Big Oil and Gas Nations Sideline the Science at Katowice, Even as Emissions Rise and Warming Accelerates

Just as four big oil and gas producers block the UN climate policymaking conference in Katowice, Poland from welcoming a report on the science of the 1.5 degree Celsius (°C) target which it had commissioned three years earlier in Paris, new evidence has emerged of the striking contradiction between word and deed at COP24.

Response to the IPCC 1.5°C Special Report

The IPCC report meticulously lays out how the serious climate impacts of 1.5°C of warming are still far less destructive than those for 2°C. Sadly, the IPCC then fails, again, to address the profound implications of reducing emissions in line with both 1.5 and 2°C. Dress it up however we may wish, climate change is ultimately a rationing issue.

The ‘Burn It All Down’ Approach: Trump Uses Dire Warming Predictions to Justify Increasing Emissions

Despite the Trump administration’s own prediction that by the end of this century, the world could warm “a disastrous” 7°F, or about 4°C, above pre-industrial levels, the president has decided not to curb greenhouse gas emissions, but instead to use the devastating findings to justify and intensify his pro-fossil fuel agenda.

What Will it Take to Avert Collapse?

In our view, at some point scientists and policy makers must begin discussing the one scenario that world leaders seem to want to avoid at all costs, i.e., managed economic contraction. The irony is that this scenario could reliably cut greenhouse gas emissions and is achievable without appeal to magic (CCS or decoupling).

1.5°C of Warming is Closer than We Imagine, Just a Decade Away

So how does hitting warming of 1.5°C a decade from now square with the 2015 Paris Agreement’s goal of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C”? In two words, it doesn’t.

Limiting Warming to 1.5C Could ‘Substantially’ Cut Risk of Ice-Free Arctic Summers

Meeting the Paris Agreement’s aspirational target of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels could “substantially” reduce the risk of sea ice-free summers in the Arctic, research shows. Two new studies find that, under 1.5C of warming, Arctic waters could experience ice-free summers around 2.5% of the time, or one in every 40 years.

Quantifying our Faustian Bargain with Fossil Fuels

The climate system will heat well past 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C) and perhaps up to 2°C without any further fossil fuel emissions. That’s the conclusion to be drawn from new research which should also help demystify the rhetoric from the 2015 Paris climate talks of keeping warming to below 1.5°C .