Some lingering concerns 1 October 2010
There is a lot of positive news about UK targets. If we meet them, and can persuade the rest of the world to follow suit, we could bring emissions down to the lowest modelled emission scenario. We do have a strong government department in place now to help guide and drive us to meet our emissions targets, and there are good plans to help us do this. But we haven’t tested ourselves yet.
What does the Copenhagen Accord mean? 1 March 2010
Analysing the pledges that were made by 55 parties that signed up to the Copenhagen Accord, you can see that it does not make for a strong agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions. With the Accord alone, it seems very unlikely that we will meet the limit of a 2ºC rise in global temperature. The scale of emissions will be very much determined by the growth of countries like China and India, which could have us following the highest scenarios. And it all of course assumes that countries will honour their pledges, which might not be a guarantee.
Global emissions conclusions
The future of global emissions is still uncertain following the Copenhagen Summit and the Accord that came from it. The pledges that countries have made to reduce emissions don’t offer strong guarantees for the future: the rich countries are not offering very impressive cuts; and carbon-intensive economic-growth, of developing nations, could allow emissions to continue along the highest emission scenario line. Talks have just started at Cancun (Mexico), which will hopefully agree stronger targets. It looks like there is little hope of us restricting global mean temperature rise to 2ºC though.
Global emissions progress
Between 2000-2008 our emissions of carbon dioxide [i] were worse than the worst case emission scenarios, which is obviously a worrying start. Since then the global recession is expected to have brought 2009 emissions down. How economic recovery will effect emissions is going to be very important for the future.
How UK might influence World targets
If we could persuade the rest of the World to converge with the UK emissions reductions, we might see an optimistic picture developing for the second quarter of the century. It is a big if though! We are going to test our powers of influence to do this. And we certainly wont have much hope of that if we don’t meet our own targets.
How UK targets might influence China
This section looks at the history of UK emissions compared to our population growth. Using this we can see how our emissions grew to a per capita level of nearly 12 tonnes CO2 per person per year. It is very important to consider this when thinking about the emissions targets that we would want China to set. Using the principals conceived in the GCI’s Contraction & Convergence model, we can develop emissions projections for China showing that they will grow for a few years before we can persuade them to be cut.