date: Wed, 7 Oct 1998 14:58:00 EDT
to: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, r.nichollsatXYZxyz.ac.uk
Mike,Nigel,Robert and Matt:
I have revised the message below, because the attached file will not send. I
am therefore pasting it to this e-mail:
I have just received this from Nature. Bold indicates where they would like
more. I will aim to draft inserts tomorrow afternoon; BUT, before then, could
you please help with some ideas [a) on reducing vulnerability and b) on next
steps in the setting of targets - tho not at B. Aires as the editor suggests].
Robert and Nigel: note that I know the numbers in the tabele need to be
Thanks and regards, Martin
New agenda required for climate management
Martin Parry, Nigel Arnell, Mike Hulme, Robert Nicholls and Matthew
The world is far more vulnerable to the threat of climate change than is
suggested by the emissions targets currently being discussed. International
negotiations resume in Buenos Aires next month, but a far more radical agenda
In Kyoto last December, at the third conference of the UN Framework Convention
on Climate Change, targets were agreed for reductions in 'greenhouse' gases by
the 38 countries who have signed the convention. On 2 November in Buenos
Aires, negotiators will reconvene at the Framework Convention's fourth
conference to agree the mechanisms and a timetable for implementation. We
shall be hearing a good deal about trading permits, compliance and enforcement
in the weeks to come. But in reality, the control on global warming that can
be achieved on the current agenda is limited.
We urgently need to reduce our vulnerability to impacts from climate change,
for example through crop breeding to offset yield losses and efficient
irrigation to counter water shortages. Author, please say how you think this
reduction could be achieved, as specifically as possible (approx. 100 words).
Adaptations of this kind, as well as climate-change mitigation, will be needed
in a package of responses to climate change that is much wider than that being
discussed at Buenos Aires.
Author: please add a paragraph here to say what you think specifically should
be discussed at Buenos Aires to address the problem you've identified (approx.
The Kyoto Protocol last December is an agreement to a 5.2 per cent reduction
in greenhouse-gas emissions by about 2010 (relative to 1990), and constant
emissions thereafter. But these targets only relate to so-called Annex 1
countries (38 industrialized nations), which together account for about 57 per
cent of present global carbon emissions but which will produce only 25 per
cent of emissions growth over the next 20 years. Most future growth in
emissions is expected to occur in the fast-developing countries of Asia and
Latin America, which are not signatories to the Framework Convention.
As a consequence, the Kyoto target does relatively little to combat the rate
of climate change. The warming expected by 2050, without any deliberate
mitigation, is currently estimated (author: please provide reference) by the
Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) at about 1.4 �C with respect
to the 1961-90 average. About 0.25 �C of this has already been realized
since? (Author, do you mean since 1961-90? Please insert date.) Model
predictions (reference, or say "our") suggest that fully implemented Kyoto
targets would reduce this global warming in 2050 only by about 0.05 �C. Even
substantially more radical targets, such as a 20 per cent reduction in
greenhouse gas emissions from Annex-1 countries, would reduce only a further
0.1 �C by 2050.
The impact of climate change will be serious whatever emissions target is
agreed. To take an example, the number of people put at risk of hunger, water
shortage or coastal flooding during storms as a result of projected climate
changes is barely touched by the targets under discussion at Buenos Aires,
even if full implementation of the targets is agreed there. The numbers given
in the table are derived from impact models reported at Kyoto (reference).
Although, for example, about 50 million additional people could be flooded
every year during storms resulting from sea-level rise due to climate change
without any mitigation, perhaps one million might avoid such flooding as a
result of achieving the Kyoto target.
The Framework Convention calls on signatories to take action to safeguard food
security, ecosystems and sustainable development from dangerous levels of
climate change. The current target does not do this. This does not mean that
we should despair, but it emphasizes two things. First, Kyoto and Buenos
Aires are only the first steps in a process that must involve much greater
reduction in emissions and also, crucially, the participation of developing
countries. In this respect, the achievements of the industrialized countries
at Kyoto, if ratified, are important in providing a lead that will encourage
others to follow. Second, mitigation by reducing greenhouse emissions cannot
be the entire response to the threat posed by global climate change. Given
the long history of past emissions from industrialized countries and the
inertia of the climate system, we are committed to experiencing a substantial
amount of further global warming even if we implement huge emissions cuts.
Martin Parry and Matthew Livermore are in the Jackson Environment Institute,
University College London, 5 Gower Street, London WC1E 6HA; Nigel Arnell is in
the Department of Geography at the University of Southampton, Highfield,
Southampton SO17 1BJ; Mike Hulme is at the Climatic Research Unit at the
University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, and Robert Nicholls is at The
Flood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University, Enfield EN3 4SF, UK. They
are lead authors of the IPCC.
Impacts estimated for the year 2050
additional people (millions) at risk of:
scenario global warming (�C) with respect to 1961-90 water shortage sea-level
due to global warming
unmitigated 1.39 1,465 50 22
Kyoto 1.33 1,465 49 20
20% reduction 1.22 1,321 48 17
30% reduction 1.19 1,321 47 16