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The dangers of Blue Carbon offsets: from hot air to hot water?

The dangers of Blue Carbon offsets: from hot air to hot water?

COP23 briefing - There has been much talk of "Blue Carbon" in the Bonn climate negotiations. But what does it really mean? This briefing sets out the issues and finds that the use of blue carbon to offset and hence effectively avoid required emission reductions in other sectors would undermine our ability to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C.
2017, November 16

Hot Topics

All Hot Topics

Coal Phase Out

Coal is the most carbon intensive fossil fuel and phasing it out is a key step to achieve the emissions reductions needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C, as enshrined in the Paris Agreement. Our research shows that the EU and OECD countries must stop burning coal for electricity by 2030, China by 2040 and the rest of the world by mid-century in order to meet commitments made in Paris in the most cost effective manner.

1.5°C - key facts

Since 2009 over a hundred Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and many others have been calling for limiting global temperature rise to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Placing the 1.5°C limit alongside the legally binding goal to hold global temperatures “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” in the Paris Agreement was a major victory for vulnerable countries. This page is an information pool for material around the 1.5°C temperature limit.


Our COP 23 Briefings

This is where you’ll find all our scientific briefings released at COP23 in Bonn.
Topics include: blue carbon, 20-year GWPs, EU coal vs air pollution regulation, climate impacts on oceans, tropical cyclones

In the media

Interview with Dr Bill Hare, co-founder and CEO of Climate Analytics

1 December 2017

In this Carbon Brief interview during COP23 in Bonn, Dr Bill Hare talks about100% renewables, negative emissions, nuclear, CCS, 1.5°C vs 2°C, gas as a "bridge", global carbon tax, solar geoengineering, the end of coal era, ocean acidification and, yes, Donald Trump...

Loss and Damage at COP23 – goals, roadblocks and detours

COP23 was hosted by a small island state, Fiji, and vulnerable countries thought it was high time to address the issue of Loss and Damage head on. The result from the first ‘islands COP’ is that it is obvious we are not driving in the fast lane however the goals are not out of sight either.  
20 November 2017

Big change after the big storm: Post-disaster transformative adaptation in Small Island Developing States

Presenting a disaster as an ‘opportunity’ is clearly a sensitive and emotive issue. But when an energy infrastructure is in tatters should we not view this as a chance to make a fundamental transition to a low carbon future? When will there be a better opportunity to relocate essential services away from high risk areas than when they need rebuilding? When do we consider what we truly value more than when we have suffered loss?  
02 November 2017

Media coverage

All Media coverage
Canada and the UK launch new global alliance against coal during COP23

Canada and the UK launch new global alliance against coal during COP23Climate Action

During climate talks in Bonn, Canada and the UK along with the Marshall Islands have launched the “Powering Past Coal” alliance inviting governmental entities from around the world to phase out dirty coal power plants. Its declaration refers directly to the benchmarks provided in our global coal report, to stress that the Paris Agreement requires coal phase-out by 2030 in the OECD countries and by 2050 in the rest of the world.

2017, November 17

As Climate Negotiators Debate Nations' Pledges, Scientists Worry It's Not Enough

As Climate Negotiators Debate Nations' Pledges, Scientists Worry It's Not EnoughNPR

Governments are wrapping up a meeting in Bonn, Germany, to figure out how to implement a global climate agreement. The conference has focused on the pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which nations made two years ago in Paris. But even as negotiators debate the details, scientists are warning that carbon dioxide levels are again on the rise, and the efforts in Paris may not be enough.

2017, November 16

Climate action by China, India to offset Trump: study

Climate action by China, India to offset Trump: studyReuters

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - Global warming is likely to be slightly less severe than previously expected thanks to stronger climate policies by China and India that will offset less U.S. action under President Donald Trump, a study showed on Wednesday.

2017, November 15


This article identifies and quantifies the 10 most important benchmarks for climate action to be taken by 2020–2025 to keep the window open for a 1.5°C-consistent GHG emission pathway. We conducted a comprehensive review of existing emissions scenarios, scanned all sectors and the respective necessary transitions, and distilled the most important short-term benchmarks for action in line with the long-term perspective of the required global low-carbon transition. Owing to the limited carbon budget, combined with the inertia of existing systems, global energy economic models find only limited pathways to stay on track for a 1.5°C world consistent with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.  
There have been proposals for the UNFCCC to adopt a dual-term greenhouse gas accounting standard: 20-year GWPs alongside the presently accepted 100-year GWPs. It is argued that the advantage of such a change would be to more rapidly reduce short term warming and buy time for CO2 reductions. This briefing shows why these changes would be counterproductive and the benefits overstated.