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Below 2°C or 1.5°C depends on rapid action from both Annex I and non-Annex I countries
2014, June 4

All governments will have to significantly increase their action on climate change – both before 2020 and after, reducing total global greenhouse gas emissions to zero between 2060 and 2080, to keep warming to 2°C.

To achieve this, Governments will need to move even faster on C02 emissions from the energy and industry sectors, according to new analysis by the Climate Action Tracker.  

The Climate Action Tracker, an analysis by research organisations Climate Analytics, Ecofys and the Pik Potsdam Institute, has examined the new scenarios in the IPCC AR5 database and calculated the required cuts to emissions needed at global and regional levels – in 2020, 2025 and 2030 – to keep global warming below 2°C with a high probability (and to return to 1.5°C by 2100).

Recent recarbonisation now means deeper cuts, sooner, needed for energy, industry emissions

For the energy and industry sectors, the deadline for reaching zero CO2 emissions should be faster, as earlier as 2045 and no later than 2065 (with negative emissions thereafter).

“The world must start preparing for a rapid decarbonisation of the energy and industry sectors within the next decade, reversing the recent recarbonisation of the sector seen since 2000, and going to zero emissions by around 2050,” said Dr Bill Hare of Climate Analytics.

“One of the major challenges for Ministers at the UNFCCC meetings in Bonn is to take concrete steps to arrest and reverse this adverse trend in decarbonisation.”

New US Clean Power Plan rates far from what’s needed for 2°C

In light of this need for decarbonisation of the industry and energy sectors, the CAT has analysed the US Government’s “Clean Power Plan” proposed rule leading to a 30% cut (from 2005 levels) in emissions from power plants. 

 “While the proposal is welcome, it is insufficient to meet the US’s pledges of 17% reduction of all greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and is inconsistent with its long-term target of 83% below 2005 level by 2050,” said Dr Niklas Höhne of Ecofys.

Based on the CAT assessment, the US’s 2030 national emissions would be around 5% above 1990 levels  - or 10 % below 2005 levels. 

“The US’s new plan is far above the levels required for a two degree pathway,” said Dr Hare.

The CAT has calculated from the IPCC AR5 scenarios that reductions for the Annex I countries in 2025 and 2030 should be 25-55% and 35-55% below 1990 levels respectively for an equity scenario based on relative capability to mitigate.

The CAT analysis shows the “Clean Power Plan” is slower than the US’s recent rate of decarbonisation over the last decade.  The plan implies an economy-wide decarbonisation rate of about 0.9% per annum, significantly lower than the 1.4% p.a. achieved in the last decade.  This is not as fast as required for a 2oC decarbonisation pathway.

Renewable energy: good news for decarbonisation

Just as coal use has recarbonised the energy sector to 2010, there has been a remarkable trend seen in renewable energy, showing the real viability of rapid decarbonisation.  In 2012, renewables made up just over half of total net additions to electric generating capacity from all sources in 2012.

“While the effect on global emissions from increased renewables is still levelled out by increased use of coal and rising energy consumption, this could be the start of a new positive trend paving the way to a full decarbonisation of the energy sector,” said Dr Höhne.

Reaching the targets would not be expensive. Under a cost-effective approach, global consumption growth from 2005 to 2030 with adequate climate action will only be a few percentage points less than in a BAU scenario without climate policy.

Carbon intensity will also need to decrease at an accelerating rate in the coming decades. Carbon intensity needs to rapidly decrease, reaching 3% annual reductions by 2030.

Still heading towards 4°C warming unless urgent action taken

The world is still tracking towards a 3.0 to 4.6°C warming by 2100, averaging 3.7°C, based on the CAT analysis of current policy trends – which is consistent with IPCC AR5 calculations.

Closing the emissions gap requires action by everyone

Some have argued that if developed countries were to reduce emissions by 40% by 2020 (the high end of the AR4’s approximate 2°C pathway), this would close the emissions gap in 2020. 

But the new CAT analysis shows that this wouldn’t be enough: additional efforts would have to come from the major developing country emitters to close 2020 emissions gap of 8-13 MtCO2e (as estimated by the CAT).

Beyond 2020 The Climate Action Tracker has calculated various options for country groupings.  Under a major equity approach, developed countries, would need to reduce emissions 25-55% below 1990 levels by 2025 and by 35-55% below 1990 levels by 2030.  In the same period Non-Annex I, or developing countries, would need to maintain their emissions no higher than present levels and, more likely, significantly below present levels.

 

To learn more, you can download the full policy brief and the press release.

Workshop on Innovative Insurance Solutions for Climate Change
2014, May 21

Climate Analytics’ Florent Baarsch participated in the workshop organised by MCII (Munich Climate Insurance Initiative) and GIZ on "Innovative Insurance Solutions for Climate Change in a Comprehensive Risk Management Approach – Developing a Toolkit”, May 12-13, 2014. There were thirty-two representatives from the insurance and reinsurance industry (AXA, Allianz and Munich Re), the African Risk Capacity, the World Food Programme, the Programme Bureau of the German Ministry for Environment, IFC, GIZ, academia (Columbia University and UNU) and insurance regulators from Pakistan. 

Participants worked together to develop a toolkit to support policymakers in implementing risk transfer (and reduction) mechanisms at different levels: household, national and regional levels. The issues considered at each of the levels were:

- identifying the key activities / approaches 

- defining stakeholders for each activity

- discussing preconditions for implementation of activities

- sequencing the options for proposed activities

A fact sheet presenting the main outcomes of the workshop will be available at the SB40 Session in Bonn and there will be a MCII side-event concentrating on this topic. The toolkit is to be launched at COP 20 in Lima. 

 

For more information and full agenda click here.

 

World Bank free online course on Climate Change
2013, December 10

As a follow up to the two reports Turn Down the HeatWhy a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided and Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts and the Case for Resilience, co-authored by Climate Analytics, the World Bank now offers a free online course on Climate Change.

The four week course brings leading and renowned scientists to provide a synthesis of the most recent scientific evidence and provides an analysis of likely impacts and risks with a focus on developing countries. It chronicles already observed changes in the climate system and its impacts, through the increase in carbon dioxide emissions, corresponding temperature increases and melting of glaciers and sea ice, and changes in precipitation patterns. It also offers projections for the 21st century for droughts, heat waves, sea level rise, with implications on food and water security as well as possible impacts on agriculture, water availability, ecosystems and human health. 

The course presents this analysis for the likely impacts of a 4-degree warming trajectory and stresses the need for decision makers and communities to take a firm look at their adaptation choices, while signaling the urgency for mitigation action. Participants will also be introduced to the risks of triggering non-linearity, and tipping elements like the disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet and large-scale Amazon dieback. This course ends with a discussion on the main policy choices needed to prevent warming to be above 2°C.

The course starts on January 27 2014.

Find out more and enroll here.

Fast Start Finance - Math and Aftermath
2013, November 22

Climate Analytics and New York University School of Law has analysed the reports from all governments who have delivered Fast Start Finance funding since Copenhagen in 2009.   We have identified important lessons  from the FSF process that are crucial for the rules and structure of how Long Term Finance should be delivered, around issues such as reporting, sources, burden-sharing, priorities, access and the balance between funding for adaptation and mitigation.

In talks for a new climate treaty, a race to the bottom
2013, November 20

Weak government action on climate change will lead to a projected 3.7degC of warming by 2100, around 0.6degC higher than the original promises they made in Copenhagen, the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) said today.

The annual assessment by the CAT, a project of research organisations:  Climate Analytics, Ecofys and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research shows that the world has a one in three chance of exceeding 4?C by 2100.

“We are seeing a major risk of a further downward spiral in ambition, a retreat from action, and a re-carbonisation of the energy system led by the use of coal,” said Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics.

“Governments are taking a ‘bottom up’ approach to climate action, unilaterally degrading their pledges without review:  the type of pledge first, review later approach to commitments that could lead to a very weak agreement in 2015.”

Since the Warsaw talks began, the announcement by Japan to downgrade its target enlarged the global 2020 emissions gap by 3-4%. Australia's backtracking on implementation could widen the gap further, with some positive signals coming from the US and China.

These developments point towards warming of about 5?C, under the highest of the new IPCC scenarios that sees a sixfold increase in coal use.  There is a growing disconnect between current policies and 2020 pledges, and the longer-term reductions needed for 1.5-2°C.

“This whole situation flies in the face of plentiful opportunities for action and the continuing rise of renewable energy,” said Niklas Höhne Director for energy and climate policy at Ecofys.  “For the first time, we analysed whether currently implemented government policies are sufficient to meet their pledges and find that significant and very diverse action is happening, but still not sufficient.”

“Instead of strong domestic policies to meet ambitious pledges, we’re seeing a weakening of action, and a degradation of pledges that sees the highest 2020 emissions levels the Climate Action Tracker has ever seen,” said Marion Vieweg, of Climate Analytics.

The Climate Action Tracker has spent recent months researching the world’s 24 biggest emitters, gathering data from a wide range of sources and today released its full assessment of their current pledges and policy pathways. These are the numbers that have been used to arrive at the 3.7degC policy projection.

 

To learn more, you can download the full policy brief or watch the webcast of the press conference.

Japan reverses Copenhagen pledge, widens global emissions gap, nuclear shutdown not to blame
2013, November 20

15th November 2013

Japan’s new 2020 target of a 3.8% cut in emissions at 2005 levels, announced overnight, will increase its own emissions and widen the global emissions gap by 3-4%, according to the Climate Action Tracker.

The new target will mean that by 2020, Japan’s emissions will have increased by 3.1 percent above 1990 levels, adding another 356 MtC02e/year to the atmosphere, and changing its Climate Action Tracker rating from “Sufficient” to “Inadequate.”

The 2011 shutdown of Japan’s nuclear industry cannot account for this massive degradation of ambition. Replacing all nuclear production projected for 2020 with the present fossil fuel mix would reduce the original 25% reduction to a 17-18% reduction. Even a shift to coal to replace nuclear would halve the original reduction – still far from explaining the planned increase in emissions. With this new target, Japan will have to do little to fulfil its new 2020 pledge.

“This historic reversal in Japan’s climate policy away from reductions towards increasing its own emissions could become a tipping point, feeding a downward spiral of ambition globally at a time when Governments are supposed to be inspiring global action on climate,” said Marion Vieweg of Climate Analytics.

“This is also a clear indication that pledges made under a ‘bottom up’ Copenhagen approach can be dropped at will. This must carry a lesson for how the world negotiates a new 2015 global agreement,” she said.

If the shortfall in supply from nuclear were to be taken up by oil, gas, or renewables, instead of coal, the portion of the revision in Japan’s target attributable to national circumstances would be much lower.

If replaced by oil, the shut-down of nuclear production would represent 38% of the overall reduction in ambition, 23% in the case of gas, and 0% for a scenario where it is fully replaced by renewables.

 

To learn more, you can download the full policy brief.

Green Climate Fund Workshop on Readiness, Barbados, July 2013
2013, October 31

Members of the Climate Analytics Team supported and facilitated the organisation of the Green Climate Fund Workshop on Readiness that took place in Bridgetown, Barbados from July 11‐12, 2013. The workshop was organised by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), in partnership with the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The goal of the workshop was to enhance learning on existing practices, initiatives and programmes on readiness and preparatory support, as well as to discuss and advance thinking on modalities for readiness and preparatory support for the Fund and associated policy matters.

The participants - including Board Members, advisers, representatives from United Nations, international, regional and national organizations, civil society, research/academic institutions active in the area of climate change finance, and representatives from the Interim Secretariat - stressed the high importance of climate finance readiness and preparatory support for the Fund’s overall objective to have a transformational impact and to promote a paradigm shift towards low emission and climate resilient development.

The report on the workshop is available here.  

Climate Analytics report published by CAN Europe
2013, August 1

A new discussion paper prepared by Climate Analytics for CAN Europe that provides an analysis of the adequacy and feasibility of the 1.5°C long-term global limit.

Scientific assessments have shown that impacts are projected to worsen significantly above a global warming of 1.5, or 2°C from pre-industrial levels. Such assessments have contributed to the adoption of 2°C as a global goal during the climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009. In Cancun in 2010 Climate Convention Parties agreed to review the global goal with the perspective of strengthening this to 1.5°C.

Three considerations play a role in opinions about a long-term global goal:

1) Does a long-term global goal actually help streamlining global efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and inspire local initiatives?

2) Is the level adequately low to prevent dangerous interference with the climate system?

3) Is the goal feasible, given socio-economic and technical constraints?

 

Download the full report here.

Climate Analytics in a nutshell: our brochure
2013, July 18

The Climate Analytics Brochure is out! You can read all about our mission, team, activities, current and past projects and publications, partners and funders, all in one neat package!

Attachments:
Warmer World Will Keep Millions of People Trapped in Poverty, Says New Report
2013, June 25

Regular food shortages in Sub-Saharan Africa….shifting rain patterns in South Asia leaving some parts under water and others without enough water for power generation, irrigation, or drinking….degradation and loss of reefs in South East Asia resulting in reduced fish stocks and coastal communities and cities more vulnerable to increasingly violent storms….these are but a few of the likely impacts of a possible global temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius in the next few decades  that threatens to trap millions of people in poverty, according to a new scientific report released today by the World Bank Group.

Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience builds on a World Bank report released late last year, which concluded the world would warm by 4 degrees Celsius(4°C or 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century if we did not take concerted action now.   This new report looks at the likely impacts of present day, 2°C and 4°C warming on agricultural production, water resources, coastal ecosystems and cities across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South East Asia.

This new report outlines an alarming scenario for the days and years ahead – what we could face in our lifetime,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “The scientists tell us that if the world warms by 2°C -- warming which may be reached in 20 to 30  years --  that will cause widespread food shortages, unprecedented heat-waves, and more intense cyclones. In the near-term, climate change, which is already unfolding, could batter the slums even more and greatly harm the lives and the hopes of individuals and families who have had little hand in raising the Earth's temperature.”

“These changes forecast for the tropics illustrate the level of hardships that will be inflicted on all regions eventually, it we fail to keep warming under control,” Kim said. “Urgent action is needed to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to help countries prepare for a world of dramatic climate and weather extremes.”

The report, prepared for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, reveals how rising global temperatures are increasingly threatening the health and livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations, crucially magnifying problems each region is struggling with today. 

Download the complete report here.

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