sea ice coverage since the late 1970’s and it is realistic to expect an ice-free Arctic sea in summer in the next few decades.” Of particular concern is the decline in thick ice which forms over several years. “The older ice has been replaced by more and more first-year ice, which is easier to melt out each summer,” she explained. Not all of the effects of this year’s extraordinary weather, which has also seen the UK’s joint hottest summer on record, can be traced directly to climate change. However, scientists are clear that the background of a warming planet has made extremes of temperature, and accompanying droughts and floods, more likely. This week, scientists are gathering in South Korea to draw together the last five years of advances in climate science to answer key questions for policymakers. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) celebrates its 30th birthday this year with what is likely to be a landmark report to be released on Monday 8 October. What is expected to emerge will be the strongest warning yet that these unusual occurrences will add up to a pattern that can only be overcome with drastic action. Thousands of the world’s leading climate experts collaborate on the periodic reports, released roughly every half-decade. They have grown clearer over the years in the certainty of their evidence that climate change is occurring as a result of human actions, and firmer in their warnings of the disruptive consequences.
Guardian 5th Oct 2018 read more »