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Emissions Gap Report 2020: Where we are & where we should be to avoid catastrophe


Highlights

  • The United Nations Environment Programme has released their Emissions Gap Report for 2020, highlighting where greenhouse gas predictions for 2030 are and how the world can avoid climate disaster
  • Currently, the world is headed for temperature rise in excess of 3°C this century and 2020 has likely to be the warmest year on record
  • Around 126 countries covering 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions had adopted, announced or were considering net-zero goals at the time this report was written, signifying that various countries are attempting to do their part to reduce emissions
  • Governments must go greener in the next stage of COVID-19 fiscal interventions to kick-start faster action on climate change

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement policies for massive greenhouse gas emissions reductions and begin a drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere within ten years. With 9 of 15 global tipping points now active, what we do today can either unleash an inhospitable hothouse Earth or secure a safe climate well into the future. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read the Full Report: https://www.unep.org/interactive/emissions-gap-report/2020/

The worst-case scenario for global warming tracks closely with actual emissions


Highlights

  • The worst-case climate scenarios that feature the highest greenhouse gas emissions projections are the best ones to strategically plan for as they capture both future and historical emissions
  • Though the use of coal is dwindling, cumulative concentrations of greenhouse gases that were emitted in the past play a huge role in future warming projections
  • Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) are scenarios that show how much warmer the world will become by 2100
    • The Paris Agreement would be an RCP of 2.6, leading the world to 3.6 Degrees Fahrenheit. Effects of this RCP allow only 10% of coral reefs to survive
    • The worst-case scenario, RCP 8.5, would lead to an 8 Degree F increase, causing a 3-foot increase in sea level rise

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement massive reductions of warming emissions and begin a drawdown of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere over the decade ahead.  For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/03082020/climate-change-scenarios-emissions

‘We essentially cook ourselves’ if we don’t fix air conditioning, major UN report warns

by Dharna Noor, Gizmodo


Highlights

  • A new report from the United Nations shows that 460 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions could be avoided worldwide by switching to energy-efficient, climate-safe air conditioning
  • There are 3.6 billion cooling appliances, including refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioning units in use around the globe
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), chemicals that were once used in air conditioning units, among other products, were banned after the Montreal Protocol. However, their replacement, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are also negatively impacting the climate as they are 11,700 times more warming than carbon dioxide
    • In 2019 governments adopted the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol in order to phase out HFCs
    • Doing so could avoid as much as 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit of warming if adopted globally
    • However, major emitters such as the US and India are two of the 90 countries that have not signed on
  • Doubling the energy efficiency of air conditioners could save up to $2.9 trillion by 2050
  • Promoting the construction of energy-efficient housing with alternative cooling options like green roofs will reduce the world’s need for air conditioning

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read More: https://earther.gizmodo.com/we-essentially-cook-ourselves-if-we-don-t-fix-air-con-1844416667

California may be a climate leader, but it could be a century behind on carbon goals: study

by Herman K. Trabish, Smart Cities Dive, October 30, 2019

Power sector progress is masking the need to address emissions in transportation and industry.

California just got sobering news that despite its nation-leading renewables build, it may be a century late in achieving its ambitious climate goals.

The shift to renewables allowed California to meet its 2020 mandate to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels four years early, according to an Oct. 8 Next 10 report. But the state’s GHG reduction rate must be three times faster to get to the next target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, Next 10 found.

At California’s GHG reduction rate in 2017, the most recent year detailed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), it would reach its 2030 goal in 2061 and its 2050 goal of emitting 80% below 1990 levels in 2157, “a 31-year and a 107-year delay.”

Read more: https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/news/california-may-be-a-climate-leader-but-it-could-be-a-century-behind-on-car/566144/

Aviation industry hears clamour for electric planes

by Jasper Jolly, The Guardian

Faced with growing calls for action on the climate crisis, aerospace companies gathering for the Paris air show next week are turning their thoughts to a future run on electricity rather than fossil fuels.

The scale of the challenge is considerable. The target for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and embraced by the UK this week, coincides with the expectation that the number of flights will double in the next 20 years.

Aviation accounts for about 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions. But that share is expected to rise as demand grows in poorer countries to match developed nations such as the UK, where flying contributed 7% to overall greenhouse gas emissions in 2017.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jun/15/climate-crisis-aviation-industry-hears-clamour-for-electric-planes?CMP=share_btn_link

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Went Down in 2014

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The
The Climate Center just released its Greenhouse
Gas (GHG) Emissions Report
for Sonoma County for 2014. The report
calculates GHG emissions from major sectors to reveal trends that demonstrate
progress toward the County’s goals.

The report shows us that in 2014, Sonoma County produced about 3.6 million tons
of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is a decrease of about 14% from 2007,
when county emissions reached a high of about 4.2 million tons.

“It’s
too soon to tell if this is a trend we can count on, but we believe that we’re
bringing emissions down in a real and hopefully accelerating way,” said Ann
Hancock, Executive Director of The Climate Center. The Center
has been tracking the county’s greenhouse gas emissions since 2003.

The
launch of Sonoma Clean Power in 2014 brings reasons for hope. Sonoma Clean
Power customers receive greener electricity, which promises to play a critical
role going forward.

Mark
Landman, Chair of Sonoma Clean Power Authority and Cotati City Councilmember
reported, “In our first year of operation, Sonoma Clean Power’s electricity
reduced greenhouse gas emissions 48% compared with PG&E’s power mix last
published data from 2013. At the same time, our customers saved a total of
$13.6 million on their bills.”

The
Sonoma County Water Agency, one of the largest energy users in the county,
achieved its goal of operating a carbon-free water system, procuring 100% of
its electricity needs through renewable sources, thanks in part to Sonoma Clean
Power. 

Transportation,
however, is by far the county’s largest culprit of carbon production,
accounting for about 65% of Sonoma County’s total emissions. 

But
there’s hope here, too. According to The Climate Center’s soon-to-be-released draft report on electric vehicles, Sonoma County can
significantly reduce transportation emissions by shifting from gas and
diesel-powered vehicles to those powered by electricity. 

“Expanding
low carbon and zero emission travel is one of our top priorities,” said Suzanne
Wilford Smith, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Transportation
Authority. “We aim to do this by reimagining public transportation,
incentivizing EVs, looking at new policies like user-based road use fees,
launching SMART, and implementing a car share program.” 

Although
Sonoma County is a climate protection leader, this report shows that there’s a
long way to go. 

Sonoma
County is aiming for a 2015 target of reducing emissions 25% below 1990 levels,
equal to about 2.6 million tons ofcarbon dioxide,by
2015. In 2005, Sonoma County and all nine of its cities pledged by resolution
to achieve this goal, which corresponds to what is known scientifically as atmospheric carbon stabilization, the
imperative for a life-sustaining climate. 

“Although
we won’t meet our extremely ambitious 2015 target, we’re moving in the right
direction,” said Hancock. “We have to work a lot harder to move a lot faster.” 

To
meet the goal, emission reduction measures must overcome powerful forces,
particularly increases in population and an economy largely based on fossil
fuels.

Reducing
GHGs is much more than an environmental agenda. It is about public health,
energy security, economic vitality, and ultimately, human survival. In the
words of Pope Francis, “we have a moral imperative” to promote climate action,
and it will require a “bold cultural revolution” to get us on the right track.

Sonoma
County is proving to the world that reducing GHGs and promoting decarbonization
also makes long-term economic sense.

“We
build capital to help move positive change,” said Jason Simon, Director Policy
Strategy at Enphase Energy. “Not only are we expanding access to renewable
energy, but we are making strategic choices at all levels to update the energy
system so that it’s cleaner and more resilient. We want to ensure our own
business success, other green innovators’ success, and a healthier planet.”

“Ultimately,
social change happens through our conversation. The more we talk about this
imperative, the solutions, and each of our roles in correcting this crisis, the
faster we create the context for change and create a positive future for our
children and all life,” said Hancock.

Local Action Moves the Car World

Yesterday’s announcement of new federal miles per gallon standards has rightly been hailed as the biggest thing the White House has ever done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Let me also say: “It’s about damn time, and kudos to the states for taking the lead.”

In 1984, Ronald Reagan was running for a second term. Apple invented the Macintosh. The federal requirement for average fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks was 20 miles per gallon.

In 1990, George H.W. Bush was president. The World Wide Web was created. The Hubble Space Telescope was launched. The miles per gallon standard was 20.

In 1995, Bill Clinton was president. New technology enabled us to pack data onto DVDs and take pictures with digital cameras.  The miles per gallon standard was 20.6.

In 2001, George W. Bush moved into the White House. Text messaging began to change the way we communicate and artificial hearts became successful.  The miles per gallon standard was 20.7.

The standard then inched up to 22 MPG in 2007, 23 in 2009, and 24 in 2011 – progress for cars, but paltry compared to advances in cell phones, Mars rovers, and quantum mechanics.

Then came the big jumps. I was at the White House two years ago when Pres. Obama announced new standards for model years 2012-2016. I had fought for years for stronger standards at the state level in California, Maryland and other states, and was extremely honored to be in the Rose Garden for the announcement.  The standard will hit 35.5 miles per gallon in 2016.

Yesterday, Pres. Obama finalized standards for model years 2017-2025, increasing the standard to 54.5 miles per gallon for the average of all new vehicles sold in 2025. Together, these two sets of standards will save 12 billion barrels of oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6 billion tons.

This was only possible through the long-standing effort of California and other states to surpass the federal government and take matters into their own hands with stronger state standards. Finally, the federal government has caught up with leading states and vehicle technology will catch up with the rest of the modern world.

Let it be a lesson we can apply to other sectors. Change at the local level can move the world.

Brad Heavner