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Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and Civil Engineering Dr Stuart Parkinson

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Presentation on theme: "Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and Civil Engineering Dr Stuart Parkinson"— Presentation transcript:

1 Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and Civil Engineering Dr Stuart Parkinson

2 The basic science… Natural ‘greenhouse effect’ –Sun’s heat trapped by greenhouse gases (GHGs) Human emissions of GHGs trapping more heat This ‘global warming’ is leading to changes in climate Assessment of scale of the problem provided by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

3 Defining the climate problem Present global temperatures –are 0.7  C higher than 100y ago –are higher than at any time in the last 1000y Predicted global temperatures in 2100 –will be between 1.4 and 5.8  C higher than 1990 –will increase faster than at any time since the transition from last Ice Age (10,000y ago) èLead to major changes in climate

4 Variations of the Earth’s Surface Temperature: 1000 to 2100 1000 to 1861, N. Hemisphere, proxy data; 1861 to 2000 Global, Instrumental; 2000 to 2100, SRES projections Source: IPCC (2001)

5 Reliability of scientific assessment Physics of Greenhouse Effect well understood (observations of Earth, Mars, Venus) Wide range of data on past climate –eg ‘ice cores’ show carbon dioxide and temperature have varied together over past 420,000y Climate models calibrated on past changes used to predict future changes

6 CO2 versus temperature

7 Human emissions of GHGs Carbon dioxide (60% of warming effect) from burning coal, oil, gas for energy; and deforestation Methane (20%) from gas leaks, livestock, paddy fields ‘F’ gases, eg HFCs (14%) from fridges, air-conditioning, electronics industry etc Nitrous oxide (6%) from nylon industry, agriculture etc

8 What will be the effects? Sea level rise – approx 0.5m by 2100 ‘More energetic hydrological cycle’ –More severe weather, eg storms, floods in some areas, with droughts in others Large regional changes in climate –Jeopardising food, water supplies Risk of dramatic/ irreversible climate shifts Poorer countries most vulnerable

9 Possible impacts Recent UK Meteorological Office study… Increase in people facing ‘water stress’ –extra 3 billion (four-fold increase) by 2080 Increase in people facing malaria –extra 290 million by 2080 Increase in people facing flooding –Eight-fold increase by 2080 Substantial die-back of tropical forests

10 Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) Agreed at Rio Earth Summit in 1992 Aim: ‘to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’ Method: control of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions Industrialised countries agreed to act first 190 countries now ratified

11 Kyoto Protocol (KP) Agreed in 1997 Set targets and timetables for control of emissions of 6 GHGs in 38 industrialised countries (and EU) Combined target equals 5.2% reduction in net emissions between 1990 and 2008-2012 Allowed for use of carbon trading, carbon sinks (forestry etc)

12 KP Targets EU: 8% overall cut compared to 1990 –UK: 12.5% cut; Germany: 21% cut; France: 0% USA: 7% cut Japan: 6% cut most Eastern European countries: 8% cut Russia: 0% Australia: 8% increase

13 KP current status Entered into force on 16 th February, 2005 Ratified by 150 countries USA, Australia not ratified for ‘economic’ reasons

14 Tackling CO2 emissions Change energy production –Fuel switching, renewables, cogeneration, carbon capture and storage, nuclear? Preserve and improve forestry –Conservation, reforestation, afforestation Improve energy efficiency –Buildings/ transport/ industrial sectors

15 Improving energy efficiency in buildings sector Global CO2 emissions in 1990 (MtC/y) Annual growth rate (1990-95) Potential reduction in 2010 (MtC/y) Potential reduction in 2020 (MtC/y) Buildings16501.0%700-7501,000-1,100 Notes Buildings emissions are approx 25% of total global CO2 emissions from all sectors Figures include construction and use of buildings Most reductions available at negative net direct cost Source: IPCC (2001)

16 Technical measures Over 200 technical energy efficiency measures have been identified in buildings sector Main areas –insulation (roofs/ walls/ windows); efficient space heating/ water heating/ ventilation; efficient appliances/ lighting; environmental design; energy management systems; local energy sources (eg Bipv)

17 Technical measures Space heating is largest energy user ‘Integrated building design’ reduces energy use by 40% on average Use of energy efficient appliances/ lighting reduces energy use by 40% on average ‘Aggressive implementation’ can lead to major GHG reductions and be cost-saving

18 UK efforts Gov estimates UK will beat KP target –GHG emissions reduced by 21% by 2010 Buildings sector –Business UK ETS; climate change levy; CC agreements –Domestic Energy Efficiency Action Plan; promotion of new technologies

19 Conclusions Climate change resulting from human activity is an extremely serious global threat Buildings sector is a major source of GHG emissions Environmental action by the civil engineering sector is both cost-effective and can make a very large contribution to tackling the problem

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