Extreme Temperature Diary- Monday April 4th, 2022/ Main Topic: Another IPCC Report Buried by Other News

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: IPCC Report Buried by Other News

Dear Diary: As usual, I turned the news on T.V. this morning, flipping back and forth between CNN and MSNBC, listening for any segments about the latest most dire IPCC report that was scheduled for release today. Well, this is so typical. There has been complete silence on climate but plenty on the War on Ukraine and items such as the January 6th Commission findings. Yes, if the story revolves around short term bleeding consequences, it will obviously get reported, otherwise no airtime is given, even if not acting on said story will eventually pale in comparison to a “short term” war.

Now admittedly, the war on Ukraine could easily spin out of control, even reviling that of the climate crisis if it becomes World War III, but today’s IPCC report does deserve some coverage. At least print media is doing some great reporting on the subject, but the public will have to read it…and many don’t take the time to do any reading, lazily gleaning news by just watching T.V. Not even my conservative relatives take the time or have the inclination to read anything on my site here, for example.

In any case, here is a good summary from the New York Times:

5 Takeaways From the U.N. Report on Limiting Global Warming

Current pledges to cut emissions, even if nations follow through on them, won’t stop temperatures from rising to risky new levels.

A flooded street in Lismore, Australia, last month.
A flooded street in Lismore, Australia, last month.Credit…Dan Peled/Getty Images
Raymond Zhong

By Raymond Zhong April 4, 2022 Updated 1:26 p.m. ET

Nations are not doing nearly enough to prevent global warming from increasing to dangerous levels within the lifetimes of most people on Earth today, according to a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of researchers convened by the United Nations. Limiting the devastation won’t be easy, but it also isn’t impossible if countries act now, the report says.

The panel produces a comprehensive overview of climate science once every six to eight years. It splits its findings into three reports. The first, on what’s driving global warming, came out last August. The second, on climate change’s effects on our world and our ability to adapt to them, was released in February. This is No. 3, on how we can cut emissions and limit further warming.

The report makes it clear: Nations’ current pledges to curb greenhouse-gas emissions most likely will not stop global warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, within the next few decades. And that’s assuming countries follow through. If they don’t, even more warming is in store.

That target — to prevent the average global temperature from increasing by 1.5 degrees Celsius over preindustrial levels — is one many world governments have agreed to pursue. It sounds modest. But that number represents a host of sweeping changes that occur as greenhouse gases trap more heat on the planet’s surface, including deadlier storms, more intense heat waves, rising seas and extra strain on crops. Earth has already warmed about 1.1 degrees Celsius on average since the 19th century.

So far, the world isn’t becoming more energy-efficient quickly enough to balance out continued growth in global economic activity, the report says.

Carbon dioxide emissions from factories, cities, buildings, farms and vehicles increased in the 2010s, outweighing the benefits from power plants’ switching to natural gas from coal and using more renewable sources such as wind and solar.

On the whole, it is the richest people and wealthiest nations that are heating up the planet. Worldwide, the richest 10 percent of households are responsible for between a third to nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report. The poorest 50 percent of households contribute around 15 percent of emissions.

Clean energy has become more affordable.

Wind turbines in Emlichheim, Germany.
Wind turbines in Emlichheim, Germany.Credit…Martin Meissner/Associated Press

The prices of solar and wind energy, and electric vehicle batteries, have dropped significantly since 2010, the report finds. The result is that it may now be “more expensive” in some cases to maintain highly polluting energy systems than to switch to clean sources, the report says.

In 2020, solar and wind provided close to 10 percent of the world’s electricity. Average worldwide emissions grew much more slowly in the 2010s than they did in the 2000s, partly because of greater use of green energy.

It wasn’t obvious to scientists that this would happen so swiftly. In a 2011 report on renewables, the same panel noted that technological advances would probably make green energy cheaper, though it said it was hard to predict how much.

The world needs to invest three to six times what it’s currently spending on mitigating climate change if it wants to limit global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius, the report says. Money is particularly short in poorer countries, which need trillions of dollars of investment each year this decade.

Understand the Latest News on Climate Change

A road map and a warning. Limiting the devastation from climate change won’t be easy, but it also isn’t impossible if countries act now, according to a major U.N. report. However, the report warned that the margin for error is vanishingly small and that nations are not yet doing nearly enough.

Deadly combination. Global warming is greatly increasing the risk that extreme wildfires in the American West will be followed by heavy rainfall, a new study has found, highlighting the need to be prepared for mudslides and flash floods after the flames from severe blazes are out.

Ice shelf collapses. For the first time since satellites began observing Antarctica nearly half a century ago, an ice shelf has collapsed on the eastern part of the continent. The 450-square-mile ice shelf was located in an area known as Wilkes Land; the loss occurred in mid-March.

A massive leak. Startlingly large amounts of methane are leaking from wells and pipelines in New Mexico’s Permian Basin, according to a new analysis of aerial data, suggesting that the oil and gas industry may be contributing more to climate change than was previously known.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. A wide stretch of the Great Barrier Reef has been hit by a sixth mass bleaching event, an alarming indicator that the area is under intense stress from the waters around them, which have been growing steadily warmer as a result of climate change.

As nations drop fossil fuels, some economic disruption is inevitable, the report notes. Resources will be left in the ground unburned; mines and power plants will become financially unviable. The economic impact could be in the trillions of dollars, the report says.

Even so, simply keeping planned and existing fossil-fuel infrastructure up and running will pump enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to make it impossible to keep warming below 1.5 degrees, the report says.

The report looks at a host of other changes to societies that could reduce emissions, including more energy-efficient buildings, more recycling and more white-collar work going remote and virtual.

These changes do not have to be economy-dampening chores, the report emphasizes. Some, like better public transit and more walkable urban areas, have benefits for air pollution and overall well-being, said Joyashree Roy, an economist at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok who contributed to the report. “People are demanding more healthy cities and greener cities,” she said.

In all, steps that would cost less than $100 per ton of carbon dioxide saved could lower global emissions to about half the 2019 level by 2030, the report says. Other steps remain pricier, such as capturing more of the carbon dioxide from the gases that pour from smokestacks at power plants, the report says.

The world also needs to remove carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere. Planting more trees is pretty much the only way this is being done at large scale right now, the report says. Other methods, like using chemicals to extract atmospheric carbon or adding nutrients to the oceans to stimulate photosynthesis in tiny marine plants, are still in early development.

“We cannot ignore how much technology can help,” said Joni Jupesta, an author of the report with the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth in Kyoto, Japan. “Not every country has a lot of natural resources.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

Time Is Running Out to Avert a Harrowing Future, Climate Panel Warns Feb. 28, 2022

5 Takeaways From the U.N. Report on Climate Hazards Feb. 28, 2022

5 takeaways from the major new U.N. climate report. Aug. 9, 2021

Raymond Zhong is a climate reporter. He joined The Times in 2017 and was part of the team that won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service for coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. @zhonggg

Related:

Here are some “ET’s” recorded over the last couple of days:

Here is some more March 2022 climatology:

Here is more climate and weather news from Monday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid war on Ukraine:

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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