Climate Change: Science & Predictions

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Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus

This study presents and updated analysis on the earth’s global surface temperature, revealing that temperatures are higher than previously reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2013. These results counter the notion of a “hiatus” in rising global surface temperatures, concluding that warming trends within the 21st century closely match those from the second half of the 20th century.

The Social Cost of Atmospheric Release

This report calculates the social cost of releasing pollutants into the air due to fossil fuel combustion. It concludes that the true cost of fossil fuels is higher than their current market values, when factoring in their environmental impacts. The report estimates the following social costs for the combustion of fossil fuels: $0.14-0.34/kWh for electricity generation from coal; $0.04-0.18/kWh for electricity generation from gas; $3.80 per gallon of gasoline; and $4.80 per gallon of diesel.

UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2014

The ‘emissions gap’ refers to the difference between emissions levels consistent with meeting climate targets, and levels expected that year if pledges and commitments are met. This report series discusses the emissions gap and its implications, emissions trends resulting from pledges and commitments, and policy options for bridging the emissions gap.

Global Carbon Budget 2014

This presentation provides information about the trends and projections of global carbon dioxide emissions. In addition to describing overall CO2 patterns, the report breaks down changes in emissions by energy sources (and sinks), geographic region, and timescale. It concludes that the world must limit its emissions to 3,200 Gt in order to have a 66 percent chance of keeping global warming below 2 degrees C. We have already spent more than half of this budget and, at our current emissions rate, are projected to use up the remaining budget within 30 years.

Pathways to Deep Decarbonization: Interim 2014 Report

This report, a part of the Deep Decarbonization Pathway Project (DDPP), summarizes actions for reducing emissions so as to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. DDPP has analyzed findings from 15 Country Research Teams, with the intention of using these findings to inform the UNFCCC at the COP-21 in Paris in 2015. The report discusses the importance of staying within the 2 degree C limit and pathways for achieving this through various decarbonization efforts.

IPCC 5th Assessment Report Working Group 1-4

The IPCC releases major reports on climate change roughly every six years. These reports consolidate the data and views of leading climate scientists, with extensive vetting of sources and careful characterization of uncertainties.

Wild Weather: the new normal?

This paper was adapted from Energy Innovation’s previous publication, The Extremes Become the Norm, to explain how small changes in average temperature lead to large changes in extreme weather. As global temperatures move upward, certain parts of the world will become drier, causing droughts and wildfires, while other parts will become wetter, causing hurricanes and flooding. Increasing occurrence of these natural disasters will have catastrophic economic, health, and social impacts in communities around the world.

The Extremes Become the Norm

This paper discusses why small changes in average temperature lead to large changes in extreme weather, describes the upward shift in what are considered “normal” temperatures over time, illustrates the changing odds of extreme events with a moving bell curve, and points out regions that will become drier or wetter. The paper concludes by emphasizing that humans are responsible for these shifts, and there are solutions including emissions cuts and adaptation measures.

A Trillion Tons

This article, published in the journal Dædalus, argues that humans have a “budget” of a trillion tons of carbon we can emit before the probability of adverse consequences grows significantly, half of which has been spent. They use results from modeling using the En-ROADS software tool to study how changes in energy supply and demand might affect emissions and, in turn, climate. Topics discussed and modeled through EN-ROADS include carbon emissions growth in developing countries, energy efficiency, renewable energy, CCS, and other new technology.

Too late for two degrees? Low Carbon Economy Index 2012

This report by PricewaterhouseCoopers presents the results of the firm’s carbon intensity modeling efforts. PwC finds that limiting warming to 2 degrees C relative to pre-industrial levels would require global carbon intensity to drop by 5.1 percent per year for the next 39 years. They claim that “even doubling our current rate of decarbonization would still lead to emissions consistent with 6 degrees of warming by the end of the century.” The report discusses recent progress in various developed and large developing countries and illustrates how far behind their emissions targets (from the 2009 UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen) many countries are today.

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