Governments set world on more than 3°C warming, still playing with numbers
Bangkok-- 4 September 2012—Governments are still set to send global temperatures above 3°C by 2100, even though their agreed warming limit of 2°C is still technically possible, scientists said today.
In releasing their latest update at the Bangkok UN climate talks, the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), a joint project of Climate Analytics, Ecofys and the Pik Potsdam Institute, said that it is still technically possible to meet the limit of a 2°C warming above pre-industrial levels - or lower.
“If Governments take no further action beyond current pledges within the context of the UN climate process, the global mean temperature will increase by as much as 2.6 - 4.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100,” said Bill Hare, Director of Climate Analytics.
“Evidence clearly shows that it is a question of political will - not technological feasibility – as to whether 2°C is ‘out the window’ as some commentators are saying,” he said.
The Climate Action Tracker has analysed the effect of actions to curb the low hanging fruit of “non-C02” gases such as black carbon and HFC’s. While it’s important to take action on these gases, they are “totally insufficient” on their own to limit warming.
There is also pressure to get all countries to pledge to cut emissions, but the scientists have found this wouldn’t make enough of a difference in terms of curbing warming.
“Our analysis shows that it’s not the number of governments making pledges that will make the difference here, it’s the size of the pledges already on the table. We’re not facing a ‘participation gap’ here – it’s an ambition gap,” said Niklas Höhne, Director of Energy and Climate Policy at Ecofys.
Meanwhile, it seems that a number of countries have been playing with numbers – in particular Canada (page 10 of briefing).
The CAT analysis of Canada’s latest “Emissions Trends Report” has found that, in a number of different ways, the statistics presented by the Canadian Government don’t add up to the claims it has made and that a number of open questions remain unanswered.
- While the Government claims that Canada is “halfway” toward meeting its pledge, the figures show that it’s actually only one third of the way there compared to current emissions levels.
- Canada has started factoring in LULUCF (Land use, land use change and forestry) to its emissions projections. They do however not provide full clarity on which accounting rules they are going to use in the future, leaving huge uncertainty.
- Canada has been using current data and measuring it against old projections, which makes its data look better, but does nothing for the climate.
- It has also begun using a methodology previously only used by developing countries: measuring against Business as Usual (BAU) projections. But it uses old BAU projections, but even then its pledge is only equal to Mexico’s pledge, with Brazil doing better.