09 February 2016

Kevin Anderson returns to the London School of Economics

Kevin Anderson has just given a talk at the London School of Economics (LSE) about climate change and the Paris Agreement. Audio download 44.3MB mp3

For me this this is almost a case of the wheel turning a full circle. I first got to really know about climate chnage from listening to Anderson's 2011 LSE talk Going Beyond Dangerous Climate Change: Exploring the void between rhetoric and reality in reducing carbon emissions. I would also recommend that podcast too.

LSE describes the event which took place last week on 4 February 2016 like this.

Speaker(s): Professor Kevin Anderson

Chair: Professor Tim Dyson

Recorded on 4 February 2016 at Old Theatre, Old Building

Despite high-level statements to the contrary, there is little to no chance of maintaining the global mean surface temperature increase at or below 2 degrees Celsius. Moreover, the impacts associated with 2°C have been revised upward sufficiently so that 2°C now more appropriately represents the threshold between 'dangerous' and 'extremely dangerous' climate change.

Kevin Anderson will address the endemic bias prevalent amongst many of those building emission scenarios to underplay the scale of the 2°C challenge. In several respects, the modeling community is actually self-censoring its research to conform to the dominant political and economic paradigm. However, even a slim chance of 'keeping below' a 2°C rise now demands a revolution in how we consume and produce energy. Such a rapid and deep transition will have profound implications for the framing of society, and is far removed from the rhetoric of green growth that increasingly dominates the climate change agenda.

Kevin Anderson (@KevinClimate) is Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the University of Manchester.

I am really looking forward to listening to the podcast. Audio download 44.3MB mp3

30 January 2016

New Zealands gross greenhouse gas emissions per capita compared

Update: 7 February 2016. There was a mistake in the chart. The labels for India and Africa were interposed. So I fixed that and uploaded a new version to Wikimedia Commons. I also changed the type of point used to mark the India data into an upside-down triangle.

I have made another chart and uploaded it to Wikimedia Commons. Today's chart is a comparison of gross greenhouse gas emissions 1990 to 2012 for seven entities: New Zealand, United Kingdom, the European Union, China, India, Africa (the whole continent) and also the world average.

Its my own work of course. So it's by Mrfebruary and following Wikimedia's practice, it's released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence, via Wikimedia Commons.

Per capita greenhouse gas emissions

I have used some html mark-up from Wikimedia Commons here and not the Blogger tools.

The original source of the data is the CAIT Climate Data Explorer which is provided by the Washington-based World Resources Institute. I selected the countries/entities and the type of data and downloaded it. I have stashed the data I used on Google Sheets.

Look at China's trend in per capita emissions. In 1990 China had more-or-less the same per capita emissions as India or the average for Africa as a continent. Then from the late 1990s onwards, globalisation of trade and China's rapid economic growth, particularly of its export manufacturing, caused per capita emissions to grow until they are now similar to the emissions in the European Union. The two trends are of course linked; as China becomes the industrial manufacturer for the rest of the world, the developed OECD countries, including New Zealand, become importers of manufactured goods and exporters of the greenhouse gas emissions. The manufacturing industries decline and the developed economies become more reliant on low-emissions service industries.

As an experiment, I am going to insert a large .png of the graph, 1280 pixels wide. One feature of Wikimedia Commons is that once you have uploaded an image in scalable vector graphic format, you can then get portable network graphic (png) format images in different sizes. Blogger calls this 'medium' size. It doesn't reproduce crisply. The Wikimedia Commons html mark-up looks better. Still, double click on this and it looks crisper in it's glorious 1280 pixel width.

29 January 2016

NZU Price data is also on Google Fusion Tables

I have also uploaded the NZ Emission Unit (NZU) prices to Google Fusion Tables.

Fusion Tables allows you to make embeddable charts and maps from data stored on a table that looks like a cut-down version of a Google sheet.

That's not bad at all, is it?. Especially the ability to hover over the chart and to see the actual prices and dates.

27 January 2016

New Zealand emission unit NZU prices 2010 to 2015

I have made a new graph.

Actually its more accurate to say I have collated or perhaps compiled a data set of NZU (New Zealand emission unit) prices from 2010 to 2015.

Although private sector carbon brokers such as OMF and Carbon Forest Services display some current prices and a few historic prices, there is no openly available public data series of the New Zealand carbon price as represented by trading in the domestic New Zealand Unit.

So I decided to make a monthly data series by digitizing images of graphs via the programme G3Data and via the website Web Plot Digitizer. The values obtained in this way are best thought of as being similar (but certainly not identical) to a monthly mean. The accuracy is perhaps plus or minnus 20 cents NZD. The file is available from "NZU-price-data-2010-2015.csv".


The R script for the chart is also available at the Wikimedia Commons page for the graph.

17 January 2016

An intelligent and observant Martian would be entitled to believe the human race insane.

Australian Robert Manne has written an excellent long-form overview of the problem of climate change policy.

I have shamelessly abbreviated one sentence for the title of this post. The full sentence is.

An intelligent and observant Martian visiting the Earth and learning of our climate problem would be entitled to believe the human race insane

Manne has name-checked pretty much most of the key people we associate with the discourse on climate policy.

Its a really good read. I recommend it.

14 January 2016

Video Kevin Anderson on COP21 the Paris Agreement honesty hope

Marc Hudson is an Australian based in Manchester. He writes for the Manchester Climate Monthly. He has done another interview with Kevin Anderson and uploaded it to You tube. I appear to have been viewer number 479.

Anderson thinks that the Paris Agreement has a very strong headline message in endorsing the 1.5 Celsius warming temperature limit, but then turns out to be 31 pages of legal fluff that supports an implicit endorsement of a climate change techno-fix of bio-energy carbon capture and storage later in the 21st century instead of immediate deep reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases.

Nick Breeze video 1.5 Degrees COP21 and the Paris Agreement

Nick Breeze has done another excellent short summary video about COP21 and the Paris Agreement and Government responses. The video includes short excerpts of interviews with Brit MP Caroline Lucas, Saleemul Huq, Kevin Anderson, Jason Box and Michael Bloomberg. I was viewer number 116 on You Tube

The key message I get from this is that irrespective of the obvious high ambition represented by the 1.5 (or 2) Celsius of warming temperature limit in the Paris Agreement, the actions and responses of governments and policy-makers are still rhetoric and business-as-usual. In other words, nowhere near anything like a rational response to the seriousness of the risk.

This is exemplified in the short interview with Shannon Phllips, Minister for the Environment in the Province of Alberta, who squirms and says its unfair to be asked if the Alberta tar sands industry should be shut down so as to stay within a carbon budget consistent with 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius.

Mind you we in New Zealand are no better than the Canadians. Within days of COP21 winding up, John Key was denying the need to make any changes to New Zealand's inadeqate climate change policies.