The collaboration of the C-ROADS team with Chinese climate analysts at Tsinghua University is growing via a university partnership.
At the recent UN conference in Copenhagen, Drew Jones of Sustainability Institute met with Professor He Jiankun of Tsinghua University (shown in the photo) to discuss extending and customizing the C-ROADS simulation to better match the energy development future in China.
And over the past two weeks, teams from Sustainability Institute, Tsinghua University, MIT, the Society for Organizational Learning, and Ventana Systems are collaborating to include important factors such as GDP, energy intensity, and fuel mix onsite at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Some of the group at MIT in Cambridge are shown in the picture. Dr. John Sterman (MIT), Xiaohu Luo (Tsinghua), Lori Siegel (SI), Drew Jones (SI), Tom Fiddaman (Ventana), Zhou Li (Tsinghua), Peter Senge (MIT/SoL), Rebecca Niles (SI/STC).
(This is a guest post by Climate Interactive team member Tom Fiddaman of Ventana Systems. His terrific blog is here. This post originally ran at the blog of Xujun Eberlein: Inside Out China.)
I’ve finally recovered from a long and frustrating week at COP15 in Copenhagen. Like many, I never actually made it into the conference center itself – even though I had the needed secondary pass, registration lines were just too long. I bailed out when the Danish police started passing out coffee in the queue. Instead, I spent the week with the Climate Interactive team, analyzing potential proposals, talking to the press, and preparing briefing materials.
What unfolded was a bizarre flurry of contradictory official and unofficial draft texts of an agreement. In the final hours of the conference, language about hard targets, enforcement, and other encouraging steps gradually disappeared. In the end, the assembled parties approved a decision that merely “takes note” of the nth hour “Copenhagen Accord” presented by the US and BASIC countries. Continue reading
The Copenhagen Accord reaffirms the importance of limiting global warming to 2 °C (3.6 °F), but current national commitments would lead to approximately 3.9 °C (7.0 °F) warming by 2100.
To close that gap global emissions must peak within the next decade and fall approximately 50% below 1990 levels by 2050 (a cut of approximately 60% below current emissions).
The sooner the nations of the world begin to close this gap the cheaper and easier it will be.
For more information, download the full press release and the spreadsheet with the numbers behind the analysis.
Copenhagen — As of 12:30 am on 19 December, the latest draft text for the Copenhagen Accord has too few quantifiable targets for our team to adequately analyze it. We look forward to using C-ROADS to calculating the long term impacts of the Accord as soon as possible.
Note that, as we explain here, the Climate Scoreboard presents the aggregate impact of national proposals, not the Copenhagen Accord.
The Climate Scoreboard, created by the Climate Interactive team with the C-ROADS simulator, indicates long-term outcomes of national proposals. It does not yet reflect the content of a yet-to-be-finalized Copenhagen UNFCCC agreement.
Determining whether or not the “deal” in Copenhagen is a success is a difficult task. We at Climate Interactive have noticed confusion, including mischaracterization of analysis of preexisting national commitments as an analysis of a proposed Copenhagen accord. We offer the following as a framework for thinking about the outcome of COP15.
We feel it is important to distinguish the outcome of Copenhagen in two dimensions: National vs. International (UNFCCC) targets, and 2020 vs. 2050/2100 ambition.
National vs. International Commitments: Many countries have passed or pledged domestic actions to reduce emissions. These can be evaluated to see whether or not they are sufficient to achieve particular goals (e.g., www.climatescoreboard.org). An agreement in Copenhagen may include aspirational goals — goals that nations agree on but for which domestic actions and international enabling or enforcement measures might not be specified. If this is the case, then it is important to note the climate implications for the international targets, while also realizing more work needs to be done to realize them.
2020 vs. 2050/2100 Evaluation: Many reports indicate a target emissions level (in gigatons CO2eq) that is desirable for 2020, in order to provide a reasonable chance of achieving later goals. While 2020 emissions don’t strongly determine the future by themselves, they set the stage for what is possible with continued reductions in the future. Alternatively, pledges can be evaluated against long-term climate metrics, such as concentrations (ppm) and temperature change (e.g., 2 deg C) in 2100.
Within this framework, the Climate Scoreboard indicates long-term outcomes of national commitments. It does not yet reflect the content of a yet-to-be-finalized Copenhagen UNFCCC agreement.
Today, as the Heads of State gather here at the Copenhagen Conference, our calculations show that current confirmed proposals are not yet ambitious enough to limit temperature increase to 1.5-2°C (2.7-3.6°F) over pre-industrial temperatures. As shown above in the Climate Scoreboard, we estimate a temperature increase of 3.9°C (7.0°F) over pre-industrial if current proposals were implemented as compared to 4.8°C (8.7°F) temperature increase by 2100 without emissions reductions.
For details on calculations, assumptions, and the scientific methods behind the simulation, click here. Continue reading
In the past few weeks, four groups, including the C-ROADS team, have released analysis of the current proposals in the UNFCCC negotiations. While details vary between the studies, all four analyses support a common conclusion:
Copenhagen must deliver emissions cuts beyond the high-end of current proposals or risk missing the opportunity for a reasonable chance of keeping below 2°C
In support of the critical decisions that will be made here in Copenhagen in the coming days, we (Sustainability Institute and the Climate Interactive Program), along with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, the United Nations Environment Program, Ecofys, Climate Analytics, the European Climate Foundation and ClimateWorks have released the following joint statement: