Articles Posted in Reports

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Following up on previous assessment reports, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued an updated assessment report on August 9, 2021. The Report carries dire warnings of the impacts of man-made activities unless immediate steps are taken.

In the summary for policymakers provided in the Report, the authors make a number of significant findings, regarding the increases in green house gas (GHG), sea level rise, increased temperatures and other impacts of climate change, much of which they find was either likely caused or contributed to by man.

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On May 4, 2021 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its once a decade report on the status of United States weather over the previous thirty year period.  The report called U.S. Climate Normals, provides a compilation of the observations from local weather stations throughout the United States during the period from 1991 through 2020.

“Simply stated: The Normals are the basis for judging how daily, monthly and annual climate conditions compare to what’s normal for a specific location in today’s climate.”

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Last week the United Nations secretariat issued a “Synthesis Report” summarizing the current status of the attempts by the signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement in addressing climate change. The Report provides sobering revelations concerning the speed by which irreversible climate change is occurring and how little time the world has to take action. The Report is stated to be a synthesis of information provided, as of December 31, 2020, by 48 of the Nationally Determined Contributors (“NDCs”), with respect to their goals for periods ranging between 2025 and 2050. It is anticipated that the information will be updated as the time for the next conference on climate change approaches.

The report summarizes the present goals for reduction in Green House Gases (“GHGs”) but notes: “…to be consistent with global emission pathways with no or limited overshoot of the 1.5°C goal, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions need to decline by about 45 per cent from the 2010 level by 2030,reaching net zero around2050. For limiting global warming to below 2°C, CO2 emissions need to decrease by about 25 per cent from the 2010 level by 2030 and reach net zero around 2070. Deep reductions are required for non-CO2 emissions as well. Thus, the estimated reductions referred to … above fall far short of what is required, demonstrating the need for Parties to further strengthen their mitigation commitments under the Paris Agreement.”

The Report summarizes various actions  and goals proposed by the Participants noting:

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The American Meteorological Society issued its annual report recently on the state of the climate for 2019. The report notes increases in Green House Gases (GHGs) as well as extreme warm days during 2019. A partial summary of the findings in the report includes the following:

“All major greenhouse gases released into Earth’s atmosphere reached new record high concentrations in 2019. The annual global average carbon dioxide concentration at Earth’s surface was 409.8 ± 0.1 ppm, an increase of 2.5 ± 0.1 ppm over 2018, and the highest in the modern instrumental record and in ice core records dating back 800,000 years. Greenhouse gases, along with several halogenated gases, have contributed to a 45% increase in net forcing compared to 1990.

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The second volume of the National Climate Assessment was issued on November 23. The Report clearly states that Climate Change is getting worse, temperatures are increasing at rates unprecedented in modern times and humans are contributing.

”However, the assumption that current and future climate conditions will resemble the recent past is no longer valid (Ch. 28: Adaptation, KM 2). Observations collected around the world provide significant, clear, and compelling evidence that global average temperature is much higher, and is rising more rapidly, than anything modern civilization has experienced, with widespread and growing impacts (Figure 1.2) (CSSR, Ch. 1.9). The warming trend observed over the past century can only be explained by the effects that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, have had on the climate (Ch. 2: Climate, KM 1 and Figure 2.1).”

The Report “…concludes that the evidence of human-caused climate change is overwhelming and continues to strengthen, that the impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country, and that climate-related threats to Americans’ physical, social, and economic well-being are rising. These impacts are projected to intensify—but how much they intensify will depend on actions taken to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the risks from climate change now and in the coming decades (Ch. 28: Adaptation, Introduction; Ch. 29: Mitigation, KM 3 and 4).”

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The report issued this week, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), laid out both a scenario for dire impacts from Climate Change and an opportunity to avoid many of those impacts.  The report notes there is still an opportunity to avoid some of the worst effects of Climate Change but the window of opportunity is rapidly shrinking.

The report concludes it is essential to limit the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 C degrees by 2030 in order to avoid some of the most catastrophic impacts of Climate Change. The report notes:

“D1 …Avoiding overshoot and reliance on future large-scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) can only be achieved if global CO2 emissions start to decline well before 2030 (high confidence).”

 

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A recent peer reviewed article raises the the strong possibility of reaching an irreversible threshold in climate change. The article raises the serious potential for what is called “Hothouse Earth” where an irreversible tipping point of climate change is reached.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America the article notes:

“We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a ‘Hothouse Earth’ pathway even as human emissions are reduced.”

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Earlier this month the government issued its fourth climate science report (NCA4) which, among other things, reinforces the scientific evidence of the contribution by humans to climate change. It is important to note the Report is mandated by the Global Climate Assessment Act of 1990 and was prepared by a group of agencies and individuals with significant credentials:

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) serves as the administrative lead agency for the preparation of NCA4. The CSSR Federal Science Steering Committee (SSC)1 has representatives from three agencies (NOAA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA], and the Department of Energy [DOE]); USGCRP; and three Coordinating Lead Authors, all of whom were Federal employees during the development of this report. Following a public notice for author nominations in March 2016, the SSC selected the writing team, consisting of scientists representing Federal agencies, national laboratories, universities, and the private sector. Contributing Authors were requested to provide special input to the Lead Authors to help with specific issues of the assessment.”

A sampling of the sobering conclusions of the Report regarding the increasing human influence on climate change, the already extreme impacts and the potential for even more severe effects are quoted below: Continue reading →

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The National  Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been issuing a “Report Card” noting temperatures, ice melt, biodiversity and other issues relating to the status of the Arctic since 2006. The 2016 Report Card was recently issued reflecting additional evidence of the impacts of climate change.

“Observations in 2016 showed a continuation of long-term Arctic warming trends which reveals the interdependency of physical and biological Arctic systems, contributing to a growing recognition that the Arctic is an integral part of the globe, and increasing the need for comprehensive communication of Arctic change to diverse user audiences.”

Highlights of the report include:

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A newly released study has predicted that unchecked climate change could result in a significant increase in sea level rise. As reported in the media, a new study has concluded that previous estimates of sea level rise underestimated the potential contribution from the Antarctic ice sheet, should climate change continue without action to limit its impacts. The new predictions view the increase in sea level rise being increased by a factor of two.

Simply stated:

“Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than a metre of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 15 metres by 2500, if emissions continue unabated.”

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