Paris Climate Talks: Global Warming Explained in 60 Seconds or Less

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One night in a bar a Russian journalist who I’d just met says:  “This global warming is too complicated for people to know if it’s real or not”.

“You don’t think climate change is happening?” I asked with surprise since we were both covering a big United Nations climate conference.

“No one has been able to give me a good explanation to prove it’s real,” said Yuri (not his real name).

“I can explain it to you in less than one minute,” I replied.

Yuri was sceptical but I went ahead and said:

“The moon has no atmosphere so it is scorching hot (+100C) during the day and bitterly cold (-150C) at night. The Earth has an atmosphere made up of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases. Over 150 years ago scientists proved that CO2 traps heat from the sun. We also know without any doubt that burning fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal emits CO2.

Measurements, not computer models or theories, measurements show that there is now 42% more CO2 in the atmosphere than 150 years ago before massive use of fossil fuels. That extra CO2 is like putting another blanket on at night even though you are already nice and warm. The Earth is now 1.0 C hotter on average according to the latest measurements. Heat is a form of energy and with so much more energy in our atmosphere our weather system is becoming supercharged resulting in stronger storms, worse heat waves, major changes in when and where rain falls and more.

That’s it.

After a long silence Yuri says “I guess that makes sense…”.

I’m not sure he was convinced but the truth is that climate change is not that complicated.

One additional thing to know is that CO2 is forever. Every little CO2 molecule we add to the atmosphere will continue to trap the sun’s heat for hundreds and thousands of years.

First published Aug 2015

Paris Climate Talks – Most Countries Want 1.5C Target not 2.0C


Wrapping Day 2 of COP 21

Majority of Countries want 1.5 C target not 2.0C

Leaders of 30 nations began the Paris climate negotiations with a call to cut CO2 emissions dramatically to keep the global average temperature rise below 1.5C. These countries are part of Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) — countries highly vulnerable to impacts of climate change.

The call for a global target of 1.5C is supported by 106 of the 195 countries in Paris this week. They also call for 100 percent renewable energy and a full decarbonization of the global economy by 2050.

Important to note that 2.0C is a political target not a scientific one. Moreover climate science does support 1.5C as a safer level of climatic change than 2.0. Currently global warming is 1.0C.cop21 logo sml 

Leaders Inspired Speeches but BAU for Negotiators
Monday saw 150 leaders making speeches about the need for urgent action. However in the negotiating rooms today it was business as usual crawling along at a snail’s pace with negotiators apparently oblivious to their leaders impassioned speeches and pleas for urgent action said Saleemul Huq is the Director of the International Centre for Climate Change & Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh.

Renewables Everyone’s Favorite Energy Technology

Billions and billions of dollars are being promised for renewables:
U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and 18 other world leaders launched Mission Innovation, a $20-billion commitment to accelerate public and private clean energy innovation worldwide.

Bill Gates and other tech billionaires unveiled the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, to bring billions of dollars to help new, clean energy technologies come to market.

India’s prime minister announced an international solar alliance of over 120 countries. 

Tuesday also featured a focus on forests


Deforestation accounts for at least 12 percent of CO2 emissions and among developing countries it’s often the largest source of emissions. Today the Lima-Paris Action Agenda “Forest Focus” launched a number of forest protection initiatives including a commitment Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom, to provide $5 billion from 2015 to 2020, if forest countries demonstrate measured, reported and verified emission reductions.

First posted on Climate News Mosaic Live Blog