EU emissions reduction target of 40% by 2030 just half of 80% required to meet 2°C commitment

UK climate scientist Kevin Anderson states his “grave concern” in letter to PM David Cameron

No 1171 Posted by fw, October 24, 2014

“…the reasons for today’s climate dilemma reside in our prolonged abject failure to set in train an effective programme of mitigation. A quarter of a century on from the IPCC’s first report, the carbon intensity of a typical EU citizen’s lifestyle remains unchanged. I urge you to resist the vested interests calling for continued inaction and instead drive for an ambitious policy framework ‘consistent with science’ and developed on ‘the basis of equity’. Ultimately, this will be the legacy we bequeath to future generations.”Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change

Letter to the PM outlining how 2°C demands an 80% cut in EU emissions by 2030 by Kevin Anderson, KevinAnderson.info, October 23, 2014

Below is an open letter (22nd Oct. 2014) to both the UK’s Prime Minister and the Secretary of State at the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC). The letter summarises why the IPCC’s carbon budgets for a “likely” chance of not exceeding the international community’s 2°C commitment, requires the EU to reduce the emissions from its energy system by 80% by 2030, with complete decarbonisation just a few years later.

Open Letter to:

The Prime Minister and Secretary of State at the Department of Energy & Climate Change
22nd October 2014

RE: The EU 2030 decarbonisation target and the framework for climate and energy policies

Dear Prime Minister and Secretary of State,

I wish to state my grave concern about the proposed ‘2030 framework for climate and energy policies’ that is to be finalized at this week’s European Council meeting of heads of state and senior ministers. If the 40% target proposed in the earlier Green Paper [1] is adopted, the EU will be signalling its dismissal of the IPCC’s carbon budgets associated with a 2°C rise in global temperature. It will give priority to politically expediency at the expense of scientific integrity, irrevocably damaging the climate change negotiations in Paris 2015.

My chief concern with the framework relates to the Commission’s assertion that “emissions would need to be reduced by 40% in the EU to be … consistent with the internationally agreed target to limit atmospheric warming to below 2°C”[1]. Whilst such a position may have political traction, it is in direct breach of the EU’s repeated commitment to reduce its emissions “consistent with science and on the basis of equity”[2].

The IPCC’s budgets for a “likely”[3] chance of not exceeding 2°C, accompanied by weak allowances for equity, demand the EU deliver, at least, an 80% reduction in emissions from its energy system by 2030, with full decarbonisation shortly after.

This stark contrast with the Green Paper’s proposed 40% reduction arises from two principal issues.

1) The IPCC’s “likely” carbon budgets The IPCC’s budgets, for a “likely” chance of not exceeding the 2°C target, range from around 600 to 1200 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2) for the period 2011-2100 [4]. To put this in context, in the four years since 2011 almost 150 billion tonnes have already been emitted; i.e. between a quarter and an eighth of the total carbon budget for the rest of the century. To estimate the budget for energy-only carbon, it is necessary to subtract emissions from deforestation and cement production [5]. Even with stringent control on emissions from these sectors, the remaining carbon budget for energy equates to as few as 5 and at the most 20 years of emissions equivalent to those in 2014 [6].

2) The inclusion of equity when apportioning emissions to regions The EU has acknowledged the need for its emissions to reach a peak and subsequently begin reducing well before those of industrializing and poorer nations. Even today, the carbon intensity of a typical Chinese person’s lifestyle is considerably lower than that of their European counterpart (5.9 tonnes p.a. per person compared with 9.4 for the EU28, rising to 10.1 and 11.4 tonnes for the UK and Germany respectively [7]). Under even the most stringent deal at the Paris 2015 negotiations, it is doubtful that the industrializing and poorer nations will collectively reach a peak in their emissions before 2025. However, if this were to be achieved, and if by the 2030s they deliver mitigation rates similar to those of the wealthier nations, the “likely” carbon budget remaining for the EU, USA etc. demands immediate double-digit mitigation rates [8].

Put simply, the basic arithmetic of: (1) the IPCC’s 2°C carbon budgets; (2) highly optimistic assumptions on deforestation and cement; (3) stringent emissions pathways for industrializing and poorer nations; and (4) the EU’s oft-cited commitment on 2°C; requires the European Council to increase the 2030 target to, at least, an 80% reduction in emissions.

Alternatively, if the Green Paper’s 40% target is adopted, the EU should be honest about why it has chosen to renege on its previous 2°C commitments. Moreover, it should explain the reasoning for judging the challenges of stringent mitigation as more onerous than the increased risk of dangerous repercussions for poorer and climatically more vulnerable communities.

I understand the enormous political difficulties for European heads of state in developing a transparent and evidence-based mitigation agenda. However, the reasons for today’s climate dilemma reside in our prolonged abject failure to set in train an effective programme of mitigation. A quarter of a century on from the IPCC’s first report, the carbon intensity of a typical EU citizen’s lifestyle remains unchanged [7]. I urge you to resist the vested interests calling for continued inaction and instead drive for an ambitious policy framework “consistent with science” and developed on “the basis of equity”. Ultimately, this will be the legacy we bequeath to future generations.

Yours sincerely

Kevin Anderson

Professor of Energy and Climate Change
Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research University of Manchester
PA- Amrita Sidhu, amrita.sidhu@manchester.ac.uk tel: +44(0)161 306 3700

Notes:

[1] Green Paper, A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies. Brussels, 27.3.2013 COM(2013) 169 final

[2] Report of the Conference of the Parties; fifteenth session; Copenhagen, 7 to 19 December 2009. See also: President Barroso on the results of the L’Aquila summit; European Commission, MEMO/09/332; 10/07/2009 http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-09-332_en.htm

[3] This is the language used by the IPCC in the AR5 to provide a qualitative interpretation of quantitative probabilities. It is based on the Guidance Note for Lead Authors of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report on Consistent Treatment of Uncertainties. IPCC Cross-Working Group Meeting on Consistent Treatment of Uncertainties. Jasper Ridge, CA, USA. 6-7 July 2010

[4] IPCC Summary for Policy Makers; Working Group III Table 6.3, p.12. The precise budget range is 630 to 1180 GtCO2

[5] With the surge in construction required to transition to a low-carbon infrastructure alongside ongoing industrialization within poorer nations, reversing the 6.9% p.a. growth in emissions from cement will be extremely challenging. The assumptions used in this letter rely on deforestation and cement emissions, for the century, totalling 100 and 200GtCO2respectively. For cement this relates to either: 1) an immediate halving in current growth rates with a transition to zero emissions by 2075; or, 2) a continuation at current rates to 2030 with a transition to zero emissions by 2050.

[6] Once deforestation and cement emissions are included the remaining budget range for energy-only is ~190 to 740GtCO2 for 2015-2100. Emissions for 2014 will be around 37GtCO2, hence the 5 to 20 year estimate. It is important to note that global emissions are currently growing at ~3% p.a., and that there is no prospect of this changing significantly before 2020, by when emissions from energy will be ~42GtCO2.

[7] Calculated from consumption-based inventories where emissions from imports and exports are also included. Territorial and consumption-based data is available for the EU28 region and individual EU nations from the Global Carbon Atlas.

[8] For a detailed account of these conclusions in for Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 nations, see: Anderson K, Bows A. Beyond dangerous climate change: emission pathways for a new world. Phil Trans R Soc A: Math Phys Eng Sci 2011, 369:20–44.

* This letter builds on a previous submission (13.12.2013) to the EU Commission President with regards to the Green Paper A 2030 framework for climate and energy policies. Brussels, 27.3.2013 COM(2013) 169 final 

SEE ALSO

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Devastating new book should just about destroy Stephen Harper, says blogger, Montreal Simon

The book is Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover, the author, Michael Harris, investigative journalist

No 1170 Posted by fw, October 23, 2014

“For it needs to be said. It always needed to be said. He is the worst Prime Minister this country has ever known. A political thug, a foul bully…. So let’s make sure that when Party of One comes out we buy the book and share it widely. For it is the book we have been waiting to read for so long. And it will help destroy him…”Montreal Simon

Sorry, I don’t know anything about “Montreal Simon” other than he’s a blogger, lives at http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/ and his posts are ablaze with riotous splashes of colour, as in this grotesque caricature of the PM.

 emperor freak harris

To read Montreal Simon’s post on Michael Harris’ new book, to savour all the images, and to buzz the comments, click on the following linked title. Or read below a text version, minus most of the images.

“Party of One”, The Book That Will Help Destroy Stephen Harper by Montreal Simon, October 19, 2014

Eight years ago when I started attacking Stephen Harper and his ghastly Con regime, it sometimes felt lonely out there.

Almost nobody, and certainly nobody in the MSM, was attacking him like I did. Many of the old poobahs in the blogosphere thought I was over the top. That he was bad but not THAT bad. And that I should grow up.

And of course, my Mum was sure I’d end up in prison eh?

Then a few years ago things started to change. The blogosphere caught fire, Lawrence Martin wrote his book Harperland.

party of one1And now Michael Harris’ new book Party of One should just about seal the record and finish him off

By the time author Michael Harris nears the end of his magisterial review of the strife and times of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, it is as if he felt the need of a shower. Almost 500 pages of Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover have by then been devoted to chronicling the Harper government’s bullying, abuse, duplicity, betrayal, affinity for crooks, public shaming of individuals, diminishment of democratic institutions.

“It was hard every day getting up and working on this particular government,” Harris told the Star in advance of the book’s publication this week. “It made you feel poorly.”

For it sounds like the book, I wish I had written eh?

And to make it even better, it includes quotes from some wonderful Canadians, like the late great Farley Mowatt –

“Stephen Harper is probably the most dangerous human being ever elevated to power in Canada,” Mowat tells the author. “We took Parliament for granted, but, like the environment, it turns out that it is an incredibly delicate and fragile structure. Harper has smothered MPs and is destroying Parliament.”

Or the last great Speaker of the Commons Peter Milliken –

“Parliament can hardly be weakened any more than it already is. Harper can’t go much further without making the institution dysfunctional. He is trying to control every aspect of House business. In fact, it will have to be returned to its former state by someone if we are to have a democracy.”

I love the way it begins with the words of a young Canadian, Brigette DePape, who inspired so many with her lonely protest…”STOP HARPER”

This quote by the distinguished diplomat Paul Heinbecker couldn’t be more devastating –

“Canada’s diplomacy is hugely different under Harper,” veteran diplomat Paul Heinbecker, former ambassador to Germany, tells the author. “It is a reversal of our history. “We have become outliers. We are seen as more American than the Americans, more Israeli than Likud. Given what our foreign policy has become, I would not have joined the service today if I were a young man.”

And this one, from the former information commissioner Robert Marleau sums up how I felt about Harper so long ago, and how I still feel about him now –

“Canadians are sleepwalking through dramatic social, economic and political changes surreptitiously being implemented by a government abusing omnibus bills and stifling public and parliamentary debate,” Marleau continued. “Mr. Harper has not played within the rules. Having attained absolute power, he has absolutely abused that power to the maximum.”

And the best part is that unlike so many others in our useless MSM, who have spent most of the last eight years polishing Great Leader’s butt with their tongues, you know that Harris will not mince his words.

And when people like Jim Coyle are already calling it the “definitive text” on the Harper years, all I can say is thank you Michael.

For it will do our homegrown dictator enormous damage in the lead-up to the next election. And hopefully it will inspire others in the MSM to follow Harris’ example and start criticizing Harper like he deserves.

For it needs to be said. It always needed to be said. He is the worst Prime Minister this country has ever known. A political thug, a foul bully, an outlier, a man as Canadian as a three dollar bill.

And yes, as I’ve always called him, he is a real MONSTER…

So let’s make sure that when Party of One comes out we buy the book and share it widely.

For it is the book we have been waiting to read for so long.

And it will help destroy him…

SEE ALSO

  • Author Michael Harris’s new book is a takedown of Stephen Harper by Jim Coyle, Toronto Star, October 23, 2014 – “Almost 500 pages of Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover have by then been devoted to chronicling the Harper government’s bullying, abuse, duplicity, betrayal, affinity for crooks, public shaming of individuals, diminishment of democratic institutions. ‘It was hard every day getting up and working on this particular government,’ Harris told the Star in advance of the book’s publication this week. ‘It made you feel poorly.’”

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Ecology Ottawa, an environmental activist group, gears up to fight TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline

A volunteer-driven organization, Ecology Ottawa has five full-time staff and “dozens and dozens” of volunteers

No 1169 Posted by fw, October 21, 2014

“As pipeline giant TransCanada prepares to file its application for a massive oil pipeline from Alberta to Quebec and New Brunswick, environmentalists say it could face a fight from Ottawa. Not from federal government, but from local residents and politicians. Ben Powless, Ecology Ottawa pipeline campaigner, said Ecology Ottawa is a volunteer-driven organization with just five full time staff, and that he relied on ‘dozens and dozens’ of volunteers…. Powless said it was too soon to say whether Ottawa city council would publicly state its opposition to a pipeline project….We’re positioning Ottawa in a very critical place. The city itself could get into a position where it could oppose the pipeline.’” —Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer

The post below is a reorganized version of the original article, and includes added subheadings and text highlighting. To read the original piece, click on the following linked title.

Ottawa’s local opposition could spell trouble for Energy East pipeline proposal by Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, October 21, 2014

“Here, people are starting to put the pieces together and understand that the only reason it’s being proposed here is because TransCanada wasn’t able to get their pipeline (Keystone XL) down to the U.S.,” Ecology Ottawa campaigner Ben Powless said.

Photo of Ecology Photo of Ecology Ottawa team at 24 Sussex, by Ben Powless

Photo of Ecology Ottawa team at 24 Sussex, by Ben Powless

Ecology Ottawa’s survey found most city council candidates would oppose Energy East if it posed environmental threat

As pipeline giant TransCanada prepares to file its application for a massive oil pipeline from Alberta to Quebec and New Brunswick, environmentalists say it could face a fight from Ottawa. Not from federal government, but from local residents and politicians. Ben Powless, Ecology Ottawa pipeline campaigner, said Ecology Ottawa is a volunteer-driven organization with just five full time staff, and that he relied on “dozens and dozens” of volunteers.

Around 70 per cent of Ottawa city council candidates responded to an Ecology Ottawa survey. Of these respondents, 90 per cent said they would oppose the proposed Energy East pipeline if it could threaten water, climate and the health of their communities.

Powless said it was too soon to say whether Ottawa city council would publicly state its opposition to a pipeline project, as Vancouver recently did in relation to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion. “We’re positioning Ottawa in a very critical place. The city itself could get into a position where it could oppose the pipeline,”

Some candidates said municipalities shouldn’t get involved in a pipeline debate that would be ultimately decided by federal government, the vast majority said they would oppose it if it Notably, both candidates from Ward 6, Stittsville — one of the communities nearest to the pipeline route and most affected by the project — declined to respond.

In addition to surveys, Ecology Ottawa canvassed 15,000 homes to raise awareness about the Energy East project

In addition to the surveys, Powless said his group has been on the ground since 2013, reaching out to 15,000 homes in Ottawa to raise awareness about Energy East. Powless said over half of those approached hadn’t heard about the project before, but especially in communities along the pipeline route near Rideau River, residents expressed concern about its potential impact on the water.

“We were out in communities closest to the pipeline route, people took it very seriously…A lot of people were concerned about the risks of a pipeline spill, about the water, about their property values, and in more rural areas, people were worried about their farmland getting contaminated. They were also worried about climate change, and economics.”

As more citizens become better informed about Energy East pipeline risks, TransCanada will not find it an easy sell

Recently, however, Energy East has been framed in the media as a project that was likely to be built faster than other proposed pipelines, such as the Keystone XL from Alberta to the U.S. (also by TransCanada) and the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

According to a detailed account in Bloomberg, Energy East came about because Prime Minister Stephen Harper was frustrated by U.S. President Obama’s call to delay Keystone XL in 2011.

After searching for alternatives to get Alberta’s landlocked crude to market, Harper came across New Brunswick’s billionaire Irving family, which owns gasoline refineries in Saint John. The proposed Energy East project would retrofit an existing natural gas pipeline running through Ottawa near Stittsville to ship 1.1 million barrels of oil and bitumen per day from Alberta.

While Energy East is massive in scale — at 4,600 kilometres, the third largest pipeline in the world — it has the advantage of building upon an existing Ontario pipeline (new pipelines would still have to be built  across six provinces).

Powless says many communities are just starting to understand how Energy East came to be, and that it won’t be an easy sell in the eastern provinces.

“Here, people are starting to put the pieces together and understand that the only reason it’s being proposed here is because TransCanada wasn’t able to get their pipeline down to the U.S. and they all recognize that B.C. is hostile territory,” Powless said.

“I think the federal government is out of their minds” to propose this pipeline, says Powless

He said many Ontario residents remembered the recent NEB rule changes that limited public participation on hearings as well as length of deliberation, which is now capped at 15 months, regardless of the scale of a project.

“I think it’s clear the federal government has done everything it has to stack the books in favour of oil companies in general…It’s taken the U.S. years to consider Keystone XL, and they’re still ordering more tests to be done.

“To imagine that we can do the same thing in Canada for an even bigger pipeline carrying more oil across a further distance — I think the federal government is out of their minds.” 

Powless is encouraged by leadership at the municipal level, including willingness to participate in NEB review process.

Three-quarters of candidates surveyed said the City of Ottawa should intervene in the National Energy Board’s federal review process on the pipeline project to ensure Ottawa’s interests are taken under consideration. 

Powless said it was “encouraging” to see leadership on the municipal level that was lacking at the federal and provincial level. In New Brunswick, newly elected Premier Brian Gallant said today that his government’s support for Energy East had not wavered since the election. 

“A lot of opposition has built up, even before TransCanada has filed its application (for Energy East)…There isn’t federal leadership on a lot of these big environmental issues, so it’s almost up to municipal leaders, which is kind of incredible, but opens up a lot of possibility for locally directed change.”

TransCanada was contacted for comment, but did not respond before publication.

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