Friday, 4 December 2009

Keeping the score

With the Copenhagen talks almost upon us it seems like an appropriate time to launch a scoreboard on how the world is progressing in efforts to limit global warming and the not-for-profit Sustainability Institute has this week done just that. The institute'sClimate Scoreboard was built by SI, the Sloan School of Management at MIT and Ventana Systems and based on the C-ROADS (Climate Rapid Overview and Decision Support) computer simulation. This, in turn, is carefully calibrated to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report results.
C-ROADS emerged from research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and allows users to input mitigation proposals for China, India, the US, the European Union, and other nations and regions. It then simulates these emissions’ impacts on greenhouse gas concentrations, temperature change, per-capita emissions, cumulative emissions, sea level rise and other indicators.
Press the button and, hey presto, this is what we find:
Today, in advance of the opening of the Copenhagen Conference, the Climate Scoreboard shows that, while current proposals would reduce warming in 2100 relative to a scenario with no reductions in emissions, proposals are not yet ambitious enough to limit temperature increase to 1.5-2°C (2.7-3.6°F) over pre-industrial temperatures. The scoreboard estimates a temperature increase of 3.8°C (6.8°F) over pre-industrial if current proposals were implemented as compared to 4.8°C (8.7°F) temperature increase by 2100 without emissions reductions.
I have no idea how accurate a gauge this climate scoreboard presents but I sure do know that looking at it every day during Copenhagen as the haggling goes on will beat reading the tens of thousands of words on the subject that are about to descend on us.
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