The new climate deal was signed by 195 nations in Paris, with all the details to be discussed later before the conditions come into force in 2020.
The new paper comes to replace the Kyoto Protocol which was notoriously ignored by such giants as USA, China, and India. In 2005 the signatories Russia and EU reduced their pollution rates compared to 1990 while Japan had a 17% increase, USA – 19%, China – 100%, and India – almost 130%.
So what can the new treaty really achieve, and are the mentioned climate change scenarios realistic? We asked Yury Perevedentsev, Chair of the Department of Meteorology, Climatology and Ecology of Atmosphere.
Prof. Perevedentsev said that the situation is quite grievous, and anthropogenic pollution must be dealt with urgently. Suffice it to imagine that catastrophic droughts of 2010 become the new normal – it becomes evident that action is needed.
Experts opine that the temperature rise up to 2 degrees further will have drastic consequences. The meeting in Copenhagen in 2009 resulted in all the sides proclaiming their willingness to avert such a development until at least 2100. This would require the total elimination of greenhouse emission before that date.
The new Paris deal stipulates that EU reduces its emission to 60% of that of 1990, Russia – 70%, China – up to 35% (of 2005 level), India – up to 65%, USA – up to 72%, and Japan – 74% (of 2013 level). This means that effectively only India is allowed to exceed its 1990 levels by about 30%. And even so, after 185 of 195 participants put forth their obligations to reduce emission, the temperature may still rise by as much as 3 degrees.
Prof. Perevedentsev listed the measures that are necessary now – modernize production, promote renewable energy, reduce fossil fuel consumption across the board, make special efforts in preserving carbon deposits. This all leads to significant spending.
This puts developing countries in a conundrum, so the new agreement also says that they should receive about 100 billion dollars of public and private investment a year.
All developed countries must become sources of said investment, among them Russia. Every investor is free to determine where exactly and for what the money goes.
Prof. Perevedentsev also reminded us that 2 degrees is a number for the Earth as a whole. Northern regions will see an even bigger change, with up to 5 degrees compared to current state.
There are four basic scenarios of climate change before 2100, with one reflecting the reduction in emission (irradiance of 2.6 watt per square meter), two – stabilization (4.5 and 6 watt per sqm), and one – increase (8.5 watt per sqm).
The latter means that the planetary mean temperature can rise by 5 degrees (and, consequently, even more in northern regions). One can only imagine what that will lead to.
Climate is a very inertial system, so even big efforts made today will only have very distant results. That’s why adjusting to further warming is absolutely inevitable in the next decades. It’s good to know that the global community starts to take action. Russia is one of those who joins this crucial effort and obliges to make first reports on the implementation in 2022.