The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track global 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: New U.N. Climate Report Airs More Dirty Truths About Fossil Fuels
Dear Diary. Earlier this week the world was confronted with the latest IPCC United Nations report on global warming. Like a slap in the face meant to wake the planet up to reality, the report states that it is highly unlikely that we will escape staying bellow 1.5°C (+2.7°F) above average global temperatures, which is the first lone in the sand recommended that we do not cross. Yesterday on this blog we discussed how fossil fuel companies might be indited for murder in the future. Today we will build on that case starting with this week’s IPCC report.
Here is more from MSNBC. (For embedded videos, click the following link):
The new UN climate report airs the dirty truth about fossil fuels
It seems scientists are sick of being ignored.
March 22, 2023
By Genevieve Guenther, founding director of End Climate Silence
Climate change is an enormous, overwhelmingly complex problem, but it is also very simple. It is caused mainly by one activity: burning fossil fuels — coal, oil and methane gas. So you would think fossil fuels are always at the forefront of how scientists communicate about the climate crisis to the public. But no. This week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its 2023 Synthesis Report, summarizing the latest scientific knowledge about the climate crisis. For the first time in the IPCC’s history, a headline statement of its summary for policymakers declared that the world already has too many fossil fuels in production to limit global warming to the relatively safe level of 1.5 degrees Celsius. As this global body of scientists put it, “projected CO2 emissions from existing fossil-fuel infrastructure without additional abatement would exceed the remaining carbon budget for 1.5°C.”
This finding isn’t new, but its new prominence is a very big deal. The danger of burning fossil fuels has been the open secret of international climate politics. The Paris Agreement, in which more than 190 countries agreed to that 1.5-degree target, doesn’t even mention coal, oil or methane gas. Instead, world leaders have hidden behind more nebulous reductions of “emissions” — pollution produced by fossil energy combustion along with, to a lesser degree, other human activities, such as mining and agriculture.
This finding isn’t new, but its new prominence is a very big deal.
In this way, these leaders have sustained the fiction that they can support ongoing fossil fuel extraction yet still abide by their countries’ climate commitments. President Joe Biden, for example, signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which gives tax breaks to clean energy producers and consumers, but he also recently approved Chevron’s application to build enormous oil drills in some of Alaska’s last untouched public lands. The latter project is projected to add 9.2 million metric tons of planet-warming gases to the atmosphere every year, the equivalent of adding 2 million gasoline-powered cars to the road every year.
The misdirection has affected even the IPCC itself. Under U.N. rules, the panel’s reports need to be approved by all countries that have ratified the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the treaty establishing the rules and principles governing international climate negotiations. That means fossil fuel-producing countries from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia can edit the research product of thousands of physical and social scientists.
Past IPCC reports have included similarly explicit warnings about the danger of fossil fuels. But thanks to governmental editing, those warnings ran deep in the weeds of its full reports, which run thousands of pages, rather than the much shorter summary for policymakers. The one mention of fossil fuels in its previous summary only raised fears of stranded assets.
But it seems scientists are sick of being ignored. By saying loud and clear that projected emissions from existing fossil fuel infrastructure — what we have now, before even one more oil well, gas plant or coal mine is built — would exceed the remaining carbon budget for 1.5 degrees, the IPCC has shown the world that fossil fuel development must cease immediately. Otherwise, it will be impossible to cut emissions in half by 2030, as needed to meet the 1.5-degree threshold.
Of course, fossil fuel-producing countries are still trying to find wiggle room. In the final days of this report’s approval process, Saudi Arabia pushed for language specifying that “fossil-fuel infrastructure without additional abatement” is dangerous. Those last three words leave the door open for these countries to claim that they can “abate” fossil fuel production with carbon capture or carbon removal.
The IPCC’s statement signals the time for playing pretend is over.
But the report’s headline statement also states that carbon dioxide removal leads to “feasibility and sustainability concerns.” Carbon capture technology has never captured more than a fraction of emissions at fossil energy power plants. Other wide-scale carbon removal techniques under development, such as direct air capture, use unsustainably large amounts of land and energy. And even if “sustainability concerns” are addressed, wide-scale carbon removal would become available only later this century. To halt warming at a relatively safe level, the world needs to achieve global net zero CO₂ emissions in less than 30 years.
The IPCC’s statement signals the time for playing pretend is over. No country or leader can excuse more new coal, oil or gas development with fossil fuel producers’ false promises of magically effective technologies to reduce or recapture fossil energy emissions. The world must halt new fossil fuel development and dismantle current fossil energy infrastructure in a way that is fair to workers in the industry and people in the developing world. And this must be done now, so we can give our children a livable world.
Genevieve Guenther is an author and founding director of End Climate Silence.
Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:
Here is more climate and weather news from Saturday.
(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.)
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Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”