Ahead of climate talks in Doha, Qatar next week, the UN Environmental Programme has released the third Emissions Gap Report. Climate Interactive Co-Director Beth Sawin is once again one of the report’s authors. Like the World Bank report released last week, this report reminds us that reducing our emissions is paramount.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, summarized the Emissions Gap report by saying, “This report is a reminder that time is running out, but that the technical means and the policy tools to allow the world to stay below a maximum 2 degrees Celsius are still available to governments and societies”. The reminder that the gap between a 2 degree future and where we are now is still widening, and that countries are still putting forward targets that are far short of what is needed is sobering.
The Emissions Gap report goes beyond the stark assessments of where we are relative to where we need to be, by identifying sectors where dramatic reduction can be made to bridge the gap. Continue reading
Following on last year’s Emissions Gap report which was influential in the Cancun COP-16 climate negotiations, Climate Interactive Co-Director, Beth Sawin, again this year contributed to a UNEP/European Climate Foundation assessment, Bridging the Emissions Gap, which was released in advance of COP-17.
As with last year’s report, the Bridging the Gap Report looks across various studies of the emissions reduction pledges within the UNFCCC and finds that a significant gap still exists between expected emissions under the pledges and emissions consistent with a likely chance of limiting temperature increase to 2°C. The report include CI’s Climate Scoreboard as one of the 10 modeling studies assessing the pledges.
Even in the most optimistic scenarios examined in the report, the gap between expected emissions under the pledges and the 2020 emissions consistent with limiting temperature increase to 2°C was 6 Gtons CO2e. Under less optimistic scenarios the gap could be as large as 11 Gtons CO2e.
The new report goes beyond quantifying the Emissions Gap to also look across studies of technologically feasible options for reducing emissions and finds a package of measures, from increasing the rate of improvement in energy efficiency to scaling up low carbon fuel supplies, for reducing the 2020 Emissions Gap to zero.
Just as Climate Interactive is finding with our new En-ROADS model of the transition to a low carbon economy, Bridging the Emissions Gap shows that while the world is currently facing a serious gap between the pledges of nations and the level of emissions reductions that are needed, the gap is actually one of determination and political will, not one of physical or technological constraint.
For those of you at COP16 in Cancun, there will be a side event to discuss the UNEP Emissions Gap Report. Beth Sawin, Climate Interactive co-Director and report contributor, will participate in the discussion.
Emissions Gap Side Event, COP16
Where: Mexican Pavillion in Cancun Messe
When: Thursday 2 Dec, 18:30-20:30
Today, in events in Helsinki, London, Washington D. C., and Nairobi, the United Nations Environment Program is releasing its Emissions Gap Report which is now available on the both the UNEP webpage and the Climate Interactive website.
The report was convened in conjunction with the European Climate Foundation and the National Institute of Ecology-SEMARNAT, Mexico, and convened 33 scientists from 25 research teams around the world, including Climate Interactive’s Beth Sawin.
The findings, launched in advance of the UN climate convention meeting in Cancun, Mexico, spotlight the size of the ‘emissions gap’ between where nations might be in 2020 versus where the science indicates they need to be.
Climate Interactive is pleased to have been able to contribute to this important study, and Beth will be participating in the Washington event via teleconference as well as sharing the report’s main findings in two webinars November 23 and 24th.
As attention begins to turn to the next round of UNFCCC talks, which begin November 29th in Cancun, Mexico, the message of the report is quite aligned with Climate Interactive’s assessment of possible pledges in the run up to the Copenhagen round of negotiations: “we’ve made some progress, and have further to go.”
The good news embedded in the report is the fact that while a gap exists between current pledges and the emissions levels consistent with a 2°C temperature limit, the gap could, in principle, be reduced to zero, given the the assumptions of the energy system models and scenarios drawn upon in the report.
Many of the scientists and analysts who are working together to add up climate change mitigation pledges to determine their sufficiency to address climate change met to collaborate at the recent UNFCCC meeting in Bonn.
Scroll down to other blog posts to hear about substantive results from this meeting hosted by the European Climate Foundation.
The news here is the great picture of the historic gathering from one of our hosts, Kilaparti Ramakrishna of UNEP.
(A brief rant on how important this group’s work is: without it, country negotiators have no way of knowing whether mitigation proposals will be sufficient to address climate change. A game without a scorekeeper, an accountant without a calculator. This group will be able to say “We seem to be doing enough” or not.)
In the back row: Fabian Wagner (IIASA), Joerg Haas, (European Climate Foundation, ECF), Kilaparti Ramakrishna (UNEP), Bert Metz (ECF), Richard Folland (Climate Strategies), Kelly Levin (WRI), Murray Ward (CS), Niklas Hohne (EcoFys), Bill Hare (PIK). Front row: Ramzi Elias (ECF), Andrew Jones (SI, Climate Interactive), Beth Sawin (SI, CI). Missing: Nikola Franke (ECF).
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:
Analysis with the C-ROADS simulator shows that most all (94%) of the emissions reduction required to hit mitigation goals for 2050 will happen after 2020. Put another way, the necessary post-2020 results are fifteen times as much as pre-2020. So, here in Copenhagen and in 2010, 2050 proposals really matter. Continue reading
This morning, the Washington Post covered an important speech, (as did the Associated Press), by colleague and Climate Action Initiative Chair Dr. Bob Corell, with the headline “New Analysis Brings Dire Forecast of 6.3-Degree Temperature Increase.” Front page on website yesterday and page three in print this morning. They even included a clear graph from C-ROADS!
We look at the same graph results from C-ROADS, posted here, and could offer a complementary interpretation. Headline could be “New Analysis Shows Growing Commitment to a Global Deal Will Help Stabilize Climate.”
Following the “current proposals” path is much better than “business as usual” path. Many countries have offered concrete proposals, others (like China — read here) are looking more encouraging, and the results add up. About 3100 gigatons of CO2e would be kept out of the atmosphere between now and the end of the century, resulting in CO2 levels 239 ppm lower and the world a full degree C cooler by 2100 (3.5 degrees C vs. 4.5).
Yes, we have a long way to go (particularly here in the United States, where I am writing and emitting CO2 as I type) — just look at the remaining gap between “Current Proposals” and “2 degree path” — and get to improve proposals more and more in coming months. But we have got some good momentum to build upon and have come a long way.
For all the information on our reporting of the “state of the global climate deal,” check out our new space on the Climate Interactive website. We’ll be tracking new proposals to COP-15, updating our tables and graphs, and sharing the results via various media.
The story is posted here and pasted below.
Big news everyone! We at the Sustainability Institute (the co-creator and organizer of Climate Interactive), founded in 1996 by the late Donella Meadows, announced today the appointment of Bastiaan “Bas” de Leeuw as our new executive director.
Mr. de Leeuw’s move from his current position, leading the United Nations Sustainable Resource Management Program, will help the Institute strengthen our global support program for Climate Change negotiators, our modeling and outreach work addressing other key environmental challenges and our leadership development program, the Donella Meadows Fellowship.
We’re particularly thrilled to be adding such depth in international issues and the United Nations as we address the highly international and global issue of climate change.
During his 12 years with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Mr. de Leeuw launched various programmes and initiatives, in particular UNEP’s Sustainable Consumption Programme, the Advertising Initiative, YouthXchange, SC.net, the Life Cycle Initiative and the Wuppertal Institute’s Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production. Early on, de Leeuw was instrumental in promoting and designing the UN’s “Marrakech Process”, aimed at building an international ten-year framework of programs on Sustainable Consumption and Production. Most recently, he played a leading role in developing the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management, a think-tank on global resource use chaired by Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker, with Mr. de Leeuw as Head of the Secretariat. Continue reading