threegenerationsleft

human activity and the destruction of the planet


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Met office expects surge in Carbon Dioxide levels in 2019

A report published in The Independent today (25th Jan 2019) states that scientists from the Met Office are predicting a surge this year (2019) in CO2 levels.  This is because of rising emissions due to the world’s continued use of fossil fuels will combine with reduced absorption of greenhouse gas by withering grasslands and forests, due to unprecedented heat.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/environment/co2-levels-expected-to-rise-rapidly-in-2019-met-office-scientists-warn/ar-BBSHIZM?ocid=spartandhp#image=2

A further explanation about the prediction is as follows:

CO2 levels will be at a record high once again after emissions reached unprecedented levels last year, dashing hopes the world had finally hit “peak carbon”.

Besides fossil fuels pumping out the harmful gas, natural weather fluctuations will exacerbate the problem as they hamper the ability of carbon sinks to store it.

In 2019 an upward swing in tropical Pacific Ocean temperature will make many regions warmer and drier.

As drought sets in and plants dry out, they will be less capable of sucking CO2 from the atmosphere, and massive deforestation in places like the Amazon is making this problem even worse.

The new predictions were based on monitoring at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, which has registered a 30 per cent increase in the concentration of CO2 since 1958.

“Carbon sinks have saved us from what has already happened – the future rise would have been about double if it wasn’t for the sinks. So we are lucky they exist, to be honest,” Professor Richard Betts of the Met Office Hadley Centre told The Independent.

“But the sinks themselves are affected by the climate, and that’s an important thing because it shows that as climate change continues in the future it may affect their strength.”If emissions continue to rise, a major concern is that the carbon sinks currently storing carbon will cease to function, potentially leading to uncontrollable warming and a scenario dubbed “hothouse Earth”.a close up of a map: Forecast CO2 concentrations at the Mauna Loa station for 2019 (orange), along with previous forecast concentrations and the real observed data (Met Office)
© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Forecast CO2 concentrations at the Mauna Loa station for 2019 (orange), along with previous forecast concentrations and the real observed data (Met Office)
Last year Mauna Loa observatory recorded concentrations of over 410ppm in April, marking the highest level that had been reached in at least 800,000 years.This year CO2 levels in the atmosphere are likely to hit 411 parts per million (ppm).The Met Office forecast predicts the average increase in CO2 will be around 2.75ppm, the third largest annual rise on record, matched only by two years in which El Nino Pacific warming events took place.

CO2 is by far the biggest contributor to climate change, and global efforts to prevent environmental disaster largely focus on transitioning away from industries that pump it into the air.

Scientists welcomed the new data collected in Hawaii, describing it as “a call to innovate with rapid and radical responses” to the looming crisis.

“We need to reduce emissions from fossil fuel use, increase soil carbon sequestration to ‘lock-up’ CO2, decelerate deforestation and land conversion, and promote less polluting more sustainable agriculture,” said Professor Nick Ostle from Lancaster University, who was not involved in the Met Office research. “It’s a massive challenge but there are real opportunities to make an impact individually and globally.”

Further examples of the effects of global warming across the world are shown in a picture gallery in the original article.
An article in The Guardian on 25th January 2019 also carries this story but giving further detail and linking the predictions to an expected El Niño event in 2019:


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What was agreed at COP24 in Katowice, Poland?

The latest United Nations talks (UNFCC) at COP24 seem to have been engulfed in controversy.  The main agenda item was to put together a framework for different countries to implement in working towards their Paris 2015 targets. This included how governments will measure, report on and verify their emissions-cutting efforts, ensuring all countries are held to proper standards, which they will find it hard to wriggle out of.  However, they seem to have got bogged down with disagreements, mainly to do with carbon credits and carbon sinks.

Carbon credits are awarded to countries achieving their targets. Carbon sinks relate to forests, which absorb carbon dioxide.  Brazil, with its large rain forest cover, insisted on a change of wording but critics of this said it would lead to a form of double counting.  The issue was postponed for another year.

All of this took place within the scenario of the IPCC-commissioned October report, which warned that, allowing warming to reach 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, would have grave consequences, including the death of coral reefs and loss of many species.

Four countries joined forces to weaken the conclusions of the report.  These were: USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait who would only agree to the timing of the scientist’s report.  In addition, Brazil, with its new right-wing president, who is sceptical of climate concerns, withdrew its offer to host next year’s talks in Brazil.

However, 196 200 countries agreed to rules for how they’ll adhere to the Paris climate agreement. The rules define how nations will record their emissions and their progress toward climate goals.

Katowice

President Michal Kurtyka celebrating the final agreement in Katowice

The poorest and most vulnerable countries felt that the final agreement demanded too little of industrialized countries, whilst expecting developing countries to agree on common reporting requirements to bring their climate promises into line with those of more developed countries. However, the richest countries must now be more open about their financial support to those countries most affected by global warming.

One of the downsides to the COP24 event was the hosting of a pro-coal fringe meeting, during the proceedings by the USA.  The only other country attending this meeting was Australia.  Perhaps not surprising in view of other postings on this site over the last two years.

See: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/11/australia-only-nation-to-join-us-at-pro-coal-event-at-cop24-climate-talks

Further reports on COP24 can be found at:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/16/what-was-agreed-at-cop24-in-poland-and-why-did-it-take-so-long

https://www.politico.eu/article/5-takeaways-from-the-cop24-global-climate-change-summit-poland-katowice/

https://environment-analyst.com/72855/cop24-deal-to-put-paris-agreement-into-practice?view=print

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/cop24-climate-change-summit-live-latest-update-poland-katowice-global-warming-paris-agreement-a8663481.html

COP25 will be in Chile.