Monday, June 03, 2013

Next Round Of Climate Change Meetings Begin In Bonn

Jun 3: Following the recent milestone announcement that CO2 levels have surpassed the critical 400 PPM benchmark [See WIMS 5/13/13]; and the bombshell disputed research announcement that CFC not CO2 have been driving recent warming trends and global cooling could possibly be in store for the next several decades [See WIMS 5/31/13, & related article below]; governments begin their next round of international climate change talks under the United Nations in Bonn, Germany today. The meeting resumes the second session of the "Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action" (ADP), which is tasked both to complete a universal climate agreement by 2015 that will come into force from 2020, and to find ways to increase the current inadequate level of global ambition to address human-generated climate change before the end of the decade.

    The ADP is resuming its work in parallel with the annual sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These bodies will play an essential role in the effective implementation of the outcomes of the recent UN Climate Change Conferences in CancĂșn (in 2010), in Durban (in 2011) and in Doha last year. During the first round of talks under the ADP in Bonn, which ended May 3 this year, governments undertook work on the main contours and central elements of the 2015 agreement, and also on a practical and results-oriented approach to raising immediate climate ambition.

    ADP Co-Chairs, Jayant Moreshver Mauskar and Harald Dovland said in a joint statement, "The first meeting this year demonstrated that the negotiation is on track to achieve the agreed milestones and objectives. We have already seen many areas of possible common ground. We hope that at this session, governments will build on these areas by engaging on topics where differences can be bridged and further enlarge common ground." In addition to round table discussions including on possible types of commitments and bottom-up and top-down elements in the new agreement, a special ADP workshop at the June meeting will focus on strengthening adaptation to climate change through the 2015 agreement. A workshop on pre-2020 ambition -- the third of its kind under the ADP -- will focus on energy, including on how to scale up renewable energy, enhance energy efficiency and consider carbon capture and storage.

    At a special interactive event on June 8, the ADP Co-Chairs will hear proposals from observer organizations on the question of how non-State actors can further contribute to collective action on climate change and how the 2015 agreement can catalyze such action by non-State actors. Observers not physically present in the room will be able to participate virtually via webcast from the UNFCCC website and on Twitter.

    UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said, "The negotiations are now in a crucial conceptual phase of the 2015 agreement, and need inputs from all relevant stakeholders. With growing numbers of countries enacting climate legislation, with investment in renewables growing and private sector attention to climate risk increasing, the negotiations can capture the energy and dynamism of all stakeholders, who in turn need to provide clear inputs as to where more ambition is possible, and where international policy guidance from governments can unleash even more action on their part." Figueres also underlined the importance of the SBSTA and SBI meetings to push forward the significant progress already made in creating an international response to climate change and to sustain a positive momentum towards the next annual UN Climate Change meeting in Warsaw, scheduled for November 11-22, 2013.

    She said, "While we negotiate the new universal agreement, we must not forget that governments must deliver on existing agreements related to finance, technology and capacity-building. Because of this, implementation of the agreed support systems must continue with the same urgency and focus as the ADP negotiation. I look forward to seeing success showcased across all key areas of climate action when we meet again in Warsaw."  

    In Bonn, the process of the in-depth review of the adequacy of the 2 degrees Celsius goal agreed by governments will begin. The review is a reality check on the advance of the climate change threat and the possible need to mobilize further action, and is set to conclude by 2015. Other key discussions include talks on institutional arrangements that provide the most vulnerable populations with better protection against loss and damage caused by slow onset events such as rising sea levels; on clarifying ways to measure deforestation; and on avoiding negative consequences of climate action.

    On June 11, at a special event, the International Energy Agency will present its latest World Energy Outlook Special Report "Redrawing the energy-climate map" to delegates, which will lay out important new insights into the future track of global greenhouse gas emissions. A special forum will also be held to create public awareness, increase public participation in climate change decision-making, and build capacity through climate change education and training. Press conferences held during the sessions will be announced on the UNFCCC website. The UNFCCC Executive Secretary is scheduled to give a closing press briefing on June 14.

    Access a release from UNFCCC (click here). Access the UNFCCC Bonn meeting website for links to complete information and details (click here). Access detailed day-by-day coverage and summaries of the meeting from IISD (click here). Access a release from UNFCCC on the 400 ppm milestone (click here). Access a release on the QB-Lu research on CFC v. CO2 (click here). Access THE QB-Lu research paper on CFC v. CO2 (click here). [#Climate]

Climate Nexus Debunks Q-B Lu CFC v. CO2 Research - May 31: The nonprofit organization, Climate Science Watch, dedicated to holding public officials accountable for using climate research effectively and with integrity and investigating and diagnosing the use and misuse of climate change research, has posted a guest posting from Climate Nexus indicating that research from Qing-Bin Lu, a professor of physics, astronomy, biology and chemistry at the University of Waterloo is "not new, and have not held up to scientific scrutiny in the past."
    Q-B Lu's new peer-reviewed paper, published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B last week indicates that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are to blame for global warming since the 1970s and not carbon dioxide. Lu said, "Conventional thinking says that the emission of human-made non-CFC gases such as carbon dioxide has mainly contributed to global warming. But we have observed data going back to the Industrial Revolution that convincingly shows that conventional understanding is wrong. In fact, the data shows that CFCs conspiring with cosmic rays caused both the polar ozone hole and global warming." Lu indicates that, ". . .since 2002, global temperatures have actually declined -- matching a decline in CFCs in the atmosphere. My calculations of CFC greenhouse effect show that there was global warming by about 0.6 °C from 1950 to 2002, but the earth has actually cooled  since 2002. The cooling trend is set to continue for the next 50-70 years as the amount of CFCs in the atmosphere continues to decline."
    The Climate Nexus guest post entitled, "Qing-Bin Lu revives debunked claims about cosmic rays and CFCs," indicates, "This sensationalist headline is often repeated with little mention that Lu's claims are not new, and have not held up to scientific scrutiny in the past. In fact, Lu has been promoting his theories about CFCs for years, and mainstream scientists have found no merit in them. Critics have said Lu makes a fundamental scientific error by confusing correlation with causation, and does not effectively challenge the physical evidence of the warming effects of CO2, a body of knowledge built up over 150 years." Climate Nexus indicates "the facts" are:
  • This theory has been considered and dismissed before. A 2010 report by the National Academies of Science was commissioned by Congress to examine all the evidence surrounding global warming including the theory that cosmic rays might influence Earth's climate. It concluded that "a plausible physical mechanism… has not been demonstrated" and "cosmic rays are not regarded as an important climate forcing."
  • In 2011, a peer-reviewed paper found that Lu's conclusions "are based solely on correlation… do not have a physical basis… and the findings of the IPCC… remain unchallenged."
  • In response to Lu's most recent publication, several different scientists interviewed by the Vancouver Sun each said that Lu's conclusions "[go] against 150 years of very fundamental physics."
  • Critics point out that Lu's paper fails to make the leap from correlation to causation, one of the most basic and most common scientific failings. This error is simply illustrated in the classic fable of the rooster who believes the sun rises because he crows. Two things may happen at the same time, but this does not mean one causes the other. A "physical mechanism" by which the two events are connected must be known, in order to fully understand causation.
  • In contrast, there is strong experimental evidence of the physical mechanism by which CO2 warms the planet, evidence that (as scientists have mentioned already in response to Lu) dates back 150 years.
    Climate Nexus is "a strategic communications group dedicated to highlighting the wide-ranging impacts of climate change and clean energy solutions in the United States. Since its founding in 2011, Climate Nexus has drawn upon established and emerging science to personalize and localize the climate and energy story through work with the media, relevant NGOs and other thought leaders. With backgrounds spanning the fields of environmental science, traditional and digital media, public affairs, corporate sustainability, consulting, environmental policy, and documentary filmmaking, we bring a diverse set of skills to the greater science, technology, public health and environmental communities. And that's a good thing, because we're here to help."
    Access guest posting on the Climate Science Watch blog with links to referenced information (click here). Access the Climate Nexus website for additional information (click here). Access a release on the QB-Lu research on CFC v. CO2 (click here). Access THE QB-Lu research paper on CFC v. CO2 (click here). [#Climate]
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