Weeks 6 and 7 – reflections

My blog writing has gone amiss thanks to a nasty infection, but as viewers of the weekly feedback videos will note I have emerged from my bed. In fact I am just on my way back from a meeting with the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) which was very well aligned with our MOOC content this week. The meeting was all about what we would need to do to stay within 1.5C global warming – the target that is aspired to in the Paris agreement made late last year. The short answer is a lot, and quickly. To have a chance of limiting warming to 1.5C above preindustrial levels would require a heroic global effort starting now, maxing out all of our mitigation (greenhouse gas emissions reduction) options, and then doing a huge amount of deliberate carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere. In other words it needs all the elements we have been discussing this week – including generating renewable energy and reducing energy demand in the built environment – plus a hefty dose of carbon dioxide removal ‘geoengineering’. (Either that or ‘sunlight reflection’ methods rear their head.) Interestingly DECC want to know how doing all this would impact different countries around the world, as well as what climate impacts it would save in those countries. I think those of you taking the MOOC from around the world can help answer that…

Professor Tim

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