The latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was another massive effort. It is based on over 6,000 scientific studies and involved a team of 90 scientists and policy experts nominated from 40 countries. The process started in March 2017 and there were three report drafts and 42,000 reviewer comments. The final report was published on 8 October 2018 after a week-long meeting in South Korea. See the following links for the conclusions and implications.
In December, the world’s governments will review the implementation of the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change at a conference in Katowice, Poland.
An international team of scientists has shown that even if the carbon emission reductions called for in the Paris Agreement are met, there is a risk of our planet entering what the scientists call “Hothouse Earth” conditions.
This would see the climate stabilise in the long term at a global average of 4-5°C higher than pre-industrial temperatures, with the sea level 10-60 m higher than today.
The scientists conclude it is now urgent to greatly accelerate the transition towards an emission-free world economy. Avoiding a “Hothouse Earth” requires not only reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions but also enhancement and/or creation of new biological carbon stores.
Drawdown is that point in time when the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere begins to decline on a year-to-year basis.
Project Drawdown is based on meticulous research that maps, measures, models, and describes the most substantive solutions to global warming that already exist. It is the most important goal for humanity to undertake.
Project Drawdown is the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. It involves a coalition of researchers, scientists, policy makers, business leaders and activists, who have assembled and presented the best available information on climate solutions deployed at scale. Solutions are described and quantified for their financial, social and environmental impact over the next thirty years.
Over 100 solutions were assessed. The top 15 are listed below from the project’s Plausible Scenario, which models the solutions based on a reasonable, but vigorous growth rate from 2020-2050. The list below also shows the total reduction from each solution in atmospheric carbon dioxide (equivalent) in Gigatons (US).
Top 15 solutions to global warming
Refrigerant Management (89.74)
Wind Turbines – Onshore (84.60)
Reduced Food Waste (70.53)
Plant-Rich Diet (66.11)
Tropical Forests (61.23)
Educating Girls (59.60)
Family Planning (59.60)
Solar Farms (36.90)
Rooftop Solar (24.60)
Regenerative Agriculture (23.15)
Temperate Forests (22.61)
Tropical Staple Trees (20.19)
Click here for information on each solution and the full list.
Carbon pricing is not included in the listing as it is a mechanism to implement solutions and not in itself a solution to global warming. Project Drawdown only focuses on technological, ecological, and behavioral solutions. The team chose not to model incentive-based policies and financial mechanisms, such as carbon pricing or congestion pricing, although these may be the keys to the more widespread adoption of many solutions.
Wiveliscombe Town Council joined a growing number of Somerset parish and town councils to oppose fracking at it’s monthly meeting in December 2017.
After discussing a paper presented by Dave Mansell, the following motion was unanimously agreed:
The town council has noted that licences have been awarded for oil and gas exploration in parts of Somerset, including an area along the coast from Minehead through Watchet to Burnham-on Sea. If approved by permitting authorities, extraction could be by drilling and hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking. The town council is concerned this could pose a threat to water supplies, public health and the countryside, and, instead of new supplies of fossil fuels, prefers investment in clean energy sources to address the global threat of climate change. On current evidence, Wiveliscombe Town Council opposes exploration for oil and gas in Somerset, which could then lead to extraction by fracking.
At our November 2017 meeting, there were two illustrated and fascinating talks on the signs and effects of climate change in the Wiveliscombe area.
Simon Ratsey, who has been recording local weather since the 1960s, covered indicators of climate change.
Gareth Varney, who works for the Environment Agency, considered changes in local rainfall, groundwater and river flows.
Findings included annual temperatures now being 1.2°C warmer than in the 1960s and recent summers being warmer and wetter. Air frosts have decreased and the growing season has extended by about two weeks.
The Somerset floods in 2013/14 followed sustained rain over several months, which was above average intensity and frequency. Other contributors to flooding include increased run-off related to building and changes in crops or tree cover.
Rising sea levels from climate change could be Somerset’s biggest concern, as 1,000s of miles of tidal defences will need raising to continue to protect low lying homes.
Click on both names above for a summary of each talk and links to the slides shown for both presentations.
For information on the global effects of climate change see:
On 19 September 2017, about 30 people attended a showing at the primary school hall of A Plastic Ocean. This is a documentary adventure film looking at the global effects of plastics pollution and the technology and policy solutions that can, if implemented in time, change things for the better.
The showing of this film reflects thought being given to widen our group’s remit, which will be considered at our AGM in November.
A Plastic Ocean (trailer on YouTube) showed the horrible problems being caused by plastic pollution throughout the world, which is killing wildlife and threatening our health.
Additional slides (click to view) were shown and discussed on the sources of plastics pollution and actions being taken to help prevent it. The slides included:
A landfill site near Bridgwater, which is typical of landfill operations in the UK and most European countries, which are well managed and regulated. The site has been lined with a membrane and clay and will be capped and covered when it is eventually full. Tipped waste is covered at the end of each day with inert material. Leachate (water from site) is treated and about half the gas produced is captured.
Studies of mis-managed plastics waste have found that over 60% entering the world’s oceans comes from five Asian countries, including China and Indonesia.
An action plan from Green Alliance for the UK suggests that the most effective measure would be a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles. The plan also calls for enforcement of bans on maritime waste and to stop pellet pollution from industry, treatment of waste water to catch synthetic fibres from washing clothes and a ban on microbeads in all products.
Previous proposals to extract plastics from giant circulations in major ocean gyres are now realised to not be feasible, as the waste breaks down into small fragments and falls to the sea floor. It is more important to prevent the continuing flow of plastics waste into our seas.
Plastic bank is an interesting solution to provide value for recycling plastic waste in developing countries to help stop it being thrown away.
WasteAid UK shares waste management and recycling skills, and aims to make lasting changes to keep communities healthy and plastic out of the oceans.
In the UK, charges for carrier bags have reduced use by over 80%, starting with Wales in 2011 and, eventually, England in 2015. In July 2017, Michael Gove announced there would be a ban for some microbeads in cosmetics within a year. In September 2017, the Scottish Government announced a deposit return scheme for beverage containers within a year.
Bristol-based consultancy, Eunomia have suggested some plastics pollution can more easily be cleaned up on beaches before it is broken into smaller pieces.
Chris Goodall gave an excellent presentation on 26 June 2017* covering the subject of his latest book The Switch. He explained why a rapid transition to renewable energy is affordable and technically feasible, especially for solar power and storage. Click here to view notes and some slides from the meeting.
* Joint meeting at Taunton Quaker Meeting House by Transition Athelney, Forum 21, Taunton Transition Town, Transition Town Wellington and Wivey Action on Climate.
The world has been responding to Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw America from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
“The science on climate change is perfectly clear: we need more action, not less. … “The US decision to leave Paris in no way brings an end to this unstoppable effort. China, India, the European Union and others are already showing strong leadership. 190 nations are showing strong determination to work with them to protect this and future generations.”
“Removing the United States from the Paris Agreement is a reckless and indefensible action. It undermines America’s standing in the world and threatens to damage humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis in time. But make no mistake: if President Trump won’t lead, the American people will.”
We “will not be derailed by the ignorance of one man.”
“Donald Trump has made a historic mistake which our grandchildren will look back on with stunned dismay at how a world leader could be so divorced from reality and morality. Trump has abandoned the standard of American leadership, turned his back on the what the public and the market demand, and shamelessly disregarded the safety of our families just to let the fossil fuel industry eke out a few more dollars in profits. This is a decision that will cede America’s role internationally to nations like China and India, which will benefit handsomely from embracing the booming clean energy economy while Trump seeks to drive our country back into the 19th century.”
Wivey Action on Climate posed two questions to all the candidates for the Upper Tone division in the Somerset County Council elections on 4 May 2017. Their replies were very interesting and are worth reading.
Upper Tone covers an area which includes: Ashbrittle, Bathealton, Bradford-on-Tone, Chipstable, Fitzhead, Halse, Langford Budville, Milverton, Nynehead, Oake, Sampford Arundel, Stawley and Wiveliscombe.
The four candidates standing in Upper Tone and the results were:
Caroline Freedman – Green Party (256 votes)
James Hunt – Conservative Party (elected: 1,574 votes)
Janet Lloyd – Liberal Democrat (485 votes)
Steve Ross – Independent (890 votes)
Their responses to our questions can be viewed by clicking here.