AGW Observer

Observations of anthropogenic global warming

New research – climate change mitigation (July 25, 2016)

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on July 25, 2016

Some of the latest papers on climate change mitigation are shown below. First a few highlighted papers with abstracts and then a list of some other papers. If this subject interests you, be sure to check also the other papers – they are by no means less interesting than the highlighted ones.


What would it take to achieve the Paris temperature targets?

Abstract: The 2015 Paris Agreement aims to limit warming to 2 or 1.5°C above preindustrial level, although combined Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) are likely insufficient to achieve these targets. We propose a set of idealized emission pathways consistent with the targets. If countries reduce emissions in line with their INDCs, the 2°C threshold could be avoided only if net zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs) are achieved by 2085 and late century negative emissions are considerably in excess of those assumed in Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 2.6 (net −5 Gt CO2/yr, compared with −1.5 Gt CO2/yr in RCP2.6). More aggressive near-term reductions would allow 2°C to be avoided with less end-of-century carbon removal capacity. A 10% cut in GHGEs by 2030 (relative to 2015) could likely achieve 2°C with RCP2.6 level negative emissions. The 1.5°C target requires GHGEs to be reduced by almost a third by 2030 and net zero by 2050, while a 50 year overshoot of 1.5°C allows net zero GHGEs by 2060.

Productivity ranges of sustainable biomass potentials from non-agricultural land

Abstract: Land is under pressure from a number of demands, including the need for increased supplies of bioenergy. While bioenergy is an important ingredient in many pathways compatible with reaching the 2 °C target, areas where cultivation of the biomass feedstock would be most productive appear to co-host other important ecosystems services. We categorize global geo-data on land availability into productivity deciles, and provide a geographically explicit assessment of potentials that are concurrent with EU sustainability criteria. The deciles unambiguously classify the global productivity range of potential land currently not in agricultural production for biomass cultivation. Results show that 53 exajoule (EJ) sustainable biomass potential are available from 167 million hectares (Mha) with a productivity above 10 tons of dry matter per hectare and year (tD Mha−1 a−1), while additional 33 EJ are available on 264 Mha with yields between 4 and 10 tD M ha−1 a−1: some regions lose less of their highly productive potentials to sustainability concerns than others and regional contributions to bioenergy potentials shift when less productive land is considered. Challenges to limit developments to the exploitation of sustainable potentials arise in Latin America, Africa and Developing Asia, while new opportunities emerge for Transition Economies and OECD countries to cultivate marginal land.

Understanding the nuclear controversy: An application of cultural theory

Abstract: The need for a secure and sustainable energy future has become firmly entrenched on the global political agenda. Governments worldwide are seeking solutions that will ensure security of their energy supplies, while reducing carbon emissions in the fight against climate change. Advocates of nuclear power have reframed the technology as the most reliable, cost-effective and immediate solution to both of these policy problems, and predicted the emergence of a ‘nuclear renaissance’. However, there is little evidence to date that suggests a nuclear renaissance has actually taken place. Public opinion polling demonstrates that many remain unconvinced of the need for nuclear power. This paper uses Cultural Theory as a heuristic to understand why the arguments for a nuclear renaissance have been largely unsuccessful. It argues that the failure of nuclear advocates to engage with a wider cross-section of world-views has prevented the controversy surrounding nuclear power from being resolved, and the nuclear renaissance from becoming a reality. In doing so, this paper builds upon a growing recognition of the contribution that social science research can make to understanding public acceptance of energy policy choices.

An overview of the Earth system science of solar geoengineering

Abstract: Solar geoengineering has been proposed as a means to cool the Earth by increasing the reflection of sunlight back to space, for example, by injecting reflective aerosol particles (or their precursors) into the lower stratosphere. Such proposed techniques would not be able to substitute for mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a response to the risks of climate change, as they would only mask some of the effects of global warming. They might, however, eventually be applied as a complementary approach to reduce climate risks. Thus, the Earth system consequences of solar geoengineering are central to understanding its potentials and risks. Here we review the state-of-the-art knowledge about stratospheric sulfate aerosol injection and an idealized proxy for this, ‘sunshade geoengineering,’ in which the intensity of incoming sunlight is directly reduced in models. Studies are consistent in suggesting that sunshade geoengineering and stratospheric aerosol injection would generally offset the climate effects of elevated GHG concentrations. However, it is clear that a solar geoengineered climate would be novel in some respects, one example being a notably reduced hydrological cycle intensity. Moreover, we provide an overview of nonclimatic aspects of the response to stratospheric aerosol injection, for example, its effect on ozone, and the uncertainties around its consequences. We also consider the issues raised by the partial control over the climate that solar geoengineering would allow. Finally, this overview highlights some key research gaps in need of being resolved to provide sound basis for guidance of future decisions around solar geoengineering.

Pacific Islanders’ understanding of climate change: Where do they source information and to what extent do they trust it?

Abstract: The experience of environmental stress and attitudes towards climate change was explored for 1226 students at the University of the South Pacific, the foremost tertiary institution serving the independent nations of the Pacific. Students sourced information regarding climate change from media including television, radio, and newspapers; the community (typically via their village, church, and extended family); the University and their friends; and in addition to regional agencies such as the Pacific Community. Most students concluded that they could not believe all of the informations provided by these sources. The findings demonstrate that most students—the future elite of the region—rank global environmental change as the highest future risk. Although nearly all respondents believed that climate change was happening, more than half of respondents believed that the risk was exaggerated and only one-third believed that science would find an answer, suggesting a lack of trust in scientific sources of information. Results also showed that these attitudes varied across demographic factors such as age, region, and gender. The understanding of contemporary attitudes towards global environmental change among a cohort that is likely to include future national leaders in the Pacific Islands region presents unique opportunities for long-range planning of intervention and support strategies. Of particular note for effective intervention and support is the breadth and trustworthiness of various information sources including Pacific Island leaders.

Other papers

What are the limits to oil palm expansion?

Risks affecting the biofuels industry: A US and Canadian company perspective

Investigating biofuels through network analysis

Life cycle inventories of electricity supply through the lens of data quality: exploring challenges and opportunities

Increasing beef production won’t reduce emissions

Health and climate benefits of offshore wind facilities in the Mid-Atlantic United States

Carbon budgets and energy transition pathways

An assessment of alternative carbon mitigation policies for achieving the emissions reduction of the Clean Power Plan: Case study for the state of Indiana

A retrospective analysis of benefits and impacts of U.S. renewable portfolio standards

Can climate policy enhance sustainability?

Contribution of the G20 economies to the global impact of the Paris agreement climate proposals

REDD+ politics in the media: a case from Nepal

Solutions for ecosystem-level protection of ocean systems under climate change

The impact of different cooling strategies on urban air temperatures: the cases of Campinas, Brazil and Mendoza, Argentina

Dynamics of the land use, land use change, and forestry sink in the European Union: the impacts of energy and climate targets for 2030

Unravelling the United Kingdom’s climate policy consensus: The power of ideas, discourse and institutions

Could artificial ocean alkalinization protect tropical coral ecosystems from ocean acidification?

Impacts of sea spray geoengineering on ocean biogeochemistry

A comparative life cycle assessment of commercially available household silver-enabled polyester textiles

Most promising flexible generators for the wind dominated market

Conflicts of economic interests by limiting global warming to +3 °C

Reforestation in a high-CO2 world—Higher mitigation potential than expected, lower adaptation potential than hoped for

Fossil fuels, employment, and support for climate policies

China’s low-carbon transition for addressing climate change

Safety and effective developing nuclear power to realize green and low-carbon development

Coping with climate change and China’s wind energy sustainable development

Energy, land-use and greenhouse gas emissions trajectories under a green growth paradigm

An analysis of Chinese provincial carbon dioxide emission efficiencies based on energy consumption structure

The Hinkley Point decision: An analysis of the policy process

Implicit CO2 prices of fossil fuel use in Switzerland

Could more civil society involvement increase public support for climate policy-making? Evidence from a survey experiment in China

Understanding perceptions of changing hurricane strength along the US Gulf coast

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