Scenarios for the Future What’s In Store for Tomorrow’s Climate?
A Lot of Hot Air? • UNFCCC, 1992: “…to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” • Kyoto Protocol, 1998: “Parties shall strive to implement policies and measures in such a way as to minimize adverse effects, including the adverse effects of climate change, effects on international trade, and social, environmental and economic impacts on other Parties…”
The Greenhouse Effect • Gases in our atmosphere, including water vapour and carbon dioxide, keep the sun's heat in and help make our planet livable. • Without this natural insulation, the average temperature on Earth would be -18˚C, rather than 15˚C! • What’s the Problem?
Common GHGs: water vapour (H2O) carbon dioxide (CO2) methane (CH4) nitrous oxide (N2O) ozone (O3) and halocarbons (CFCs, HFCs, etc.) Atmospheric composition: Nitrogen: 78.09% Oxygen: 20.9% Argon: 0.93% Carbon dioxide: 0.035% All other gases: 0.05% Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)
Climate Explained (sort of…) © Environment Canada
Natural Sources: Volcanic eruptions Water vapour Forest fires Decomposition of carbonate rocks Methane emissions from swamps and marshes. Anthropogenic Sources: Energy from burning of fossil fuels (transportation, heating & cooling, manufacturing) Deforestation Methane from agriculture, mining, landfills, etc. Natural and Anthropogenic
Anthropogenic Emissions • Can you tell which countries are further industrialized? • Are major emitters of greenhouse gases? © NASA, NOAA
Annual Emissions of CO2 (total million tonnes / tonnes per capita) Japan: 1150.9 / 9.2 (5.2%) United Kingdom: 564.8 / 9.7(2.5%) China: 3006.8 / 2.5 (13.6%) Canada: 470.8 / 16(2.1%) Brazil: 287.5 / 1.8 (1.3%) United States: 5228.5 / 19.6(23.6%) World: 22149.6 / 3.9
What Happened? What’s Next? • Globally, the last decade has been the warmest on record. • Global mean surface temperature has increased by 0.6˚C during the last century. • “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities” (IPCC, 2001)
Assumptions made by UN IPCC scientists in 2001: Very rapid economic growth Populations peaking at mid-century and declining thereafter Rapid introduction of new and more efficient technologies A1FI: Fossil-Intensive A1T: Non-fossil energy sources A1B: A balance across all sources The A1 Scenarios
What Can We Expect? © CIDA © NFB © NFB © IISD
What Can We Do? One-Tonne Challenge • No-emission transportation whenever possible • Turn down thermostat and use air conditioner as last resort • Eat fresh local foods as much as possible! • Other ideas? • http://www.climatechange.gc.ca/onetonne/english/ © Environment Canada
What Do You Think? • Is this possible? • Are we exaggerating? • Is it too late to fix the problem? • Are governments doing enough? • Do you expect these scenarios to unfold? • How can we reverse the trend?