This post originally appeared on Manchester Climate Monthly.
Climate scientist Professor Kevin Anderson spoke to Manchester Climate Monthly on Monday 23rd November. In the two separate videos that follow, you can see him outlining what is at stake in the upcoming Paris climate conference – the nature of the individual nations’ pledges (INDCs) and how they actually add up to 3 or 4 degrees of warming, not the 2.7 that’s being widely quoted. He believes there is still a (very) slender chance that we can keep warming below two degrees, but it will require a much larger effort than anything currently on the table, and within months the option will be gone.
He looks at the heroic assumptions involved in “Bio-energy Carbon Capture and Storage” before turning to the history of the “two degrees” claim and what it means, the question of ‘what is to be done’, of hope, responsibility and much else.
As ever, Kevin’s answers are comprehensive, carefully modulated around what is fact and what is interpretation, and compelling.
0 minutes What are INDCs? And why should the claim that the INDCs add up to roughly 2.7 degrees of warming very questionable?
INDCs are the “voluntary contributions” (pledges), only go out to 2030, hard to quantify because being submitted in different forms. LOTS of assumptions in this. UNEP Emissions gap report released recently suggests 3 to 4 degrees.
And all the assessments assume that we will develop techniques to suck carbon out of the atmosphere – “BECSS” – Bio-energy Carbon Capture and Storage, and roll them out. Lots of very heroic assumptions in all this
7 minutes and 30 seconds – “It’s the responsibility of intellectuals to expose lies and tell the truth”
Must be careful ascribing intentionality to deceive – it’s an “emerging conspiracy”, of iterative failure, making it harder and harder to do anything.
10 mins. You live in hope?
“We are incredibly unlikely to succeed on two degrees. We are unlikely to hold to three.” Paris is probably the end-game for two degrees C. We’ve lost all the our carbon budgets for that…”
13 mins Explain what two degrees means and why it matters?
O mins – what did we agree at Copenhagen?
We agreed at Copenhagen to take action to stay below two degrees, consistent with science and on the basis of equity. And didn’t do it- the INDCS are not two degrees, not consistent with science, and massively inequitable.
1 mins 40 Why are you going to Paris?
2 mins 30 What should we as citizens be doing in 2016?
5 mins 40 Who do we push then?
7 mins 30 There seem to be no levers that people of good faith can pull on to even slow down the acceleration of the juggernaut.
“We’ve come to a consensus of apathy” … we have all been co-opted…
9 mins 50 “But then you become a voice in the wilderness”?
10 mins 50 What changes do we expect – food prices, wetter winters?
If only it were that. And who for? People living near the sea level in Bangladesh, or rich people in the Northern Hemisphere? We think we can get by, build big enough walls to cope with 2 or 3 degrees warmer.
“We need imagination, clarity and courage.”
14 mins 10 Is there a country or a region that is doing things in the right direction, even if not at the right speed or scale?
16 mins 35 Anything else you’d like to say?
On optimism, pessimism, personal carbon allowances