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Climate Change: The Move to Action (AOSS 480 // NRE 480) Richard B. Rood Cell: 301-526-8572 2525 Space Research Building (North Campus)

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Presentation on theme: "Climate Change: The Move to Action (AOSS 480 // NRE 480) Richard B. Rood Cell: 301-526-8572 2525 Space Research Building (North Campus)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Climate Change: The Move to Action (AOSS 480 // NRE 480) Richard B. Rood Cell: Space Research Building (North Campus) Winter 2012 March 20, 2012

2 Class News Ctools site: AOSS_SNRE_480_001_W12AOSS_SNRE_480_001_W and 2010 Class On Line:2008 and 2010 Class – /Climate_Change:_The_Move_to_Action /Climate_Change:_The_Move_to_Action

3 Project Timeline 22 March 2012 –In Class Review: Each group should prepare about a 15 minute, 5 – 10 slides, of status of project. Projects will be in different stages, but should have a good idea of the scope and where you are going. This will be a time get some input and refine and focus. –This need not be polished, but should represent vision, structure, and some essential elements of knowledge. 10 and 12 April 2012: Final presentation

4 The Current Climate (Released Monthly) Climate Monitoring at National Climatic Data Center.Climate MonitoringNational Climatic Data Center – State of the Climate: Global Interesting new document? –OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of InactionOECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction

5 Today An interim synthesis of lectures, readings, discussions

6 Subjects that need covering Stabilization Military Interface to adaptation Geo-engineering Sea Level Elements of Argument


8 Framework Convention on Climate Change

9 Dangerous climate change? Stern, 2006

10 Economics What about economics does the cost of climate change motivate the development of policy, motivate action? –Stern Report What are things that link society together?

11 Stern Report Considered a radical revision of climate change economics. –If we dont act now it will cost between 5% and 20% of gross domestic product (an aggregate measure of economy.) Stands in contrast to many studies that usually come to numbers of closer to 1% –The idea that initiation of a policy with a slow growth rate will have little impact on the economy or environment in the beginning, but will ultimately become important when the nature of expenditures is more clear.

12 Global economic analysis –Stern Review: Primary Web PageStern Review: Primary Web Page –Stern Report: Executive SummaryStern Report: Executive Summary –Nordhaus: Criticism of Stern ReportNordhaus: Criticism of Stern Report –Tol and Yohe: Deconstruction of Stern ReportTol and Yohe: Deconstruction of Stern Report

13 Stern Review: Criticisms Document is fundamentally political: An advocacy document. Not up to the standards of academic economic analysis Not based on empirical observations of the economy –Observed discount rates –Observed behavior

14 Economics We see here a wide range of projected economic impacts –1 % Gross Domestic Product –20 % Gross Domestic Product Large difference strongly related to discount rate: how fast does the cost of an investment depreciate? –Empirical –Belief based evaluation of environment and impact on most vulnerable people

15 Economics-Policy Relation ECONOMIC ANALYSIS KNOWLEDGE UNCERTAINTY POLICY Economic analysis is not the compelling catalyst to converge the development of policy – at least on the global scale. Different story on the local scale. PROMOTES / CONVERGENCE OPPOSES / DIVERGENCE




19 Policy? As all of these pieces are brought to bear on policy, the fragmentation of those interests begins to show up in policy.


21 Fragmented Policy Represents the real, rational interests of different elements. –short-term, long-term; local, global; poor, rich As a whole, however, does not work together, and may collectively work against, for instance, mitigation of climate change. Fragmented policy becomes, perhaps, an accelerator or more integrated, more federal or global policy.

22 Impacts The knowledge that comes from climate science suggests a set of impacts –Agriculture –Forestry –Fisheries –Public health –Water resources –....


24 Consideration of Impacts (1) Existing problem with existing system to address the problem –Weaknesses in the system often associated with population stress, by vulnerable population, highly (anti) correlated with wealth and education Strongly dependent on extreme events, not the average –Hence want to know how extreme events will change Not clearly and distinctly addressed by efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions –Motivator for Kyoto like policy?

25 Consideration of Impacts (2) Strongest levers for addressing the problem are –Societal capability (social integration, structure, communications) –Environmental warnings and alerts –Education (first responders, general public,....) –Engineering (air conditioners, green spaces,...)

26 Imagine your job was to reduce deaths from heat waves POPULATION CONSUMPTION ENERGYCLIMATE CHANGE Its going to get hotter! MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE or USE MORE ENERGY or...

27 Integrated or systematic impacts Water resources, public health, agriculture, taken in isolation rich countries can imagine that they have technological and engineering solutions to these problems, but what about their combined impacts


29 What important elements are still missing? Law Business Religion Geopolitical Migration – what people do Education

30 There are important elements still missing Law –Law offers a possible entry into the system. Links policy and de facto laws Links economic windfalls and losses Links impacts Links ethical considerations.... –Promotes, perhaps, policy

31 From Farber: Legal Status Climate models establish a lower end estimate for global temperature impacts, but the distribution is less clearly bounded on the high side – or in simpler terms, the high- end risk may be considerable. The models are better at predicting temperature patterns than precipitation patterns, and global predictions are considerably firmer than more localized ones. Economic models are much less advanced, and their conclusions should be used with caution. Unfortunately, economists are not always careful about incorporating uncertainty into their policy recommendations.

32 From Farber: Legal Status Climate scientists have created a unique institutional system for assessing and improving models, going well beyond the usual system of peer review. Consequently, their conclusions should be entitled to considerable credence by courts and agencies. Model predictions cannot be taken as gospel. There is considerable residual uncertainty about climate change impacts that cannot be fully quantified. The uncertainties on the whole make climate change a more serious problem rather than providing a source of comfort. The policy process should be designed with this uncertainty in mind. For instance, rather than focusing on a single cost-benefit analysis for proposed regulatory actions, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which oversees federal regulatory policy, might do better to require the development of standardized scenarios for agencies to use.

33 The Polar Bear Problem The picture of polar bears in the sea motivated a lot of discussion about the Endangered Species Act... –but, legal approaches have a difficult path,cause and effect, who are the damaged and damaging parties, what laws are relevant... Polar Bear as Endangered Species

34 So what are the legal pathways? Public nuisance Clean Air Act National Environmental Policy Act Federal policy of pre-emption –Less stringent federal regulations rather than more stringent state regulations Like tobacco liability litigation Like gun liability litigation Endangered Species Act

35 National Environmental Quality Act (1969) Purpose Sec. 2 [42 USC § 4321]. The purposes of this Act are: To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man; to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation; and to establish a Council on Environmental Quality.

36 What are the obstacles? Political Question / Judicial Competence –Court being asked, essentially, to make policy Standing –The ability to show particular, or personal harm. Causation –Demonstration that a particular, say, power plant or manufacturer has caused the harm

37 Law Readings on Local Servers Supreme Court: Massachusetts versus EPA Sigman: Liability and Climate Policy Massachusetts Petition to the U.S. Supreme CourtMassachusetts Petition to the U.S. Supreme Court US Govt Response to Massachusetts Petition University of Pennsylvania Law Review (2007)

38 A case that has formed a path into climate change Massachusetts versus US Environmental Protection Agency –Clean Air Act

39 Clean Air Act Relevant text of Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act "The Administrator [of EPA] shall by regulation prescribe... standards applicable to the emission of any air pollutant from any class or classes of new motor vehicles or new motor vehicle engines, which in his judgment cause, or contribute to, air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare." Section 302(g) of the Clean Air Act defines "air pollutant" as "any air pollution agent or combination of such agents, including any physical... substance or matter which is emitted into or otherwise enters the ambient air." 302(h) states that "effects on welfare" include "effects on soils, water, crops,... wildlife, weather... and climate...

40 California and Clean Air Act When the Clean Air Act was written California was given the ability to make more stringent standards. –States can choose either the California standard or the less stringent national standard (A motivator for federal policy is often the existence of many state and local policies.)

41 Supreme Court Decision Supreme Court found in favor of Massachusetts –Had argued that they were threatened by sea level rise. There was standing. –Had argued that carbon dioxide was a pollutant. Supreme Court said carbon dioxide is a pollutant based on the definition in the Clean Air Act. –EPA did have the regulatory authority to regulate CO 2.

42 Bush EPA Arguments That to control carbon dioxide from cars was an issue of efficiency, which was the sole domain of the Department of Transportation. That for the EPA to act would be a piecemeal approach to the problem, against the Presidents wishes. That taking action on cars would have no real effect because of other sources of CO 2, including China. That there was a political history that precluded EPA from acting.

43 Since then California Attorney General Petition to EPACalifornia Attorney General Petition to EPA –Global warming threatens California's Sierra mountain snow pack, which provides the state with one-third of its drinking water. California also has approximately 1,000 miles of coastline and levees that are threatened by rising sea levels.

44 Since then 2008: EPA has not, formally, taken action, and even their own lawyers have been quoted in the press as saying that EPA is not on solid legal grounds for doing nothing. –A political decision. 2009: EPA Pressing using Clean Air Act to regulate CO 2EPA Pressing using Clean Air Act to regulate CO 2

45 More News 2009: 2 Days before Copenhagen –EPA Decides to EnforceEPA Decides to Enforce –How does U.S. Stake in Auto Industry impact this?

46 Even newer news 2010: Bipartisan Move to Block EPA Regulating CO2Bipartisan Move to Block EPA Regulating CO2 –Text of Joint ResolutionText of Joint Resolution 2011: –Forbes: EPA and Climate in Budget and Government ShutdownEPA and Climate in Budget and Government Shutdown –NY Times: State Greenhouse Gas Initiatives Lose Fed SupportState Greenhouse Gas Initiatives Lose Fed Support

47 Law vs Policy Law, at least with U.S. EPA, leads to the idea of regulation. –In general, people prefer policy to regulation business risk? Pushes towards regulation are deferred based on recession, recovery, political positioning

48 Where does litigation sit in the climate problem? Motivator for the development of policy. Law works on short-term and local scales. –Does not, often, extend to long-term and global scales. Deliberative, case-by-case


50 Subjects that need covering Stabilization Military Interface to adaptation Geo-engineering

51 Elements of the Political Argument

52 PA1: Just a Theory A common statement is that greenhouse gas is just a theory, equating theory with conjecture. –Theory is not conjecture, it is testable. Theory suggests some amount of cause and effect – a physical system, governed by quantitative conservation equations. –Theory is not fact, it can and will change. –Need to consider the uncertainty, and the plausibility that the theory might be wrong. Often it is stated in this discussion that gravity is only a theory. –True, and the theory of gravity is a very useful theory, one put forth by Newton. –True, we dont exactly understand the true nature of the force of gravity, there are why questions. –Formally, Newtons theory of gravity is incorrect – thats what Einstein did. Still, it is a very useful and very accurate theory, that allows us, for example, to always fall down and never fall up – and go to the Moon with some confidence.

53 PA2: Greenhouse Effect This is generally not a strongly argued point. Warming of the surface due to greenhouse gases make the planet habitable. –Habitable? Water exists in all three phases? Water and carbon dioxide and methane are most important natural greenhouse gases. Often a point of argument that water is the dominant gas, so traces of CO2 cannot be important. –Water is dominant … often said 2/3 rds of warming. Because there is so much water in the ocean, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is largely determined by temperature. (The relative humidity.) –This is where it is important to remember the idea of balance, the climate is in balance, and it is differences from this balance which we have co-evolved with that are important. Burning fossil fuels is taking us away from this balance. It is like opening or closing a crack in the window … it makes a big difference.

54 PA3: What happens to this CO 2 A new political argument: CO 2 from fossil fuels is small compared to what comes from trees and ocean. True. But a lot goes into trees and oceans as well. So it is the excess CO 2, the CO 2 on the margin that comes from fossil fuel burning. Not all of this goes into the trees and oceans, and it accumulates in the atmosphere. There are 8.6 Petagrams C per year emitted –3.5 Pg C stay in atmosphere –2.3 Pg C go into the ocean –3.0 Pg C go into the terrestrial ecosystems Terrestrial ecosystems sink needs far better quantification –Lal, Carbon Sequestration, PhilTransRoySoc 2008Lal, Carbon Sequestration, PhilTransRoySoc 2008 Its a counting problem! One of our easier ones.

55 PA4: Cycles Some say that there are cycles, they are natural, they are inevitable, they show that human have no influence. –Cycles? yes natural? Yes Inevitable There are forces beyond our control –We can determine what causes cycle; they are not supernatural Greenhouse gases change Life is involved ocean and land biology Humans are life This is the time humans release CO 2

56 PA4: Cycles CO 2 and T At the turn around of the ice ages, temperature starts to go up before CO 2 ; hence, T increase is unrelated to CO 2 –Need to think about time and balance here … There are sources of T and CO 2 variability other than the radiative greenhouse gas effect. –If CO 2 increases in the atmosphere, there will be enhanced surface warming, but is the increase large enough to change temperature beyond other sources of variability? –If T increases, there could be CO 2 increases associated with, for instance, release from solution in the ocean –CO2 increases could come from burning fossil fuels, massive die off of trees, volcanoes have to count, know the balance.

57 PA4: Cycles: Ice Ages In 1975 scientists were predicting an ice age. Now warming. You have no credibility, why should we believe you now. –In 1975, small number of papers got a lot of press attention. –2010 Think scientific method Observations, observations, observations Improved theory, predictions, cause and effect Results reproduced my many investigators, using many independent sources of observations Consistency of theory, prediction, and observations Probability of alternative description is very small.

58 The last 1000 years: The hockey stick Surface temperature and CO 2 data from the past 1000 years. Temperature is a northern hemisphere average. Temperature from several types of measurements are consistent in temporal behavior. Medieval warm period Little ice age Temperature starts to follow CO 2 as CO 2 increases beyond approximately 300 ppm, the value seen in the previous graph as the upper range of variability in the past 350,000 years. PA5:

59 PA5: Hockey Stick This is the hockey stick figure and it is very controversial. Quality of data, presentation, manipulation, messaging. –Rood blogRood blog –Nature on Hockey Stick ControversyNature on Hockey Stick Controversy There are some issues with data, messaging, emotions of scientists here, but the data are, fundamentally, correct.

60 PA5: Hockey Stick: Science But place the surface temperature record of the hockey stick in context using the scientific method. –Reproduction of results by independent researchers, through independent analyses –Verification of results in other types of observations sea level rise, ocean heat content, earlier start of spring –Consistency of signals with theory upper tropospheric cooling –Evaluation of alternative hypotheses

61 PA5: Hockey Stick: Temperature source There has developed a discussion between those who believe in surface temperature data and those who believe in satellite data. –Scientifically, it should not be a matter of belief, but validation. Each system has strengths and weaknesses. Differences should be reconciled, not held as proof of one over the other. Surface: Issues of how sited, representative, urban heat island –If ignored (wrong), then data flawed –If taken into account (right), then data are manipulted Satellite data objective and accurate? –Read the literature! Took years to get useful temperature. Every satellite is different, calibrated with non-satellite data And ultimately: Scientific method –Reproduction of results by independent researchers, through independent analyses –Verification of results in other types of observations –Consistency of signals with theory –Evaluation of alternative hypotheses

62 Projects

63 Use of climate information Research on the use of climate knowledge states that for successful projects, for example: –Co-development / Co-generation –Trust –Narratives –Scale Spatial Temporal Lemos and Morehouse, 2005

64 Projects Broad subjects and teams defined Meeting 1 with Rood –Now to early March: Project vision and goals Meeting 2 with Rood –Mid to late March: Progress report, refinement of goals if needed Class review –Short, informal presentation, external review and possible coordination Oral Presentation: April 10 and 12 Final written report: April 25

65 Project Teams Education / Denial –Allison Caine –Nayiri Haroutunian –Elizabeth McBride –Michelle Reicher

66 Project Teams Regional –Emily Basham –Catherine Kent –Sarah Schwimmer –James Toth –Nicholas Fantin

67 Project Teams City –Jian Wei Ang –Erin Dagg –Caroline Kinstle –Heather Lucier

68 Project Teams University –Nathan Hamet –Adam Schneider –Jillian Talaski –Victor Vardan

69 Goal to facilitate problem solving –Based on class experience –Support narratives –Build templates for problem solving

70 Approach to Problem Solving

71 Granularity No matter how we cut through this problem we come to the conclusion that there is a lot of granularity within the problem. This granularity represents complexity, which must be used to develop a portfolio of solutions rather than to classify the problem as intractable.

72 The previous viewgraphs have introduced granularity This is a classic short-term versus long-term problem. –Ethics –Economics –Reaction versus anticipation Similarly, regional versus global Rich and poor Competing approaches –Mitigation versus adaptation –Transportation versus Electrical Generation –This versus that

73 We arrive at levels of granularity TEMPORAL NEAR-TERMLONG-TERM SPATIAL LOCAL GLOBAL WEALTH Small scales inform large scales. Large scales inform small scales. Need to introduce spatial scales as well Sandvik: Wealth and Climate Change

74 What is short-term and long-term? 25 years 50 years75 years100 years0 years ENERGY SECURITY ECONOMY CLIMATE CHANGE Pose that time scales for addressing climate change as a society are best defined by human dimensions. Length of infrastructure investment, accumulation of wealth over a lifetime,... LONG SHORT There are short-term issues important to climate change. Election time scales

75 Structure of Problem Solving ( )

76 Knowledge Generation Reduction Disciplinary Problem Solving Unification Integration Complexity challenges disciplinary intuition The details of the problem often de-correlate pieces of the problem. –What do I mean? Think about heat waves? This challenges the intuition of disciplined-based experts, and the ability to generalize. – For example --- Detroit is like Chicago. The consideration of the system as a whole causes tensions – trade offs - optimization

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