Author of New IPCC Report Says She Still Has Hope

DHARNA NOOR: It’s The Real News, I’m Dharna
Noor. A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change says governments, businesses, policy-makers and individuals must take “rapid,
far-reaching and unprecedented action in all aspects of society to avoid climate disaster.” Three years ago, under the Paris climate accord,
countries agreed to aim to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial
levels and set 1.5 degrees Celsius as an aspirational target. But this new report says 1.5 degrees of warming
could be catastrophic, and we might get there as soon as 2030. Now joining me to talk about this is one of
the contributors to the report, Heleen de Conick is associate professor in Innovation
Studies at the Environmental Science Department at Radboud University’s Faculty of Science. She was a coordinating lead author on this
special IPCC report. Thanks for coming on today. HELEEN DE CONINCK: My pleasure. DHARNA NOOR: So Helen, this report was written
at the request of countries that signed 2015’s Paris Climate Accord, which again, set 1.5
degrees of warming as a safe target to stay under 2 degrees. Talk about what happens when we hit that 1.5
degrees Celsius, and is the question if or when? Is it an inevitability? HELEEN DE CONINCK: So, the parties in the
Paris Indeed have asked for these reports to answer that question whether they can still
make the 1.5 degree targets or limits, and how that would compare to limiting global
warming to 2 degrees. The Paris agreement says that we, as a world,
should stay well below 2 degrees temperature rise compared to pre-industrial, and strive
for 1.5 degree temperature rise. In terms of the difference in impacts, this
report really has added lot to the understanding of that. For instance, we know now that under a 2 degree
limit, pretty much all coral reefs in the world will just die. Under a 1.5 degree limit, some of them would
still be left. Another example is sea level rise, which is
very important for my own country. I’m from the Netherlands, and a large part
of the Netherlands is below sea level. So, sea level rise is a big risk. At the end of this century, by the 2100s,
sea level rise will be 10 centimeters less under a 1.5 degree scenario than under a two
degree scenario. Globally, that would mean that at least 10
million people fewer would be affected by sea level rise, so this is a really significant
reduction in the impacts. As for whether it’s still possible, the report
concludes that it’s still possible. We’re not geophysically committed to exceeding
the 1.5 degree limits. So, that’s the good news. This, by the way, includes potential scenarios
that would slightly overshoot 1.5 degrees and then go back down, but would be under
1.5 degrees by the end of the century, so by 2100. The bad news is that it would really take
a tremendous effort, pretty much everyone in the world, including every business, every
country, every financial institution and every community to help us stay below that target. The issue is that our economic activities
are so intertwined with greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, particularly fossil energy
use, that it’s very difficult to change all those activities at such short notice, as
would be required for the one and a half degree limits. So it’s a bit of a mixed message. We need a lot of effort to remain below 1.5
degrees. It’s still possible, and if you look at the
impacts, it’s up for the politicians to decide, of course, but we are basically presenting
a case in this IPCC report that it might be worth going for a 1.5 degree targets relative
to a 2 degrees target. DHARNA NOOR: To that point, this report is
being called the IPCC’s most political report yet, and you are one of the lead authors of
the report’s chapter on emission control measures. What kinds of measures do policymakers need
to take in order to curb emissions? HELEEN DE CONINCK: Sure. So, my chapter, chapter four, is about strengthening
and implementing the global response. So we’re assessing which mitigation and adaptation
options are there, and how feasible they are, and what we could do as a global community
to make that happen. It’s also important to realize as not just
policy makers or politicians that should act. They’re definitely one of the groups that
should act, but they cannot do it alone. Because if businesses keep on resisting change,
then they will have a hard time following things through as well. And it’s a very interconnected world that
we have now. So what we’re saying is, basically we’re looking
at our measures in four, maybe five big groups. And one set is related to the energy systems
transition. So that’s everything related to the supply
of our energy. We should very rapidly shift from a predominantly
fossil fuel based system to a predominantly renewables based system that is also very
efficient with energy. As an example, this means that by 2050, the
world would basically not use any coal anymore for electricity generation. At the moment, this is 40 percent of the electricity
generation in the world, which is a big change. The second transition that we look at is the
land and ecosystems transition, and this relates very much both to the energy system and how
we deal with nature and our forests and the emissions that entails. And it relates also to agriculture and how
we produce our food. Now, one of the options there is, for instance,
we would all eat much less meat. A lot of the surface area now used for agriculture
to produce the fodder for our cattle would be freed up to supply, for instance, renewable
energy. Third transition is in industry. It’s also a very big sector, which produces
all our goods that are also transported around the world to produce, for instance, steel
and cement and plastics. And this also will need to go, basically,
to almost zero emissions in the next 35 years show. And the fourth one is the urban and infrastructure
transition. And we’re looking at urban systems as sort
of places where you should start with big changes, because a lot of things come together
there. And it’s not enough just to look at energy
use in buildings or energy use in transportation. It all relates to each other. If you plan your city in a way that you can
you reduce your transport needs and make your houses more efficient, you could do that in
one go through urban planning policies, for instance. So those are sort of the four sets of measures. And then there’s a fifth one which is fairly
new, and this is called carbon dioxide removal technologies. These are technologies that make sure that
the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is reduced. And not just reducing the emissions, so how
much are we putting into the atmosphere, but reducing the concentrations of CO2 in the
atmosphere. You can do that, for instance, with large-scale
tree plantings, with large-scale forestation, but also by using biomass for producing energy,
and then capturing the CO2 from that by ways of electricity plans and storing it in geological
formations in the deep underground. And that way, you would also reduce CO2 concentrations
in the atmosphere. And we’d probably need those removal options
in order to lower concentrations and reduce temperatures towards the end of the century
if there’s a slight overshoot. DHARNA NOOR: It’s interesting, the report
deals with what could be called the need for lifestyle changes, but it sounds like you’re
outlining sort of bigger picture changes that would impact lifestyle changes. But can individual changes really make a difference
when it comes to a problem as huge as climate change? Some are saying, if you’re concerned about
the IPCC’s new report, individually eat less meat or individually drive in your car less. Can those sorts of things really make an impact? HELEEN DE CONINCK: I think absolutely. So I think underlying the existent transitions
that I just laid out are all kinds of other processes, including how people decide to
live their lives and what lifestyles they’ll have. But I also don’t think it’s fair to place
the responsibility on the individual fully. I mean, people can do what they can, but if
in their cities there is no bike lanes or there’s no urban transport provided, no public
transport provided because the cities are planned in such a way that it’s basically
infeasible or inviable to have public transport, then of course the individual is sort of trapped
in a high carbon lifestyle. And I think that’s why it’s incredibly important
for realizing this 1.5 C limit that all actors in the system start collaborating. So individuals would indicate what are the
barriers to that changing lifestyles, governments and companies should respond by enabling them
to do better, basically, and to abandon their high carbon and find the way to lead a low
carbon lifestyle. The same goes for meat. I mean, you need to have your nutrition, and
if you’re low carbon products in the supermarkets are more expensive or harder to get by or
just don’t taste as good as meat based products or animal waste products, then it’s still
very hard for individuals to make that difference. And it’s not really made very easy for them. So it has to be a collaboration between the
different actors, and they have to work in synergy. And that’s one of the biggest challenges that
we also lay out in the chapter that I contributed to. DHARNA NOOR: You also mentioned that the report
calls for the use of carbon capture, or carbon capture and storage. But critics of carbon capture and storage,
or CCS, have said that the method is high-risk, it’s very expensive, and that it could actually
increase emissions due to the greater demand for things like coal. Could you respond to some of these critiques
and talk about why, despite them, you’re advocating for CCS? HELEEN DE CONINCK: So I think in the report
we do have a few scenarios that don’t use CCS at all. They would demand very, very stringent lifestyle
changes early on. Otherwise, you just need it in order to bring
emissions down. CCS, carbon capture and storage, has been
on the agenda since maybe 15 years or so and hasn’t really taken off so far. There’s about 40 megatons of CO2 capture and
storage globally. Some projects suffer from public resistance,
indeed related to the risks of geological storage, some from just poor economics, because
it’s more expensive than coal fired or any kind of plan without CCS. I think governments have the role to get the
economics right, by rebates or carbon pricing or subsidies or another standard. In terms of the risks of geological storage,
if you listen to the experts on this, they say that these risks are fully manageable,
and it can be done safely if regulated well and if the right reservoirs are selected for
geological storage. As for the rise in coal use if we use carbon
capture and storage, I think that would be true if you would have limited the mitigation
of emissions elsewhere. But if you would go to basically coal-free
electricity and industrial system by 2050, you would use renewable electricity to capture
your CO2, so it would not be such an issue anymore. Now, I see also in the scenarios, that we
would be using carbon capture and storage basically for three reasons. One is to reduce the emissions from industry,
which are otherwise very hard to reduce. For instance, cement has, just inherent in
its process, a CO2 emission that cannot be replaced by anything else. So you would have to do something with that
CO2. The second reason is to use it on gas-fired
power plants, and that’s also what the report outlines. And this gas-fired electricity you would still
need in order to balance the intermittent renewable sources, which sometimes depend
on the weather or whether it’s dark or light outside. And the third reason is for carbon dioxide
removal, as I outlined earlier, in combination with either bioenergy or chemical capture
of CO2 directly from the atmosphere. I don’t think, at least that’s not why the
pathways are saying, that CCS would be used a lot on coal fired electricity, because as
some of the critics are saying as well, the emissions basically would still be too high
for a 1.5 degree pathway, and coal would be surpassed in attractiveness by other electricity
options. DHARNA NOOR: I actually recently spoke with
climate scientist, Michael Mann, he’s the author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate
Wars, about this report. Let’s take a listen to a clip from that interview. MICHAEL MANN: That the IPCC made a number
of extremely conservative, I would argue overly conservative, decisions in how they measure
the warming that has already happened. And by doing that, they underestimate how
close we are to these 1.5 degree Celsius and 2 degree Celsius thresholds. And they overestimate how much carbon we have
left to burn. If you look, for example, at the northern
hemisphere, which is where most of us live, and you ask the question, “When do we cross
the 2 degree Celsius warming threshold for the northern hemisphere if we continue with
business as usual, burning of fossil fuels?” I showed in an article several years ago,
in Scientific American, we cross that threshold before 2040, in the late 2030s. DHARNA NOOR: What’s your response to Michael
Mann saying that this report is too conservative, that it understates the possibilities of climate
disaster? HELEEN DE CONINCK: Well first of all, I deeply
respect Michael Mann and I don’t even dare to take issue with him on this topic, which
is much more an issue of the mind. But the way I understand we did this in the
IPCC report, is by looking at the real temperature developments so far and look at what has actually
been the warming up to now and then since and derived the climate sensitivity to CO2
and other greenhouse gases from that relation. And that’s actually a novelty, which was basically
not done yet in earlier IPCC reports as far as I know, not in the other literature. It’s based on a few very recent papers, and
we had big debate within the IPCC author team, like what sort of approach should we take
and decide for this, because this is the latest state of literature. But I really should emphasize that these temperature
predictions, whichever you take, are surrounded by huge uncertainties. And even the 1.5 degree pathways that you
will see in this IPCC report, give you between 50 and 66 percent chance of staying below
1.5 C at the end of the century. So if you want 100 percent chance, that basically
means that we should reduce emissions very, very quickly, and in that sense Professor
Mann is certainly right. I think it depends a bit on which kind of
probability you take for the 1.5 degrees, and also what type of temperature and climate
sensitivity you would assume for this. I hope this clarifies. DHARNA NOOR: Sure. And again, in the report you wrote, by 2050
the world’s net CO2 emissions should be zero. Talk a little bit more about the political
and economic implications of this. This would essentially require decarbonizing
every sector of the global economy. And here in the U.S., Trump has cast doubt
on this report. He said, “I can give you reports that are
fabulous and I can give you reports that aren’t so good.” Just last year, he pulled the U.S. out of
the Paris climate agreement. So given this political climate, you could
say, is it even possible to try to curb climate change through emissions reduction? HELEEN DE CONINCK: So of course, the political
situation varies over the years, and the IPCC report looks at things on a global level and
doesn’t go into the politics of individual countries. We just trying to outline the evidence that
we see and also try to outline what enabling conditions we see for making the 1.5 degree
limits. And as for whether is possible from a political
point of view, we have the sense that what we have looks at, because it’s based on literature,
we have to rely on the peer-reviewed literature for this. What we see at the moment is that some countries
are really urging ahead on this. Some countries have adopted greenhouse gas
emission reduction targets which are almost in line with net zero and in 2050, and those
countries tend to be thriving, and might be the technological leaders in the decades to
come because they’re really investing in it. There’s also literature that says that even
without climate targets, you would see a huge reduction in renewable energy supply costs
which could even be so much that it would price other fossil fuel options out of the
markets. That would help, if that scenario would play
out. And we’re not sure, I mean the IPCC doesn’t
have a crystal ball. Then it would actually become in countries’
interests to invest in the new technologies rather than the old fossil ones. It would still help to have climate policy,
of course, which would speed things up, but it’s potentially not even a pure necessity. DHARNA NOOR: So Heleen, given that you did
say that there are countries, governments, nations, who are setting the stage for climate
leadership and who are implementing the right kinds of policies, do you have hope that we
could stay under that 1.5 degrees Celsius, could stay under that 2 degrees Celsius, that
we could avoid the kinds of climate disaster that are outlined in the IPCC’s latest report? HELEEN DE CONINCK: Personally, I think the
IPCC report and the results therein, they give me hope, yes. I think it shows that we can still change
our future, and I think it also shows that some cities and some regions and even countries
are at least pretty much on track to give a good example to the rest of the world. So personally, I think this is a hopeful report. And of course, there are many barriers to
overcome, there’s many issues that we need to deal with, but I just hope that this report
gives some tools and some actionable information for policymakers to start dealing with those
big questions that are coming their way. I have heard a lot of their responses to this
report, and some of them are very positive, and also basically leads people and communities
and countries to get into the action, to get into gear. Of course, there are also always responses
that indicate, “No, we’re not going to change things.” It’s part of the game that will eventually
have to play in order to get further along. But we will really see, I think, more depends
on what will happen at COP24, in the next climate conference where an internal dialogue,
which is a dialogue between the parties of the Paris Agreement about a way forward. I think that will give us a lot of information
about how this report will be taken forward and whether the 1.5 degree target will remain
in sight. DHARNA NOOR: Well, as we continue to see how
individuals and governments and policy makers respond to this report, and leading up to
COP24 in Poland, we would love to talk to you again. So please stay in the loop, and thanks for
coming on today. HELEEN DE CONINCK: My pleasure. DHARNA NOOR: And Thank you for joining us
on The Real News Network.

35 thoughts on “Author of New IPCC Report Says She Still Has Hope

  1. In regards to the Climate Crisis, there is another source of hope.
    1) The U.S. Government plans on
    full UFO DISCLOSURE after the 2020 Election.
    Per Stephen Basset, Executive Director of the Paradigm Research Group.
    Stephen Basset's Prediction of Trump's Resignation Before UFO Disclosure. on YouTube.
    2) The ET Civilizations are 100,000
    years ahead of us in development.
    Once we connect to them they can
    help us solve many of our problems. They have already volunteered to help rescue our Environment.
    Per Dr Richard Boylan, Secret Meetings with Star Nations.
    Also, the ETs want us to have the
    FREE ENERGY SYSTEM, that will
    eliminate the need for Coal, Oil and Gas World wide.
    See: The Promise of New Energy.
    Per Dr. Steven Greer, the Orion
    Project. on YouTube.
    Both Doctors are in Direct Contact
    with ET leadership's.
    Secret Space Program, UFOs,
    Disclosure and Fall of the Petri.
    Dr. Steven Greer. on YouTube.

  2. There is no hope, everyone's preparing for the world to heat up like a hockey stick, but it's going to cool down like an inverted hockey stick. The IPCC has been tampering with historical temps, to hide the fact earth is cooling down. Only morons listen to the politicians advice, they are elected liars. When you see the sun send out plasma electricity, hold on tight, fireworks in the sky is coming. Real news is good, but they are cold wrong on climate change. Earth needs purification from brainless ignorance anyways.

  3. The oil and gas industries spend millions of dollars paying on line trolls to claim climate change is a hoax on every social media platform. Why? Because they have to. If they don't actively spread doubt and disinformation in public opinion,they might be forced to change,and that would cost them a lot of money. Simple as that. Climate change is very real,it's worsened dramatically by burning hydrocarbons,and they're making money off of it. Whether you believe it or not is completely irrelevant,it's already happening,it's only getting worse,and we will all suffer equally,regardless.

  4. We need more nuclear energy.
    Zero deaths from civilian nuclear energy in the United States. Four people die every minute from fossil fuels, prematurely decommissioning nuclear reactors is increasing climate change as we use more dirty energy.

  5. My wife and I love to grow things and for several years now we've grown a tropical vine called Mandevilla in the Summer. Every Fall we're confronted with the same problem and that is how can we preserve our beautiful plant until next Spring. We've placed the plant in the Garage, in the Basement and a neighbor once put one in his Living room but they always die. If you are one of the Brain Dead, Deep in denial Cheerleaders of the Capitalist model then it's either party like it's 1999 because there is nothing that can be done or deny reality. The Merchants of Power know exactly what's happening and they know that the first step in addressing Climate change will be getting rid of Capitalism which makes them powerless. The Merchants solution is rapid depopulation after all 7 Billion people use a lot of Carbon and can be unmanageable. The Human species is an organism just like the Mandevilla and once Summer ends that's it, there are no safe havens for the chosen few.

  6. Interesting, neither did this reporter ask for evidence to support these IPCC claims nor did the lead author of the report offer to explain the evidence she based her predictions on. This whole segment was about free market solutions to solve a problem they neglect to explain the proof that it exists. We are all just supposed to what…place our faith in the brain trust that lives under the same roof as the IMF and World Bank.

  7. We are at .14 degrees away from global cooling. iPCC is in trouble and panicking just like when hey were caught with the fake hockystick. Its the sun cycles and has nothing to do with CO2.

  8. How do we reduce the number of people? That's the root cause of all of this. 7 billion more people than the planet can sustain.

  9. Fossil fuels will probably be used forever bec fossil fuels (plus chemicals and plastic derived from fossil fuels) are much more useful than the alternatives.

  10. Probably alternative energy sources will not be able to keep up with overconsumption and overpopulation. Few people have followed the example of scientist Kevin Anderson to give up cars and planes. The minimum requirement for each person is actually only about 2,000 calories per day per person (from digesting and burning food) if fire was never discovered, whereas, currently, each american is maybe burning about 200,000 calories per day.

  11. An ice free arctic summer 2019 or 2020 means an immediate temperature spike with higher crop losses, already down 20%-30% in 2018 and game over for humanity. A 40% crop loss doesn't bode well for 7.6 billion people. IPCC stands for Idiots Predicting Climate Change.

  12. The human species is currently organized as various countries (like cancerous organs who are ready to kill other cancerous organs) so probably more practical to be pessimistic, and the death of the human species from the very many cancerous countries is probably going to be very painful which is true of most cancer deaths.

  13. She wrote part of the report and is suggesting that gas is still viable because renewables are intermittent? Battery storage + renewables is already totally viable to replace any fossil fuel. They need to get someone better for the next report. Total insanity.

  14. Change is not gonna happen. Kiss your ass goodbye or at least your kids. Live, Love, Laugh. That's all that's left. That's all we had but it's coming to an end.

  15. Capitalism demonises those who do not consume. It's actually too late anyway. Almost no one dare speak the truth, certainly not the IPCC.

  16. RECORD SNOW, ICE and RECORD COLD TEMPERATURES……right now across the Earth and especially the Northern Hemisphere………
    I don't know how any of this is possible right in the wake of the IPCC gathering and their renewed consensus of Man-Made CO2 Global Meltdown by 2030……
    If the IPCC models don't predict this kind of weather in their Man-Made CO2 Global Meltdown Climate Change Models then we may not be able to view their predictions as credible going forwad.
    None of the IPCC models of Man-Made CO2 Global Meltdown have reasonably predicted future climate outcome since their inception……

  17. She says she was part of the making of the report then she should feel guilty for not telling that there models were designed to be linier and not non linier and that many feed backs were not included in the models. One being methane and the slowing of the ocean currents. Things are a lot worse than IPCC has said. Just this year the ice moved away from the northern shores of Greenland and that was not to happen for many decades making IPCC report outdated already. They making it looks like we have the financial means of making all these changes fast enough and all this extra manufacturing will only add massive amount s of CO2.

  18. Why are we still talking about what will happen by 2100 when all the literature and scientist (including most of the 2100 timeline scientist) are now say these things will come about by 2050 and some of those 2030.
    A 2 degree increase is already going to happen based on the carbon we have already put into the atmosphere.
    That said all the IPCC authors state that we are doomed unless everyone in the world suddenly stops using petroleum based products knowing full well that this is not only not going to happen but corporations will endeavour to use all of them before ity becomes irrelevant.
    Only interest left for the population is to watch the elites try and run for the non existent life rafts.

  19. Ok. We will stop producing steel and plastics. Stop eating meat. Can't use coal. Can't use oil. Can't use plastic. Does anyone really think that is even remotely possible? Because, this will take many years even if you can get countries to do it. Good luck with that.

  20. As the earth warms the perma frost regions start releasing even more methane, another greenhouse gas. There is a vast amount of frozen methane in the oceans. As that is released it compounds the problem. It's happening right now. The Earth has a delicate balance. We humans have messed with that. Now, we started the ball rolling. It is feeding on itself. We have already reached the tipping point. If we humans disappeared immediately, the ball would keep rolling. We have started something we are unable to stop. That time has passed. Now, we are just going through the motions pretending we can do something about it. There is no going back now.

  21. The other inconvenient truth ignored by both the MSM and pretty much all independent news sources including The Real News Network

    Excerpt: "The study, published in the journal Science, created a huge dataset based on almost 40,000 farms in 119 countries and covering 40 food products that represent 90% of all that is eaten. It assessed the full impact of these foods, from farm to fork, on land use, climate change emissions, freshwater use and water pollution (eutrophication) and air pollution (acidification).

    "A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use," said Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research. "It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car," he said, as these only cut greenhouse gas emissions 

    The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% - an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined - and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife." 

    Avoiding meat and dairy is 'single biggest way' to reduce your impact on Earth

  22. Your own home made hopium can be addictive as well. Just look away from the cold hard facts and presto, can still justify making three more babies that will enjoy the same planet you had to grow up on trusting the fish caught in the river.

  23. 8:55 can driving your car less make a difference.
    Over One Billion cars in the world, and some astute and caring Americans are gonna drive less. It won't be a piss in the ocean.
    We are way past the tipping point. Some will deny that, but that is largely because the real effects are not yet felt, but they are happening.
    Permafrost thaw is a good one. You can pour billions of watts of energy into it , and it will NOT show any temperature rise. this is where a lot of climate change skeptics goo off the rails. they claim no change in temperature, and they are right…but the energy being absorbed in the ice is ALL there, driving the phase change from ice to water. During this process, energy goes in but not temperature rise. See " latent heat of fusion of water". it's not difficult to understand.
    Then when the ice is thawed, the temperature rises quickly and spreads the heat to adjacent ice.This process CAN NOT be reversed with even the most heroic efforts. The subsequent release of GHGs becomes enormous, causing further thawing.
    If we stopped ALL emissions today, the permafrost thaw would continue. and since food production produces 25% of GHG, cessation of emissions would mean famine that cannot be imagined or referenced historically.

    -12 degrees at the North Pole. However, keep telling us
    the arctic ice cap is melting. Only the gullible, intellectually challenged will
    believe it.

  25. She is lying. She said at 2 degrees the coral reefs would die off. The great coral reef in Australia is 85% dead. So we at 2 degrees. Plus they moving the 1750 baseline to make it look like got hope.

  26. One statistic I saw recently, only 7 out of 193 countries that signed the paris agreement are on the path fulfilling said agreement.
    We are so fucked…

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