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Thu Jan 3, 2013, 10:11 AM

Nature: Political action the biggest swing factor in meeting climate targets

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/news/Nature-Political-action.en.html
03 January 2013

Nature: Political action the biggest swing factor in meeting climate targets

Limiting climate change to target levels will become much more difficult to achieve, and more expensive, if action is not taken soon, according to a new analysis from IIASA, ETH Zurich, and NCAR.

The new study, published today in the journal Nature, examined the probability of keeping average global temperatures from rising more than 2°C above preindustrial levels under varying levels of climate policy stringency, and thus mitigation costs. In addition, the study for the first time quantified and ranked the uncertainties associated with efforts to mitigate climate change, including questions about the climate itself, uncertainties related to future technologies and energy demand, and political uncertainties as to when action will be taken.

The climate system itself is full of uncertainty – an oft–used argument to postpone climate action until we have learned more. “We wanted to frame the problem in a new way and try to understand which uncertainties matter in trying to limit global warming by specific climate action,” said Joeri Rogelj, ETH researcher and lead author on the paper, who carried out the research at IIASA.

The most important uncertainty, according to the study, is political – that is, the question of when countries will begin to take serious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implement other policies that could help mitigate climate change. Keywan Riahi, IIASA energy program leader and study co-author said, “With a twenty-year delay, you can throw as much money as you have at the problem, and the best outcome you can get is a fifty-fifty chance of keeping temperature rise below two degrees.” Two degrees is the level that is currently supported by over 190 countries as a limit to avoid dangerous climate change.

Social uncertainties, which influence consumer energy demand, were second-most important, the study found. Social uncertainties refer to things like people’s awareness and choices with respect to energy and to the adoption of efficient technologies.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11787

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Reply Nature: Political action the biggest swing factor in meeting climate targets (Original post)
OKIsItJustMe Jan 2013 OP
Ghost Dog Jan 2013 #1
joshcryer Jan 2013 #2

Response to OKIsItJustMe (Original post)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 08:00 AM

1. "the question of when countries will begin to take serious action"

... should read, "when certain countries, especially the USA will begin to take serious action" ...

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Response to Ghost Dog (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 08:33 AM

2. A carbon tax is meaningless if we keep exporting our fuels.



We'd have to 1) give up intellectual property, give it away, and 2) put high duties on fossil fuel exports.

The former is extremely expensive since the constitution requires the government to recompense for taken property and it would be corporate welfare to the extreme, and the latter would kill a lot of fossil producing jobs.

So there's really nothing that can or will be done, realistically speaking.

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