RECENT PUBLICATIONS OF INTEREST

Editorial, The Promise of Paris , Nature Climate Change ,
Published online 07 Dec 2015

Mooney, C,  Scientists just undermined a key idea behind the Paris climate talks, Washington Post, Published online 07 Dec 2015

Editorial, Plotting a course from Paris, Nature Climate Change,
Published online 26 Nov 2015

 “Analysis by the UNFCCC shows that countries’ current promises are insufficient to meet the agreed goal of preventing global temperatures rising more than 2 °C above pre­industrial levels 1. The combined impact of countries’ intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) suggests that temperatures will rise in the range of 2.2 to 3.4 °C  — a considerable advance on current policies, which put the world on track for around 3.6 °C of warming.”

Jackson, R.  B. et al. Reaching peak Emissions, Nature Climate Change,
Published online 07 Dec 2015

“Rapid growth in global C02 emissions from fossil fuels and industry ceased in the past two years, despite continued economic growth.  Decreased coal use in China was largely responsible, coupled with slower global growth in petroleum and faster growth in renewables. … Whether the unexpectedly low growth rates in C02 emissions in 2014 and 2015 are a first sign of an approaching global peak in emissions is unclear.  Current INDC pledges suggest that, even if emissions were to peak soon, global emissions would still take years to decline substantively.”

Smith, P. et al. Biophysical and economic limits to negative C02 emissions, Nature Climate Change, Published online 07 Dec 2015

“To have a >50% chance of limiting warming below 2oC, most recent scenarios from integrated assessment models (IAMs) require large scale deployment of negative emissions technologies (NETs).  These are technologies that result in the net removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. … a heavy reliance on NETs in the future, if used as a means to allow continued use of fossil fuels in the present, is extremely risky…. A failure of NETs to deliver expected mitigation in the future, due to any combination of biophysical and economic limits examined here, leaves us with no ‘Plan B’.  As this study shows, there is no NET (or combination of NETs) currently available that could be implemented to meet the <2oC target without significant impact on either land, energy, water, nutrient, albedo or cost, so ‘Plan A’ must be to immediately and aggressively reduce GHG emissions.”

Geden, Oliver, Climate advisers must maintain integrity, Nature, Vol 521, 7 May 2015

“The climate policy mantra – that time is running out for 2oC but we can still make it if we act now – is scientific nonsense.  Advisors who shy away from saying so squander their scientific reputations and public trust in climate research. … Scientific advisers should resist the temptation to be political entrepreneurs, peddling their advice by exaggerating how easy it is to transform the economy or deploy renewable technologies, for instance.”

Anderson, Keven, Duality in climate science, Nature Geoscience, Vol 8, Dec 2015

“Delivery of palatable 2oC mitigation scenarios depends on speculative negative emissions or changing the past. Scientists must make their assumptions transparent and defensible, however politically uncomfortable the conclusions.”

Anderson, Keven, On the duality of climate scientists… how integrated assessment models are hard-wired to deliver politically palatable outcomes (the unedited version of the Nature Geoscience document)

The IPCC’s synthesis report and the scientific framing of the mitigation challenge in terms of carbon budgets was an important step forward. Despite this, there remains an almost global-scale cognitive dissonance with regards to acknowledging the quantitative implications of the analysis, including by many of those contributing to its development. We simply are not prepared to accept the revolutionary implications of our own findings, and even when we do we are reluctant to voice such thoughts openly. Instead, my longstanding engagement with many scientific colleagues, leaves me in no doubt that whilst they work diligently, often against a backdrop of organised scepticism, many are ultimately choosing to censor their own research.