Arquivo da tag: Governança climática

Pew’s new global survey of climate change attitudes finds promising trends but deep divides (The Conversation)

theconversation.com

September 14, 2021 10.00am EDT

By Kate T. Luong (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, George Mason University), Ed Maibach (Director of Center for Climate Communication, George Mason University), and John Kotcher (Assistant Professor of Communications, George Mason University)


People’s views about climate change, from how worried they are about it affecting them to how willing they are to do something about it, have shifted in developed countries around the world in recent years, a new survey by the Pew Research Center finds.

The study polled more than 16,000 adults in 17 countries considered to be advanced economies. Many of these countries have been large contributors to climate change and will be expected to lead the way in fixing it.

In general, the survey found that a majority of people are concerned about global climate change and are willing to make lifestyle changes to reduce its effects.

However, underneath this broad pattern lie more complicated trends, such as doubt that the international community can effectively reduce climate change and deep ideological divides that can hinder the transition to cleaner energy and a climate-friendly world. The survey also reveals an important disconnect between people’s attitudes and the enormity of the challenge climate change poses.

Here’s what stood out to us as professionals who study the public’s response to climate change.

Strong concern and willingness to take action

In all the countries surveyed in early 2021 except Sweden, between 60% and 90% of the citizens reported feeling somewhat or very concerned about the harm they would personally face from climate change. While there was a clear increase in concern in several countries between 2015, when Pew conducted the same survey, and 2021, this number did not change significantly in the U.S.

Chart of responses to question on concern about climate change harming the people surveyed personally
CC BY-ND

Similarly, in all countries except Japan, at least 7 out of 10 people said they are willing to make some or a lot of changes in how they live and work to help address global climate change.

Across most countries, young people were much more likely than older generations to report higher levels of both concern about climate change and willingness to change their behaviors.

Perceptions about government responses

Clearly, on a global level, people are highly concerned about this existential threat and are willing to change their everyday behaviors to mitigate its impacts. However, focusing on changing individual behaviors alone will not stop global warming.

In the U.S., for example, about 74% of greenhouse gas emissions are from fossil fuel combustion. People can switch to driving electric vehicles or taking electric buses and trains, but those still need power. To pressure utilities to shift to renewable energy requires policy-level changes, both domestically and internationally.

When we look at people’s attitudes regarding how their own country is handling climate change and how effective international actions would be, the results painted a more complex picture.

On average, most people evaluated their own government’s handling of climate change as “somewhat good,” with the highest approval numbers in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Singapore and New Zealand. However, data shows that such positive evaluations are not actually warranted. The 2020 U.N. Emissions Gap Report found that greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise. Many countries, including the U.S., are projected to miss their target commitments to reduce emissions by 2030; and even if all countries achieve their targets, annual emissions need to be reduced much further to reach the goals set by the Paris climate agreement.

When it comes to confidence in international actions to address climate change, the survey respondents were more skeptical overall. Although the majority of people in Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea and Singapore felt confident that the international community can significantly reduce climate change, most respondents in the rest of the countries surveyed did not. France and Sweden had the lowest levels of confidence with more than 6 in 10 people being unconvinced.

Together, these results suggest that people generally believe climate change to be a problem that can be solved by individual people and governments. Most people say they are willing to change their lifestyles, but they may not have an accurate perception of the scale of actions needed to effectively address global climate change. Overall, people may be overly optimistic about their own country’s capability and commitment to reduce emissions and fight climate change, and at the same time, underestimate the value and effectiveness of international actions.

These perceptions may reflect the fact that the conversation surrounding climate change so far has been dominated by calls to change individual behaviors instead of emphasizing the necessity of collective and policy-level actions. Addressing these gaps is an important goal for people who are working in climate communication and trying to increase public support for stronger domestic policies and international collaborations.

Deep ideological divide in climate attitudes

As with most surveys about climate change attitudes, the new Pew report reveals a deep ideological divide in several countries.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the U.S. leads in ideological differences for all but one question. In the U.S., 87% of liberals are somewhat or very concerned about the personal harms from climate change, compared to only 28% of conservatives – a stark 59-point difference. This difference persists for willingness to change one’s lifestyle (49-point difference), evaluation of government’s handling of climate change (41-point difference), and perceived economic impacts of international actions (41-point difference).

And the U.S. is not alone; large ideological differences were also found in Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. In fact, only Australians were more divided than Americans on how their government is handling the climate crisis.

This ideological divide is not new, but the size of the gap between people on the two ends of the ideological spectrum is astounding. The differences lie not only in how to handle the issue or who should be responsible but also in the scope and severity of climate change in the first place. Such massive, entrenched differences in public understanding and acceptance of the scientific facts regarding climate change will present significant challenges in enacting much-needed policy changes.

Better understanding of the cultural, political and media dynamics that shape those differences might reveal helpful insights that could ease the path toward progress in slowing climate change.

Financiamento climático: a conta não fecha (Página22)

pagina22.com.br

Bruno Toledo – 10 de agosto de 2021


Em 2009, países desenvolvidos prometeram destinar ao menos US$ 100 bilhões anuais aos países pobres a partir de 2020. Passado o prazo, a meta segue distante de ser atingida

Nos escombros do fracasso diplomático da Conferência do Clima de Copenhague (COP 15), em 2009, uma das poucas novidades que se salvaram foi a promessa de países desenvolvidos de ampliar os recursos oferecidos às nações mais pobres para financiar a ação contra a mudança do clima, de forma escalonada, ao longo da década de 2010. Ao final desse período, em 2020, a ideia era que esses recursos somassem ao menos US$ 100 bilhões anuais, valor que passaria a servir como “piso” para o financiamento da ação climática dali em diante. 

Passados oito meses do prazo definido pelos países ricos em Copenhague, a promessa de financiamento climático de US$ 100 bilhões não poderia estar mais distante de ser uma realidade. Dados da Organização para Cooperação e Desenvolvimento Econômico (OCDE) indicam que o volume de recursos mobilizados em 2018, último ano com informações totalizadas, foi de cerca de US$ 80 bilhões. 

Economistas e especialistas em financiamento para o clima duvidam que os dados referentes aos anos de 2019 e 2020 indiquem um cenário diferente disso. Pior: é muito provável que a pandemia tenha prejudicado a disponibilidade de novos recursos financeiros para ação climática nos países pobres. A incerteza quanto à retomada econômica pós-pandemia também afeta as expectativas para o futuro de curto prazo: com os governos e as empresas na ponta dos pés, enquanto não houver uma normalização efetiva da atividade econômica, dificilmente haverá recursos adicionais para a ação climática internacional. 

O problema é que, com a crise climática se intensificando e a pandemia aprofundando o abismo do desenvolvimento entre países ricos e pobres, o financiamento externo para ação climática nas nações em desenvolvimento virou uma questão de vida ou morte. Sem dinheiro, esses países dificilmente terão condições de tirar do papel seus compromissos de mitigação apresentados no Acordo de Paris. A falta de uma sinalização dos países ricos quanto ao cumprimento dessa promessa ameaça gerar uma crise diplomática capaz de prejudicar as conversas na próxima Conferência do Clima (COP 26), programada para novembro em Glasgow, na Escócia, e colocar um incômodo ponto de interrogação no futuro do Acordo de Paris.

Tropeços do passado reforçam incertezas

Desde o começo, a incerteza em torno da viabilidade prática do compromisso financeiro estabelecido pelos governos ricos em 2009 era considerável. Mesmo com o sucesso diplomático obtido em 2015, na COP 21, quando os países aprovaram o Acordo de Paris, o financiamento climático seguiu como um problema político relevante na agenda de negociação.

Os anos subsequentes à Conferência de Paris não ajudaram: a articulação política internacional que tinha possibilitado a aprovação do Acordo na COP 21, encabeçada por Estados Unidos, China e União Europeia, se desfez depois da eleição do negacionista Donald Trump para a Casa Branca. Além de retirar os EUA do Acordo de Paris, Trump também voltou atrás nas promessas financeiras feitas pelo antecessor, Barack Obama. 

Sem os EUA, a economia mais rica do planeta, qualquer compromisso financeiro internacional seria inviável, especialmente para a agenda climática. A União Europeia tentou assumir o protagonismo nessa questão, reforçando os desembolsos financeiros junto ao Fundo Climático Verde (GCF, sigla em inglês), estabelecido pela Convenção das Nações Unidas sobre Mudança do Clima (UNFCCC) para receber e administrar os recursos prometidos em Copenhague. Nos últimos anos, o bloco europeu destinou cerca de US$ 20 bilhões anuais, consolidando-se como o principal doador do GCF.

Ao mesmo tempo, os EUA de Trump limitaram-se a cumprir compromissos pregressos de financiamento que somaram pouco mais de US$ 2,5 bilhões. Para se ter ideia, a estimativa em 2009 era de que os americanos assumissem cerca de 40% do bolo do financiamento climático anual a partir de 2020 – ou seja, ao menos US$ 40 bilhões, somando recursos públicos e privados. 

O humor mudou um pouco em 2020. Mesmo com a pandemia, a grande novidade foi o retorno dos Estados Unidos à arena multilateral para o clima, com a vitória de Joe Biden. Diferentemente de Trump, Biden colocou a questão climática no centro de sua plataforma eleitoral e dos esforços de recuperação econômica pós-pandemia no país. Além de retornar ao Acordo de Paris, o novo governo dos EUA prometeu recuperar o tempo perdido com novos compromissos financeiros para ação climática nos países pobres.

Em abril, durante a Cúpula sobre o Clima realizada pela Casa Branca com líderes internacionais, Biden prometeu dobrar o volume de financiamento climático americano para US$ 5,7 bilhões até 2024. O dinheiro adicional é obviamente bem-vindo, mas a bagatela não esconde a realidade: os EUA seguirão muito distantes daquilo que deveria ser sua parcela justa de responsabilidade nessa questão. 

Essa realidade ficou ainda mais evidente nas últimas semanas, com o fracasso do G-7 e do G-20 em chegar a um acordo em torno de novos compromissos financeiros para a ação climática nos países em desenvolvimento. Havia uma grande expectativa de que esses “clubes”, tendo em vista a COP 26 em novembro, apresentassem ao menos alguma sinalização de dinheiro novo para as nações mais pobres tirarem do papel seus planos climáticos nacionais submetidos no âmbito do Acordo de Paris. No entanto, a decepção foi gritante.

Em xeque, o espírito do Acordo de Paris

Negociadores de países como Índia, Bangladesh e pequenas nações insulares do Pacífico não esconderam a irritação com a falta de novos compromissos financeiros por parte dos governos mais ricos. Ambientalistas também criticaram esse ponto, ressaltando o óbvio: sem recursos, a ação climática nos países pobres ficará inviabilizada, o que coloca em xeque o espírito do Acordo de Paris – por meio do qual todas as nações, ricas ou pobres, comprometeram-se a agir contra a mudança do clima. 

“A confiança [entre os países] está em jogo”, observou a negociadora Diann Black-Layne, de Antígua e Barbuda, ao Climate Home pouco após a cúpula do G-7, em junho passado. “O Acordo de Paris foi construído com base na confiança, e pode desmoronar se ela for quebrada”. Sem um compromisso renovado e ampliado para facilitar a ação climática no mundo em desenvolvimento, “só vai ficar mais difícil daqui em diante conseguir o tipo de consenso político necessário” para agir contra a crise climática em nível global. 

The one number you need to know about climate change (MIT Technology Review)

technologyreview.com

David Rotman – April 24, 2019

The social cost of carbon could guide us toward intellinget policies – only if we knew what it was.

In contrast to the existential angst currently in fashion around climate change, there’s a cold-eyed calculation that its advocates, mostly economists, like to call the most important number you’ve never heard of.

It’s the social cost of carbon. It reflects the global damage of emitting one ton of carbon dioxide into the sky, accounting for its impact in the form of warming temperatures and rising sea levels. Economists, who have squabbled over the right number for a decade, see it as a powerful policy tool that could bring rationality to climate decisions. It’s what we should be willing to pay to avoid emitting that one more ton of carbon.

Welcome to climate change

This story was part of our May 2019 issue

For most of us, it’s a way to grasp how much our carbon emissions will affect the world’s health, agriculture, and economy for the next several hundred years. Maximilian Auffhammer, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, describes it this way: it’s approximately the damage done by driving from San Francisco to Chicago, assuming that about a ton of carbon dioxide spits out of the tailpipe over those 2,000 miles.

Common estimates of the social cost of that ton are $40 to $50. The cost of the fuel for the journey in an average car is currently around $225. In other words, you’d pay roughly 20% more to take the social cost of the trip into account.

The number is contentious, however. A US federal working group in 2016, convened by President Barack Obama, calculated it at around $40, while the Trump administration has recently put it at $1 to $7. Some academic researchers cite numbers as high as $400 or more.

Why so wide a range? It depends on how you value future damages. And there are uncertainties over how the climate will respond to emissions. But another reason is that we actually have very little insight into just how climate change will affect us over time. Yes, we know there’ll be fiercer storms and deadly wildfires, heat waves, droughts, and floods. We know the glaciers are melting rapidly and fragile ocean ecosystems are being destroyed. But what does that mean for the livelihood or life expectancy of someone in Ames, Iowa, or Bangalore, India, or Chelyabinsk, Russia?

For the first time, vast amounts of data on the economic and social effects of climate change are becoming available, and so is the computational power to make sense of it. Taking this opportunity to compute a precise social cost of carbon could help us decide how much to invest and which problems to tackle first.

“It is the single most important number in the global economy,” says Solomon Hsiang, a climate policy expert at Berkeley. “Getting it right is incredibly important. But right now, we have almost no idea what it is.”

That could soon change.

The cost of death

In the past, calculating the social cost of carbon typically meant estimating how climate change would slow worldwide economic growth. Computer models split the world into at most a dozen or so regions and then averaged the predicted effects of climate change to get the impact on global GDP over time. It was at best a crude number.

Over the last several years, economists, data scientists, and climate scientists have worked together to create far more detailed and localized maps of impacts by examining how temperatures, sea levels, and precipitation patterns have historically affected things like mortality, crop yields, violence, and labor productivity. This data can then be plugged into increasingly sophisticated climate models to see what happens as the planet continues to warm.

The wealth of high-resolution data makes a far more precise number possible—at least in theory. Hsiang is co-director of the Climate Impact Lab, a team of some 35 scientists from institutions including the University of Chicago, Berkeley, Rutgers, and the Rhodium Group, an economic research organization. Their goal is to come up with a number by looking at about 24,000 different regions and adding together the diverse effects that each will experience over the coming hundreds of years in health, human behavior, and economic activity.

It’s a huge technical and computational challenge, and it will take a few years to come up with a single number. But along the way, the efforts to better understand localized damages are creating a nuanced and disturbing picture of our future.

So far, the researchers have found that climate change will kill far more people than once thought. Michael Greenstone, a University of Chicago economist who co-directs the Climate Impact Lab with Hsiang, says that previous mortality estimates had looked at seven wealthy cities, most in relatively cool climates. His group looked at data gleaned from 56% of the world’s population. It found that the social cost of carbon due to increased mortality alone is $30, nearly as high as the Obama administration’s estimate for the social cost of all climate impacts. An additional 9.1 million people will die every year by 2100, the group estimates, if climate change is left unchecked (assuming a global population of 12.7 billion people).

Unfairly Distributed

However, while the Climate Impact Lab’s analysis showed that 76% of the world’s population would suffer from higher mortality rates, it found that warming temperatures would actually save lives in a number of northern regions. That’s consistent with other recent research; the impacts of climate change will be remarkably uneven.

The variations are significant even within some countries. In 2017, Hsiang and his collaborators calculated climate impacts county by county in the United States. They found that every degree of warming would cut the country’s GDP by about 1.2%, but the worst-hit counties could see a drop of around 20%.

If climate change is left to run unchecked through the end of the century, the southern and southwestern US will be devastated by rising rates of mortality and crop failure. Labor productivity will slow, and energy costs (especially due to air-conditioning) will rise. In contrast, the northwestern and parts of the northeastern US will benefit.

“It is a massive restructuring of wealth,” says Hsiang. This is the most important finding of the last several years of climate economics, he adds. By examining ever smaller regions, you can see “the incredible winners and losers.” Many in the climate community have been reluctant to talk about such findings, he says. “But we have to look [the inequality] right in the eye.”

The social cost of carbon is typically calculated as a single global number. That makes sense, since the damage of a ton of carbon emitted in one place is spread throughout the world. But last year Katharine Ricke, a climate scientist at UC San Diego and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, published the social costs of carbon for specific countries to help parse out regional differences.

India is the big loser. Not only does it have a fast-growing economy that will be slowed, but it’s already a hot country that will suffer greatly from getting even hotter. “India bears a huge share of the global social cost of carbon—more than 20%,” says Ricke. It also stands out for how little it has actually contributed to the world’s carbon emissions. “It’s a serious equity issue,” she says.

Estimating the global social cost of carbon also raises a vexing question: How do you put a value on future damages? We should invest now to help our children and grandchildren avoid suffering, but how much? This is hotly and often angrily debated among economists.

A standard tool in economics is the discount rate, used to calculate how much we should invest now for a payoff years from now. The higher the discount rate, the less you value the future benefit. William Nordhaus, who won the 2018 Nobel Prize in economics for pioneering the use of models to show the macroeconomic effects of climate change, has used a discount rate of around 4%. The relatively high rate suggests we should invest conservatively now. In sharp contrast, a landmark 2006 report by British economist Nicholas Stern used a discount rate of 1.4%, concluding that we should begin investing much more heavily to slow climate change. 

There’s an ethical dimension to these calculations. Wealthy countries whose prosperity has been built on fossil fuels have an obligation to help poorer countries. The climate winners can’t abandon the losers. Likewise, we owe future generations more than just financial considerations. What’s the value of a world free from the threat of catastrophic climate events—one with healthy and thriving natural ecosystems?

Outrage

Enter the Green New Deal (GND). It’s the sweeping proposal issued earlier this year by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other US progressives to address everything from climate change to inequality. It cites the dangers of temperature increases beyond the UN goal of 1.5 °C and makes a long list of recommendations. Energy experts immediately began to bicker over its details: Is achieving 100% renewables in the next 12 years really feasible? (Probably not.) Should it include nuclear power, which many climate activists now argue is essential for reducing emissions?

In reality, the GND has little to say about actual policies and there’s barely a hint of how it will attack its grand challenges, from providing a secure retirement for all to fostering family farms to ensuring access to nature. But that’s not the point. The GND is a cry of outrage against what it calls “the twin crises of climate change and worsening income inequality.” It’s a political attempt to make climate change part of the wider discussion about social justice. And, at least from the perspective of climate policy, it’s right in arguing that we can’t tackle global warming without considering broader social and economic issues.

The work of researchers like Ricke, Hsiang, and Greenstone supports that stance. Not only do their findings show that global warming can worsen inequality and other social ills; they provide evidence that aggressive action is worth it. Last year, researchers at Stanford calculated that limiting warming to 1.5 °C would save upwards of $20 trillion worldwide by the end of the century. Again, the impacts were mixed—the GDPs of some countries would be harmed by aggressive climate action. But the conclusion was overwhelming: more than 90% of the world’s population would benefit. Moreover, the cost of keeping temperature increases limited to 1.5 °C would be dwarfed by the long-term savings.

Nevertheless, the investments will take decades to pay for themselves. Renewables and new clean technologies may lead to a boom in manufacturing and a robust economy, but the Green New Deal is wrong to paper over the financial sacrifices we’ll need to make in the near term.

That is why climate remedies are such a hard sell. We need a global policy—but, as we’re always reminded, all politics is local. Adding 20% to the cost of that San Francisco–Chicago trip might not seem like much, but try to convince a truck driver in a poor county in Florida that raising the price of fuel is wise economic policy. A much smaller increase sparked the gilets jaunes riots in France last winter. That is the dilemma, both political and ethical, that we all face with climate change.

Wildfires, Heatwaves, And The IPCC Report: Yet Climate Policy Is Losing Steam (Forbes)

forbes.com

Nives Dolsak and Aseem Prakash – Aug 14, 2021,08:29pm EDT


The recent IPCC report is a grim reminder of the seriousness of the climate crisis. The wildfires in the Western United States and Canada, the zombie fires in Siberia, heatwaves in Southern Europe and the Pacific Northwest, and floods in Germany and China should motivate aggressive climate action.

Disasters are supposed to focus policy attention, which political scientist John Kingdon described as opening the “policy window.” As “focusing events,” drastic weather episodes could create opportunities to enact new climate policies. But, of course, a lot depends on the skill of policy entrepreneurs. As Rahm Immanuel had famously noted, politicians should not allow a serious crisis to go to waste.

And yet, climate policy seems to be losing steam. The U.S. Senate has substantially slashed Biden’s proposal for new climate spending. China continues to build coal-fired electricity plants. Brazil has announced a plan to support its coal industry.

And to top it all, Jake Sullivan, U.S. National Security Advisor, is imploring OPEC countries to pump more oil! The White House press release notes: “President Biden has made clear that he wants Americans to have access to affordable and reliable energy, including at the pump.” Yes, one can smell 2022 mid-term elections because Democrats do not want to be held responsible for high gas prices, a highly emotive pocketbook issue. However, these statements cause enormous policy confusion about Biden’s commitment to making tough choices on climate issues. If zero emissions are to be achieved by 2050, the White House should allow the prices to rise. Moreover, if Biden supports increasing oil supply abroad, why is he opposing it in the U.S., as Texas Governor Greg Abbott noted?

Models of Policy Change

There are different pathways to policy change. The “information deficit” model suggests that policy change is hampered when policy elites do not have sufficient information. Once these elites are “educated” and there is an “epistemic consensus,” policy change takes place. With easy accessibility to well-written and carefully crafted IPCC reports, it is difficult to accept that policy elites lack information about climate change. Perhaps, what is taking place is “motivated reasoning”: individuals seek information that coheres with their prior beliefs and leads them to their desired conclusions. This means that policy elites are not empty vessels waiting to be nourished by the nectar of new knowledge. Instead, they seek information that they want to hear. Information deficit explanations do not work well in highly polarized political contexts.

Political explanations begin with the premise that most policy institutions favor the status quo. This is partly due to the institutional design (such as the Senate Filibuster) that many democracies deliberately adopt to prevent concentration of power. But sometimes, dramatic events can shatter the status quo, as elites begin to rethink their priorities. If political entrepreneurs can stitch together a coalition, policy change can happen. And sometimes, even without policy windows opening up, these entrepreneurs can create policies that can appeal to multiple constituencies. After all, Baptists and Bootleggers came together to push for prohibition. Politics, rather than the lack of scientific information, is probably leading to policy sluggishness.  

Why is Climate Policy Stalling?

Additional issues are also contributing to climate policy lethargy. Humans have a limited attention span. Climate issues are getting neglected because the policy space is getting crowded by new and sensational non-climate issues. Taliban’s rapid advance in Afghanistan is stunning, and its aftermath is most disturbing. Western countries are in a panic mode to evacuate embassies with “Saigon type” exit from Kabul. The Afghanistan crisis is creating a new wave of refugees seeking safety in Europe, abetting a nationalist backlash. The debate on “who lost Afghanistan” will probably dominate the U.S. policy discourse with the usual blame game.  

Closer to home, the resurgence of COVID and the debate about masks and vaccines are igniting political passions. School and college reopening controversy will probably take a chunk of policy space and attention span.

Other dramatic issues will make demands on the attention span as well: crime waves in many cities (the top issue in the New York Mayoral race), the Cuomo scandal, and Newsom’s recall.

Is there Hope on the Climate Front?

The good news is that the renewable energy industry is growing despite COVID-induced recession. A key reason is that the prices of both solar and wind are now  competitive with coal. This means that electric utilities will deploy their political muscle to get favorable renewable policies at the state level. For example, the legislature in a Red state such as Indiana has prohibited county governments from using zoning ordinances against renewable energy.

The automobile industry seems to be pushing EVs as well. Although the Senate’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan has provided only $7.5 billion for E.V. charging stations (as opposed to $15 billion Biden had asked for), the automobile industry and electric utilities (with their massive new investments in renewables) are now getting locked into a new technological trajectory . This means that they have strong incentives to create a national charging station network.

Although the federal government may be underperforming on climate issues, the private sector has embraced them. Wall Street also seems to be keeping pace with Main Street and the Silicon Valley. Of course, one might view industry’s newfound love for Environmental-Social-Governance (ESG) issues as hype, simply replacing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It remains to be seen if climate leaders such as BlackRock can bring about measurable change in corporate policies on climate issues.

In sum, the climate policy optimism of the first 100 days of the Biden administration seems to be wearing off. This is disturbing because Republicans are expected to retake the House (and possibly the Senate as well) in the 2022 midterm elections. Thus, the window of opportunity to enact aggressive federal climate policy is slowly closing. Climate policy requires vigorous political entrepreneurship to bring about policy change in the next 12 months.

How the world already prevented far worse warming this century (MIT Technology Review)

technologyreview.com

The Montreal Protocol was designed to heal the ozone layer. It may have also fended off several degrees of warming—and a collapse of forests and croplands.

James Temple – August 18, 2021


The world has already banded together to enact an international treaty that prevented significant global warming this century—even though that wasn’t the driving goal.

In 1987, dozens of nations adopted the Montreal Protocol, agreeing to phase out the use of chlorofluorocarbons and other chemicals used in refrigerants, solvents, and other industrial products that were breaking down Earth’s protective ozone layer.

It was a landmark achievement, the most successful example of nations pulling together in the face of a complex, collective threat to the environment. Three decades later, the atmospheric ozone layer is slowly recovering, preventing additional levels of ultraviolet radiation that cause cancer, eye damage, and other health problems.

But the virtues of the agreement, ultimately ratified by every country, are more widespread than its impact on the ozone hole. Many of those chemicals are also powerful greenhouse gases. So as a major side benefit, their reduction over the last three decades has already eased warming and could cut as much as 1 ˚C off worldwide average temperatures by 2050.

Now, a new study in Nature highlights yet another crucial, if inadvertent, bonus: reducing the strain that ultraviolet radiation from the sun puts on plants, inhibiting photosynthesis and slowing growth. The Montreal Protocol avoided “a catastrophic collapse of forests and croplands” that would have added hundreds of billions of tons of carbon to the atmosphere, Anna Harper, a senior lecturer in climate science at the University of Exeter and a coauthor of the paper, said in an email.

The Nature paper, published August 18, found that if production of ozone-depleting substances had continued ticking up 3% each year, the additional UV radiation would have curtailed the growth of trees, grasses, ferns, flowers, and crops across the globe.

The world’s plants would absorb less carbon dioxide, releasing as much as 645 billion tons of carbon from the land to the atmosphere this century. That could drive global warming up to 1 ˚C higher over the same period. It would also have devastating effects on agricultural yields and food supplies around the globe.

The impact of rising CFCs levels on plants, plus their direct warming effect in the atmosphere, could have pushed temperatures around 2.5 ˚C higher this century, the researchers found. That would all come on top of the already dire warming projections for 2100.

“While it was originally intended as an ozone protection treaty, the Montreal Protocol has been a very successful climate treaty,” says Paul Young, a climate scientist at Lancaster University and another author of the paper.

All of which poses a question: Why can’t the world enact a similarly aggressive and effective international treaty designed explicitly to address climate change? At least some scholars think there are crucial but largely overlooked lessons in the success of the Montreal Protocol, which are becoming newly relevant as global warming accelerates and the next UN climate conference approaches.

A fresh look

At this point, the planet will continue warming for the next several decades no matter what, as the dire UN climate report warned last week. But how much worse it gets still depends heavily on how aggressively the world cuts climate pollution in the coming decades.

To date, nations have failed, both through the Kyoto Treaty and the Paris climate accord, to pull together an agreement with sufficiently ambitious and binding commitments to phase out greenhouse-gas emissions. Countries will assemble at the next UN conference in Glasgow in early November, with the explicit goal of stepping up those targets under the Paris agreement.

Scholars have written lengthy papers and entire books examining lessons from the Montreal Protocol, and the commonalities and differences between the respective efforts on CFCs and greenhouse gases.

A common view is that the relevance is limited. CFCs were a far simpler problem to solve because they were produced by a single sector—mostly by a few major companies like DuPont—and used in a limited set of applications.

On the other hand, nearly every component of every sector of every nation pumps out greenhouse gases. Fossil fuels are the energy source that drives the global economy, and most of our machines and physical infrastructure are designed around them.

But Edward Parson, a professor of environmental law at the University of California, Los Angeles, says it’s time to take a fresh look at the lessons from the Montreal Protocol.

That’s because as the dangers of climate change become more evident and dire, more and more countries are pushing for stricter rules, and companies are increasingly approaching the stage that those like DuPont did: switching from steadfastly disputing the scientific findings to grudgingly accepting that new rules were inevitable, so they had better figure out how to operate and profit under them.

In other words, we’re reaching a point where enacting more proscriptive rules may be feasible, so it’s crucial to use the opportunity to create effective ones.

Strict rules, consistently enforced

Parson is the author of Protecting the Ozone Layer: Science and Strategy, an in-depth history of the Montreal Protocol published in 2003. He stresses that phasing out ozone-depleting compounds was a more complex problem than is often appreciated, because a sizable fraction of the worldwide economy relied on them in one way or another.

He adds that one of the most persistent misunderstandings about the deal is the notion that the industry had already developed commercially comparable alternative products and therefore was more willing to go along with the agreement in the end.

On the contrary, the development of alternatives happened after the regulations were in place. Rapid innovation continued as the rules tightened, and industry, experts, and technical bodies hashed out how much progress could be achieved and how quickly. That produced ever more and better alternatives “in a repeated positive feedback,” Parson says.

To be sure, the prospect of lucrative new markets also helped.

“DuPoint’s decision to support a CFC ban was based on a belief that it could obtain a significant competitive advantage through the sale of new chemical substitutes because of its proven research and development capabilities to develop chemicals, its (limited) progress already made in developing substitutes and the potential for higher profits in selling new speciality chemicals,” a pair of MIT researchers wrote in an analysis in the late 1990s.

All of this suggests the world shouldn’t wait around for innovations that will make it cheaper and easier to address climate change. Countries need to implement rules that increasingly ratchet down emissions, forcing industries to figure out cleaner ways of generating energy, growing food, producing products, and moving things and people around the world.

Another lesson is to adopt sector-wide rules that force all companies in all countries to abide by the same regulations, avoiding the so-called free-rider problem. This could be especially key for high-emitting companies with stiff international competition. For steel, cement, and other industrial sectors, developing and switching to new products will almost inevitably increase costs at first.

Still, Parson says, there are limits to the comparisons here. The oil and gas sector isn’t in the same position as DuPont, able to reengineer substitutable products and largely keep its businesses and markets intact.

The fossil-fuel sector is certainly making the case that it can carry on in climate-friendly ways, talking up means of capturing emissions from power plants, balancing out pollution through reforestation projects and other sorts of offsets, or sucking carbon out of the atmosphere.

But as studies and articles continually show, it’s difficult to ensure that companies are doing these things in reliable, verifiable, long-lasting, and credible ways. Those tensions are likely to continue complicating international efforts to enact the firm rules required and ensure we’re making the progress that we must.

Still, the Montreal Protocol offers a reminder that international rules binding the global behavior of companies and regulating their products do work, if strictly and consistently enforced. Companies will adapt to survive—even to thrive.

Scientists reveal how landmark CFC ban gave planet fighting chance against global warming (Science Daily)

Date: August 18, 2021

Source: Lancaster University

Summary: New modelling by the international team of scientists paints a dramatic vision of a scorched planet Earth without the Montreal Protocol, what they call the ‘World Avoided’. This study draws a new stark link between two major environmental concerns — the hole in the ozone layer and global warming. The research team reveals that if ozone-destroying chemicals, which most notoriously include CFCs, had been left unchecked then their continued and increased use would have contributed to global air temperatures rising by an additional 2.5°C by the end of this century.


Without the global CFC ban we would already be facing the reality of a ‘scorched earth’, according to researchers measuring the impact of the Montreal Protocol.

Their new evidence reveals the planet’s critical ability to absorb carbon from the atmosphere could have been massively degraded sending global temperatures soaring if we still used ozone-destroying chemicals such as CFCs.

New modelling by the international team of scientists from the UK, USA and New Zealand, published today in Nature, paints a dramatic vision of a scorched planet Earth without the Montreal Protocol, what they call the “World Avoided.” This study draws a new stark link between two major environmental concerns — the hole in the ozone layer and global warming.

The research team, led by a Lancaster University scientist, reveals that if ozone-destroying chemicals, which most notoriously include CFCs, had been left unchecked then their continued and increased use would have contributed to global air temperatures rising by an additional 2.5°C by the end of this century.

Their findings, outlined in the paper ‘The Montreal Protocol protects the terrestrial carbon sink’, show that banning CFCs has protected the climate in two ways — curbing their greenhouse effect and, by protecting the ozone layer, shielding plants from damaging increases in ultraviolet radiation (UV). Critically, this has protected plant’s ability to soak up and lock in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and so prevented a further acceleration of climate change.

The research team developed a new modelling framework, bringing together data on ozone depletion, plant damage by increased UV, the carbon cycle and climate change. Their novel modelling shows an alternative future of a planet where the use of CFCs continued to grow by around three per cent a year.

Their modelling reveals:

  • Continued growth in CFCs would have led to a worldwide collapse in the ozone layer by the 2040s.
  • By 2100 there would have been 60 per cent less ozone above the tropics. This depletion above the tropics would have been worse than was ever observed in the hole that formed above the Antarctic.
  • By 2050 the strength of the UV from the sun in the mid-latitudes, which includes most of Europe including the UK, the United States and central Asia, would be stronger than the present day tropics.

The depleted ozone layer would have seen the planet, and its vegetation, exposed to far more of the sun’s UV.

Plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) through photosynthesis and studies have shown that large increases in UV can restrict plant growth, damaging their tissues, and impairing their ability to undertake photosynthesis. This means the plants absorb less carbon.

Less carbon in vegetation also results in less carbon becoming locked into soils, which is what happens to a lot of plant matter after it dies. All of this would have happened on a global scale.

The researchers’ models show that in a world without the Montreal Protocol the amount of carbon absorbed by plants, trees and soils dramatically plummets over this century. With less carbon in plants and soils, more of it remains in the atmosphere as CO2.

Overall, by the end of this century without the Montreal Protocol CFC ban:

  • There would have been 580 billion tonnes less carbon stored in forests, other vegetation and soils.
  • There would be an additional 165-215 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere, depending on the future scenario of fossil fuel emissions. Compared to today’s 420 parts per million CO2, this is an additional 40-50%.
  • The huge amount of additional CO2 would have contributed to an additional 0.8°C of warming through its greenhouse effect.

Ozone depleting substances, such as CFCs, are also potent greenhouse gases and previous research has shown that their ban prevented their contribution to global warming through their greenhouse effect. By the end of this century, their greenhouse effect alone would have contributed an additional 1.7°C global warming. This is in addition to the newly quantified 0.8°C warming, coming from the extra CO2 that would have resulted from damaged vegetation, meaning that temperatures would have risen 2.5°C overall.

Dr Paul Young, lead author from Lancaster University, said: “Our new modelling tools have allowed us to investigate the scorched Earth that could have resulted without the Montreal Protocol’s ban on ozone depleting substances.

“A world where these chemicals increased and continued to strip away at our protective ozone layer would have been catastrophic for human health, but also for vegetation. The increased UV would have massively stunted the ability of plants to soak up carbon from the atmosphere, meaning higher CO2 levels and more global warming.

“With our research, we can see that the Montreal Protocol’s successes extend beyond protecting humanity from increased UV to protecting the ability of plants and trees to absorb CO2. Although we can hope that we never would have reached the catastrophic world as we simulated, it does remind us of the importance of continuing to protect the ozone layer. Entirely conceivable threats to it still exist, such as from unregulated use of CFCs.”

The planet has already seen 1°C warming from pre-industrial temperatures. Even if we had somehow managed to get to net zero CO2 emissions, the additional 2.5°C rise would take us to a rise of 3.5°C. This is far in excess of the 1.5°C rise above pre-industrial levels that many scientists see as the most global temperatures can rise in order to avoid some of the most damaging effects of climate change.

Dr Chris Huntingford of the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said: “This analysis reveals a remarkable linkage, via the carbon cycle, between the two global environmental concerns of damage to the ozone layer and global warming.”

Background information

The ozone layer is an essential barrier that protects us by filtering the sun’s harmful UV — when a hole in the layer was discovered above Antarctica in the 1980s, it caused great alarm because of the damage UV can cause to human health through conditions such as skin cancers.

The Montreal Protocol, which was signed in 1987, is championed as an exemplar in environmental diplomacy. By agreeing to a worldwide ban on ozone depleting substances, including CFCs, international leaders were able to save the planet’s ozone layer. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol the ozone layer is undergoing a long process of repair.

Funders: The research was supported by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council, Lancaster University, the UK and New Zealand governments, NASA and the United States’ National Science Foundation.

The study brings together experts across atmospheric chemistry, physicists, plant scientists, and land surface modellers from Lancaster and Exeter Universities, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, NASA, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Lancaster University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paul J. Young, Anna B. Harper, Chris Huntingford, Nigel D. Paul, Olaf Morgenstern, Paul A. Newman, Luke D. Oman, Sasha Madronich, Rolando R. Garcia. The Montreal Protocol protects the terrestrial carbon sink. Nature, 2021; 596 (7872): 384 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03737-3

IPCC: Já não há mais tempo para uma ecologia sutil – Outras Palavras (Outras Palavras)

outraspalavras.net

por Ricardo Abramovay – 13/08/2021 às 15:32 – Atualizado 13/08/2021 às 20:06


Relatório da ONU aponta: frear a crise climática exigirá novo paradigma ecológico e de bem-estar, que se sobreponha ao cálculo econômico. Um dos entraves será a indústria do cimento, altamente poluidora, que prepara novo boom da construção
Projeto “+1,5ºC Muda Tudo” , entre o Museu do Prado e a WWF, que atualiza obras clássicas sob a catástrofe climática

Nada indica que os mais importantes tomadores de decisão do planeta estejam preparados para enfrentar o horizonte traçado nesta semana pelo relatório do Painel Intergovernamental de Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC, na sigla em inglês), que analisa a evolução e as perspectivas da relação entre as sociedades humanas e o sistema climático do qual a vida na Terra depende. Uma das mais importantes e promissoras conclusões do relatório é que ainda existe uma estreita janela de oportunidades para que a temperatura global média não suba além de 1,5ºC até o final do século.

Mas esta janela converte-se numa quase invisível fresta quando o mais importante jornal de economia do mundo, o Financial Times, retrata o entusiasmo de Jan Jenisch, presidente do maior grupo produtor global de cimento (Holcin), com o que ele chama de boom da construção, em função das necessidades de infraestrutura dos países em desenvolvimento. Sua alegria é compartilhada por Fernando Gonzales, o CEO da Cemex mexicana que fala em superciclo da construção.

O curioso é que a informação do Financial Times aparece num podcast do jornal, logo antes de um comentário sobre as enchentes na Alemanha e na China e a quebra de recorde de aumento de temperatura na América do Norte, sem que se faça qualquer relação entre cimento e eventos climáticos extremos. Ora, se fosse um país, o setor de cimento seria o terceiro maior emissor global. E não se pode dizer que o setor não esteja atento a seus impactos sobre o sistema climático.

Em 2021, cada tonelada de cimento é produzida com emissões 18% menores do que três décadas antes, mostra um trabalho do CarbonBrief. Neste período, porém, a demanda de cimento no mundo triplicou. O resultado é que, apesar dos avanços tecnológicos do setor, suas emissões continuam subindo.

O recente relatório conjunto da Agência Internacional de Energia e do Conselho Global de Negócios para o Desenvolvimento Sustentável (WBCSD, na sigla em inglês) corrobora esta informação. Até 2050, a produção global de cimento deve aumentar 12%, mas suas emissões crescem “somente” 4%. O relatório do IPCC lançado esta semana faz com que esta inegável conquista (emitir menos por unidade produzida) se converta tragicamente em componente decisivo da crise climática.

O cimento aqui é tomado como um exemplo que atinge o conjunto da vida econômica. Os dados do Painel Internacional de Recursos das Nações Unidas são claros a este respeito: as emissões vindas da produção de materiais (metais, madeira, construção e plástico, sem incluir combustíveis fósseis e alimentos) dobraram entre 1995 e 2016 e passaram de 15% a 23% das emissões globais. E, da mesma forma que no cimento, os avanços técnicos para descarbonizar a oferta de ferro, aço, plástico e borracha foram imensos.

Se a este quadro se acrescentam os planos de ampliação da produção de petróleo e mesmo de carvão e as emissões derivadas da agropecuária no mundo todo, a conclusão é que tanto as estratégias empresariais quanto os planos governamentais de combate à crise climática estão muito aquém da urgência colocada pelo relatório do IPCC. É o que explica a afirmação de Cristiana Figueres, que dirigiu a Convenção Quadro das Nações Unidas sobre Mudanças Climáticas e foi uma das responsáveis pelo Acordo de Paris de 2015, numa entrevista após a divulgação do relatório do IPCC: “Nós não estamos à altura do desafio de nosso tempo… Estamos ainda promovendo melhorias marginais e os tempos apelam para mudança drástica”.

O relatório do IPCC terá alcançado o objetivo de desencadear esta mudança drástica sob duas condições. A primeira é que cada cidadão e cada consumidor encare a crise climática contemporânea com a seriedade e a urgência que enfrentou a pandemia. É fundamental que a economia propicie bem-estar, conforto e condições para que as pessoas e suas comunidades floresçam, mas se não formos capazes de fazer escolhas orientadas pelas mensagens que o IPCC nos está transmitindo o resultado é que simplesmente não haverá futuro.

Neste sentido, enfrentar a crise climática consiste, antes de tudo, em combater as desigualdades, ou seja, em utilizar os recursos de que dispomos sob a orientação gandhiana de que o mundo é capaz de satisfazer as necessidades humanas, mas não o luxo, o desperdício e a cobiça. Nosso bem-estar tem que depender, cada vez mais, de bens comuns, de solidariedade, de sentido comunitário, de empatia e de cooperação social.

Nesta dimensão coletiva do bem-estar se fundamenta o vínculo entre combate à crise climática e sentimento democrático. Sociedades que cultivam o individualismo e a ideia de que a ascensão social é um esforço que depende estritamente das pessoas e não de suas relações comunitárias dificilmente terão condições de enfrentar a crise climática.

A segunda condição para que possamos nos aproximar do que Cristiana Figueres chamou de “mudança drástica” é que tanto as políticas econômicas como as decisões empresariais passem a se nortear por uma pergunta central: como isso vai impactar a relação entre sociedade e natureza e, especialmente, as mudanças climáticas? A urgência atual não permite mais que este tema seja encarado como “externo” à vida econômica, como uma espécie de consequência não antecipada, não prevista de nossas atividades e que será corrigida em algum momento. A luta contra a crise climática tem que estar no cerne da gestão econômica pública e privada.

União Europeia, China, Estados Unidos, Japão, Índia e inúmeras organizações empresariais dão claros sinais de que estão ao menos iniciando medidas nesta direção. A distância entre esta agenda e a dos fanáticos fundamentalistas que estão no Palácio do Planalto e na Esplanada dos Ministérios não poderia ser maior. No centro da luta para superar as ameaças que pesam sobre a democracia brasileira agora e no ano que vem está a mudança radical que Cristiana Figueres preconiza e que exige uma vida econômica que regenere os tecidos sociais, e naturais que até aqui tem acompanhado sistematicamente nossa oferta de bens e serviços.

Wildfires, Heatwaves, And The IPCC Report: Yet Climate Policy Is Losing Steam (Forbes)

forbes.com

Nives Dolsak and Aseem Prakash – Aug 14, 2021,08:29pm EDT


The recent IPCC report is a grim reminder of the seriousness of the climate crisis. The wildfires in the Western United States and Canada, the zombie fires in Siberia, heatwaves in Southern Europe and the Pacific Northwest, and floods in Germany and China should motivate aggressive climate action.

Disasters are supposed to focus policy attention, which political scientist John Kingdon described as opening the “policy window.” As “focusing events,” drastic weather episodes could create opportunities to enact new climate policies. But, of course, a lot depends on the skill of policy entrepreneurs. As Rahm Immanuel had famously noted, politicians should not allow a serious crisis to go to waste.

And yet, climate policy seems to be losing steam. The U.S. Senate has substantially slashed Biden’s proposal for new climate spending. China continues to build coal-fired electricity plants. Brazil has announced a plan to support its coal industry.

And to top it all, Jake Sullivan, U.S. National Security Advisor, is imploring OPEC countries to pump more oil! The White House press release notes: “President Biden has made clear that he wants Americans to have access to affordable and reliable energy, including at the pump.” Yes, one can smell 2022 mid-term elections because Democrats do not want to be held responsible for high gas prices, a highly emotive pocketbook issue. However, these statements cause enormous policy confusion about Biden’s commitment to making tough choices on climate issues. If zero emissions are to be achieved by 2050, the White House should allow the prices to rise. Moreover, if Biden supports increasing oil supply abroad, why is he opposing it in the U.S., as Texas Governor Greg Abbott noted?

Models of Policy Change

There are different pathways to policy change. The “information deficit” model suggests that policy change is hampered when policy elites do not have sufficient information. Once these elites are “educated” and there is an “epistemic consensus,” policy change takes place. With easy accessibility to well-written and carefully crafted IPCC reports, it is difficult to accept that policy elites lack information about climate change. Perhaps, what is taking place is “motivated reasoning”: individuals seek information that coheres with their prior beliefs and leads them to their desired conclusions. This means that policy elites are not empty vessels waiting to be nourished by the nectar of new knowledge. Instead, they seek information that they want to hear. Information deficit explanations do not work well in highly polarized political contexts.

Political explanations begin with the premise that most policy institutions favor the status quo. This is partly due to the institutional design (such as the Senate Filibuster) that many democracies deliberately adopt to prevent concentration of power. But sometimes, dramatic events can shatter the status quo, as elites begin to rethink their priorities. If political entrepreneurs can stitch together a coalition, policy change can happen. And sometimes, even without policy windows opening up, these entrepreneurs can create policies that can appeal to multiple constituencies. After all, Baptists and Bootleggers came together to push for prohibition. Politics, rather than the lack of scientific information, is probably leading to policy sluggishness.  

Why is Climate Policy Stalling?

Additional issues are also contributing to climate policy lethargy. Humans have a limited attention span. Climate issues are getting neglected because the policy space is getting crowded by new and sensational non-climate issues. Taliban’s rapid advance in Afghanistan is stunning, and its aftermath is most disturbing. Western countries are in a panic mode to evacuate embassies with “Saigon type” exit from Kabul. The Afghanistan crisis is creating a new wave of refugees seeking safety in Europe, abetting a nationalist backlash. The debate on “who lost Afghanistan” will probably dominate the U.S. policy discourse with the usual blame game.  

Closer to home, the resurgence of COVID and the debate about masks and vaccines are igniting political passions. School and college reopening controversy will probably take a chunk of policy space and attention span.

Other dramatic issues will make demands on the attention span as well: crime waves in many cities (the top issue in the New York Mayoral race), the Cuomo scandal, and Newsom’s recall.

Is there Hope on the Climate Front?

The good news is that the renewable energy industry is growing despite COVID-induced recession. A key reason is that the prices of both solar and wind are now  competitive with coal. This means that electric utilities will deploy their political muscle to get favorable renewable policies at the state level. For example, the legislature in a Red state such as Indiana has prohibited county governments from using zoning ordinances against renewable energy.

The automobile industry seems to be pushing EVs as well. Although the Senate’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan has provided only $7.5 billion for E.V. charging stations (as opposed to $15 billion Biden had asked for), the automobile industry and electric utilities (with their massive new investments in renewables) are now getting locked into a new technological trajectory . This means that they have strong incentives to create a national charging station network.

Although the federal government may be underperforming on climate issues, the private sector has embraced them. Wall Street also seems to be keeping pace with Main Street and the Silicon Valley. Of course, one might view industry’s newfound love for Environmental-Social-Governance (ESG) issues as hype, simply replacing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). It remains to be seen if climate leaders such as BlackRock can bring about measurable change in corporate policies on climate issues.

In sum, the climate policy optimism of the first 100 days of the Biden administration seems to be wearing off. This is disturbing because Republicans are expected to retake the House (and possibly the Senate as well) in the 2022 midterm elections. Thus, the window of opportunity to enact aggressive federal climate policy is slowly closing. Climate policy requires vigorous political entrepreneurship to bring about policy change in the next 12 months.

The new IPCC Report includes – get this, good news (Yale Climate Connections)

Yale Climate Connections

By Dana Nuccitelli August 12, 2021

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Sixth Assessment Report, summarized nicely on these pages by Bob Henson, much of the associated media coverage carried a tone of inevitable doom.

These proclamations of unavoidable adverse outcomes center around the fact that in every scenario considered by IPCC, within the next decade average global temperatures will likely breach the aspirational goal set in the Paris climate agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures. The report also details a litany of extreme weather events like heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, floods, and hurricanes that will all worsen as long as global temperatures continue to rise.

While United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres rightly called the report a “code red for humanity,” tucked into it are details illustrating that if  BIG IF top-emitting countries respond to the IPCC’s alarm bells with aggressive efforts to curb carbon pollution, the worst climate outcomes remain avoidable.

The IPCC’s future climate scenarios

In the Marvel film Avengers: Infinity War, the Dr. Strange character goes forward in time to view 14,000,605 alternate futures to see all the possible outcomes of the Avengers’ coming conflict. Lacking the fictional Time Stone used in this gambit, climate scientists instead ran hundreds of simulations of several different future carbon emissions scenarios using a variety of climate models. Like Dr. Strange, climate scientists’ goal is to determine the range of possible outcomes given different actions taken by the protagonists: in this case, various measures to decarbonize the global economy.

The scenarios considered by IPCC are called Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs). The best-case climate scenario, called SSP1, involves a global shift toward sustainable management of global resources and reduced inequity. The next scenario, SSP2, is more of a business-as-usual path with slow and uneven progress toward sustainable development goals and persisting income inequality and environmental degradation. SSP3 envisions insurgent nationalism around the world with countries focusing on their short-term domestic best interests, resulting in persistent and worsening inequality and environmental degradation. Two more scenarios, SSP4 and SSP5, consider even greater inequalities and fossil fuel extraction, but seem at odds with an international community that has agreed overwhelmingly to aim for the Paris climate targets.

The latest IPCC report’s model runs simulated two SSP1 scenarios that would achieve the Paris targets of limiting global warming to 1.5 and 2°C (2.7 and 3.6°F); one SSP2 scenario in which temperatures approach 3°C (5.4°F) in the year 2100; an SSP3 scenario with about 4°C (7.2°F) global warming by the end of the century; and one SSP5 ‘burn all the fossil fuels possible’ scenario resulting in close to 5°C (9°F), again by 2100.

Projected global average surface temperature change in each of the five SSP scenarios. (Source: IPCC Sixth Assessment Report)

The report’s SSP3-7.0 pathway (the latter number represents the eventual global energy imbalance caused by the increased greenhouse effect, in watts per square meter), is considered by many experts to be a realistic worst-case scenario, with global carbon emissions continuing to rise every year throughout the 21st century. Such an outcome would represent a complete failure of international climate negotiations and policies and would likely result in catastrophic consequences, including widespread species extinctions, food and water shortages, and disastrous extreme weather events.

Scenario SSP2-4.5 is more consistent with government climate policies that are currently in place. It envisions global carbon emissions increasing another 10% over the next decade before reaching a plateau that’s maintained until carbon pollution slowly begins to decline starting in the 2050s. Global carbon emissions approach but do not reach zero by the end of the century. Even in this unambitious scenario, the very worst climate change impacts might be averted, although the resulting climate impacts would be severe.

Most encouragingly, the report’s two SSP1 scenarios illustrate that the Paris targets remain within reach. To stay below the main Paris target of 2°C (3.6°F) warming, global carbon emissions in SSP1-2.6 plateau essentially immediately and begin to decline after 2025 at a modest rate of about 2% per year for the first decade, then accelerating to around 3% per year the next decade, and continuing along a path of consistent year-to-year carbon pollution cuts before reaching zero around 2075. The IPCC concluded that once global carbon emissions reach zero, temperatures will stop rising. Toward the end of the century, emissions in SSP1-2.6 move into negative territory as the IPCC envisions that efforts to remove carbon from the atmosphere via natural and technological methods (like sequestering carbon in agricultural soils and scrubbing it from the atmosphere through direct air capture) outpace overall fossil fuel emissions.

Meeting the aspirational Paris goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) in SSP1-1.9 would be extremely challenging, given that global temperatures are expected to breach this level within about a decade. This scenario similarly envisions that global carbon emissions peak immediately and that they decline much faster than in SSP1-2.6, at a rate of about 6% per year from 2025 to 2035 and 9% per year over the following decade, reaching net zero by around the year 2055 and becoming net negative afterwards.

Global carbon dioxide emissions (in billions of tons per year) from 2015 to 2100 in each of the five SSP scenarios. (Source: IPCC Sixth Assessment Report)

For perspective, global carbon emissions fell by about 6-7% in 2020 as a result of restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and are expected to rebound by a similar amount in 2021. As IPCC report contributor Zeke Hausfather noted, this scenario also relies on large-scale carbon sequestration technologies that currently do not exist, without which global emissions would have to reach zero a decade sooner.

More warming means more risk

The new IPCC report details that, depending on the region, climate change has already worsened extreme heat, drought, fires, floods, and hurricanes, and those will only become more damaging and destructive as temperatures continue to rise. The IPCC’s 2018 “1.5°C Report” had entailed the differences in climate consequences in a 2°C vs. 1.5°C world, as summarized at this site by Bruce Lieberman.

Consider that in the current climate of just over 1°C (2°F) warmer than pre-industrial temperatures, 40 countries this summer alone have experienced extreme flooding, including more than a year’s worth of rain falling within 24 hours in Zhengzhou, China. Many regions have also experienced extreme heat, including the deadly Pacific Northwest heatwave and dangerously hot conditions during the Olympics in Tokyo. Siberia, Greece, Italy, and the US west coast are experiencing explosive wildfires, including the “truly frightening fire behavior” of the Dixie fire, which broke the record as the largest single wildfire on record in California. The IPCC report warned of “compound events” like heat exacerbating drought, which in turn fuels more dangerous wildfires, as is happening in California.

Western North America (WNA) and the Mediterranean (MED) regions are those for which climate scientists have the greatest confidence that human-caused global warming is exacerbating drought by drying out the soil. (Source: IPCC Sixth Assessment Report)
The southwestern United States and Mediterranean are also among the regions for which climate scientists have the greatest confidence that climate change will continue to increase drought risk and severity. (Source: IPCC Sixth Assessment Report)

The IPCC report notes that the low-emissions SSP1 scenarios “would lead to substantially smaller changes” in these sorts of climate impact drivers than the higher-emissions scenarios. It also points out that with the world currently at around 1°C of warming, the intensity of extreme weather will be twice as bad compared to today’s conditions if temperatures reach 2°C (1°C hotter than today) than if the warming is limited to 1.5°C (0.5°C hotter than today), and quadruple as bad if global warming reaches 3°C (2°C hotter than today). For example, what was an extreme once-in-50-years heat wave in the late-1800s now occurs once per decade, which would rise to almost twice per decade at 1.5°C,  and nearly three times per decade at 2°C global warming.

The increasing frequency and intensity of what used to be 1-in-50-year extreme heat as global temperatures rise. (Source: IPCC Sixth Assessment Report)

Climate’s fate has yet to be written

At the same time, there is no tipping point temperature at which it becomes “too late” to curb climate change and its damaging consequences. Every additional bit of global warming above current temperatures will result in increased risks of worsening extreme weather of the sorts currently being experienced around the world. Achieving the aspirational 1.5°C Paris target may be politically infeasible, but most countries (137 total) have either committed to or are in the process of setting a target for net zero emissions by 2050 (including the United States) or 2060 (including China).

That makes the SSP1 scenarios and limiting global warming to less than 2°C a distinct possibility, depending on how successful countries are at following through with decarbonization plans over the coming three decades. And with its proposed infrastructure bipartisan and budget reconciliation legislative plans – for which final enactment of each remains another big IF – the United States could soon implement some of the bold investments and policies necessary to set the world’s second-largest carbon polluter on a track consistent with the Paris targets.

As Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe put it,

Again and again, assessment after assessment, the IPCC has already made it clear. Climate change puts at risk every aspect of human life as we know it … We are already starting to experience those risks today; but we know what we need to do to avoid the worst future impacts. The difference between a fossil fuel versus a clean energy future is nothing less than the future of civilization as we know it.

Back to the Avengers: They had only one chance in 14 million to save the day, and they succeeded. Time is running short, but policymakers’ odds of meeting the Paris targets remain much better than that. There are no physical constraints playing the role of Thanos in our story; only political barriers stand between humanity and a prosperous clean energy future, although those can sometimes be the most difficult types of barriers to overcome.

Also see:    Key takeaways from the new IPCC report

Análise: Ricardo Abramovay – A Amazônia se torna maior que o Brasil na luta pelo desenvolvimento (UOL)

tab.uol.com.br

29.07.2021


Não tem precedentes na história da democracia brasileira o papel que a Amazônia está desempenhando na vida política nacional. É lá que está nascendo o primeiro Plano de Recuperação Verde (PRV), iniciativa do Consórcio dos Governadores da Amazônia, hoje presidido pelo Governador Flavio Dino (PSB) e que representa o mais importante documento programático voltado a resolver os problemas brasileiros. O texto, elaborado sob a competente coordenação de Laura Carvalho, economista do Departamento de Economia da FEA/USP, tem duas virtudes fundamentais.

A primeira é que ele consegue agregar vertentes políticas diferentes — e mesmo opostas — em torno de um objetivo comum. É a demonstração prática de que a racionalidade, a informação qualificada e a discussão de conteúdos podem ter mais força do que as agressões, os estereótipos e os preconceitos cujo sucesso na arena pública (e não só brasileira) é crescente. Se em Brasília o presidente da República confirma sua repulsiva condição de pária global ao receber a líder do partido alemão vinculado ao nazismo, na Amazônia os nove governadores credenciam-se como atores internacionais relevantes ao formularem um Plano de Recuperação Verde. É algo cujo alcance vai muito além de uma região, por mais importante que ela seja.

A segunda virtude é que o PRV reinsere o Brasil no mundo. Ele pretende zerar o desmatamento na Amazônia — cujo avanço coloca o Brasil na contramão do esforço global contra a crise climática. Para isso, é fundamental resgatar o valor do multilateralismo democrático que havia resultado no Fundo Amazônia, onde duas nações democráticas (Noruega e Alemanha) apoiam o País com base em resultados (e não em promessas) na luta contra o desmatamento.

O plano rejeita a obscena postura — típica da cultura miliciana — de chantagem contida na ideia de que se não vier dinheiro de fora, o desmatamento continua. No seu lugar, o PRV sinaliza para o fato de que os serviços ecossistêmicos prestados pela floresta à humanidade podem e devem ser remunerados a partir de mecanismos pactuados internacionalmente, por governos, setor privado, organizações da sociedade civil e povos da floresta. A expansão das áreas protegidas e sua defesa contra os ataques que vêm sofrendo do crime organizado é parte decisiva deste primeiro objetivo de proteção da floresta.

Além desta meta, o plano tem um conjunto de diretrizes para enfrentar um dos maiores paradoxos brasileiros que é o fato de que ali onde está a mais importante sociobiodiversidade do País também se reúnem seus piores indicadores sociais. E este desafio só poderá ser vencido por modelos de crescimento econômico e por tecnologias que fortaleçam o vigor da floresta e dos rios da Amazônia, mas que também estimulem o desenvolvimento sustentável de suas cidades, onde está a maior parte de seus 30 milhões de habitantes.

E claro que, da mesma forma que está ocorrendo no mundo todo, isso vai exigir que se discuta a natureza das infraestruturas necessárias para o desenvolvimento da Amazônia. Contemplar as necessidades das populações da Amazônia em saúde, educação, habitação, mobilidade, energia e, sobretudo, conexão de alta qualidade à Internet, nas cidades e no meio rural, é decisivo para que se interrompa a destruição atual. No lugar de hidrelétricas caras, ineficientes e fontes de corrupção, estradas que se tornam vetores de desmatamento e garimpo clandestino e poluidor, a Amazônia precisa de inovações tecnológicas capazes de promover bem-estar para suas populações florestais, rurais e urbanas.

Mas além do PRV, é também em torno da Amazônia que duzentos cientistas de imenso prestígio internacional se reuniram de forma virtual, durante dezoito meses, produzindo um diagnóstico e um conjunto de propostas destinadas a “Salvar a Amazônia“. A iniciativa, liderada pelo economista norte-americano Jeffrey Sachs, pelo climatologista brasileiro Carlos Nobre e pela bióloga equatoriana Andrea Encalada, resultou num denso relatório, lançado para consulta pública no último dia 14 de julho com a presença de Juan Manuel Santos, ex-presidente da Colômbia.

Nenhuma região do mundo jamais recebeu tanta atenção da comunidade científica e, como ressaltou Jeffrey Sachs durante seu lançamento, já há negociações para que o modelo do Painel Científico para a Amazônia seja replicado para as duas outras grandes florestas tropicais do planeta: a da Indonésia e a da Bacia do Congo. Neste momento, os 33 capítulos do Painel ainda estão em inglês, mas dentro de alguns dias os textos (e seus sumários executivos) estarão disponíveis em português e espanhol. O documento, após esta consulta pública, será lançado na Conferência Climática de Glasgow em novembro deste ano.

Além destas poderosas mobilizações políticas e científicas, é na Amazônia que um importante e diversificado grupo de empresários, ativistas, representantes de povos da floresta, cientistas e dirigentes políticos se reúnem, desde o início de 2020, na Concertação pela Amazônia. Destas discussões emergem documentos sobre diferentes temas referentes ao desenvolvimento da Amazônia — publicados regularmente pela Revista Página 22.

O Plano de Recuperação Verde, o relatório do Painel Científico para a Amazônia, as discussões e os textos da Concertação mostram que a Amazônia, tornou-se maior que o Brasil num sentido que não é apenas geográfico. É de lá que está emergindo a reflexão coletiva e diversificada sobre o mais importante desafio do país e talvez do continente: como podemos fazer de nossa biodiversidade o vetor fundamental para nossa inserção na vanguarda da inovação científica e tecnológica global e, ao mesmo tempo, em fator decisivo de luta contra a pobreza e as desigualdades?

UK to make climate risk reports mandatory for large companies (Guardian)

theguardian.com

Larry Elliott, Mon 9 Nov 2020 19.18 GMT. Last modified on Tue 10 Nov 2020 04.37 GMT

St. Paul’s Cathedral and buildings of the City of London financial district are seen as buses cross Waterloo bridge at sunset
Sunak said departure from the EU meant the UK’s financial services sector – which employs more than a million people – was entering a new chapter. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Large companies and financial institutions in the UK will have to come clean about their exposure to climate risks within five years under the terms of a tougher regime announced by the chancellor, Rishi Sunak.

In an attempt to demonstrate the government’s commitment to tackling global heating, Sunak said the UK would go further than an international taskforce had recommended and make disclosure by large businesses mandatory.

The chancellor also announced plans for Britain’s first green gilt – a bond that will be floated in the financial markets during 2021 with the money raised paying for investment in carbon-reducing projects and the creation of jobs across the country.

In a Commons statement, Sunak said departure from the EU meant the financial services sector – which employs more than a million people – was entering a new chapter.

“This new chapter means putting the full weight of private sector innovation, expertise and capital behind the critical global effort to tackle climate change and protect the environment.

“We’re announcing the UK’s intention to mandate climate disclosures by large companies and financial institutions across our economy, by 2025, going further than recommended by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, and the first G20 country to do so.”

The Treasury said the new disclosure rules and regulations would cover a significant portion of the economy, including listed commercial companies, UK-registered large private companies, banks, building societies, insurance companies, UK-authorised asset managers, life insurers, pension schemes regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and occupational pension schemes.

The government plans to make Britain a net-zero-carbon country by 2050 and the previous governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, told a London conference that the Covid-19 pandemic illustrated the dangers of ill-preparation and of underestimating risks.

Climate change was “a crisis that involves the whole world and from which no one will be able to self-isolate”, Carney said on Monday.

His successor at Threadneedle Street, Andrew Bailey, said the decision to issue a green bond underlined the UK’s commitment to combating climate change – as did Sunak’s announcement that disclosures related to climate change risk would be mandatory by 2025.

Sunak, Carney and Bailey were all speakers at the Green Horizon summit, which took place in London on what would have been the first day of the UN climate change conference in Glasgow had Covid-19 not forced the postponement of the event.

Bailey said: “Our goal is to build a UK financial system resilient to the risks from climate change and supportive of the transition to a net-zero economy. In the aftermath of the financial crisis we took far-reaching action to make the financial system more resilient against crises – Covid is the first real test of those changes.”

Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s policy director, said: “Tackling climate change means the corporate sector is not just green round the edges but green right to its core. The chancellor’s plans to make disclosure mandatory for companies is right if the rules are compulsory and thorough. Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

“The real win would be to make all financial institutions put in place plans to meet the Paris climate agreement by the end of next year, steadily choking off the supply of cash to planet-wrecking activities. Disclosure is a route to making that happen, but not an end in itself.”

Roger Barker, the director of policy and corporate governance at the Institute of Directors, said: “What gets measured gets changed. The problem is there’s a hundred and one different ways of measuring climate impact out there right now. It’s a confusing landscape for companies and investors alike, so bringing in common standards is absolutely the right thing to do.

Fran Boait, the executive director of the campaign group Positive Money, said: “We desperately need more green public investment if we are to have a fair, green transition, so it’s positive that the government has signalled that it is finally taking this more seriously, by issuing green gilts for the first time.”

Conta das mudanças climáticas é mais alta para nações ricas (O Globo)

ActionAid calcula que países desenvolvidos devem doar 0,1% do PIB a fundo comum

POR O GLOBO

18/11/2015 6:00

 

Mulheres polonesas conversam em frente à usina: países desenvolvidos não pagam valores justos para atenuar mudanças climáticas, diz ONG – JOE KLAMAR/AFP

RIO — Um novo estudo da ONG ActionAid denunciou ontem a diferença abissal entre as quantias exigidas e as doadas pelos países desenvolvidos para que as nações mais pobres criem medidas de adaptação contra as mudanças climáticas. Em 2013, foram destinados cerca de US$ 5 bilhões para o combate ao aquecimento global. Na próxima década, serão necessários US$ 150 bilhões por ano para combater os eventos extremos. O debate sobre financiamento está entre as prioridades da Conferência do Clima de Paris, a partir do dia 30.

De acordo com o instituto, as nações ricas deveriam dedicar pelo menos 0,1% de seu PIB a um fundo climático internacional. É um índice 70 vezes menor do que o gasto em 2008 para a adoção de políticas contra a recessão econômica.

Os EUA deveriam aumentar suas contribuições aos países pobres em mais de 154 vezes, passando dos US$ 440 milhões gastos em 2013 para US$ 67,5 bilhões em 2025.

A União Europeia precisa multiplicar os seus investimentos em 11 vezes, passando dos US$ 3,2 bilhões vistos em 2013 para US$ 36,9 bilhões em 2025.

Os cálculos são baseados nas emissões históricas — a contribuição atribuída a cada país para provocar as mudanças climáticas — e em sua capacidade de ajudar financeiramente, levando em conta os dados da Organização para a Cooperação e Desenvolvimento Econômico (OCDE).

Especialista em financiamento climático da ActionAid, Brandon Wu acredita que os países em desenvolvimento estão enfrentando sozinhos “uma crise que não causaram”.

— O problema não é falta de dinheiro — assegura. — Os EUA, por exemplo, gastam muito mais em subsídios para os combustíveis fósseis do que em medidas de adaptação ao clima. É falta de vontade política.

IMPASSE HISTÓRICO

Wu avalia que o financiamento contra as mudanças climáticas pode ser o item mais polêmico entre os discutidos na Conferência do Clima. Tradicionalmente, os países ricos e pobres discordam sobre o tamanho do rombo, e as nações desenvolvidas não concordam em assumir totalmente as indenizações contra o aquecimento global, eximindo economias emergentes, como China e Brasil, de qualquer compromisso financeiro.

— Um novo acordo (global sobre o clima) não é possível sem esclarecimento sobre como serão as finanças — pondera. — Os países em desenvolvimento não podem adaptar suas economias, livrando-as das emissões de carbono, sem apoio internacional. Talvez não consigamos saber exatamente quanto será investido por cada país, mas precisamos impor novos prazos e objetivos. Aqueles discutidos até agora são vagos demais.

Já Osvaldo Stella, diretor do Programa de Mudanças Climáticas do Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia, acredita que as negociações financeiras não devem ser uma prioridade.

— O mais importante é discutir que metas podem impedir o avanço da temperatura global — defende. — O financiamento é um jogo político. Resistimos a abandonar o petróleo, da mesma forma como, antes, não queríamos largar o carvão. Mais do que abrir o cofre, precisamos pensar em um novo modelo econômico, que tipo de capitalismo devemos adotar.

Brasileira é eleita vice-presidente do IPCC (Observatório do Clima)

07/10/2015

Thelma Krug, pesquisadora do Inpe e ex-secretária nacional de Mudança Climática, dividirá função com uma americana e um malês; painel do clima se reúne na Croácia para eleger novos líderes

Thelma Krug, em foto de 2009 (Foto: IISD)

Thelma Krug, em foto de 2009 (Foto: IISD)

DO OC

A matemática Thelma Krug, 64, do Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, foi eleita na manhã desta quarta-feira para uma das três vice-presidências do IPCC (Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas).

Ela dividirá a função com a americana Ko Barrett, da Noaa (Agência Nacional de Oceanos e Atmosfera) e com o malês Youba Sokona, diretor de Desenvolvimento Sustentável do South Centre, na Suíça.

Barrett é há 15 anos representante do governo americano no IPCC; Sokona foi um dos coordenadores do Grupo de Trabalho 3 (que produz os relatórios do IPCC sobre mitigação) durante o Quinto Relatório de Avaliação, o AR5, lançado em 2014. Krug chefia há 13 anos a força-tarefa do IPCC sobre inventários de emissões de gases-estufa.

Ex-secretária nacional de Mudança Climática (governo Lula), Thelma Krug trabalha no Inpe com monitoramento de mudança de uso da terra. Foi responsável pelo primeiro inventário brasileiro de emissões por desmatamento. Coordenou até 2001 o monitoramento por satélite da Amazônia, feito pelo sistema Prodes, que informa a taxa oficial de perda de floresta.

Com a eleição dos vice-presidentes, o IPCC tem na sua liderança uma maioria de representantes de países em desenvolvimento. Nesta terça-feira, o sul-coreano Hoesung Lee foi eleito presidente do painel do clima. Para a Convenção do Clima da ONU, a Coreia do Sul é considerada país em desenvolvimento.

A 42a reunião plenária do IPCC, que ocorre em Dubrovnik, Croácia, elegeria nesta quarta-feira ainda os seis co-presidentes dos grupos de trabalho 1 (que lida com a base física das mudanças do clima), 2 (que lida com impactos e vulnerabilidades) e 3 (mitigação).

Brasil precisa ter sistema de monitoramento a longo prazo sobre mudanças climáticas, diz secretário (MCTI)

quarta-feira, 17 de setembro de 2014

Para Carlos Nobre, é central o país ter um conhecimento muito apurado do impacto das mudanças climáticas sobre a economia, a sociedade e o ambiente 

O secretário de Políticas e Programas de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento do Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação (Seped/MCTI), Carlos Nobre, abriu nesta terça-feira (16) o workshop internacional Desafios para o Monitoramento e a Observação dos Impactos de Mudanças Climáticas, na Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes), em Brasília.

Ação do projeto Diálogos Setoriais entre Brasil e União Europeia, com organização do MCTI e apoio da Embaixada Britânica, o encontro segue até amanhã (17), em busca de identificar desafios e elaborar recomendações para observar impactos de mudanças climáticas, além de induzir a formação de uma rede de pesquisadores e gestores que possa compartilhar conhecimento e contribuir para a estruturação de um sistema brasileiro de monitoramento.

“Consideramos central para o planejamento e as estratégias de desenvolvimento sustentável do Brasil nós termos um conhecimento muito apurado sobre como as mudanças climáticas estão impactando e irão impactar a economia, a sociedade e o ambiente, com ênfase na nossa imensa biodiversidade”, afirmou Nobre. “Nesse sentido, o MCTI, já há alguns anos, começou um projeto, com fundos brasileiros, para desenvolver um conceito, uma ideia, um programa, para monitorar e observar esses impactos”.

Antecipação

Na visão do secretário, estruturar um sistema seria o passo seguinte a iniciativas como a Rede Brasileira de Pesquisas sobre Mudanças Climáticas Globais (Rede Clima), estabelecida em 2008, após a publicação do 4º Relatório do Painel Intergovernamental sobre Mudanças Climáticas (IPCC, na sigla em inglês).

“A Rede Clima tem produzido uma série de resultados, muitos deles na direção de entender impactos”, disse Nobre. “A decorrência desse incipiente e novo conhecimento é ensejar o desenho de um sistema de longo prazo, de décadas de monitoramento, que nos permita nos anteciparmos, para que a sociedade não seja tomada de surpresa quando impactos de fato estiverem ocorrendo.”

O secretário lembrou que o 4º Relatório do IPCC apontou concentração na Europa, nos Estados Unidos e no Japão dos sítios observacionais com estudos de impactos das mudanças climáticas, com raros exemplos na América Latina.

“A situação mudou um pouco para melhor no 5º Relatório, divulgado neste ano, mas nenhum dos sítios apresentados localiza-se no Brasil”, comparou. “Isso já chamou a atenção, porque não temos observações sistêmicas de longo período sobre os impactos nos mais diversos setores de atividades econômicas”.

Para atingir o objetivo de contribuir para o futuro sistema, segundo Nobre, o workshop trouxe especialistas brasileiros e estrangeiros de diversos setores, como agricultura, biodiversidade, ecologia, energia, recursos hídricos, oceanos, saúde e zonas costeiras: “A discussão é muito relevante para o Brasil, porque grande parte do produto econômico do país tem a ver com recursos naturais”.

Origem

Nobre associou a complexidade do sistema à existência de vários motivos desencadeadores de mudanças climáticas. Ele citou três exemplos aplicados ao cenário nacional, divididos por origem antropogênica, local e global.

O primeiro caso diz respeito às savanas tropicais do Brasil Central, onde tradicionalmente há aumento considerável de incêndios de vegetação por ação humana de agosto a outubro, período de seca nessas regiões.

“Isso perturba muito o ambiente biológico do Cerrado, ou seja, os impactos são muito grandes na biodiversidade, mas a fumaça das queimadas também gera um grande problema de saúde pública”, alertou.

De acordo com o secretário, as chuvas na cidade de São Paulo estão entre 30% a 35% maiores, mais volumosas e mais intensas do que 100 anos atrás. “Essa é, principalmente, uma mudança climática de origem local, uma ilha urbana de calor, um impacto da urbanização”, explicou. “O atual cenário agrava a questão dos desastres naturais em uma região por onde transitam 20 milhões de pessoas”.

Acerca da origem global, Nobre cita o 5º Relatório do IPCC, publicado em 2013 e 2014. “O documento sugere, com forte embasamento científico, que a alternância de secas e inundações na Amazônia na última década já seria um resultado das mudanças climáticas globais”, disse. “Particularmente na região da floresta, nós já estamos vendo como detectar, medir e enxergar impactos, como desenhar sistemas que possam de forma precursora sinalizar grandes alterações, de modo que se permita ao setor público, e também aos setores econômicos, se precaverem e adotarem políticas de adaptação”.

Intercâmbio

Presente na abertura do workshop, a secretária de Gestão Pública do Ministério do Planejamento, Orçamento e Gestão (MPOG), Ana Lúcia Amorim, abordou o projeto Diálogos Setoriais, gerido pela pasta, que apoia a realização de estudos nas mais diversas áreas temáticas.

O diplomata português Rui Ludovino, diretor da Delegação da União Europeia no Brasil, lembrou que, desde 2007, o país é parceiro estratégico da Europa. “Temos um acordo de cooperação assinado entre as duas partes que engloba inúmeras áreas, da econômica à tecnológica, da ambiental à social”, observou.

Na opinião da diretora de Ciência e Inovação da Embaixada Britânica, Caroline Cowan, o Brasil inova ao propor a criação de uma rede de monitoramento e observação. “Até agora, não temos no mundo um sistema assim. Vamos ver como podemos trabalhar juntos para estabelecê-lo. Em adaptação a mudanças climáticas, já atuamos bastante com a União Europeia e o Brasil”.

Os debates do workshop devem gerar um documento de recomendações. Entre os palestrantes, estão pesquisadores dos institutos nacionais de Pesquisas Espaciais (Inpe/MCTI) e de Pesquisas da Amazônia (Inpa/MCTI), do Centro de Tecnologia da Informação Renato Archer (CTI/MCTI) e do Centro Comum de Pesquisa da Comissão Europeia (JRC, na sigla em inglês).