Support the Arctic Sea Ice Forum and Blog

Author Topic: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015  (Read 12165 times)

Sigmetnow

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19657
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 907
  • Likes Given: 328
Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« on: March 16, 2016, 05:54:53 PM »
2014 was not a fluke. :P  Global CO2 energy emissions were flat again or even slightly less in 2015 -- even without an economic decline.  If (and it's a big IF) developing countries continue to choose to add clean energy over fossil fuels, and we continue the progress in clean energy generation, efficiency and storage, the emissions curve should maintain this trend, then begin a decline.  The question becomes more one of speed, rather than eventuality.
Quote
Roughly a year ago, the International Energy Agency announced a wonky yet nonetheless significant development. Looking at data for the year 2014, the agency found that although the global economy grew — by 3.4 percent that year — greenhouse gas emissions from the use of energy (their largest source) had not. They had stalled at about 32.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, just as in 2013.

The agency called this a “decoupling” of growth from carbon dioxide emissions, and noted that it was the “the first time in 40 years in which there was a halt or reduction in emissions of the greenhouse gas that was not tied to an economic downturn.” For decades prior to 2014, economic growth had pretty much always meant more pollution of the atmosphere, and a worsening climate problem.

It now seems like 2014 wasn’t just a fluke — IEA is saying the same thing about 2015. In a news release Wednesday, the agency said that 2014’s hint of decoupling had now been “confirmed,” as 2015 also saw flat emissions combined with 3.1 percent global GDP growth. Emissions, the agency said, were just 32.1 billion metric tons in 2015, based on preliminary data — indicating perhaps even a slight downturn from 2014.
...
That this decoupling is occurring is certainly a landmark. The relationship between economic growth and carbon dioxide emissions (and other environmental assaults) has been intensively studied, based on the premise that, as one paper put it, “Energy is considered to be the life line of an economy.”

When people have more money, they can drive their cars more, take more trips on airplanes, buy new appliances, and much more. Businesses can build new plants and factories. Houses get constructed – and on, and on, and on. And it all takes energy.
...
So how do you break this relationship? Simple: Find a new way of getting energy. Sure enough, the IEA attributed the second straight year of decoupled growth and emissions to a greater uptake of renewable energy, particularly wind, and fewer emissions in China and the United States, the two largest emitters by far. The former country is cutting back its coal use deliberately, while in the U.S., market forces have had a similar effect, as cheap natural gas has pushed out a considerable volume of coal in electricity generation.

The finding echoes a late 2015 study, which also said that the year’s global carbon emissions appeared to have declined slightly, relative to 2014. However, at that time experts cautioned that it was far from clear that emissions had actually peaked overall – the growth slowdown might be temporary. Many rapidly developing nations, led by India, are actually expected to increase their use of fossil fuels over the coming decade or more, as global populations grow and energy demand increases.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/03/16/this-key-rule-of-economics-and-the-environment-just-failed-again/
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

RichardStamper

  • New ice
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2016, 12:26:28 AM »
Should we believe the IEA figures?  Measurements of atmospheric CO2 over the last few years (see https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/) show no hint of the plateau that the IEA  numbers would suggest, all other things being equal.  Either there have been changes to other sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2 that have seamlessly picked up the slack from the alleged plateau in energy emissions, or the IEA energy economists have managed to miss some emissions in coming up with their total.

DrTskoul

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1455
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 209
  • Likes Given: 60
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2016, 12:32:45 AM »
I don't know which would be more disturbing.. Increase feedback or hidden emissions. 

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3342
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 600
  • Likes Given: 409
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2016, 01:57:02 AM »
"I don't know which would be more disturbing.. Increase feedback or hidden emissions. "

My sentiments exactly!
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

AbruptSLR

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19468
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2149
  • Likes Given: 268
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2016, 02:17:23 AM »
"I don't know which would be more disturbing.. Increase feedback or hidden emissions. "

My sentiments exactly!

I imagine that note only is it both increasing positive feedbacks and increasing hidden/unreported emissions, but also shifting from CO2 heavy emission sources (coal, etc.) to CH4 heavy emission sources (fracking, coal to synthetic natural gas, etc.) because as the attached image indicates the CO2-e emission is slowly still climbing (and the conversion uses a GWP100 of 34 instead of a GWP20 of 105, which is more relevant to the period from now until 2030 when CoP21 officially starts).
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

sidd

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 5991
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 865
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2016, 04:37:20 AM »
For me, no question the more disturbing possibility is increased feedback. At least, in theory, hidden human emissions can be found and curbed by humans. But if, for example, there is permafrost or other major  fossil carbon release feedback kicking in, then i fear there is little we humans could to better matters. Perhaps we will resort to largescale industrial sequestration effort which will further gouge our earth, and destroy much that which we yet hold precious.

That slim reed of hope from paleo that the Eemian and the Wisconsinian did not exceed 2C over preindustrial becomes slimmer by the day. For if Ruddiman is right, then we are far beyond limits of
previous interglacials.

AbruptSLR

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19468
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2149
  • Likes Given: 268
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2016, 09:24:06 AM »
The attached image from the following website, confirms that not only are atmospheric CO2 concentrations increasing, but so are CH4 and N2O atmospheric concentrations since 2005.  Also, I note that global CO2 emissions are about 40 Gt per year while CO2-e emissions are around 53 Gt per year:

http://www.stateofourclimate.com/
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19468
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2149
  • Likes Given: 268
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2016, 09:27:53 AM »
The linked Washington Post article (and the two cited studies) seriously question whether the Paris Pact anthropogenic emissions targets can be achieved:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/03/15/temperatures-are-spiking-can-we-keep-global-warming-in-the-safe-range/

Extract: "…. two pieces of new research have questioned whether, from an energy standpoint, keeping long term warming below 2 degrees C is even likely to be possible."


Richard G. Newell, Yifei Qian, Daniel Raimi (March 2016), "Global Energy Outlook 2015", National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. 22075


http://nber.org/papers/w22075

Abstract: "This paper assesses trends in the global energy sector through 2040 by harmonizing multiple projections issued by private, government, and inter-governmental organizations based on methods from “Global Energy Outlooks Comparison: Methods and Challenges” (Newell and Qian 2015). These projections agree that global energy consumption growth in the coming 25 years is likely to be substantial, with the global demand center shifting from Europe and North America to Asia, led by China and India. Most projections show energy demand growing as much or more in absolute terms to 2040 than previous multi-decade periods, although the rate of growth will be slower in percentage terms. Total consumption of fossil fuels grows under most projections, with natural gas gaining market share relative to coal and oil. The North American unconventional gas surge has expanded to tight oil more rapidly than anticipated, with implications for global oil markets that are still unfolding. Renewable electricity sources are also set to expand rapidly, while the prospects for nuclear power are more regionally varied. Global carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise under most projections and, unless additional climate policies are adopted, are more consistent with an expected rise in average global temperature of close to 3°C or more, than international goals of 2°C or less."

Glenn A. Jones & Kevin J. Warner (June 2016), "The 21st century population-energy-climate nexus
Energy Policy, Volume 93, Pages 206–212, doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2016.02.044


http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516300830


Abstract: "World population is projected to reach 10.9 billion by 2100, yet nearly one-fifth of the world's current 7.2 billion live without access to electricity. Though universal energy access is desirable, a significant reduction in fossil fuel usage is required before mid-century if global warming is to be limited to <2 °C. Here we quantify the changes in the global energy mix necessary to address population and climate change under two energy-use scenarios, finding that renewable energy production (9% in 2014) must comprise 87–94% of global energy consumption by 2100. Our study suggests >50% renewable energy needs to occur by 2028 in a <2 °C warming scenario, but not until 2054 in an unconstrained energy use scenario. Given the required rate and magnitude of this transition to renewable energy, it is unlikely that the <2 °C goal can be met. Focus should be placed on expanding renewable energy as quickly as possible in order to limit warming to 2.5–3 °C."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19468
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2149
  • Likes Given: 268
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2016, 09:31:27 AM »
The linked reference both draws attention to a frequently deemphasized agricultural source of GHG emissions that result in the terrestrial biosphere acting as a net source of GHG to the atmosphere; while at the same time ESLD with regards to the probable implications of this situation:

Hanqin Tian, Chaoqun Lu, Philippe Ciais, Anna M. Michalak, Josep G. Canadell, Eri Saikawa, Deborah N. Huntzinger, Kevin R. Gurney, Stephen Sitch, Bowen Zhang, Jia Yang, Philippe Bousquet, Lori Bruhwiler, Guangsheng Chen, Edward Dlugokencky, Pierre Friedlingstein, Jerry Melillo, Shufen Pan, Benjamin Poulter, Ronald Prinn, Marielle Saunois, Christopher R. Schwalm & Steven C. Wofsy (10 March 2016), "The terrestrial biosphere as a net source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere", Nature, Volume: 531, Pages: 225–228, doi:10.1038/nature16946

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v531/n7593/full/nature16946.html

Abstract: "The terrestrial biosphere can release or absorb the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), and therefore has an important role in regulating atmospheric composition and climate1. Anthropogenic activities such as land-use change, agriculture and waste management have altered terrestrial biogenic greenhouse gas fluxes, and the resulting increases in methane and nitrous oxide emissions in particular can contribute to climate change. The terrestrial biogenic fluxes of individual greenhouse gases have been studied extensively, but the net biogenic greenhouse gas balance resulting from anthropogenic activities and its effect on the climate system remains uncertain. Here we use bottom-up (inventory, statistical extrapolation of local flux measurements, and process-based modelling) and top-down (atmospheric inversions) approaches to quantify the global net biogenic greenhouse gas balance between 1981 and 2010 resulting from anthropogenic activities and its effect on the climate system. We find that the cumulative warming capacity of concurrent biogenic methane and nitrous oxide emissions is a factor of about two larger than the cooling effect resulting from the global land carbon dioxide uptake from 2001 to 2010. This results in a net positive cumulative impact of the three greenhouse gases on the planetary energy budget, with a best estimate (in petagrams of CO2 equivalent per year) of 3.9 ± 3.8 (top down) and 5.4 ± 4.8 (bottom up) based on the GWP100 metric (global warming potential on a 100-year time horizon). Our findings suggest that a reduction in agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions, particularly in Southern Asia, may help mitigate climate change."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19468
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2149
  • Likes Given: 268
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2016, 09:44:59 AM »
For me, no question the more disturbing possibility is increased feedback. At least, in theory, hidden human emissions can be found and curbed by humans. But if, for example, there is permafrost or other major  fossil carbon release feedback kicking in, then i fear there is little we humans could to better matters. Perhaps we will resort to largescale industrial sequestration effort which will further gouge our earth, and destroy much that which we yet hold precious.

That slim reed of hope from paleo that the Eemian and the Wisconsinian did not exceed 2C over preindustrial becomes slimmer by the day. For if Ruddiman is right, then we are far beyond limits of
previous interglacials.

The linked reference uses CMIP5 projections to estimate that at least one source of currently increasing positive feedback for increases in atmospheric CO₂ concentrations accelerate is that during El Nino events lead to reductions in terrestrial productivity.  So theoretically this natural source should decrease as our current El Nino event continues to degrade:

Jin-Soo Kim, Jong-Seong Kug, Jin-Ho Yoon and Su-Jong Jeong (2016), "Increased atmospheric CO2 growth rate during El Niño driven by reduced terrestrial productivity in the CMIP5 ESMs", Journal of Climate, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00672.1


http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00672.1


Abstract: "Better understanding of factors that control the global carbon cycle could increase confidence in climate projections. Previous studies found good correlation between the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 concentration and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Growth rate of atmospheric CO2 increases during El Niño but decreases during La Niña. In this study, long-term simulations of the Earth System Models (ESMs) in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 archive were used to examine the interannual carbon flux variability associated with ENSO. The ESMs simulate the relationship reasonably well with a delay of several months between ENSO and the changes in atmospheric CO2. The increase in atmospheric CO2 associated with El Niño is mostly caused by decreasing Net Primary Production (NPP) in the ESMs. It is suggested that NPP anomalies over South Asia are at their maxima during boreal spring; therefore, the increase in CO2 concentration lags four to five months behind the peak phase of El Niño. The decrease in NPP during El Niño may be caused by decreased precipitation and increased temperature over tropical regions. Furthermore, systematic errors may exist in the ESM-simulated temperature responses to ENSO phases over tropical land areas, and these errors may lead to overestimation of ENSO-related NPP anomalies. In contrast, carbon fluxes from heterotrophic respiration and natural fires are likely underestimated in the ESMs compared with offline model results and observational estimates, respectively. These uncertainties should be considered in long-term projections that include climate–carbon feedbacks."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3342
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 600
  • Likes Given: 409
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2016, 01:25:59 PM »
"if Ruddiman is right, then we are far beyond limits of previous interglacials."

sidd, which Ruddiman study or statement are you referring to here?
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Sigmetnow

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19657
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 907
  • Likes Given: 328
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2016, 03:05:42 PM »
The linked reference uses CMIP5 projections to estimate that at least one source of currently increasing positive feedback for increases in atmospheric CO₂ concentrations accelerate is that during El Nino events lead to reductions in terrestrial productivity.  So theoretically this natural source should decrease as our current El Nino event continues to degrade:

So if, as the planet heats up, we slow down....  :-X
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Sigmetnow

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19657
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 907
  • Likes Given: 328
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2016, 03:10:54 PM »
Another look at the numbers, this time from Mashable:

The global economy grew while carbon emissions stayed flat — but it's still not enough to curb global warming
Quote
While the emissions trends in China and the U.S. are noteworthy, they have been balanced by increasing emissions in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the IEA found.

This trend alone won't halt global warming

While the halt in carbon emissions growth is encouraging, it will take a lot more than a lack of growth in emissions to curb global warming.
http://mashable.com/2016/03/16/economy-grew-carbon-emissions-stalled/
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

jai mitchell

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 2134
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 139
  • Likes Given: 27
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2016, 05:39:51 PM »
"if Ruddiman is right, then we are far beyond limits of previous interglacials."

sidd, which Ruddiman study or statement are you referring to here?

I do not believe that Ruddiman made a specific statement to that effect.  However, models of interglacial/glacial transitions indicate that, if GHG values had continued their decline since the Holocene maximum, and that the stall of this decline (and a slight increase) was from early human agriculture/land-use, then the pre-industrial forcing parameter was enough to prevent the northern hemisphere from sinking back into a new glacial epoc sometime around 2000 B.C.E.

Haiku of Past Futures
My "burning embers"
are not tri-color bar graphs
+3C today

AbruptSLR

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19468
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2149
  • Likes Given: 268
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2016, 05:54:43 PM »
"if Ruddiman is right, then we are far beyond limits of previous interglacials."

sidd, which Ruddiman study or statement are you referring to here?

I do not believe that Ruddiman made a specific statement to that effect.  However, models of interglacial/glacial transitions indicate that, if GHG values had continued their decline since the Holocene maximum, and that the stall of this decline (and a slight increase) was from early human agriculture/land-use, then the pre-industrial forcing parameter was enough to prevent the northern hemisphere from sinking back into a new glacial epoc sometime around 2000 B.C.E.

The following is a re-post from the "Early Anthropocene" thread where Ruddiman et al (2016) provides evidence that the Holocene behavior is atypical of earlier interglacial periods, in a manner that can only be accounted for by early anthropogenic radiative forcing:

In the linked reference Ruddiman et. al. (2016) provide more evidence of the Early Anthropocene theory:

W. F. Ruddiman, D. Q. Fuller, J. E. Kutzbach, P. C. Tzedakis, J. O. Kaplan, E. C. Ellis, S. J. Vavrus, C. N. Roberts, R. Fyfe, F. He, C. Lemmen & J. Woodbridge (15 February 2016), "Late Holocene climate: Natural or anthropogenic?", Review of Geophysics, DOI: 10.1002/2015RG000503

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015RG000503/full

Abstract: "For more than a decade, scientists have argued about the warmth of the current interglaciation. Was the warmth of the preindustrial late Holocene natural in origin, the result of orbital changes that had not yet driven the system into a new glacial state? Or was it in considerable degree the result of humans intervening in the climate system through greenhouse gas emissions from early agriculture? Here we summarize new evidence that moves this debate forward by testing both hypotheses. By comparing late Holocene responses to those that occurred during previous interglaciations (in section 2), we assess whether the late Holocene responses look different (and thus anthropogenic) or similar (and thus natural). This comparison reveals anomalous (anthropogenic) signals. In section 3, we review paleoecological and archaeological syntheses that provide ground truth evidence on early anthropogenic releases of greenhouse gases. The available data document large early anthropogenic emissions consistent with the anthropogenic ice core anomalies, but more information is needed to constrain their size. A final section compares natural and anthropogenic interpretations of the δ13C trend in ice core CO2."


See also:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2016/03/the-early-anthropocene-hypothesis-an-update/
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

sidd

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 5991
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 865
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2016, 06:35:08 PM »
Ruddinam(2016) Fig 3 attached. The blue area is the 1 std dev. range for previous interglacials.

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3342
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 600
  • Likes Given: 409
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2016, 08:34:17 PM »
Thanks all for the clarifications.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

oren

  • First-year ice
  • Posts: 7355
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2828
  • Likes Given: 2636
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2016, 12:17:39 PM »
As for emissions decline vs. economic growth, I believe China is misrepresenting its numbers both on the emissions front and growth front, so the numbers might not be accurate.
Looking at the historic Keeling curve, 1991 emissions slowdown shows up visibly on the curve with a bit of lag, and the 2008 slowdown barely shows up. I doubt the claimed flattening will move one pixel on the curve.

wili

  • Young ice
  • Posts: 3342
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 600
  • Likes Given: 409
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2016, 03:21:44 PM »
"China is misrepresenting its numbers"

I'm doubtful about those numbers, too. China has a history of reporting rosy annual numbers on a number of fronts, only to quietly 'adjust' them late.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

Richard Rathbone

  • Nilas ice
  • Posts: 1042
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 202
  • Likes Given: 11
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2016, 12:33:45 PM »
Should we believe the IEA figures?  Measurements of atmospheric CO2 over the last few years (see https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/) show no hint of the plateau that the IEA  numbers would suggest, all other things being equal.  Either there have been changes to other sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2 that have seamlessly picked up the slack from the alleged plateau in energy emissions, or the IEA energy economists have managed to miss some emissions in coming up with their total.

You wouldn't expect to see it yet. It would only be a minor inflection in the curve (from accelerating increase to steady increase). It would take a decade of data before you could pick out that signal.

GeoffBeacon

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 394
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 18
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2016, 01:53:30 PM »
ALSR #7451

Thanks for Jin-Soo Kim et. al. The abstract says

Quote
In contrast, carbon fluxes from heterotrophic respiration and natural fires are likely underestimated in the ESMs compared with offline model results and observational estimates, respectively. These uncertainties should be considered in long-term projections that include climate–carbon feedbacks.


I read this as pointing to feedbacks which are underestimated in the CMIP5 models.

Is this correct?
Il faut cultiver notre cité-jardin
The Sustainable Plotlands Association

Csnavywx

  • Grease ice
  • Posts: 548
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 71
  • Likes Given: 1
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2016, 03:28:14 PM »
"China is misrepresenting its numbers"

I'm doubtful about those numbers, too. China has a history of reporting rosy annual numbers on a number of fronts, only to quietly 'adjust' them late.

Yeah, I kept saying that last year. Lo and behold a massive revision came out. That doesn't mean there isn't a decrease in coal use this time around, it just means we need to be skeptical. As I've said before, Chinese stats are like a fine wine -- they get better with age.

There's some reason to believe that coal use did drop or at least stall. This is mainly because manufacturing activity has either been flat or in outright contraction over the past couple of years. Real estate development has also slowed. Wages are rising quickly and this has also led to export of factories abroad -- effectively offshoring some of those emissions.

AbruptSLR

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19468
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2149
  • Likes Given: 268
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2016, 03:44:41 PM »
ALSR #7451

Thanks for Jin-Soo Kim et. al. The abstract says

Quote
In contrast, carbon fluxes from heterotrophic respiration and natural fires are likely underestimated in the ESMs compared with offline model results and observational estimates, respectively. These uncertainties should be considered in long-term projections that include climate–carbon feedbacks.


I read this as pointing to feedbacks which are underestimated in the CMIP5 models.

Is this correct?

In general terms, yes CMIP5 projection definitely underestimate the net balance between positive and negative feedbacks with regard to estimating climate sensitivity.  That said in my opinion the CMIP5 projections also underestimate the negative forcing of indirect aerosol forcing (note the difference between aerosol radiative forcing and feedback mechanisms as they represent different mechanisms).  Climate change is a "wicked problem" and with tools like the finished (in seven years) Accelerated Climate Model for Energy,  ACME, it is very doubtful that policy makers will make effective decisions to fight climate change (as illustrated by the resent surge in anthropogenic methane emissions).
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19468
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2149
  • Likes Given: 268
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2016, 04:38:58 PM »
Another short-coming of this topic is that most readers immediately associate "global energy-related CO2 emissions" as all that they need to understand about GHG and climate change.  Previous posts have raised additional issues of climate feedback, poor accounting, other non-CO2 gases (e.g. from: fracking, rice & meat production, synfuels, etc.) , reductions in negative forcing (& feedback) from aerosols, and climate state (e.g.: positive PDO, etc).  However, one of the major factors that has not yet been raised is world population, and world per capita, growth.  Per the linked website the world population is now over 7.41 Billion people (& growing):


http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/


Furthermore, the second linked website estimates that by 2020 the world population will increase to 7.7 Billion (with the attached plot given the population for the top 12 countries together with total oil consumption & global GDP)

http://knoema.com/products/world2020

While the poor use much less primary fossil fuels, the still contribute to global warming by (among other things): clearing forests (slash & burn), growing rice (which produces methane), decreasing albedo, etc.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

GeoffBeacon

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 394
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 18
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2016, 04:44:28 PM »
ALSR #7460

Thank you.

From time to time I dig out Unger et.al. "Attribution of climate forcing to economic sectors" and remind myself about figures 1 and 2. This is Figure 1



Quote
Fig. 1. Radiative forcing due to perpetual constant year 2000 emissions grouped by sector at (a) 2020 (b) 2100 showing the contribution from each species. The net sum of total radiative forcing is indicated by the title of each bar. A positive RF means that removal will result in climate cooling and vice versa.
Am I wrong in thinking that figure 2 refers to the "indirect aerosol forcing" you mention?

ECONOMIC SECTORS

As the title suggests Unger et.al. look at the climate forcing of different economic sectors. They do it over time. Figure 1 shows this



I was quite surprised by what I thought might be the implications of Figure 1. If Figure 1 is accurate (Is it out of date?) it really emphasises the wicked nature of the problem. Depressing.

Do you comments lend weight to Unger's position on trees which involves VOCs "To Save the Planet, Don’t Plant Trees"? This was was criticised by Bronson Griscom, in "A Fully Loaded, Double-Barreled Forest Climate Solution".

If do warm the climate through VOCs (and in some cases albedo) does this make BECCS even more doubtful as a means of extracting energy-related CO2 emissions from the atmosphere?
Il faut cultiver notre cité-jardin
The Sustainable Plotlands Association

AbruptSLR

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19468
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2149
  • Likes Given: 268
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2016, 06:09:44 PM »
The linked article cites one example of GHG emissions increasing due to intentionally under-reporting of land clearing in Queensland by the Australian government:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/19/australias-emissions-rising-and-vastly-underestimated-says-report

Extract: "The latest federal government carbon emissions inventory shows Australia has increased its emissions and has come under fire for allegedly vastly underestimating the amount of land clearing that has occurred, and its associated emissions.
The Quarterly Update of the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, which counts emissions in Australia up to September 2015,says greenhouse gas emissions from land clearing have fallen to record lows.
But Guardian Australia reported last month that a report commissioned by the Wilderness Society showed a land clearing surge in Queensland since 2012 has been so big that it would create emissions roughly equal to those saved by the federal government’s emissions reduction scheme, where they paid other farmers more than $670m to stop cutting down trees."

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19468
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2149
  • Likes Given: 268
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2016, 06:24:35 PM »
Am I wrong in thinking that figure 2 refers to the "indirect aerosol forcing" you mention?

...

I was quite surprised by what I thought might be the implications of Figure 1. If Figure 1 is accurate (Is it out of date?) it really emphasises the wicked nature of the problem. Depressing.

....

If do warm the climate through VOCs (and in some cases albedo) does this make BECCS even more doubtful as a means of extracting energy-related CO2 emissions from the atmosphere?

First, the indirect aerosol forcing that I mentioned is primarily associated with aerosols promoting cloud cover as discussed in the linked thread, and as conservatively (ESLD) illustrated by the attached image from AR5 (note that this figure only addresses radiative forcing and not feedback mechanisms).  While I do not know the answer to your first question I suspect that the second image that you posted underestimates the amount of increased radiative forcing (and also increased positive feedback) as anthropogenic aerosol emissions are decreased per capita in an effort to decrease air pollution.


http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1384.50.html

Second, climate change truly is a wicked problem, & thus I do not wish to over-simplify its complexity with a few simple statements here; but I believe that high uncertainty represents high risks, and that we should err on the side of caution (not on the side of least drama) until we know better.

Third, while small levels of BECCS are probably beneficial, in my opinion the large-scale application of BECCS is not feasible and could have many negative consequences.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

AbruptSLR

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19468
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2149
  • Likes Given: 268
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2016, 09:36:40 PM »

Second, climate change truly is a wicked problem, & thus I do not wish to over-simplify its complexity with a few simple statements here; but I believe that high uncertainty represents high risks, and that we should err on the side of caution (not on the side of least drama) until we know better.


At the risk of appearing too metaphysical, I note that most religions believe that in order for evil to gain leverage on the innocents, those innocents need to willingly agree to give into temptation.  With regard to the wick nature of the climate change problem, this analogy is the same as the innocent public willing buying into the ESLD projections afforded by model uncertainties instead of demanding that policy makers take prudent actions (like carbon pricing) in order to err on the side of precaution.  Under our current situation policy makers will just say "Who would have thought" because all of the innocent (hopeful) public is currently accepting ESLD (erring on the side of least drama) interpretations of climate projections.

For example, much of the world's population growth in the next few decades is projected to occur in the topics (Nigeria, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Indonesia, etc.) and all of those people will need water, so dams will be built.  But tropical dams produce a surge of methane emissions when they are first flooded, as all of the tropical vegetation is submerged; and over a 20-year time frame methane has 105 times the GWP of carbon dioxide. But such emissions are not included in any CoP21 projections.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 11:05:22 PM by AbruptSLR »
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson

GeoffBeacon

  • Frazil ice
  • Posts: 394
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 18
  • Likes Given: 21
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2016, 09:47:50 PM »
ALSR #7466

I hope it's not too off topic to say thank you.

Anyway, thank you
Il faut cultiver notre cité-jardin
The Sustainable Plotlands Association

AbruptSLR

  • Multi-year ice
  • Posts: 19468
    • View Profile
  • Liked: 2149
  • Likes Given: 268
Re: Global Energy-Related CO2 Emissions Flat Again in 2015
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2016, 02:06:53 AM »
ALSR #7466

I hope it's not too off topic to say thank you.

Anyway, thank you

Geoff,

I find it difficult to convey the full complexity of "wick problems" (like climate change) as everyone has their own limited understanding of the truth.  However, I believe this complexity can be illustrated by the many different interpretations and various covers (which use different lines from the up to 80 verses for the song) for the Leonard Cohen (a Jewish Canadian songwriter) song "Hallelujah" (which has Old Testament references to King David & Sampson, verses on romantic relationships, and other human experience).  Personally, I think this song mostly speaks to our broken addictions to the achieving the things we think of as goods (such as cheap energy, or more to the point: easy power).  I will re-direct future metaphysical posts to the "Adapting to the Holocene" thread; but here I provide a link to Cohen's preferred rendition of the song sung by KD Lang at the Canadian Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2006:



See also:


Very best,
ASLR
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 05:04:24 AM by AbruptSLR »
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
― Leon C. Megginson