Realising the Climate Convention Objective

Having recommended a choice of stabilisation level, a large question remains: how can the nations of the world work together to realise it in practice?

It is instructive first to look at annual emissions of greenhouse gases expressed as CO2e and per capita. Averaged over the world in 2004 they were about 6.5 t CO2e (~1.8 t C) per capita but they varied very much from country to country (Figure 10.4). For developed countries, including transitional economy countries, in 2000 they averaged 16 t CO2e (ranging downwards from about 25 t for the USA) while for developing countries they averaged about 4 t. Looking ahead to the years 2050 and 2100, even if the world population rises to only 9 billion, under the profile of carbon dioxide emissions leading to stabilisation at concentrations of 450 ppm (Figure 10.3) the per capita annual emissions averaged over the world would be between 1 and 2 t CO2e for 2050 and less than 0.4 t CO2e for 2 10 033 - much less than the current value of about 6.5 t.

The Objective of the Climate Convention is largely concerned with factors associated with the requirement for sustainable development. In Chapter 9, four principles were enunciated that should be at the basis of negotiations concerned with future emissions reductions to mitigate climate change. One of these was the Principle of Sustainable Development. The others were the Precautionary Principle, the Polluter-Pays Principle and the Principle of Equity. This last principle includes intergenerational equity, or weighing the needs of the present generation against those of future generations, and international equity, or weighing the balance of need between industrial and developed nations and the developing world. Striking this latter balance is going to be

Annex I: Population

Non-Annex I: Population 80.3%

Latin

America &

Caribbean 10.3%

Average Annex I: 16.1 t CO2e per capita

Average non-Annex I: 4.2t CO2e per capita

China and East Asia: 17.3%

India and South Asia: 13.1%

1000

2000

3000

4000

5000

6000

7000

Cumulative population in millions

Figure 10.4 Year 2004 distribution of regional per capita greenhouse gas emissions (all gases included in the Kyoto Protocol including land-use change) expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in 2004 from different countries or groups of countries plotted against population. The percentages in the bars indicate a region's share in global greenhouse gas emissions. EIT, economies in transition; M & T, Malta and Turkey; JANZ, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. To convert tonnes CO2 to tonnes C, divide by 3.66.

u 20

particularly difficult because of the great disparity in current carbon dioxide emissions between the world's richest nations and the poorest nations (Figure 10.4), the continuing demand for fossil fuel use in the developed world and the understandable desire of the poorer nations to escape from poverty through development and industrialisation. This last is particularly recognised in the Framework Convention on Climate Change (see box on pages 291-2) where the growing energy needs of developing nations as they achieve industrial development are clearly stated. In Chapter 8 on page 253, this current international inequity was presented as a challenging moral imperative to the developed world.

An example of how an approach to stabilisation for carbon dioxide might be achieved is illustrated in Figure 10.5. It is based on a proposal called 'Contraction and Convergence' that originates with the Global Commons Institute (GCI),34 a non-governmental organisation based in the UK. The envelope of carbon dioxide emissions is one that leads to stabilisation at about 450 ppm (without climate feedbacks included), although the rest of the proposal does not depend on that actual choice of level. Note that, under this envelope, global fossil fuel emissions rise by about 15% to about 2025; they then fall to less than half the current level by 2100. The figure illustrates the division of emissions between major countries or groups of countries as it has been up to the present. Then

Year

Figure 10.5 The 'Contraction and Convergence' proposal of the Global Commons Institute for achieving stabilisation of carbon dioxide concentration. The envelope of carbon dioxide emissions illustrated is one that leads to stabilisation at 450 ppm (but the effect of climate carbon-cycle feedbacks is not included). For major countries or groups of countries, up to the year 2000, historic emissions are shown. After 2030 allocations of emissions are made on the basis of equal shares per capita on the basis of population projections for that date. From now until 2030, smooth 'convergence' from the present situation to that of equal shares is assumed to occur. In the upper part of the diagram the per capita contributions that apply to different countries or groups of countries are shown. For OECD and FSU see Glossary.

Year

Figure 10.5 The 'Contraction and Convergence' proposal of the Global Commons Institute for achieving stabilisation of carbon dioxide concentration. The envelope of carbon dioxide emissions illustrated is one that leads to stabilisation at 450 ppm (but the effect of climate carbon-cycle feedbacks is not included). For major countries or groups of countries, up to the year 2000, historic emissions are shown. After 2030 allocations of emissions are made on the basis of equal shares per capita on the basis of population projections for that date. From now until 2030, smooth 'convergence' from the present situation to that of equal shares is assumed to occur. In the upper part of the diagram the per capita contributions that apply to different countries or groups of countries are shown. For OECD and FSU see Glossary.

the simplest possible solution is taken to the sharing of emissions between countries and proposes that, from some suitable date (in the figure, 2030 is chosen), emissions are allocated on the basis of equal shares per capita. From now until 2030 the division is allowed to converge from the present situation to that of equal per capita shares. Hence the 'Contraction and Convergence'. The further proposal is that arrangements to trade the carbon dioxide allocations are made.

The 'Contraction and Convergence' proposal addresses all of the four principles mentioned above. In particular, through its equal per capita sharing arrangements it addresses head-on the question of international equity - and the proposed trading arrangements ensure that the greatest 'polluters' pay. The value of the proposal is that it clearly suggests some of the principal ingredients of a long-term solution. However, the discussions taking place at the moment and the other proposals that have been put forward35 demonstrate that any international agreement is bound to be more elaborate and to differentiate appropriately between countries. In particular it will have to take account, not just of very large differences between countries in their emissions but also of large differences in the threat of damage from climate change, the requirement for adaptation and in their needs and responsibilities especially within the energy sector.

Substantial complications arise in these negotiations because of international entanglement of responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions. This is well illustrated by looking at the component of emissions that may be embedded in a country's exports. For instance in 2005, 44% of China's CO2 emissions were embedded in exports of goods and services mainly to Europe, north America and Australia.35 Other complications arise in the allocation of responsibility for emissions from internation aviation, a sector where emissions are rising rapidly.

The Conference of Parties (COP 13) of the FCCC, meeting in Bali in late 2007, particularly addressed international action post-Kyoto. The conference set up negotiations to begin immediately and to be completed by 2009 to bring about:

A shared vision for long-term cooperative action, including a long-term global goal for emission reductions, to achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention, in accordance with the provisions and principles of the Convention, in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and taking into account social and economic conditions and other relevant factors.

Significant progress was also made at the Bali meeting in addressing the important areas of adaptation, deforestation and technology transfer.

The setting of targets at the international level is, of course, only the first part of the action required. For these targets to be realised requires action at all levels from the international to the national down to the local and eventually at the level of the individual. Five essential ingredients are required. The first is an aggressive emphasis on energy saving and conservation. Much here can be achieved at zero net cost or even at a cost saving. Though much energy conservation can be shown to be economically advantageous, it is unlikely to be undertaken without significant incentives. However, it is clearly good in its own right, it can be started in earnest now and it can make a large contribution to the reduction of emissions and the slowing of global warming. The second ingredient is priority on the development of appropriate non-fossil fuel energy sources (e.g. carbon capture and storage applied to coal-fired power stations and renewable energy sources) together with very rapid growth in their implementation. The third ingredient is moving rapidly to a halting of tropical deforestation. The fourth is the transfer of technologies to developing countries that will enable them to apply the most appropriate and the most efficient technologies to their industrial development, especially in the energy sector. The fifth ingredient is to act in all these ways with the utmost urgency. Figures 10.2 and 10.3 and Table 10.3 demonstrate that to achieve the 2 °C target emissions need to peak by about 2015 and then rapidly reduce (see Figure 11.27). The required concentration of national and international effort is unprecedented.

Earlier in the chapter we noted that the Kyoto Protocol introduced various measures aimed at the stimulation of emissions reductions in efficient and cost-effective ways. Measures that include incentives, regulation, taxation and emissions trading will be part of follow-on international agreements and national policies. The challenge is to make sure not only that they achieve the necessary reductions but that they also prove beneficial in terms of their social and political implications. The next chapter will present some of these challenges as they concern the energy sector.

SUMMARY

This chapter has outlined international action to combat climate change beginning with the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) agreed by all nations in 1992. The FCCC's Objective is to achieve stabilisation of greenhouse gases and hence of climate at a level that ensures that dangerous interference with the climate system is avoided, that ecosystems can adapt naturally, that food production is not threatened and that economic development can proceed in a sustainable manner.

In 2005, the Kyoto Protocol came into force under which developed countries, except USA and Australia, agreed, by 2012 to make reductions in carbon dioxide emissions averaging about 5% below 1990 levels.

A post-Kyoto agreement is now under negotiation. Key to that agreement will be a global target limiting future climate change as required by the FCCC together with proposals for international action to achieve it. At the end of 2007, at the Bali Conference, all nations set out a timetable for an agreement by the end of 2009. The biggest challenges are to ensure fairness between developed and developing countries and to prepare financial and other measures that will ensure targets will be achieved.

Arguments have been put forward for a target, supported by many experts, governments and international bodies, that would limit global average temperature rise to no greater than 2 °C above its pre-industrial level. On the assumption of no further increases in greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, a 50% chance of reaching the 2 °C target implies a stabilisation level for carbon dioxide of no more than 450 ppm.

The achievement of this target will not come easily. It will require much determination and consistent political will. Urgent and aggressive actions have to begin now, many of which also bring further benefits. The necessary action is affordable and its cost much less than the cost of inaction. Further much of the action is good to do for other reasons. The most important areas of action are:

• rapid reduction in tropical deforestation and increase in afforestation;

• aggressive increase in energy saving and conservation measures,

• rapid movement to sources of energy free of carbon emissions, e.g through carbon capture and storage and renewable energy sources;

• some relatively easy-to-do reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, especially methane.

The next chapter presents implications for the energy and transport sectors.

Will the 2 °C target be adequate to stabilise the climate against very damaging and irreversible change? Many are asking this question. Further evidence obtained during the next few years is likely to demand a serious reappraisal with the possibility of even more severe targets.

QUESTIONS

1 From Figure 10.2, what are the rates of change of global average temperature for the profiles shown that lead to stabilisation of carbon dioxide concentration at different levels? From information in Chapter 7 or from elsewhere, can you suggest a criterion involving rate of change that might assist in the choice of a stabilisation level for carbon dioxide concentration as required by the Objective of the Climate Convention?

2 From the formula in the caption to Figure 10.2 and the information in Figure 3.11 and Table 6.1, calculate the contributions from the various components of radiative forcing (including aerosol) to the equivalent carbon dioxide concentration in 1990. How valid do you think is it to speak of equivalent carbon dioxide for components such as aerosol and tropospheric ozone?

3 From the information in Table 6.1 and the formula in the caption to

Figure 10.2, calculate the equivalent carbon dioxide concentration, including

(1) the well-mixed greenhouse gases and (2) total aerosols, for SRES scenarios A1B and A2 in 2050 and 2100.

4 Associated with the choice of stabilisation level under the criteria of the Objective of the Climate Convention, different kinds of analysis were mentioned; cost-benefit analysis, multicriteria analysis and sustainability analysis. Discuss which analysis is most applicable to each of the criteria in the Objective. Suggest how the analyses might be presented together so as to assist in the overall choice.

5 From the information available in previous chapters and using the criteria laid out in the Climate Convention Objective, what stabilisation levels of greenhouse gas concentrations do you think should be chosen?

6 The arguments concerning the choice of stabilisation level and the action to be taken have concentrated on the likely costs and impacts of climate change before the year 2100. Do you think that information about continuing climate change or sea level rise (see Chapter 7) after 2100 should be included and taken into account by decision-makers, or is that too far ahead to be of importance?

7 Compare the growth of emissions since 1990 in the major countries of the world36 and comment on the policies they appear to be following regarding future emissions.

8 Given the need for reducing emissions as quickly as possible, do you think national and international bodies are deciding and acting with sufficient urgency. If not, how might more urgent action be achieved?

9 The international response to global warming is likely to lead to decisions being taken sequentially over a number of years as knowledge regarding the science, the likely impacts and the possible responses becomes more certain. Describe how you think the international response might progress over the next 20 years. What decisions might be taken at what time?

10 Explain how the 'Contraction and Convergence' proposal meets the four principles listed in Chapter 9 and elaborated in Chapter 10. Suggest the political or economic arguments that might be used to argue against the proposal. Can you suggest other ways of sharing emissions between countries that might achieve agreement more easily?

11 Find out the details of any plans for afforestation in your country. What actions or incentives could make it more effective?

12 Assume a snow-covered area at latitude 60° with an albedo of fifty per cent is replaced by partially snow-covered forest with an albedo of twenty per cent. Make an approximate comparison between the 'cooling' effect of the carbon sink provided by the forest and the 'warming' effect of the added solar radiation absorbed, averaged over the year.

^ FURTHER READING AND REFERENCE

Parry, M., Canziani, O., Palutikof, J., van der Linden, P., Hanson, C. (eds.) 2007. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Technical Summary

Chapter 5 Food, fibre and forest products

Chapter 19 Assessing key vulnerabilities and the risk from climate change Chapter 20 Perspectives on climate change and sustainability Metz, B., Davidson, O., Bosch, P., Dave, R., Meyer, L. (eds.) 2007. Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Technical Summary

Chapter 2 Framing issues (e.g. links to sustainable development, integrated assessment)

Chapter 3 Issues relating to mitigation in the long-term context

Chapter 8 Agriculture

Chapter 9 Forestry

Chapter 10 Waste management

Chapter 11 Mitigation from a cross-sectoral perspective Chapter 12 Sustainable development and mitigation Chapter 13 Policies, instruments and cooperative Agreements IPCC AR4 Synthesis Report, Summary for Policymakers and Full Report (52 pages)

available on www.ipcc.ch Stern, N. 2006. The Economics of Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The Stern Review: especially Chapters 3 to 6 in Part II on the cost of climate-change impacts.

Lynas, M. 2008. Six Degrees. London: HarperCollins. A readable and challenging account of the probable impacts of climate change in different parts of the world at different levels of global warming. Winner of the Royal Society's award for the best popular science book of the year.

NOTES FOR CHAPTER 10

2 More details in Watson, R. and the Core Writing Team (eds.) 2001. Climate Change 2001: Synthesis

1 More details of the Kyoto Protocol and of the detailed arrangements for the inclusion of carbon sinks can be found in Watson, R. T., Noble, I. R., Bolin, B., Ravindranath, N. H., Verardo, D. J., Dokken, D. J. (eds.) 2000. Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry. A Special Report of the IPCC. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press and on the FCCC website: www.unfccc.int/ resource/convkp.html

Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, question 7, pp. 108ff. See also Hourcade, J.-C., Shukla, P. et al. Global, regional and national costs and ancillary benefits of mitigation. Chapter 8, in Metz, B., Davidson, O., Swart, R., Pan, J. (eds.) 2001. Climate Change 2001: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on

Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

3 See Stern, N. 2006 The Economics of Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 15 for a review of practical issues concerned with carbon trading.

4 For a critical dialogue regarding carbon trading see Carbon Trading, Development Dialogue No. 48. Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Uppsala, 2006.

5 More detail in Global Environmental Outlook GEO 3 (UNEP). 2002. London: Earthscan and Global Environmental Outlook GEO 4 (UNEP). 2007. Nairobi, Kenya: UNEP

6 Bolin, B., Sukumar, R. et al. 2000. Global perspective. Chapter 1, in Watson, et al. (eds.) Land Use.

7 Information from Jonas Lowe at the Hadley Centre, UK Met. Office.

8 From Global Environmental Outlook 3, pp. 91-2; see also www.fao.org/forestry.

9 Stern, Economics of Climate Change, p. 244.

10 A programme, Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries (REDD), has been initiated by the Forestry 8 countries, responsible for 80% of the world's forest cover, with the aim of attracting international funding for forest preservation.

11 Bolin and Sukumar, p 26.

12 Stern, Economics of Climate Change, p. 612.

13 Watson et al. (eds.) Land Use, Policymakers Summary, and also in Kauppi, P., Sedjo, R. et al. Technical and economic potential of options to enhance, maintain and manage biological carbon reservoirs and geo-engineering. Chapter 4, in Metz et al. (eds.) Climate Change 2001: Mitigation.

14 Stern, Economics of Climate Change, Chapter 9.

15 For definition see Glossary.

16 Betts, R. A. 2000. Offset of the potential carbon sink from boreal forestation by decreases in surface albedo. Nature, 408, 187-90. Also Solomon, S., Qin, D., Manning, M., Chen, Z., Marquis, M., Averyt, K. B., Tignor, M., Miller, H.L. (eds.) 2007. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Chapter 2.

17 From Summary policymakers. In Houghton, J. T., Ding, Y., Griggs, D. J., Noguer, M., van der Linden, P. J., Dai, X., Maskell, K., Johnson, C. A. (eds.) Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

18 Energy Technology Perspectives 2008, International Energy Agency, Paris, Chapter 14. Available online at www.iea.org.

19 Chapter 8, in Metz et al. (eds.) Climate Change 2007: Mitigation.

20 This figure is calculated by multiplying the 60 million tonnes by the global warming potential for methane which, for a time horizon of 100 years, is about 23 (Table 10.2).

21 See Bousquet, P. et al. 2006. Nature, 443, 439-43 for an analysis of methane sources and sinks since 1985 with a suggestion that emissions may soon begin to rise again.

22 Rigby, M. et al. 2008. Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L22805, doi: 10.1029/2008GL036037.

23 Prentice, I. C. et al. 2001. The carbon cycle and atmospheric carbon dioxide. In Houghton et al. (eds.) Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis.

24 Cox, P. M. et al. 2000. Acceleration of global warming due to carbon cycle feedbacks in a coupled climate model. Nature, 408, 184-7; Jones, C. D. et al. 2003. Tellus, 55B, 642-58.

25 See also Fig. 3.25, in Metz et al. (eds.) Climate Change 2007: Mitigation.

26 European Commission Communication on a Community Strategy on Climate Change; Council of Ministers Conclusion, 25-26 June 1996.

27 European Council of Ministers 2005. Climate Strategies. Brussels: ECM.

28 For examples of 2 °C target, see World Wildlife Fund at www.wwf.org.uk/climate/

29 Fig. 3.12, in Metz et al. (eds.) Climate Change 2007: Mitigation.

30 Table 3.9, in Metz et al. (eds.) Climate Change 2007: Mitigation.

31 Hansen, J. et al. 2008. Target atmospheric CO2: where should humanity aim? Open Journal on Atmospheric Sciences, 2, 217-31 and James Hansen, Bjerknes Lecture at American Geophysical

Union, 17 December 2008 at www.columbia.edu/ njeh1/2008/AGUBjerknes_20081217.pdf.

32 Kunzig, R., Broecker, W. S. 2008. Fixing Climate. London: Profile Books. M. Meinshausen 2006. What does a 2'C target mean for greenhouse gas concentrations? Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp.268-279.

33 Additional climate carbon-cycle feedbacks have been ignored in this calculation.

34 Further details on the GCI website: www.gci.org.uk

35 See for instance Baer, P., Athanasiou, T. 2007. No. 30, Frameworks and Proposals. Global Issue Papers. Washington, DC: Heinrich Böll Foundation.

36 More detail in World Energy Outlook, International Energy Agency 2008, p. 386ff.

37 Information on emissions available from many sources, e.g. International Energy Agency and World Resources Institute.

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