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Regional Climate Change: Political and Physical Challenges Regional Climate Change: Physical and Political Challenges UW Climate.

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Presentation on theme: "Regional Climate Change: Political and Physical Challenges Regional Climate Change: Physical and Political Challenges UW Climate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Regional Climate Change: Political and Physical Challenges Regional Climate Change: Physical and Political Challenges UW Climate Impacts Group

2 20 th century PNW climate trends UW Climate Impacts Group

3 PNW Temperature Trends by Station Average annual temperature increased +1.5  F in the PNW during the 20th century (+2.3  F in the Puget Sound) Almost every station shows warming Extreme cold conditions have become rarer Low temperatures rose faster than high temperatures Annual variability present throughout the warming trend 3.6 °F 2.7 °F 1.8 °F 0.9 °F Cooler Warmer Mote 2003(a)

4 PNW Precipitation Trends (Western WA, OR, BC) No clear trend in precipitation over the 20th century due to interannual and interdecadal variability

5 Snow Water Equivalent Trends Most PNW stations showing a decline in snow water equivalent Numerous sites in the Cascades with 30% to 60% declines Decrease Increase Similar trends seen throughout the western United States - 73% of stations show a decline in April 1 snow water equivalent

6 Trends in the Timing of Spring Runoff Advances of days between Greatest trends in PNW, Canada, and AK >30% of trends are statistically significant at the 90% level, especially in the PNW Stewart, I., Cayan, D.R., and Dettinger, M.D., 2004, Changes in snowmelt runoff timing in western North America under a "Business as Usual" climate change scenario: Climatic Change 62, days later - 20 days earlier Peak of spring runoff is moving earlier into the spring throughout western US and Canada

7 21 st century PNW climate change UW Climate Impacts Group

8 Projected 21 st century PNW climate 2020sTemperatu re Precipitati on Low + 0.7ºF (0.4ºC) - 4% Mean + 1.9ºF (1.1ºC) +2 % High + 3.2ºF (1.8ºC) +7% 2040sTemperatu re Precipitati on Low + 1.4ºF (0.8ºC) - 4% Mean + 2.9ºF (1.6ºC) + 2% High + 4.6ºF (2.6ºC) + 9 % All changes are benchmarked to average temperature and precipitation for Projected rate of warming: °F (~ 0.5ºF average) per decade through at least 2050 (compared to 1.5°F over 20th century) Temperatures are projected to increase across all seasons; most models project the largest temperature increases in summer (June-August) High confidence in projected temp changes, less confidence in precipitation changes

9 Average temperature could increase beyond the year-to-year variability observed in the PNW during the 20th century as early as the 2020s

10 Main Impact (I): Less Snow Warmer temperatures contribute to more winter precipitation falling as rain rather than snow, particularly in transient (mid-elevation) basins “Current” Climate~ 2040s (+3°F)~ 2060s (+4.5°F) -44%-58% Changes in Simulated April 1 Snowpack for the Cascade Range in WA and OR In (mm)

11 Main Impact (II): Altered Streamflows If more winter rain → higher winter streamflows Warmer temperatures → earlier snowmelt and a shift in the timing of peak runoff Lower winter snowpack → lower spring and summer flows (note: under new scenarios, light blue bands are more likely to be seen mid-century (2050s) rather than 2040s +3.6 to +5.4°F (+2 to +3°C) Projected streamflow changes in the Quinalt and Yakima Rivers

12 Projected Implications Water supplies: –Increased vulnerability to drought, –Increased competition for water during summer as demands increase with population growth and climate change Water quality: –Altered fresh/marine water quality, e.g., water temp, dissolved oxygen, salinity, nutrients, fecal coliform –Impacts vary with parameter and location Flooding and stormwater management: –Increased risk of winter flooding and CSOs in mid- and low-elevation basins –Changes in urban flooding less clear, re: importance of freq. and intensity of storm events rather than changes in avg. conditions

13 Projected Implications (cont’d) Hydropower: –Increased winter generation due to higher streamflows (but lower demand, re: warmer temps) –Reduced summer generation due to lower streamflows (but increased demand, re: warmer temps) Salmon: –Increased stress due to lower summer and fall streamflows, warmer water temperatures, and increased potential for winter flooding. –Unclear how coastal or open ocean conditions will respond to climate change Marine ecosystem and function: –Impacts reverberate through the food web from the bottom-up (e.g., phytoplankton) and top-down (e.g., marine mammals). –Magnitude of change hard to predict at this point but broad reorganization of systems observed with subtle changes in natural variability

14 Forests: –Increased vulnerability to severe forest fires and insect outbreaks; –Reduced regeneration and growth at dry low elevation sites (with some benefit at higher elevations); –Shifts in some species ranges over time Agriculture: –Overall impacts vary with crops and availability of water –Increased crop yields where there is sufficient soil moisture or irrigation water –Increased weed growth and risk of pest outbreaks And let’s not forget about… Skiing: –Increased risk of shortened ski season at lower elevation ski areas due to lack of snow or poor snow quality –Could improve customer access to ski areas Projected Implications (cont’d)

15 Climate change will force resource managers and planners to deal with increasingly complex trade-offs between different management objectives. Planning for climate change is needed if the region is to adapt to climate change. Climate Impacts Group USFWSWA Dept. of EcologyClimate Impacts Group

16 Planning for Climate Change Get familiar with climate impacts, Recognize that the past may no longer be a dependable guide to the future, Take actions to increase the adaptability of regional ecosystems to future change, Monitor regional climate and ecosystems for ongoing change, and Expect surprises and design for flexibility to changing conditions. Planning for climate change is needed if the region is to adapt to climate change. Policy makers, planners, and resource managers should:

17 Summary Continued warming expected. The PNW is expected to continue warming through the 21 st century even if greenhouse gas emissions stopped today. Even the lowest projected warming would change PNW climate significantly. Human choices matter. Human activities have a significant impact on PNW ecosystems and ultimately affect the resiliency of these systems (negatively or positively). Knowledge and tools for planning exist now. Take steps to increase capacity to adapt to changes, monitor for ongoing change, design for flexibility.

18 The Prisoner’s Dilemma Two suspects arrested; neither with sufficient evidence for conviction Separately questioned by police, and each offered same deal: –if one testifies for the prosecution against the other and the other remains silent, the betrayer goes free and the silent accomplice receives the full 10-year sentence –If both stay silent, both prisoners are sentenced to only six months in jail for a minor charge –If each betrays the other, each receives a two-year sentence Each prisoner must make the choice of whether to betray the other or to remain silent. However, neither prisoner knows for sure what choice the other prisoner will make.

19 The dilemma arises from the assmption that both prisoners only care about minimizing their own jail terms. Each prisoner has two options: to cooperate with his accomplice and stay quiet, or to defect from their implied pact and betray his accomplice in return for a lighter sentence. The outcome of each choice depends on the choice of the accomplice, but each prisoner must choose without knowing what his accomplice has chosen to do.

20 Axelrod research: –Competition to derive best software for iterative version of the PD. –Resulting programs varied widely in complexity, initial hostility, capacity for forgiveness etc. –Greedy strategies tend to do poorly in iteration; altruistic tend to do well (form of evidence for how initially selfish behavior can lead to altruism) –Winner: “tit for tat”, four lines of basic code. Cooperate on first move, then do whatever opponent does on subsequent moves Slightly better is tit for tat with forgiveness (<5% of time) in case opponent starts playing tit for tat after initial defection, and especially good if miscommunication is assumed –Has recently been shown that a series of programs capable of recognizing each other and programmed to either defect or cooperate in a field of many other programs will be very successful, but sometimes can loose big too. –If the number of iterations is known, the best solution is always to defect.

21 At what scale action? Significant local, state actions (ex: mayors’ agreements, CA, WA gubernatorial action) International agreements failing for several reason (ex: FCCC, Kyoto, Montreal protocol) Grass roots for adaptation and mitigation may work, but is that enough?

22 Miles’ Anticipation of a “Hard Regulation” of GHGs Approach in 1991 “Hard regulation” may not be politically feasible because scope of effort would be too large. Would involve clear global agreement on standard or standards of GHG concentrations. This is very difficult to do given painful cost implications for AICs & adverse impacts to economies. Negotiation of freely transferable quotas between states (emissions trading) & within states between firms. This very complex undertaking & will take time. Negotiation of a monitoring/surveillance system; effective enforcement provisions; & a dispute settlement procedure. All of the above will entail an extremely difficult, time-consuming process (>1-2 decades). In interim, few ameliorative actions may be taken. Decision process itself would be very uncertain (Pandora’s Box); & the Law of the Least Ambitious Program would be dominant.

23 Additional Problems re Hard Regulation Level of ignorance re GCC problem in all its aspects very high. World community faced with combination of high complexity & great uncertainty re physical process and re magnitude & timing of impacts. Under those conditions, setting hard targets essentially an arbitrary exercise. Need to let research process work its way forward, but that need not stop all attempts to regulate.

24 If Hard Global Regulation Not Possible, What Are the Alternatives? Assess in detail possibility of pursuing “soft regulation” in decentralized fashion as strategy for buying time in face of uncertainty. “Soft regulation” = avoiding clear standards, precise goals, & firm targets. Seek to initiate process combining diffuse & specific reciprocity strategies between OECD members, the USSR [now Russia], Central Europe [avoid coal], China, & India, & eventually the Third World. Begin process in OECD group. Significant reductions in emissions would leave room for growth for Third World w/o necessity of triggering major confrontation in global setting. [Use carbon tariffs on trade as penalty]. Process requires heavy reliance on side payments vis-à-vis Russia, China, & Third World, in addition to epistemic communities & building of consensual knowledge [the IPCC]. Design decision process to maximize learning potential over time to build confidence participants would need for iterative rounds of cuts, [cf. LRTAP].

25 Miles’ Alternatives, cont’d. As part of preparatory process seek answers to following questions: On what scale does regulation have to proceed? Since group size is an important criterion, what can effectively be done on a regional as opposed to a global basis? Is it possible to mute the potential North/South dimension to conflict by initially focusing most regulatory action on the North? What strategies are available for ensuring maximum participation with the least potential for conflict? How can states most effectively appraise the performance of decentralized actions so that they can have confidence that the standards are being met ?

26 Technical Implications of Kyoto Protocol: Comments of Prof. Bert Bolin, Chair of IPCC, Nature,16 Jan Within “basket”, increase of CO 2 alone accounting for 70% of total increase of radiative forcing. Not many measures available for decreasing CH 4 & No x. Other components contribute only few % to radiative forcing. Even with full compliance of Protocol, by 2010 AICs still contributing 4X CO 2 emissions of LDCs. Even with full compliance, accumulated emissions of CO 2 from 1990 to 2010 = 140Gt C, implying increase in atmospheric concentration by ~29ppmv to 382ppmv. The Kyoto Conference did not achieve much with respect to limiting the buildup of GHG in atmosphere. US (Bush II) rejecting agreement. For Protocol to be functional, EU needing Japan & Russia to sign & ratify. Side deal made with Russia re admission to WTO. Japan requiring watering down of compliance provision. No penalties for non-compliance. By 2006 compliance low generally.

27 Trigger for Starting Over OECD participants now convinced the Kyoto Protocol cannot produce effective solutions, perceive that urgency of problem has increased, & are prepared to pursue less than global pathway.

28 Return to the Buying Time Option: EU Vision Preferences are for eschewing search for immediate global agreement and shift to decentralized, coordinated policy agreements beginning in OECD group, with or without formal legal arrangements at initial stage. Would require formal agreement on monitoring & reporting system to create transparency. Would also require coordinated agreement on carbon taxes & approaches to carbon sequestration, particularly from coal-fired power & industrial plants. Would require US leadership which becoming increasingly possible. Significant bottom-up shift in policy views at city, state, & industry levels in view of rate and magnitude of CC impacts. Split in fundamentalist coalition on this point in US politically significant. The more significantly adverse climate change impacts are experienced, the stronger will be public support for the policies which are required.

29 So What Changes Are On The Horizon? Observations & Conversations, September 2006 Widespread agreement among high-level government officials, excluding US, from OECD countries that they shouldn’t try to renegotiate UNFCCC & Kyoto Protocol in same manner as before. Would take too long. Developing countries unlikely to accept binding targets at level satisfying to AICs. Strong agreement to seek energy security most immediately through increasing efficiency. For instance, IEA calculating that if all household appliances made with same capability of laptops (battery capacity for independent ops.), would save 15GW electricity/yr. Accept that rejecting global approach means accepting individual/group approaches among like-minded. Aware that in next 30 yrs. globally, nuclear power & renewables providing only c. 10% of global energy needs. So coal is the real option for the near term. This a huge problem [and why C sequestration req’d.]


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