by Naddima Hadid
The searing July heatwave that hit Europe last week was made both more likely and more intense by human-induced climate change, scientists say.
A rapid attribution study says that heating added up to 3C to the intensity of the event that scorched the UK, France and the Netherlands.
In France, the heatwave was made at least 10 times and up to 100 times more likely by human activities.
The shorter event in the UK was made at least twice as likely, experts say.
The World Weather Attribution Group has carried out a number of similar studies in recent years to work out the impact of climate change on extreme events.
This new report looks at the July heatwave that saw temperatures soar above 40C in many countries including Belgium, France and the Netherlands.
In Paris, the mercury smashed through a historic high of 40.4C. It beat the record by more than 2 degrees, to the new mark of 42.6C.
In the UK, the heat event only lasted 1-2 days but a new record was set at Cambridge University's botanic garden with 38.7C.
Researchers combined information from both long term temperature observations and climate models to look at how the events would have unfolded with or without the human influence on the climate.
So when they look at France they can say that the chances of having a heatwave like the one that struck last week were made more likely by at least a factor of 10, but could in fact have been up to 100 times.
"We conclude that such an event would have had an extremely small probability to occur (less than about once every 1,000 years) without climate change in France," the study says.
The picture across Europe was the same say researchers.
"Every European heatwave we and others have analysed was found to be made much more likely and more intense due to human-induced climate change, so it was not surprising that climate change played a role," said Dr Friederike Otto, acting director of the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.
"But how much more likely the heatwave is depends very strongly on the event definition: location, season, intensity and duration. This July 2019 heatwave was so extreme over continental Western Europe that the observed magnitudes would have been extremely unlikely without climate change."
The researchers say the intensity of the heatwave was increased by between 1.5 and 3C.
"When I bicycled home from work last week it was still 37.1 degrees," said co-author Dr Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, from KNMI in the Netherlands.
"I would have felt a difference at 34C - you don't need a thermometer anymore to notice a difference."
While the event lasted little more than a day in the UK, the researchers estimate that climate change made it at least twice as likely. The impact on intensity was estimated to be between 1.5 and 2.5C.
The researchers also talk about the likely return period of these events - meaning the chances of having another one of the same magnitude. For Cambridge they estimate it's 30 years.
"A return period of 30 years like in Cambridge, means that every year in the current climate you have about 3% chance of having a heatwave like that," says Dr van Oldenborgh.
"It was much smaller in the old climate and every year that we keep on emitting CO2 the probability of having a heatwave like that will just increase."
One problem that the researchers keep encountering when they carry out these rapid attribution studies is the fact that the climate models they are using underestimate the high temperature observations that are being made in the real world.
"We know for 10 years or so that the models have problems with these relatively short, very intense events," says Geert Jan van Oldenborgh.
"They have been designed to simulate global mean temperatures and large scale heat patterns, they have not been designed to get heatwaves right.
"Everybody now agrees that this needs to be figured out, because the trend in heatwaves is just so much higher than the model trend."
In the annual report — published Monday at the COP24 climate summit in Katowice, Poland which tracks climate change performance in 56 countries and the EU. It comes on the heels of news that after CO2 emissions stabilized for three consecutive years, they are set to hit historic highs in 2018.
Germany, so often held up as a beacon in the climate change fight, comes in at a middling 27th position — five places below its spot last year.while France who help a treaty for climate on its lands is in 21th position , from other side we consider Morocco who takes position 2 in the level is going up in its performance for the climate change!
"Our climate change index shows that there is no lack of commitment to the Paris climate agreement — but there is still a lack of political will to implement concrete steps,"
said Jan Burck from Germanwatch, an environmental organization that co-authored the report with the New Climate Institute and Climate Action Network.
"There are no excuses for this, as all solutions are on the table and are also affordable," Burck added.
While the IPCC and the United Nations Environment Program have warned that carbon emissions must fall rapidly if warming is to be kept below 2 degrees, year-on-year global CO2 emissions increased 1.6 percent in 2017.
According to the report by DW said that
The top ranked nation was again Sweden in 4th place, which performed well in terms of renewable energies and greenhouse gas emissions. Morocco came in 5th due to its rapid expansion of renewables and an ambitious carbon reduction target — the North African nation is on track to generate 42 percent of its electricity needs through renewables by 2020.
Also making the "good" category were India (11) and the European Union as a whole (16). India ranked relatively well due to its dynamic expansion of renewables, relatively low per capita emissions and an ambitious 2030 climate target — though plans for new coal-fired power plants counted against the Asian powerhouse.
The EU's moderate performance in terms of emissions and energy efficiency was somewhat compensated by high marks for climate policy — especially measures to achieve the 2030 climate target, as well as the European Commission's efforts to push for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
China (33) made it into the "moderate" category for the first time after emissions leveled off between 2014 and 2016 — though emissions have since risen again.
Lurking in the index basement are G20 countries such as Japan (49), Russia (52), Canada (54), and Australia (55), while the last two places are occupied by the United States (59) and Saudi Arabia (60).
Yet again, Australia ranked among the very low-performing countries in three of the CCPI's categories — GHG emissions, energy use and climate policy — and in terms of renewable energy, with experts emphasizing the need to reduce its 2030 emission reduction targets. It placed just ahead of the USA, which has been in free fall since the climate-denying Trump administration took office nearly two years ago.
The US performed poorly to very badly on emissions, renewables and energy efficiency, and hardly surprisingly in terms of climate policy after President Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement.
UN General Assembly president Maria Espinosa told AFP that mankind was "in danger of disappearing" if climate change was allowed to progress at its current rate."We need to act urgently, and with audacity. Be ambitious, but also responsible for the future generations," she added.
With these words must start the report that contributed by AFP, In n a rare intervention, presidents of previous UN climate summits issued a joint statement as the talks got under way, calling on states to take "decisive action... to tackle these urgent threats".
The impacts of climate change are increasingly hard to ignore," said the statement, a copy of which was obtained by AFP. "We require deep transformations of our economies and societies."
At the COP24 climate talks, nations must agree to a rulebook palatable to all 183 states who have ratified the Paris deal.
The road to a final rulebook is far from smooth: the dust is still settling from US President Donald Trump's decision to ditch the Paris accord.
G20 leaders on Saturday wrapped up their summit by declaring the Paris Agreement "irreversible".
But it said the United States "reiterates its decision to withdraw" from the landmark accord.
The UN negotiations got off to a chaotic start in the Polish mining city of Katowice Sunday, with the opening session delayed nearly three hours by a series of last-ditch submissions.
A string of major climate reports have cast doubt over the entire process, suggesting the Paris goals fall well short of what is needed.
- Data doesn't lie -
Just last week, the UN's environment programme said the voluntary national contributions agreed in Paris would have to triple if the world was to cap global warming below 2C.
For 1.5C, they must increase fivefold.
While the data are clear, a global political consensus over how to tackle climate change remains elusive.
Katowice may show us if there will be any domino effect" following the US withdrawal, said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a main architect of the Paris deal.
Brazil's strongman president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, for one, has promised to follow the American lead during his campaign.
Many countries are already dealing with the droughts, higher seas and catastrophic storms climate change is exacerbating.
"A failure to act now risks pushing us beyond a point of no return with catastrophic consequences for life as we know it," said Amjad Abdulla, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States, of the UN talks.
A key issue up for debate is how the fight against climate change is funded, with developed and developing nations still world's apart in their demands.
Poorer nations argue that rich countries, which are responsible for the vast majority of historic carbon emissions, must help others to fund climate action.
"Developed nations led by the US will want to ignore their historic responsibilities and will say the world has changed," said Meena Ramam, from the Third World Network advocacy group.
Source and contributed by| AFP
New York - United Nations
A new report released on Tuesday by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) shows that global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose again during 2017 after a three year hiatus, highlighting the imperative for countries to deliver on the historic Paris Agreement to keep global warming to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
The report comes just days before the key UN climate change conference known as COP 24, taking place in Katowice, Poland, with the agency urging nations to triple their efforts to curb harmful emissions.
The UNEP report comes hot on the heels of the watershed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on global warming, released in October, which cautioned that emissions had to stop rising now, in order to keep temperature increases below 1.5°C, and reduce the risks for the well-being of the planet and its people.
“If the IPCC report represented a global fire alarm, this report is the arson investigation,” said UNEP’s Deputy Executive Director Joyce Msuya. “The science is clear; for all the ambitious climate action we’ve seen – governments need to move faster and with greater urgency. We’re feeding this fire while the means to extinguish it are within reach.”
Heat-trapping CO2 gas in the atmosphere is largely responsible for rising global temperatures, according to the overwhelming body of scientific evidence. UNEP’s 2018 Global Emissions Report, show global emissions have reached historic levels.
Total annual greenhouse gases emissions, including from land-use change, reached a record high of 53.5 Gigatons in 2017, an increase of 0.7 compared with 2016.
“In contrast, global GHG emissions in 2030 need to be approximately 25 per cent and 55 per cent lower than in 2017 to put the world on a least-cost pathway to limiting global warming to 2°C and 1.5°C respectively,” said the report.
What’s worse, the report notes that there is no sign of reversal of this trend and that only 57 countries (representing 60 per cent of global emissions) are on track to bridge their “emissions gap” – meaning the gap between where we are likely to be and where we need to be.
Increased emissions and lagging action means the gap published in this year’s report is larger than ever.
UNEP stresses that while “surging momentum from the private sector” and “untapped potential from innovation and green-financing” offer “pathways” to bridge the emissions gap globally, the “technical feasibility” of limiting global warming to 1.5°C “is dwindling”.
The authors of the report note that nations would need to triple their efforts on climate action without further delay, in order to meet the 2°C-rise limit by mid-century. To meet the 1.5°C limit, they would have to quintuple their efforts. A continuation of current trends will likely result in global warming of around 3°C by the end of the century, with continued temperature rises after that, according to the report findings.
“The kind of drastic, large-scale action we urgently need has yet to been seen,” said UNEP.
The report offers concrete ways for Governments to bridge their emissions gap, including through fiscal policy, innovative technology, non-state and subnational action, and more. This ninth UNEP emissions report has been prepared by an international team of leading scientists, assessing all available information.
“When governments embrace fiscal policy measures to subsidize low-emission alternatives and tax fossil fuels, they can stimulate the right investments in the energy sector and significantly reduce carbon emissions,” said Jian Liu, UNEP’s Chief Scientist.
“Thankfully, the potential of using fiscal policy as an incentive is increasingly recognized,” said Dr. Liu, referring to the 51 initiatives already in place or planned across the world to charge for carbon emissions (called “carbon pricing”).
“If all fossil fuel subsidies were phased out, global carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 10 per cent by 2030,” he added, explaining that “setting the right carbon price is also essential. At US$70 per ton of CO2, emission reductions of up to 40 per cent are possible in some countries.”
The 2018 Global Emissions Report report adds yet another building block of scientific evidence to inform decision-making at the upcoming UN climate change conference – the COP 24 in Poland – which starts on Sunday and will last for two weeks. The key objective of the meeting will be to adopt an implementation plan for the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Reported by|Christian Megan
Michelle Bachelet,the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,has warned that The human rights of millions of people are challenging the climate change as it threats the principles of life on the planet.
Bachelet - in a statement ahead of an international climate change meeting next month,said that the decisions to be taken at the meeting scheduled in Poland, will govern the climate work according to the Paris agreement, indefinitely in the future.Adding that climate change is already affecting people's lives, enjoyment of their rights and the ecosystems they depend on.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,Michelle Bachelet stressed the need for countries to act individually and collectively to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, mobilize sufficient resources to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and ensure meaningful participation of all in climate work.