Some good things came out of the COP26 conference in Glasgow earlier this month. The discussion at COP26 is not enough to completely inaccurate Greta Thunberg’s assessment of “somehow, somehow, somehow”.
To be fair, I think there have been at least three important developments coming out of COP26. First, the delegation managed to complete the unfinished project of Article 6 left over from COP21 in Paris. Doing so paved the way for a system for global carbon pricing and trading. Second, China and the United States, the world’s two largest GHG emitters, have announced that they have agreed to cooperate on a variety of climate issues. Third, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), a group of private financial institutions that make up 40% of the world’s financial assets, has promised to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.
It’s easy to understand some people’s disappointments about what the COP26 Parties actually achieved. Consider COP26’s goal of keeping global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to before the Industrial Revolution. As COP26 concludes, its chair, Alok Sharma, said: That was our comprehensive goal when we embarked on this journey two years ago and assumed the role of COP chair nomination. However, the 1.5 pulse is still weak. “
Some argue that this weak pulse indicates a terminal condition as it absorbs the remaining carbon balance associated with the survival of 1.5 when an already funded project is implemented.
An important tool for getting a clear view of the climate change landscape is the DICE model developed by Nobel laureate William Nordhaus. DICE is an acronym for Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy. This is an integrated assessment model built to analyze the interaction between the world economy and global climate.
Nordhaus typically updates its DICE every few years, but the latest version, called the 2016 model, is from the end of 2015, when the Paris Agreement was negotiated at COP21. The following describes what the 2016 model generally predicts about temperature changes, specifically about goals such as 1.5 and 2.0.
As of the end of 2014, global temperatures have risen 0.85 degrees Celsius. The 2016 DICE model predicted that temperatures would rise to 1.1 degrees Celsius shortly after 2020. In fact, it was a little earlier in March 2020.
The 2016 DICE model predicts that global temperatures will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius just before 2035. This is pretty cool. Even more calm, according to the model, is that the above statement holds true even if a global system for setting carbon prices at social costs could be established today.
The final statement is controversial and relies heavily on the phrase “by model.” The controversy includes whether establishing a global system for carbon pricing cannot be prevented, but is simply delayed when the 1.5 crossroads occur.
At the heart of the controversy is the optimal carbon price, the carbon tax rate per metric ton associated with social costs, currently between $ 35 and $ 40, according to Nodehouse’s 2016 DICE framework. The fact that there is. In contrast, other economists, especially Sir Nicholas Stern and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, have raised carbon prices to $ 100 by 2030 to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Insists that you need to. Achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The 2016 DICE model predicts that global temperatures will rise by 1.55 degrees Celsius by the end of 2035 if humans continue to do business as usual. By the end of 2035, the Earth’s temperature will rise by 1.52 degrees if we introduce a system for pricing carbon at social costs. This temperature difference, 0.03 degrees, between what happens in a normal business and what happens in a business that features proper carbon pricing is very small. However, since 2035, the forecasts for the 2016 model on the temperature difference between carbon-priced and non-carbon-priced economies have expanded significantly, which will have a significant impact on the development of the climate crisis.
Most estimates of the current global price of carbon are somewhere between $ 2 and $ 20. In the 2016 model, the current carbon price was projected to be slightly above $ 2.20. According to the IMF, the price of carbon is currently $ 3. With all taxes imposed and subsidies adjusted, carbon prices are currently just under $ 20 worldwide, according to a new study by investment firm Kepos Capital.
Predictions from Nordhaus’s DICE model have historically shown excessive optimism. This is recorded in a report published by Nordhaus in the minutes of the National Academy of Sciences. However, between 2016 and 2020, the actual industrial emissions of carbon dioxide were 35.9 Gt, slightly lower than the DICE model’s forecast of 39.4 Gt. The Covid pandemic certainly provides one possible reason for the downward bias. In particular, if carbon was priced at its social cost during this period, the forecast stipulates that industrial emissions would have been 33.1 Gt.
Atmospheric carbon concentration is an important indicator of global temperature. In 1988, climate scientist James Hansen testified before the US Congress, stating that 350 ppm is high, but at acceptable levels. The carbon concentration at the end of 2015 was about 400ppm, which of course has not reached in the last 3.2 million years. The DICE model forecasts that the concentration will increase to 418 by the end of 2020. The actual concentration at the end of 2020 was 415 ppm. Currently it is 417ppm.
In the 2016 DICE model, even if carbon is priced at social costs, annual emissions will peak around 2050, at which point the atmospheric carbon concentration will reach about 517 ppm and the Earth’s temperature will rise. It is expected to rise twice. More than 16 million years have passed since the carbon concentration in the atmosphere exceeded 500 ppm.
It is important to understand that annual emissions are projected to peak in 2050, according to the DICE model, which features optimal carbon pricing. In other words, it will not fall to net zero in 2050! Therefore, the model predicts that both atmospheric carbon levels and global temperature will continue to rise after 2050. By the end of 21 yearsNS In the century, the DICE model prediction of carbon concentration is 628 ppm, and the temperature of the earth has risen by almost 3.5 degrees. It has been 56 million years since the carbon concentration in the atmosphere last exceeded 600 ppm.
If the scenario just described is not bad enough, it will be even worse if social costs delay carbon pricing.
In contrast, compare the long-term emission forecasts produced by consulting firm Wood Mackenzie with those of the Nordhaus DICE model. Wood Mackenzie …