From the UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE and the “intelligent CO2 molecules with targeting vectors know just who to hit” department comes this statistical emotional mishmash of a paper with a stereotypical headline.
The wealthiest areas of the world will experience fewer changes in local climate compared to the poorest regions if global average surface temperatures reach the 1.5°C or 2°C limit set by the Paris agreement, according to new research.
The new study, published today in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, compares the difference between climate change impacts for wealthy and poor nations.
“The results are a stark example of the inequalities that come with global warming,” said lead author Andrew King from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
“The richest countries that produced the most emissions are the least affected by heat when average temperatures climb to just 2°C, while poorer nations bear the brunt of changing local climates and the consequences that come with them.”
The least affected countries include most temperate nations, with the United Kingdom coming out ahead of all others. By contrast, the worst affected are in the Equatorial regions, including countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This pattern holds true even if global average surface temperatures only reach 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
To get their results the researchers used a simple metric – the signal to noise ratio. The signal in this case is the local change in average temperatures caused by climate change. The noise is how variable the temperature is for that region.
In places outside the tropics, where there is greater year-to-year variability and those locations are more well adapted to a wide range of temperatures, the warming will be less noticeable.
But in Equatorial regions, where there is already a very high average temperature and less variation through the year, a small rise in temperatures due to climate change will be distinctly felt and have immediate impacts.
This difference in experienced temperature combined with the distribution of wealth across the world, with richer nations tending to be in temperate regions and the poorer nations in the tropics, adds to the future climate change burden of developing nations.
“Economically powerful nations, who are most responsible for the emissions that led to global warming, are going to have to pick up the slack if they want to maintain economic growth in developing countries,” said co-author Luke Harrington from the University of Oxford.
“It’s why we need to invest in limiting the worst impacts of climate change for developing nations today. By assisting developing nations to meet these challenges we help maintain their economic stability and security into the future and by extension, our own as well.”
The Paris Agreement aims to keep global warming well below 2°C above preindustrial levels with a preferred ambitious 1.5°C target. Developing countries, especially small island nations, pressed for the 1.5°C target to be adopted, but who will suffer the largest changes in climate if we miss this target? Here we show that exceeding the 1.5°C global warming target would lead to the poorest experiencing the greatest local climate changes. Under these circumstances greater support for climate adaptation to prevent poverty growth would be required.
Along with the emotional abstract, this figure made me laugh, with it’s signal to noise ratio claims.
For another viewpoint, read this:
Government policies intended to reduce carbon dioxide are directly harming the poor in both the developing and developed world, according to a report released [last year] by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).