Thursday, May 17, 2012


date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 14:17:46 +0000
from: Tim Mitchell <>
subject: Govt position
to: Nick Brooks <>, Mike Hulme <>

Nick / Mike,

The attached document may be already within your thoughts. But if it is
not, you might like to consider it. There are some potentially useful
position statements to work with when talking to the RCs, amongst others.
Also, we could perhaps take these statements as being a starting point from
which to work in the policy arena, as much as the IPCC TAR provides a
starting point to work from in the scientific arena.

For example,

While the EU aim is supported, the Government will encourage further
research on baseline scenarios, on mitigation and stabilisation scenarios
and on adaptation scenarios. IPCC has already held an expert meeting looking
into further elaborating the SRES (Special Report on Emissions Scenarios)
baseline scenarios. We would welcome additional mitigation analysis for
various stabilisation levels to enhance the possibilities of comparing costs
and benefits of climate response strategies.

2010 GOAL
the domestic goal of a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2010

2050 GOAL
We agree that the UK should put itself on a path towards reductions in
carbon dioxide emissions of some 60% from current levels by about 2050 ...
which equates to emissions of around 65mtC in 2050.

550 ppm GOAL
A reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of 60% by 2050 is consistent with
the level of reduction likely to be needed by developed countries, in order
to move towards stabilisation of carbon dioxide concentrations in the
atmosphere at no more than 550ppmv (parts per million by volume), taking
account of a realistic assessment of emissions growth in developing

The choice of an upper limit for carbon dioxide concentrations in the
atmosphere is one for which there is no international consensus or clear
scientific guideline, though the EU Member States have agreed that we
should be aiming for a maximum global temperature increase of 2 degrees
Celsius over pre-industrial levels and a stabilisation of carbon dioxide
concentrations below 550 parts per million by volume (ppmv) to prevent the
most damaging effects of climate change. Even at this level there will be
negative impacts.

The recent assessment of the InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) notes that the basis for determining what constitutes dangerous
anthropogenic interference will vary among regions - depending both on the
local nature and consequences of climate change impacts, and also on the
adaptive capacity available to cope with climate change - and depends upon
mitigation capacity, since the magnitude and the rate of change are both

The IPCC Synthesis report notes the range of temperatures that could result
for different stabilisation levels. At 550ppmv the range is approximately
2.0 -5.2C above 1990 levels depending on the sensitivity of the climate
system to the additional radiative forcing due to CO2. The IPCC has also
assessed the state of knowledge on the impacts of climate change associated
with different temperature levels. The scientific uncertainties are such
that, for low sensitivity, relatively modest impacts may be found at
550ppmv. At high sensitivity, on the other hand, there are considerable
risks that significant damage could be experienced.

Dr. Tim Mitchell
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

phone: +44 (0)1603 59 1378
fax: +44 (0)1603 59 3901
post: Tyndall, ENV, UEA, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK

Attachment Converted: "c:\eudora\attach\rcep22_response.pdf"

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