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. Most emissions from coal are in the electricity sector and, as we already have the technologies that can replace coal, phase out is a relatively cheap and easy option to reduce emissions. Our research shows coal needs to be phased out globally by 2040 to meet the commitments made in Paris.
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.
What processes are in place to help these vulnerable countries address Loss and Damage, and what progress are they making? What scientific inputs are necessary to support and advance these processes? What are the opportunities for the scientific community to contribute? Here is provided background material and key resources on loss and damage, including scientific studies and briefing material relating to the policy process under the UNFCCC.
Together with the Australian Conservation Foundation, we have been analysing Australia’s emissions profile and policies. The result is a set of informative, concise graphic factsheets outlining all you need to know about Australia’s overall economy and emissions in key sectors – industry, electricity and transport – and what can be done to reduce them.
The 1.5°C limit in the Paris Agreement is now widely accepted as the goal towards which climate policy is working, and in turn has led to the focus globally on achieving net zero CO2 emissions by mid-century at the latest. The science behind this goal is extensive, and the Agreement’s language is precise. Below we explain how the Temperature Goal should be interpreted.
The Paris Agreement aims at “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”. Here we address some commonly asked questions.
Here is a list of our briefings and publications released during the UN climate talks taking place 2-13 December in Madrid, Spain.
Germany needs to phase coal out of its electricity sector by 2030 to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement. This is earlier than the dates discussed so far by the Coal Commission, a body established to come up with a coal exit plan by the end of 2018. If Germany follows the Paris Agreement compatible pathway we propose here, it can also make significant steps towards meeting its 2020 emission reduction targets – something seen as impossible at the moment.
Recent publications have argued that the remaining “carbon budget” available to meet the Paris agreement long-term temperature goal is larger than previously estimated in IPCC AR5. This briefing outlines why the notion of “more time” for climate protection is ill advised. We have no time to lose to achieve 1.5°C.
Japan stands at a crossroads ahead of its Presidency of the G20 in 2019. Its potential role as a leader of climate ambition and clean technology depends on it making the right decisions to establish a sunset for coal power generation. This shift must include both its domestic energy policy and its finance for coal technology overseas.
Most countries need to urgently update their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to be in line with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C limit. But even without considering the much-needed emission reductions this entails, rapid technology developments in key sectors over recent years make it an economic and political necessity to update NDCs as their underlying assumptions are outdated already today. This is good news for the Talanoa Dialogue as these cost reductions and already visible climate action can be the springboard for more ambitious NDCs in 2020.
Caribbean SIDS are among the most heavily indebted per capita developing countries in the world and are also highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Public debt significantly restricts capacity and fiscal space to build resilience to climate change and thus undermines debt sustainability and economic growth. Caribbean SIDS are tasked with addressing low and stagnated growth, high public debt and vulnerabilities to climate change impacts. This briefing looks at how debt for climate swaps may provide an avenue for SIDS to address debt challenges while also increasing resilience to climate change.
Carbon pollution from Western Australia's current and proposed natural gas projects would be over four times higher than what Australia's energy system can emit under the Paris Agreement. Rather than risk stranded assets by investing in gas, it would be much smarter for WA to take advantage of its vast renewable energy resources.
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.
Apart from being the largest source of CO2 emissions, coal combustion is also a major threat to public health globally. About 82% of EU, 80% German and virtually all Polish coal power plants do not comply with a new EU regulation on industry air pollution emissions standards that they need to meet by 2021.
Limiting warming to 1.5°C is of paramount importance to protect the oceans. This briefing provides an overview of the latest science on key risks for ocean systems including from sea- level rise, ocean acidification and impacts on coral reefs and other marine and coastal ecosystems.
Following the string of high-intensity tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin in 2017 and the devastating impacts on small island states, a number of questions have been raised about linkages between these cyclones and climate change. This briefing provides clarity on scientifically-supported connections between existing tropical cyclones and climate change.
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.
On June 1 2017, President Trump has announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, leaning on many dubious claims in support of his decision. Our experts have done a thorough fact check of the speech.
Should the government accept the minimum electricity sector pathway suggested by the Finkel Review, Australia would very likely not be able to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement. Here's our analysis.
When should the EU shut down its 300+ coal plants to meet the Paris Agreement's long-term temperature limit? Our report outlines a science-based schedule for a coal phase-out in Europe.
This briefing outlines why it is misleading to conflate negative emissions technologies that remove CO2 from the atmosphere with proposed geoengineering techniques, such as Solar Radiation Management (SRM)
In 2015 annual global mean warming reached 1°C above preindustrial levels for the first time in more 11 000 years. 2016 was a year of extreme temperatures and likely on annual basis 1.3°C above preindustrial levels with widespread damages globally. This has caused many to wonder whether the 1.5°C temperature limit is already breached. This article explains the science behind why this is not so.
This page outlines the scientific, technical and economic feasibility of holding warming well below 2°C, and below 1.5°C by 2100. It addresses the consequences of limited climate action to date, it discusses implications for the negotiations on a new climate agreement in Paris, and it reviews some critical mitigation options, like decarbonization, renewables, bio-energy, carbon capture and storage, and the combination of the latter two – BECCS.
Global mean warming reached 1°C above preindustrial for the first time. It is a signal from the climate system that time is running out if we are to be able to reduce emissions fast enough so as to hold warming below 2°C, and ultimately below 1.5°C by 2100.
A new study analyses the differences in impacts the world would face at 1.5°C and 2°C in a comprehensive and comparable way for the first time. It finds that the increases in impacts between 1.5°C and 2°C are large, significant and pronounced for regions with limited adaptive capacity and high exposure.
2°C limit is too warm for many vulnerable systems and regions, and a 1.5°C limit would be significantly safer. Antarctic ice shelf loss comes from underneath.
An evaluation of the policies and national strategies has been undertaken within the PAS-PNA Project to define to which extent scientific data and information relevant to climate change are taken into account. Briefing in French.
A broad picture of the existing scientific knowledge on impacts, vulnerability, adaptation options and strategies available in Benin for the three priority sectors (Water Resources, Health and Agriculture). Briefing in French.