No Global Plan from COP21 Paris to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Headline news around the world is that a landmark global agreement has been reached.

The BBC headlines

A deal to attempt to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than 2C has been agreed at the climate change summit in Paris after two weeks of negotiations.

The Australian ABC News summarizes

Historic climate deal

  • Deal to limit global warming to “well below” 2C, aiming for 1.5C
  • Greenhouse gas emissions need to peak “as soon as possible”, followed by rapid reduction
  • Deal will eliminate use of coal, oil and gas for energy

Folha de Sao Paulo

A COP21 aprovou neste sábedo (12) em Paris o acordo que obriga pela primeira vez todos os paises signatarios da Convençāo de Clima (1992) a adotar medidas de combate ao aquecimento global.

O chamado Acordo de Paris estabelece que a temperatura global, a partir de agora, só poderá subir ate um teto de “bem menos” de 2oC, na direçāo de 1,5oC.

There is something missing – a plan to cut global greenhouse gas emissions. This is clear from reading paragraphs 17 and 21 of the Agreement.

As I started a couple of weeks ago, the INDCs are not on target for the limiting to 2oC of warming. That would require emissions to be decreasing by 2030. The follow graph from the UNFCCC Synthesis Report on the aggregate effect of the INDCs states this quite clearly.

The 55 gigatonnes forecast in yellow and the required 40 gigatonnes in 2030 are visible. The graphical summary is now recognized within the agreement. Rather than say that genuine emissions reduction plans should be forthcoming, the UNFCCC asks the UNIPCC for some more scary stories and some more modelled emissions forecasts. There is a lot of hot air, but no global plans at all to reach any 2oC target. Nor will there be any global plans in place next year when the leaders of all countries will be asked to sign this agreement.

The Los Angeles Times explains (italics mine)

What is the main goal of the deal?

The stated goal among global climate negotiators has long been to reduce emissions enough so that global temperatures rise no more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, by 2100. That is the level at which scientists say the most catastrophic effects of climate change can be avoided.

That goal was not met in Paris, but few people expected it to be. The commitments that countries made will limit warming to only about 3 degrees. But the agreement includes provisions for revisiting emissions goals every five years with the intention of regularly revising them upward “to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.”

Now there are going to be five yearly super-summits to try to achieve the point where global emissions will start reducing.

Kevin Marshall

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7 Comments

  1. Kevin, I’m almost ashamed to acknowledge that to some extent we must Blame Canada for the introduction of this 1.5oC new, improved make-work project for the IPCC:-(

    Canada’s recently appointed Minister of the Environment and Climate Change was flogging this “target” by invitation (I think of Hollande, but I could be wrong). Notwithstanding the fact that I have yet to see any evidence that she has a grasp of any climate-related matters beyond that which has been fed to her by her equally ignorant underling(s), her “elevation” – somewhat late in this year’s version of the UN’s favourite recycle game – seems to have been for the sole purpose of getting this out-of-left-field “target” on the table in her oh-so-ill-informed, but smiling, way!

    I’m told by my friends in Ottawa that she’s a very sharp and respected lawyer. Nonetheless, as I had noted over a CA a few days ago:

    ———-
    It’s difficult to know whether or not Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna – a lawyer who has a very impressive resumé, which does include experience with the UN’s WHO in East Timor, but does not appear to include anything remotely related to “climate change” – might have familiarized herself with this material prior to jumping onto the 1.5 degrees C bandwagon in Paris, at least according to the CBC. See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/mckenna-cop21-paris-goal-1.3355409

    I would agree that it’s not entirely reasonable to expect a Minister of the Crown to be an instant “expert”, particularly with absolutely no prior experience in the field, after such a short time on the job.

    OTOH, I do think one has a right to expect considerably more than the plethora of cheerleading inanities uttered via various (and for the most part mercifully short) videos produced and posted on behalf of one who has taken on what seems to be such a high profile responsibility. See: http://www.climatechange.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=223B9415-1
    ———

    Oh, well … why should I expect more when McKenna’s appointment seems to be largely attributed to our PM’s “reasoning” for at least 50% of his cabinet choices: Because it’s 2015.

    Reply
    • manicbeancounter

       /  13/12/2015

      Hilary

      Thanks for the long comment. I should not blame Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The world of climate is different from the world that most people inhabit, and every effort is made to stop that reality intruding. The 2C objective requires by 2030 for global emissions to be substantially lower than today. The real world skills are to agree quantitative targets/objectives for each country and hold them accountable for achieving it. All what we have here is an agreement that recognizes that globally emissions should be cut, and that signatories agree to cut emissions in their own time.
      Most countries (especially India & China) recognize it is a game; recognize that there are benefits to playing along; but are under no illusions that to treat it anything more than a game would be to act against the best interests of their own people.

      Reply
  2. Ian G

     /  15/12/2015

    One of the positions the ICPP has taken is the increase in water vapour from resultant AGW temp rise. A doubling of CO2 would lead to a 2.0C rise but the increase in evaporation rates would lift this temp another 2.0C to 4.0C.
    There seems to be no mention of the effect of water vapour in COP21 wash-up. Is this because satellite data is not showing any increase of WV in the LA (thus the pause) or has the WV aspect been quietly removed from the ‘agenda’?
    Or have I got this all wrong?

    Reply
    • manicbeancounter

       /  15/12/2015

      The UNFCCC takes the “science” as a given. The IPCC made the case in the climate assessment report, along with the case for the policy solution. The UNFCCC gets countries to implement this policy. The IPCC have exaggerated the scale of the warming and have shown no competency in projecting the adverse consequences, The UNFCCC have exaggerated the impact of the policy proposals, and glossed over the need to monitor and enforce the policy promises.

      Reply
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