Thursday, December 31, 2009

Earth: Art of a Changing World at the Royal Academy

Yesterday I visited the Earth: Art of a Changing World exhibition at the Royal Academyd exhibition at the Royal Academy. It's fantastic, the best show I've been to in a long time - superior to the Radical Nature one at the Barbican earlier this year.

It collects works by many artists that have enviromental themes, especially addressing climate change. In many ways it does what the Centre for Alternative Technology's (CAT) Arts in Transition initiative wants artists to do.

It's not overwhelmingly polemical. Many of the works are oblique, some funny, many sad or touching, some make you angry, and a surprising number are very beautiful.

36 pieces are gathered under the following themes: Introduction; External, Perceived Reality; Destruction; the Artist as Explorer; and Re-Reality. Many current art world stars are represented, including David Nash, Anthony Gormley, Keith Tyson, Sophie Calle, and Tracey Emin - whose 3 pieces are the best things by her I've seen - touching and beautifully executed.

Several artists have been to Greenland on Cape Farewell tours, specifically organised to expose artists to the physical effects of climat change in the arctic. Novelist Ian McEwan, who went on one such trip, is represented by a text he wrote in response.

Yael Bartana's video about Israeli men driving their 4x4s over sand dunes for kicks is crazy - is this the summit of human progress? 'Progress' is also questioned by Lemn Sissay's poem, performed in a video with a jazz trio, "What if?" - poignant and challenging.

Another video, 'Doomed', by Tracey Moffat, is a hilarious compilation of disaster sequences from Hollywood movies. Yao Lu alters an image of rubbish dumps to make them seem at first glance like traditional Chinese landscapes.

Clare Twomey's ceramic flowers and Adriane Colburne's fabulous installation Up From Under the Edge of the Earth, are among pieces that by being incredibly beautiful and fragile remind us of the care we need to take to preserve our awesome natural environment, while Edward Burtynsky's photographs of Canadian tar sand exploitation, quarries and a Chinese chicken-processing factory (whose rows of women workers themselves look like factory farmed chicks), show us how little care some industries are taking.

Finally, we are made to hope that Antti Laitinen's documention of his long, futile attempt to make an island in the freezing Baltic Sea, striving like King Canute to fight the inevitable tidal forces, is not a prophetic allegory for humanity's attempt to stave off the effects of global warming.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Drowning has begun

Earlier this year I won a grant [scroll down from this link to the item] from Powys' Chance to Create to write a novel for older children called The Drowning.

One of the grant conditions was the production of a blog to document the writing of the novel. Now I have begun to write it this is a fine time to start.

What is The Drowning?

The story is set in Borth, Taliesin, and West Powys in the not-too-distant future when sea level rise threatens low-lying dwellings and the smooth running of society.

It is a mystery story - what happened when a boy died one stormy evening on the moors north of Nant-y-Moch?

It is a story of the love-hate relationship between two very different boys from contrasting backgrounds forced to get on together in order to survive, and how the arrival of a girl affects this.

It mixes in and updates Welsh legends - specifically the origin of Taliesin and a reinterpretation of his character and this story, and the story of Cantre'r Gwaelod which, besides having obvious resonance with climate change-related sea level rise and weather events, is situated in this same area.

There are other elements as well, and one challenge of writing a blog about a work in progress is to not reveal the plot and spoil it for future readers!


I have so far:
  • researched all of the mythological elements I wish to use
  • walked in most of the areas where the story is set - but will need to revisit some during the writing
  • done some research on the flora and fauna - need to do a little more
  • conducted most of the research on the science of climate change and sea level rise; sources include articles in the New Scientist; Ranyl Rhydwen, a lecturer on climate science at CAT; a study of the Dyfi Valley coastline (near Borth) by a German researcher/Ceredigion Council; and Bill Thompson of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • need to in particular find out more about the Eastern Greenland coast and the behaviour of melting ice sheets there
  • I have worked on the characters, learnt some Welsh, and plotted the novel out on scene (index) cards)
  • begun to write it (a week ago) - 2000 words completed. Projected length: 40,000 words, maybe less, mixed media format

More to follow. Offers of help (research information) welcome.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

US intransigence caps Copenhagen fiasco

If anyone should shoulder the blame for the failure of the UN Climate Change conference to conclude with a legally binding and effective deal it is President Obama.

Other countries had made or been ready to make concessions, even though no-one did enough to secure the measures required to avoid a temperature rise of at least 3 degrees Celsius.

China conceded that it would no longer seek financial support from rich countries to help it reduce its emissions. But when it saw no new US measures on the table, it felt no compunction to accept independent monitoring of its emission reduction efforts.

The EU had agreed a unilateral 20 per cent emissions cut by 2020 on 1990 levels and offered to raise this to 30 per cent if other rich countries did more. It also promised to pay its “fair share” of a global total of €22-50 billion in international public money.

The UK seems unwilling to criticise the US, putting a brave face on the fact that Obama came to Copenhagen at all.

The text agreed so far contains only an aspiration to provide $100bn by 2020, with no certainty about how much is public money from rich countries. The money may largely come from carbon trading - a volatile, unpedictable market.

Lumumba Di-Aping (Sudanese leader of G77) compared the Copenhagen Accord proposed to the Holocaust and to asking African people to sign the suicide pact.

Tuvalu and other threatened states are very bitter about lack of transparency - the text had been agreed before midnight by a small group of countries (25-10-5 countries, including US and EU) and brought to the plenary.

There is no tight deadline to convert the deal into a legally-binding agreement - so no sense of urgency.

After two years of wrangling and stalling - what a tragedy for the most vulnerable nations and the whole world.

The governments of the world have behaved like irresponsible schoolchildren who had to prepare for an important exam but left everything to the last minute and failed the exam, rather than like responsible custodians of the planet.

What a betrayal of our trust.

What does the Accord say?

Targets: no mitigation targets for 2020 or 2050
The document mentions pledges already made by some parties. Other countries can write their intentions into the scheme in the document before 1 February 2010.

- long term finance: 100 bln USD each year by 2020 repeated, no concrete pledges. The money should go from public and private sources.

- short term finance 2010-12
10,6 bilion USD - UE
11 bln USD - Japan
3,6 bln USD - US

Verification/control: control wording taken out. Big developing countries have to report their emissions every second year, some kind of international surveillance but at the same time "respecting national sovereignty".

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Daily Express would rther have us believe a corrupt redneck politician than the majority of scientists

The Daily Express and the Telegraph today run a climate sceptic story, supposedly quoting a report from 'The European Foundation'.

What is the 'European Foundation"?

They are an organisation that is one man: the right wing anti-Maastricht Treaty campaigner Bill Cash.

This is a man who wants to turn the clock back to the time when international cooperation was much less than it is now: a nationalist redneck anti-European fanatic.

A corrupt man who claimed more than £15,000 in taxpayer-funded expenses to pay his daughter rent for her London flat – even though he owned a home closer to Westminster.

His voting record includes:
  • never voting on a transparent Parliament

  • voting against introducing a smoking ban

  • voting strongly against introducing student top-up fees

  • voting very strongly for the Iraq war

  • voting very strongly for replacing Trident

  • voting very strongly against the hunting ban

  • voting against equal gay rights

  • voting (why?!) for laws to stop climate change!
Why do the Express and Telegraph want people to believe this backward-looking man rather than the combined weight of the vast majority of scientists and politicians?

To sell papers. What cynical morons.

Here's the truth:

The Royal Society has produced this overview of the current state of scientific understanding of climate change to help non-experts better understand some of the debates in this complex area of science. :

What developed nations have put on the table at Copenhagen

Here is a document from the Oxfam policy team on what the countries below have stated in terms of emissions reductions, financing for developing countries and political dynamics.

China, India, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Africa Group, Least, Developed Countries (LDC)
Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), , Indonesia, South Korea, EU, US, Norway, Australia, Canada, Japan
New Zealand

Naturally it is not enough, but it's where we are at today.

Civil rights abuse in Copenhagen

A good blog by singer-songwriter David Rovics on the police clampdown in Copenhagen, civil rights and politics in Denmark.
Report from Cop-enhagen

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yes, it's - The Stupid Show

Watch the Stupid Show from Franny and Co. live from Copenhagen!

Or watch it at

From the people who brought you the great film Age of Stupid...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How green is the green flagship city of the developing world?

During the COP-15 negotiations, where can we find an example of a sustainable city in the developing world?

Google the question and you get an answer: Curitiba in Parana state, Brazil, whose ex-Mayor, Jaime Lerner, is celebrated for pioneering sustainable solutions. Only last month he was in London sharing ideas with its mayor, Boris Johnson.

So I went to Curitiba, from the UK, to see just how green it really is. What I found surprised me: big roads, traffic, out of town shopping centres, Wal-Mart, McDonalds and Burger Kings. The eco-hostel where I stayed is surrounded by gated condominiums topped with razor wire and electric fences, manned by sentries.

I took an elliptical trip on one of the renowned metro-buses accessed by entering a glass tube. These fully wheelchair-accessible expresses have a different network, making fewer stops. The city was designed around this transit system, and it is this for which Curitiba is the most famous. It's afternoon, and we don't encounter a single traffic jam.

My guide - Rafael, a sustainability consultant for a local publisher - says the city is resting on its laurels. It won its reputation for sustainability in the '80s and '90s when many of the initiatives it is still renowned for were inaugurated. But now the rest of the world has caught up.

We visited SPVS, an NGO responsible for biodiversity conservation, where a director, Ricardo, explains how they audited the green areas and discovered that a City Hall claim that Curitiba had over 50 square metres per person of greenspace wasn't exactly as green as it sounded: much of it was grass verges. So they are working with the city so credit only goes to the biodiverse areas with native species. They have two projects: the 'Condominio do bioversidade' works to educate people about the native species and their value. 'Bio Cidade' aims to create officially protected areas. The City has signed up to the UN Convention on Biodiversity.

At the Free College of the Environment, the educational officer, Naiana Arruba says it was set up in 1991 by Jaime Lerner himself, to try and raise awareness and do research into environmental issues. "However," she continues, "the City stopped supporting it four years ago for political and personal reasons. Unless we can secure more sponsorship we may close."

She says the water in the lake is being polluted by a budding favela - illegal occupation = in the land above the quarry. "Cohab, the municipal housing agency, should turf them off," she says. She doesn't see it as an opportunity to demonstrate sustainability in practice. She is clearly disillusioned.

Rafael says these favelas are hidden away "on the edges of Curitiba and its commuter towns. Curitiba is a victim of its own success. As it proclaimed how 'sustainable' it was, it attracted inhabitants from everywhere, exploding from a few thousand to 1.7 million."

The favelas' inhabitants sort the rubbish. Everywhere they pull their barrows, laden with cardboard, old exhausts, abandoned white goods and plastic. There also live the women who work as cleaners and nannies in the middle clsss homes.

"Isn't this Curitiba's dirty secret?" I worried. "That it would grind to a halt if not for the existence of these second class citizens?"

Our next stop provided a kind of answer. At NGO Alliança Empreendedora, co-director Lina Useche, a beautiful 25-year old, described their work with favela women, training them in crafts, sewing and business management, obtaining micro-credit, via support from banks and Wal-Mart, and creating co-operatives to make and market their work.

"The collectors lease the barrows for $R10 a day," she said. "They can barely earn that from what they sell. So we help them obtain microcredit to buy the barrows and, by clubbing together, acquire balers to package the garbage and sell direct to the top buyer for a better price."

Lina showed us beautiful bags and wallets made from recycled materials. 97% of rubbish is recycled by the favelas. The City Hall has realised that they need to help the collectors and have just given the Co-ops responsibility for the remaining 3%.

Finally, we got a tour of a favela: a tight hodgepodge of small homes cobbled together with any materials in rubbish-strewn streets, a lively area with its own economy of shops, barbers, cafes, but most of all warehouses where the rubbish is sorted into types for selling.

Some homes have been modernised: good materials, a fresh coat of paint applied with pride. Lina said, "When people become richer, they don't leave the favelas - they improve them, and give employment to those around." The community bootstraps itself up.

But there's no trickledown. It's due to the work of NGOs and the funding from the City Hall. Cohab is charged with providing housing. "But" says Lina, "when people leave the favelas they have to pay taxes, water and energy." Why should they leave, then? Some politicians oppose helping them because it only encourages the wrong sort of people to come.

But unless the City completely changes its system of rubbish recycling they will always need the favelas. And the favelas need the rubbish to provide their income.

Water and sanitation remain a problem but the city is getting on top of it.

There are so many environmental technologies in Europe that they haven't heard of here yet, which they could be implementing instead of 'wiring in' unsustainable infrastructure and habits: sustainable urban drainage, green rooves, solar water heating, micro-renewables, trains, shutters to reduce the need for air-conditioning, and even small water-saving tricks like fitting plugs in sinks and basins.

This is what worries me most - not here but everywhere. Unsustainable bad habits are harder to undo than changing a piece of energy kit.

Whether the habit is fast food, freezers, no plugs for basins, tumble driers, or no shutters on windows, they have causal chains that result in high ecological footprints that can be locked in for decades.

Some of these habits are universal and a function of capitalism, like fast food. Others are not, but a result of planning issues, like the plugs, transport and shutters. It's the latter which we can campaign for developing cities to take aware action on.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

US Youth Crash Climate Denier Event in Copenhagen

Young Clean Energy Advocates called "Hitler Youth" by Climate Denier Lord Monckton

Fifty young Americans took over a climate denier conference hosted by a prominent conservative organization this evening in Copenhagen, rushing the stage and telling the live TV audience that a clean energy future is the real road to prosperity in America.

The young people, merely a fraction of the more than 350 US youth in Denmark for the UN climate negotiations, entered a session of the Americans for Prosperity "Hot Air Tour" speakers series and were able to drop two banners and gain access to the conference's stage. The live event was webcast to over forty climate denier rallies in cities across the United States.

The students entered the event in small groups, joining a paltry audience of five conference attendees, who had come to hear climate denier Lord Christopher Monckton speak about the Copenhagen climate negotiations.

After the first five minutes of the event, student representatives from SustainUS, the Sierra Student Coalition, the Cascade Climate Network, and other American youth NGOs displayed banners reading "Climate Disaster Ahead" and "Clean Energy Now." After security agents at the event took the banners, the young attendees began a chant of "Real Americans for Prosperity are Americans for Clean Energy."

The chant lasted five minutes, as the youth took the stage and displayed their message for the live video feed being sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, despite evasive action on the camera crew's part. As they left the stage, Lord Monckton repeatedly called the activists "Hitler Youth" and "nazis."

"Clean energy creates jobs," says Rachel Barge, a 24-year-old entrepreneur from San Francisco, CA who was the first young person to raise her voice at the event, "These climate action delayers and science deniers are stealing bold, new economic opportunities from the American public."

Laura Comer, 21, of Strongsville, OH, seconded Barge, saying, "We're representing the majority of Americans on this, particularly young Americans. The real America wants clean energy - not more fossil fuel-funded lies about the science."

For more information, contact Ben Wessel, +45 50 11 12 48,

Targeting the climate change denialists (2)

Senator Inhofe likes to think he's a big obstacle to President Obama's ambition to secure a meaningful deal at the Copenhagen talks beginning Dec 7.

He is influential in certain circles and therefore an obstacle to the world's attempt to secure climate justice. This blog is about undermining his argument - also used by other American denialists.

In an interview last Sunday on the BBC's World at One radio news programme, he said that no matter what Obama says at the negotiations, he will not get his bill passed through the Senate.

In defence of this claim he was using the statistic that it will cost $330 billion a year to bring climate change down to Obama's climate bill's aim of 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

He justified this with references to figures drawn from old statistics - produced by Al Gore up to 10 years ago.

It is therefore imperative that everybody who cares about climate change targets Senator Inhofe's arguments, the basis for his arguments, and his absurd claims.

Somebody also needs to take him and any other sceptics to Bangladesh to see the effects of climate change now upon individuals and their livelihoods so that he understands in human terms what it means.

My previous tangle with Senator Inhofe

Inhofe was one of those duped by a hoax perpetrated by George Monbiot and myself a couple of years ago (George must take most of the credit for this).

Although his department tried to deny it, they posted this hoax briefly upon their website as if it was true.

Meeting Inhofe's claims

The claim that it will cost $330 billion a year needs to be challenged. Here are a few ideas.

One way of doing this is to use the table or costs reproduced by Nicholas Stern, updated by McKinsey in January 2009, which shows that many of the measures required to fight climate change come at zero or less than zero cost, when their impact is measured over a short time to show their paybacks.

Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions cost abatement curve showing how many costs are negative and zero

Their cost abatement curve provides a quantitative basis for discussions about what action will be most effective in delivering emissions reductions and what they might cost.

The report says that "there is potential by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35% compared with 1990 levels, or by 70% compared with the level we would see if the world collectively made little attempt to curb current and future emissions. This will be sufficient to have a good chance of holding global warming below the 2°C threshold according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change".

The report identifies areas in which energy efficiency, low carbon energy supply and terrestrial carbon in forestry and agriculture can deliver efficient, low-cost savings. The low hanging fruit is available in the graph on the left hand side below the horizontal line.

Each bar represents the potential of that opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a specific year compared to the business as usual development. The potential of each opportunity assumes an aggressive global action starting in 2010 to capture that specific opportunity. The height of each bar represents the average cost of avoiding one tonne of CO2 equivalent by 2030 through that opportunity. The cost is a weighted average across sub opportunities, regions and years. All costs are in 2005 real euros. The graph is ordered left to right from the lowest cost abatement opportunities to the highest cost. The uncertainty can be significant for individual opportunities for both volume and cost estimates, in particular for the forestry and agriculture sectors, and for emerging technologies," the McKinsey report says.

It says that the total cost of doing this for the whole world will be less than 1% of forecasted global GDP in 2030.

I haven't seen the basis of Inhofe's figures, but you can bet that they do not include the savings that energy efficiency can bring.

Why should illogical wasteful American behaviour be defended?

To use one example - whereas everybody else in the world who can, dries their washing in the sun and wind on clothes lines, Americans use tumble dryers. Apparently the reason for this is that it is considered shameful not to use a tumble dryer. [See this New Scientist article]

It brings down property prices, because it seems only the poor hang their clothes out to dry and no one wants to look poor in America.

How ludicrous. Is the Senate really to defend this kind of behaviour against the reality of millions being forced to leave their homes because of rising sea levels?

"If Americans would hang their laundry out to dry - and committed 16 other acts of environmental kindness - they could slash US carbon dioxide emissions by 7.4 per cent by 2019" [ See this New Scientist article]. At little or no cost. In fact they would save money.

McKinsey also found in a July 2008 report that it would cost the world $170 billion to halve the projected global energy demand.

They said, "The average internal rate of return (IRR) of these investments would be 17 percent, and each of them would generate an IRR of at least 10 percent." (assuming that oil costs $50 a barrel — far less than today’s prices, which would generate higher returns)

"The total annual energy savings would come to roughly $900 billion by 2020."

At the same time, making these investments would avoid having to invest in generating capacity and other forms of energy infrastructure that would otherwise be necessary to keep pace with accelerating demand.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that, on average, $1 spent on more efficient electrical equipment, appliances, and buildings avoids more than $2 of investment in electricity supply (World Energy Outlook 2006, International Energy Agency, 2006).

"All of the investments, representing just 0.4 percent of current global GDP a year, involve existing technologies—and none require compromising the consumer’s comfort or convenience," McKinsey said.

The $170 billion opportunity to curb climate change

How much of this would the US have to pay? Just $38bn a year.

Nearly 10% of Inhofe's claim.

Inhofe and his friends want to protect industry from saving money - because it's too much like hard work to change.

Because as the report goes on to say:

"Why does so much of the potential energy productivity opportunity in the industrial and commercial sectors remain untapped? One important reason is that many companies around the globe continue to be government owned (for instance, those that control much of China’s industrial capacity) or enjoy high levels of regulatory protection that shields them from competition (such as steel, until recently, in the United States and many other countries). Improving performance is hard work for managers. Without market pressure to do so, many companies just will not take advantage of all the available opportunities to boost their energy productivity."

This exposes that inhofe and his friends are not only addicted to current goverment subsidies and handouts, but actively oppose market solutions to delivering cost-efficiencies.

If concern for the victims of climate change won't reach them, let's get them on their own terms, guys.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Resources to tackle climate denialists

Pew Centre Statement on CRU affair [PDF] - Answers main slurs against CRU and, by implication, against climate science


Royal Society answer 8 misleading arguments about climate change

Current national policies mean an average rise of 4.4 degrees

Image: Climate Circus
Click on the image to the right to go to Climate circus and see the results of the developed countries' policies in terms of projected temperature rises.

None of them come below four degrees Celsius at present.

At Copenhagen they need to be forced to limit emissions by 40% by 2020 to get down to two degrees Celsius.

Cap and Share meets Environment Minister Ruddock

Three members of the Cap and Share group met Environment Minister Joan Ruddock yesterday in the House of Commons.

Cap and Share is the most efficient way of cutting Greenhouse gas emissions at source while spreading the financial benefits of carbon trading throughout the population.

Her message was that she will think about Cap and Share but she believes that the government has all the policies that it needs to deliver on its climate mitigation commitments and she couldn't see that they needed any more - they have a whole department full of officials working on policies (DECC) so why did they need any more ideas?

Indeed, as she was the minister, if she felt they were not doing enough already then she would have felt obliged to resign...

No comment.

We said that so far they had merely gone for the "low hanging fruit" and it would soon get much tougher - especially when they had reduce emissions at a faster rate (5% or more per annum) so that, merely offering inducements to people to change behaviour would not be enough.

We also said that if the EU ETS and other policies went pear shaped and failed to deliver then, with a cap and share policy in place they could extend it to the rest of the economy at that point and would have a plan B in place already.

Predictably she didn't think there were any problems with the EU ETS which couldn't be fixed - we didn't pursue that argument as it would clearly have been futile.

She appeared to enjoy the discussion and said that our viewpoint was very clear - three officials were present, listened and took notes but said nothing - just smiled enigmatically now and then.

Cap and Share has many benefits to offer it as a policy, not least of which is its efficiency, it is cheaper to introduce and fairer than a carbon tax or other carbon credits systems, and helps to engender behaviour change and wider awareness.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Wave

The climate change march in London on December 5 -- "the Wave" - was inspiring -- 40,000 people, and we encircled the Houses of Parliament.

I met Peter Capaldi from The Thick Of It, as we were walking near the front with the group I was with, Cap and Share.
Peter Capaldi with Cap and Share banner in the background!

Two of our group were amongst those selected to go and meet Environment Secretary Ed Miliband afterwards.

But it was quiet! The first march I've ever been on where a policeman said to me "you're not making enough noise!"

The police kept a low profile, and perhaps the reason that the march did not achieve more prominence in the news was that there was no trouble.

The British government knows that it has to go to Copenhagen to secure the best possible legally binding deal to secure a result that will keep global warming below 2°C. The problem is that this is virtually impossible and the slogan that we shall be uniting up around of we are totally serious about addressing the problem is zero carbon-equivalent emissions from now on.

This is because the emissions already in the atmosphere will result in a temperature rise over 2°C.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

World headed for 3.5 degree warming based on current pre-Copenhagen promises

Antonio M. Claparols, president of the Ecological Society of the Philippines has published a heartfelt account of climate change and deforestation on eco-friendly website

The article, entitled “Will Copenhagen Save the World?” evokes stark images of the catastrophic devastation caused by climate change. In an extract from the article Claparols comments: “As I write this, the entire world is talking about climate change and its effects to the environment, agriculture and humankind. The effects of climate change have manifested itself all over the world. In the Philippines the effects of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng are still fresh in mind. But the real issue is-do we have enough political will to abate climate change?”

A fair deal at Copenhagen is absolutely crucial, but at the moment the world is heading towards disaster.

A sobering new assessment by the “Climate Action Tracker” of the emission commitments and pledges put forward by industrialized and developing countries for the Copenhagen climate negotiations shows that the world is headed for a global warming of well over 3oC by 2100. Carbon dioxide concentrations are projected to be over 650 ppm, with total GHG concentrations close to 800 ppm CO2 equivalent.

This will mean catastrophic sea level rises that will directly affect low-lying areas like Bangladesh, the Pacific Islands and the Philippines.

Everybody must push hard against their political leaders to get them to deliver a legally binding agreement as part of the COP-15 talks.

“The pledges on the table will not halt emissions growth before 2040, let alone by 2015 as indicated by the IPCC and are far from halving emissions by 2050, as has been called for by the G8. Instead global emissions are likely to be nearly double 1990 levels by 2040 based on present pledges”, said Dr Niklas Höhne of Ecofys.

“In 2020 we project total GHG emissions to be around 55 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent per year from all sources, a reduction of about 3 billion tonnes compared to business as usual. In ten years from now global emissions will already have to be well below current levels of about 46 billion tonnes (in 2008) to have much chance of meeting temperature goals such as 2°C, as called for by the major emitters globally, or below 1.5°C as put forward by the Small Island States and Least Developed Countries as essential for their survival”, said Dr (h.c.) Bill Hare of Climate Analytics and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

“After accounting for the new position of Russia, the announcement of President Obama of a US emission reduction pledge for Copenhagen, the developed country emission reductions as a whole are currently projected to be 13-19% below 1990 levels by 2020. However the proposed forest credits these countries want would degrade this by about 5% with the effective reductions in industrial GHG emissions being 8-14% below 1990 levels by 2020. The low reduction target (8%) is unconditional for most countries and the highest reduction target (14%) is linked by most countries to a strong agreement in Copenhagen”, said Dr. Michiel Schaeffer of Climate Analytics.

Around 25-40% reductions by industrialized countries by 2020 from 1990 GHG emissions levels are described as necessary by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Recent announcements such as the Chinese carbon intensity reduction target for 2020, and the Korean emission goals for 2020 and 2050, are very important and useful. However the overall effect on greenhouse gas emissions (excluding deforestation) is disappointing; with overall developing country emissions projected to be close to, or significantly above, the IPCC range for 2020” said Dr Niklas Höhne of Ecofys.

“Faster economic growth than expected, particularly combined with slower improvements in carbon intensity in China explain part of this. China has ambitious policies on energy efficiency and renewable energy, but the new international target falls short of that ambition. A reduction from “business as usual emissions” by the developing countries as a group is needed in 2020 of 15-30% is needed to limit global warming to 2°C or even lower.

“On deforestation, we have accounted for the announcement of Brazil and of Indonesia which taken together would reduce deforestation emissions globally by about 40% from recent levels by 2020 (or about the same from estimated 1990 deforestation emissions), which is a very important contribution” said Dr Michiel Schaeffer.

“With no concrete pledges on the table for international aviation and marine CO2 emissions these are projected to grow to over double 1990 levels in 2020, reaching about 1.8 billion tonnes per year, and to nearly 4 times 1990 levels in 2050, about 3 billion tonnes per year” said Dr Niklas Höhne of Ecofys.