The curve that reveals our true performance

Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

mlo_full_recordThe only measure of our progress on climate change with any integrity is the record of atmospheric concentration of CO2. None more so than the series of readings that have been taken in the middle of the Pacific Ocean at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii which have been taken uninterrupted since 1958.  This is the Keeling Curve, named after Charles Keeling who initiated the measurements. On May the 9th these readings passed a milestone – they reached 400 parts per million for the first time.

The last time atmospheric CO2 was at this level was some 3M years ago in the Pliocene geologic era. At that time the temperatures were 2-4 degrees C higher than today and sea levels were between 5 and 40 meters higher.  The geological record gives us an insight into the long-term physical outcome of current CO2 concentrations. What is does not tell us is the impact on our biosphere, the countless living organisms on which we depend and which is facing an unprecedented rate of change in temperature.      

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Climate Change for Football Fans

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Books | 0 comments

Being a complete novice on the finer arts of football (or soccer to our North American readers) I approached James Atkins’ book, Climate Change for Football Fans, with some trepidation.  More so when I saw the précis: “This is a book about climate change policy, which is one of the most boring topics in the world. So it includes stuff about football, which is one of the most exciting topics in the world.”!

Well it turns out that even a football-illiterate like me can gain a great deal from this quirky, irreverent, funny and thought-provoking book. Clearly written from a position of deep understanding of the subject of climate change policy – and presumably equally so of football, although I am not such a good judge here – this book delivers an insightful analysis of the emissions reduction predicament we face.

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Mottainai! PWC report indicates we are too late for two degrees.

Posted by on Nov 17, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

The Japanese have a word Mottainai which “reflects a sense of regret concerning waste” which can “lead to anger or protest when the person who is observing the utter waste is incapable of holding back their emotions”. Well that sure sounds like a polite way of describing how I am feeling just now….

Why? Well I have just read a new report from PWC: Too late for two degrees? which makes very sobering reading.

We know that each year that we allow CO2 and other greenhouse gasses to accumulate in the atmosphere means that subsequent reductions need to be greater.

Back in 2000, in order to have a 50% change of global temperature rises not exceeding 2 degrees Centigrade, we needed to decarbonise our economy at the rate of 3.7% per annum to 2050. Today that target has risen to 5.1% a year because we have wasted the last decade with an average global rate of decarbonisation of just 0.8% a year.

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The Great Disruption – Paul Gilding

Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 in Books | 0 comments

First of all I would like to thank my dear friend Massimo Bettanin at global consultants ERM for urging me to read Paul Gilding’s “The Great Disruption”. His enthusiasm for the book put it at the top of my holiday reading this summer and, curiously, it was as satisfying to me as any holiday thriller.

I make this comparison in order to deliberately highlight  the unusually strong literary structure of The Great Disruption.

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