Thursday, January 05, 2017

Global 2C Warming Limit Not Feasible, Warns Top Economist

William Nordhaus (Picture Credit: Becker Friedman Institute/Flickr) Click to Enlarge.
Agreed by 195 countries in December 2015, the Paris climate deal was billed as an historic game-changer by UN officials when it came into force last November.

Not everyone is convinced, least of all the respected climate economist William Nordhaus, who dimisses the deal as “rhetoric” in a new paper.

The Yale academic – who has explored the implications of climate change since the early 1990s – ran the numbers through his economic model known as DICE and came up with some bleak answers.

“The international target for climate change with a limit of 2C appears to be infeasible with reasonably accessible technologies – and this is the case even with very stringent and unrealistically ambitious abatement strategies,” he writes.

“This is so because of the inertia of the climate system, of rapid projected economic growth in the near term, and of revisions in several elements of the model.  A target of 2.5C is technically feasible but would require extreme policy measures.”

Nearly 200 countries submitted climate plans as part of the Paris deal.  Independent analysts reckon their combined emission cuts will only limit warming to 2.7C above pre industrial levels, breaching the global target and likely to lead to faster sea level rise and erratic weather events.

Ramming home the message, Nordhaus says: “notwithstanding what may be called ‘The Rhetoric of Nations,’ there has been little progress in taking strong policy measures.”

European plans to cut emissions 40% on 1990 levels by 2030 are “very modest”, Nordhaus says, despite repeated claims that Brussels is a global green leader.

In the current political climate, he suggests, “the prospects of strong policy measures seem to be dimming”.

Read more at Global 2C Warming Limit Not Feasible, Warns Top Economist

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