Warming assessment of the bottom-up Paris Agreement emissions pledges

The Guardian Headline for this study is rather alarmist:

Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds  Ranking of countries’ goals shows even EU on course for more than double safe level of warming

Here is the abstract and introduction:

Link to full study.

Nature Communications volume 9, Article number: 4810 (2018)

Abstract

Under the bottom-up architecture of the Paris Agreement, countries pledge Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Current NDCs individually align, at best, with divergent concepts of equity and are collectively inconsistent with the Paris Agreement. We show that the global 2030-emissions of NDCs match the sum of each country adopting the least-stringent of five effort-sharing allocations of a well-below 2 °C-scenario. Extending such a self-interested bottom-up aggregation of equity might lead to a median 2100-warming of 2.3 °C. Tightening the warming goal of each country’s effort-sharing approach to aspirational levels of 1.1 °C and 1.3 °C could achieve the 1.5 °C and well-below 2 °C-thresholds, respectively. This new hybrid allocation reconciles the bottom-up nature of the Paris Agreement with its top-down warming thresholds and provides a temperature metric to assess NDCs. When taken as benchmark by other countries, the NDCs of India, the EU, the USA and China lead to 2.6 °C, 3.2 °C, 4 °C and over 5.1 °C warmings, respectively.

Introduction

Since the adoption of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC)1 and its objective to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations to avoid dangerous global warming, most countries have committed to limiting GHG emissions through domestic measures or support of mitigation action abroad. Informed by literature on effort-sharing approaches, the international community has long discussed the operationalization of equity following the UNFCCC principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) to drive national emissions allocations2,3. The failure to agree on a top–down mechanism to derive binding national emissions targets for all countries led to a bottom-up situation where countries should pledge NDCs of highest possible ambition4,5. While the quest for a common understanding of what is a fair effort-sharing continues, rapidly falling technology costs of renewables and increasing mitigation co-benefits shift the attention away from effort-sharing considerations6. However, current bottom-up NDCs do not add up to a global ambition consistent with the joint temperature goals4,7,8,9. A 5-year stocktake requires all countries to pledge enhanced actions and support4.

The quantification of national emissions levels consistent with both Paris Agreement’s mitigation and equity goals relies on contentious interpretations of distributive justice2,8,10. Scientists, non-governmental organizations and government experts have suggested multiple effort-sharing approaches to derive equitable national emissions allocations2,8,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22. While not all countries use indicators that favour their equity argument in their communication10, a common definition of equity is unlikely to be adopted since countries generally tend to support interpretations of distributive justice that best serve their self-interest and justify their negotiating positions23,24,25,26. Developed countries who committed to take the lead in reducing emissions and mobilizing finance for developing countries4 often submitted NDCs that do not match the concepts of equity that they publicly supported27 and leave the Green Climate Fund poorly funded28. Their NDCs often imply a status-quo in terms of global emissions shares27, while most of the very ambitious NDCs are from smaller developing countries  (https://paris-equity-check.org/).

The UNFCCC does not specify whether its principles and the CBDR-RC refer to distinct principles or to a single operationalization of equity29. A way to reconcile this ambiguity is to combine multiple dimensions of equity using weighting factors12,14,15,16,17,22 and per-capita income thresholds14,16 in a single effort-sharing approach applicable to all countries. Alternatively, effort-sharing approaches can be combined in a differentiated manner where countries follow different equity principles. A recent study allocated emissions to each country using the least-stringent of two equity allocations11. The global level of ambition of each equity allocation was then set by a diversity-aware leader so that the sum of all countries’ allocations matches 2 °C-consistent levels11. Under that methodology, countries follow different equity approaches that are applied under different warming thresholds, which may be considered unfair by Parties to the UNFCCC.

In the present study, we use a single aspirational warming threshold that is lowered consistently until the sum of all bottom-up emissions allocations, where each country follows the least-stringent effort-sharing approach11, aligns with 2 °C-consistent levels. Countries are thereby assumed to follow different effort-sharing approaches applied to a common global virtual warming threshold. Ultimately, this hybrid approach follows a bottom-up combination of equity allocations consistent with a common top–down warming threshold, which arguably reflects the hybrid nature of the Paris Agreement10,30.

The hybrid combination of equity approaches does not constitute an equitable operationalization of the CBDR-RC principle where all countries seek to maximize absolute gain31 by agreeing on a common approach of equity. Rather, it reflects national preferences for relative gain32—i.e., a country’s inclination to measure the fairness of its contribution to the global mitigation effort by looking at other countries’ efforts—rather than for domestic indicators alone. Despite claims that discussions of justice are irrelevant or dangerous in a post-Paris world, equity is fundamental for climate policy research33,34 and scientific analyses on equitable burden-sharing can be influential on the UNFCCC processes5. However, the absence of agreement on an unanimous operationalization of the CBDR-RC should not be used as an excuse for inaction3 and should not leave the international community without a metric reflective of current agreements to assess the ratcheting-up process. The multiplicity of equity concepts results in a wide range of emissions allocations for countries and regions35 that is sometimes used as an uncertainty range by non-experts. In a recent climate case, the District Court of The Hague ruled36,37 that the Dutch government has to reduce 2020 emissions to at least the least-ambitious end of the range recommended by the IPCC-AR4 for the Annex I country group based on multiple equity allocations from 16 studies38. The court did not pick an approach of equity and ruled for the minimum effort consistent with international treaties in light of commonly reviewed science. While the multiplication of climate litigations cases against governments39 (http://climatecasechart.com/) can contribute to the ratcheting-up process, systematic court decisions that governments must follow the least-ambitious end of an equity range would be insufficient to achieve the Paris Agreement. As a first step, this paper models such a bottom-up situation where each country follows the least-ambitious of five effort-sharing approaches representative of the quantified IPCC categories35. As a second step, it models the hybrid approach consistent with the current compromise where each country chooses an equitable effort-sharing approach to determine its effort but cannot directly use that approach to influence other countries’ effort.

Overall, this study presents an operationalization of the current agreement to disagree on equity concepts to achieve a common temperature goal. The hybrid approach with its bottom-up combination of equity concepts reflects the pledge-and-review architecture of the Paris Agreement and provides a metric for the ratchetting-up process. The results of this study inform on the adequacy of the emissions targets contained in current NDCs with the Paris Agreement.

HT/michel

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65 thoughts on “Warming assessment of the bottom-up Paris Agreement emissions pledges

    • That was my first reaction.

      Extending such a self-interested bottom-up aggregation of equity might lead to a median 2100-warming of 2.3 °C.

      It’s bureaucratese. It’s a form of functional illiteracy.

    • Right with you, David. The only reason to use language like this is an attempt to sound technical and intelligent. It is the literary equivalent of driving a Hummer because you have a small penis.

      • Brevity is the soul of wit. This piece is both soulless and witless. Soulless because it denies the fact that anthropic CO2 emissions are consequence of the activities of human life, its aspirations, ambitions, necessities and survival. To arbitrarily restrict manmade CO2 is in some way to diminish the prospects of human life. The study is witless because it ignores the admonition of FA Hayek in Road to Serfdom: “The effect of people agreeing that there must be central planning without agreeing to the specific end objective will be rather like a group of people who agreed to take a journey together without agreeing to the destination, with the end result being that they may all have to make a journey which most do not want to make at all.”
        Or as Kevin Williamson said in The End is Near And It’s Going to be Awesome:
        “Politics consistently refuses to acknowledge the exceedingly narrow boundaries within which political organizations may maneuver effectively, and politicians instead consistently seek to extend their influence into realms in which they have no competence or the capability of acquiring competence.”

    • David ==> Wow, you made it all the way through the last paragraph? My eyes glazed over at “operationalization” and I had to quit reading. 🙂

  1. Are we so gullible to let our governments spend billions or trillions to fix predictions of climate change generated by computer models that have, to date, been absolutely out to lunch for 20 years?

  2. The Fabled Bureaucrat Men to the rescue.

    Back in the day, I would have liked to see what Stan Lee could whip up for a “Not Brand Echh” adventure based
    on this theme.

    Ha ha.

  3. Pure crap. No country is meeting their NDC. No country is willing to commit economic suicide and jeopardize the health, lifestyle, and safety of their people for a theory that not only can’t be proven but the empirical evidence proves it either fails or is insignificant. Only the US has made a significant reduction in CO2 output and it is due to a switch in fossil fuel source yet the US is demonized for being selfish. Another exercise in obfuscation and misinformation otherwise known as propaganda.

    • I’m proud to see that Canada has been singled out as a non compliant country. After all, we produce 2% of the world’s CO2 emissions, and if we don’t comply, who knows what will happen. I better get after Junior with a good smack behind the ear and tell him to stop wasting time with trying to get that western oil pipeline through.

      • Anybody who hasn’t felt the nagging anxiety about the reliability of the natural gas supply as the temperature approaches -40, hasn’t really had the full winter experience. It beggars the imagination that some Canadians are against AGW and pipelines. If only AGW were real. There isn’t enough natural gas in tne world to get Canadians through the winter when next we are under a mile of ice. Go go global warming.

        • Trudeau is all about virtue signalling. He wouldn’t object to calling-out Canada because he would use it to promote guilt within society. His carbon tax is now opposed by at least 5 provinces. He only wants more tax money to give to the UN climate fund. Yet Canada sent the largest group of all countries to Paris – “carbon” footprint be damned – and he loves to jet set around the world for photo-ops. Senior Trudeau was involved with The Club of Rome when they dreamed up the climate scare. This whole document revolves around “from each according to their means to each according to their needs”. It has nothing to do with climate.

  4. When taken as benchmark by other countries, the NDCs of India, the EU, the USA and China lead to 2.6 °C, 3.2 °C, 4 °C and over 5.1 °C warmings, respectively.

    No country has reduced their emissions more than the USA…back to 1991 levels…the USA does not contribute to global warming

  5. So many fine words, so many good intentions.
    Too many words. Too many intentions.

    My reply (YMMV and especially if you have a predilection for visiting public houses and starting fights) – my reply would be to quote what the majority of modern day women are saying and also what Jordan Petersen had to say in a story we covered recently.

    no

  6. Tightening the warming goal of each country’s effort-sharing approach to aspirational levels of 1.1 °C and 1.3 °C

    2 degrees…. 1.5 degrees… now 1.1-1.3?
    Are they moving the goal posts yet again?

    • I hope they keep doing it, the more they keep it up the more the man on the street will recognise the fallacy for what it is.

    • davidm
      The goalposts have been galloping across the landscape for a decade or more.
      Might that suggest that the science is – actually – not, finally, you know, definitely settled?

      I suggest it might . . . . . . . .
      Bwah-hah-hahh-hahhhh.

      Auto

  7. One – it’s snowing in Katowice right now.
    Two – do try and read the IPCC 1.5 degsC paper and let me know what you think. It’s the worst collection of meaningless jargon I’ve ever met and i’ve worked in the Min of Defence. Absurd transnational coercive programmes, hugely unscientific, gross lies about weather, laughable timescales, CCS uninvented, enormous costs, the ‘Anthropocene has geological foundation. It’s painful to read, I mean it hurts

    • When you see the first “operationalization” in anything, you might as well stop reading. (Yes, I just checked three different spell checkers, and not a single one recognizes it as an English word. Of course, I don’t have the grant writer’s version of them.)

      • Operationalization is the process of strictly defining variables into measurable factors. The process defines fuzzy concepts and allows them to be measured, empirically and quantitatively.

        Source

  8. I barely made it through the Abstract.
    Writing about 1.1 C and !.3 C differences reminds of economists changing a GDP forecast from:
    3.25% to 3.00%.
    Nonsense.

  9. The extreme level of bureaucratic thinking and babble is hard to fathom. I would love to place these parasites in the fields doing stoop labor.

  10. It’s cold out. We’ve had three snows in November already this year in Chicago. That’s rare. This morning before sunrise I looked out my window and in the street light I saw small hard wind driven pellets of dry snow falling. I have patches of unmelted snow in my backyard. Sure looks to me like the weather is getting colder not warmer.

    I picked up a book from the new book rack in the library yesterday. It was a book on skepticism. It had a 2018 copyright. I checked the index for the pages that discuss global warming and then read those pages. Essentially the author of this book on skepticism wrote that 97% of scientists agree on global warming and therefore we should acknowledge it as true. I’m paraphrasing. But that was basically what he wrote in his 2018 book on skepticism. I wonder if this guy who felt expert enough to write a book on skepticism ever thought to be skeptical of that 97% number?

    When you see the little man behind the curtain just ignore him. You can’t trust in what you see. Instead listen what the Great and Powerful Oz says.

  11. “..When taken as benchmark by other countries, the NDCs of India, the EU, the USA and China lead to 2.6 °C, 3.2 °C, 4 °C and over 5.1 °C warmings, respectively…”.

    If China has worse CO2 emission issues than the U.S., then someone should tell Bill McKibben and his minions to go to China to do their protesting against climate change inaction. The problem with protesting over there is that they might get locked up for it, especially if it is done in Tienanmen Square in Beijing.

    Then again, seeing them locked up for it might not necessarily be a problem…..

      • Sure. It means to steal everything you can get your hands on from all who you think have more than you. The spoils of your thievery is your aggregation of equity. Of course this is all in your interest.

        This is the game all of the signatories of the Paris Accords were planning of running against the US.

    • China does have worse emissions that USA in total volume but it is given a leave pass until 2030 because it is a “developing nation”, which is a pretty funny given it’s the worlds second biggest economy. That was always the issue with the Paris agreement, perhaps USA should have gone for “developing nation” status.

      • I suspect it has more to do with the fact that the U.N. wants to achieve an unelected, unaccountable marxist-socialist global government …. and China is already one.

        The use of AGW/ Climate change to destroy democracy and western economies is a necessity to achieve that goal.

        • Almost everyone would disagree with that and list China now as a Dictatorship. They changed there laws recently so Xi Jinping is ruler for life, and can only be replaced upon his death. It is often referred to as a “modern dictatorship” trying to make it sound prettier than the old style ones but it is what it is.

  12. “Informed by literature on effort-sharing approaches, the international community has long discussed the operationalization of equity following the UNFCCC principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC) to drive national emissions allocations”

    This is not “pseudo-scientific babble” (from above) at all. This is Social Justice Warrior mentality writ large on the international stage.

    Who knows best for you?
    “…and provides a metric for the ratchetting-up process.”
    They do, of course. The notion they will control some “ratchetting-up process” should scare the hell out of everyone who has a govt. which is in on the Paris Accord.

  13. The globalbust agenda is going up in flames . Liberal activists are getting hammered
    world wide because socialism consumes itself faster than capitalism .
    The global warming Trojan horse to finance world government run out of Beijing
    has been stopped .

  14. They gotta be joking. Canada??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Even if Canada met its 2030 targets, it would only lower world temperature by 2100 according to IPCC calculations of 0.001333 degrees C. My country is a nonentity that couldnt fight its own way out of a paper bag and is of NO consequence in the big world out there. Canada represents 2.67% of world economy. We are a non player.

    • What does anyone care, no major country is going to meet it’s Paris Agreement (the report basically confirms that) and there is no major country who has enough political support to change that. Miss by a little or miss by a lot is of little significance and emission control is dead just some die hard greenies haven’t worked it out yet.

      It actually does not matter whether CAGW is real or not emission control will not work because you need to somehow get the world to agree to equity and all become socialists. Rich countries simply will not give over there wealth or curtail there growth for other countries many they view as there enemies. The report recognizes the issue and then doubles down on stupid suggesting even more socialist measures that is doomed to even faster failure.

    • O/T but this gem is from Engineer Kate Summers, Pacific Hydro, in a seminar at the same institution:
      “Renewables in fact are the most stable ingredients of our power system at the moment on that millisecond and half-hourly timeframe…”

      • Pacific Hydro (now Tango) based in Australia is 100% owned by the communist Chinese Government. It currently offers the cheapest electricity in Australia:
        Peak-1: 18.50c/kWh; peak-2: 20.50c/kWh
        Their ‘price fixed’ competition is 24 to 30c/kWh.
        Pacific Hydro are the only retailer in Australia not involved in illegal price fixing.
        The corrupt ACCC know electricity prices are ‘fixed’ but politicians have told them to ‘leave it alone’.

        • Pacific Hydro (now Tango) based in Australia is 100% owned by the communist Chinese Government. It currently offers the cheapest electricity in Australia:
          Peak-1: 18.50c/kWh; peak-2: 20.50c/kWh
          Their ‘price fixed’ competition is 24 to 30c/kWh.
          Pacific Hydro are the only retailer in Australia not involved in illegal price fixing.
          The corrupt ACCC know electricity prices are ‘fixed’ but politicians have told them to ‘leave it alone’.
          We’re talking about the corrupt domestic electricity market in Australia.
          Markup (through all hands) on base-load electricity is 3000 to 5000%.
          Any self-respecting cartel would love to have margins!

  15. the aim is the good money after bad effect. Once you get someone invested into something, they frequently will keep throwing money at it to make it complete.
    We can build a high speed train in California for only XX billion dollars! What a deal. Oh, it is over budget, we need more money…

  16. The IPCC zombies drones are completely removed from real life.

    There is a limit as to how much tax a government can take. Also, what is the benefit of the billions and billions spent on wind and sun gathering?

    This is the start of the French ‘Yellow Jacket’ protest against ever increasing taxes on fuel to discourage use.

    Critics say the rising fuel prices hits workers who depend on cars to get to and from their jobs particularly in the countryside. The dispute has sparked a rift between the city “elite” and the rural poor in France, where Macron has been labelled the president of the rich because of his tax breaks for business.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46233560

    Some 280,000 people took part in protests across France, the interior ministry said in its latest update.

    The decision to impose a further increase of 6.5 cents on diesel and 2.9 cents on petrol on 1 January 2019 was seen as the final straw.

    Speaking on Wednesday, the president blamed world oil prices for three-quarters of the price rise. He also said more tax on fossil fuels was needed to fund renewable energy investments.

    Why are drivers on the warpath?

    The price of diesel, the most commonly used fuel in French cars, has risen by around 23% over the past 12 months to an average of €1.51 (£1.32; $1.71) per litre, its highest point since the early 2000s, AFP news agency reports.

    World oil prices did rise before falling back again but the Macron government raised its hydrocarbon tax this year by 7.6 cents per litre on diesel and 3.9 cents on petrol, as part of a campaign for cleaner cars and fuel.

    • Have been watching this on foreign newscasts here in Australia with my limited French comprehension. The French are always out on the roads when fuel taxes rise. It looks to be quite a significant rise and Macron seems to be feeling the pressure over it too.

  17. From the article: “The quantification of national emissions levels consistent with both Paris Agreement’s mitigation and equity goals relies on contentious interpretations of distributive justice”

    There’s a good one: “distributive justice”. What do you think that means? Who distributes the justice? We know who, the UN bureaucrats!

    The UN bureaucrats can forget about getting all those countries to cooperate on reducing CO2. When those countries look at China and India they see two nations that don’t have to reduce anything until at least the year 2030, and they see that it is unfair. The UN is playing favorites and this gives other nations a reason not to comply. Why should they? China and India don’t have to reduce CO2 and hurt their economies.

    What a fiasco! A very expensive fiasco!

  18. Yes, but I think you are all missing the real significance of this piece, appearing as it does in a Guardian article.

    This is the first time I have seen, in the mainstream alarmist promoting media, any acknowledgment that in fact the largest and fastest growing emitters are not the US, UK and Australia. This is the first time I’ve seen it admitted that the real problem is with China etc.

    So this is an enormous step forward for skepticism. Previously in every forum I have seen anyone point out that China does double the US emissions, and rising, or that China and India are installing coal like there is no tomorrow, the result has been furious denunciation and denial. Usually if its Ars or the Guardian the poster is banned in short order, and we hear the endless parade of claims that China is leading the world in tackling climate change.

    This piece, in the Guardian, shows that even for the G, this narrative has run out of road and is no longer credible. Take it together with the dismissal of the egregious Nuccitelli and Abrahams, and we might be seeing a turning point.

    The logical consequence of their theory and the facts would be demonstrating, not against Trump, but against Xi. California should be demonstrating outside the Chinese embassy, if they really think global warming caused their recent fires. That is where the Guardian is being driven. Wait for Ars to follow. The facts will end up driving them there.

  19. Wow! An approach to a framework of best practices with metrics to guide ratcheting up. Who can argue with that?

  20. Why do these people keep on making such dire predictions of warming when global warming is just NOT HAPPENING? If anything, Earth is getting colder as the ozone layer slowly heals. Go figure.

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