discussions about climate change, impacts and vulnerability

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A description of climate change and its impacts.

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  • 1. DISCUSSIONS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE , IMPACTS AND VULNERABILITYByProf (Dr) RichardOdingoUniversity Of NairobiFormer Vice PresidentIntergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (Ipcc)Executive Climate Change and Carbon Trade WorkshopAfrica Carbon Exchange

2. CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATIONClimatechangemitigationhasbeentrulymismanagedtosuchanextentthatitwilltakedecadestounravelAtfirstitlookedsoeasyanddoable,thenwhentheindustrializedcountriesunderstoodwhatittrulymeanstheyhaverenegedIndurbanlastyeartheyvirtuallykilledtheKyotoProtocol 3. ORIGINS OF THE CLIMATE CHANGE DEBATETherearetwotypesofclimatechangethatwethescientiststalkabout,namelyastronomicallylinkedclimatevariabilityandchange,andwhattodaywerefertoasANTHROPOGENICCLIMATECHANGEAnthropogenicclimatechangereferstowhatwehumanbeingshavebroughtuponourselves 4. THE DAYS BEFORE GLOBAL WARMING DAWNED UPON USIn1977UNEPaskedmetowriteaboutwhatawarmerearthwouldlooklikeforaJournalArticle, andthefollowingiswhatIsaidthenIfwarmingprevails.wecanexpecthighersealevels, morecyclonesandmorerain.Butwhateverhappensweallneedtounderstandtheimplications. 5. WHY I SAID WHAT I SAID IN 1977AtthetimeIwaswritingaboutwarmingupweweremoreconcernedwithwhatbecameknownastheimpactsofclimatechangewhichwenaturallydidnotlinkupwiththerealcauses.OneparticularaspectwhichconcernedusverymuchatthetimewasthefrequentoccurrenceofDROUGHT,whichwefailedtolinkwithclimatechange. 6. THE 1972 SAHELIAN DROUGHTIn 1972 the whole of the Sahel in West Africa came under one of the worst droughts on record, such that there was an outcry within the United Nations in New York for action to save human lives that were being lost. Countries involved included Senegal, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Tchad, Niger, northern Nigeria, and even Sudan, Ethiopia , Somalia, and Kenya. 7. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SAHELIAN DROUGHTDROUGHT AND DESSICATIONCOMPLETE CROP FAILURE FOR LONG PERIODSLOSS OF LIVESTOCKLOSS OF HUMAN LIFETOGETHER WITH OTHER DISTINGUISHED SCIENTISTS WE CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT nature pleads NOT GUILTY 8. IF LOOKING FOR CLIMATE CHANGE WHAT WOULD YOU LOOK FOR?Signs like DroughtData to back you upAre the conditions localized or widespread?Are the conditions global?Can you link the observed conditions to something more chronic like global warming ? 9. OUTCOMES OF THE SAHELIAN DROUGHTA UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTIONUNEP AND WMO INVITED TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ON SOLUTIONSSTEPS TOWARDS THE CREATION OF THE IPCCIPCC FINALLY CREATED IN 1988UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY A CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATING COMMITTEETHE UNFCCC IS BORN, AWAITING RIO 1992 10. THE SCIENCE AND POLITICS OF CLIMATE CHANGEFOOT NOTEPrior to the formation of the IPCC and the UNFCCC the United nations system had recorded a great success in dealing with the Global Ozone Layer Problem with relative ease, through the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol. It was therefore very tempting to copy the approach. But the problems were different. 11. WHAT IS CLIMATE CHANGEAn IntroductionWHAT WE KNOW FROM PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS 12. TASKS FACING THE IPCC BETWEEN 1988 AND 2007Once the global agenda on climate change had been set, IPCC went to work, and over the years we gathered a team of up to 2000 scientists to work on various aspects of the climate change problem. The outcome was four major scientific assessments: AR1, AR2, AR3, and AR4When AR4 was concluded the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the IPCC and Al Gore 13. QUESTIONS RAISED BEFORE IPCC GOT TO WORKWhat is the most likely projection of the future increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to mans burning of fossil fuels and to changing land use?Is man significantly changing the Nitrogen Cycle by increasing use of artificial fertilizers, and by high temperature combustion?What are the likely changes of the extent, and characteristics of natural biomass-due to climate change? 14. QUESTIONS-CONTINUEDDoes man influence the global climate by modifying some basic features of the biosphere?What are the likely climate change impacts on the global biogeochemical Cycles?-The Carbon Cycle, Oxygen Cycle,Nitrogen Cycle, and Sulphur Cycle? 15. SCIENTIFIC RESULTS OF IPCCS WORKEvidence of past and projected future climate change from the following sources:(a) Scientific Observations of the climate system(b) Palaeoclimatic sources of information(c) Historical sources of information(d) Theoritical (modeling) sources of information 16. SCIENTIFIC RESULTS CONTINUEDObservations of climate risks to human settlements (cf. Hurricanes Katrina 2005 and Sandy 2012)Climate on Land temporal and spatialClimate of the Oceans-Biogeochemical Cycles 17. FACTS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGEAR4 IPCC WORKING GROUP-1 stated as follows:Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures,widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea levels 18. CAUSES OF GLOBAL WARMINGGlobal atmospheric concentration of Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous OxideThis has resulted from human activities since 1750The global increases observed are primarily due to fossil fuel use, and land use change, while those of Methane and Nitrous Oxide are primarily due to agriculture 19. THE VALUE OF IPCC ASSESSMENTSIPCC assessments are now a recognized source of information about climate change, also referred to as global warming;The UNFCCC relies entirely on IPCC work and findingsThe Green House Gases which are monitored include CO2,CH4,N2O, NO++, HFCs, SF6 20. CO2Readings and records come from continuous stations like Mauna Loa (since 1958), Mount Kenya and now many others.Flask stations sampling at predetermined timesFlask mobile-ShipsRemote Sensing stationsFrom these we get deseasonalized long-term trends 21. METHANE (CH4)Methane is the second most important anthropogenic GHG with an estimated global warming potential per molecule 25 times greater over a hundred years horizon, and 75X greater over a 20 year period cf. CO2 22. N2ONitrous oxide is a relatively stable GHG in the Troposphere but long lasting-114 years 23. HALOCARBONS AND HALOGENATED SPECIESCarbon compounds containing one or more halogens, such as Fluorine, Chlorine, bromine, or Iodine are industrial products which are GHGsAll the GHGs contribute to global warming, and have radiative forcing properties 24. GLOBAL IMPORTANCE OF GHGSGlobally CO2is the strongest driver of climate change, we therefore talk of other GHGs interms of CO2-equivalents. Records of Carbon dioxide over the last 800,000 years (palaeoclimatology) have been traced to give meaning to the talk of global warmingWork by the IPCC has enabled us to better understand what these forces are doing to the global climate system. 25. IPCC CONCLUSIONS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGEAt continental, regional and ocean basin scales numerous long-term changes in climate have been observed, these include changes in Arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns, extreme weather and droughts, heat waves, Tropical cyclones and heavy precipitation, it is from such records that we derive conclusions about climate change, 26. MODELING HUMAN AND SOCIAL ECONOMIC REACTIONS OF THE CLIMATE SYSTEMWhen we use models we can observe the intricate interactions between climate change and human societies including impacts on the socio-economic systems, using models it is possible to build scenarios of the future, and how climate change will impact economic development in 2030, 2050 2100 and beyond 27. IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGENBIt is important to look at the anthropogenic changes which are responsible for the impacts to be expected when warming sets on. Impacts will be linked to the vulnerability of human groups as well as to the different ecosystems that are affected. Here we will concentrate on impacts in Africa because this is what we know best. 28. Increase in Carbon Dioxide (CO2) ConcentrationThe global atmospheric CO2 concentration increased from 280 ppm(pre-industrial) to 379 ppmin 2005;The 2005 value exceeds by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years (180 to 300 ppm);Annual CO2concentration growth-rate (avg. 1.9ppm/yr) was larger during the last 10 years (1995 2005) than it has been since the beginning of continuous direct atmospheric measurements (19602005 average: 1.4 ppmper year) 29. Increase In Methane (CH4) ConcentrationsThe global atmospheric concentration of CH4 increased from 715 ppb (pre-industrial value) to 1,732 ppb in the early 1990s, and is 1,774 ppb in 2005The 2005 value exceeds by far the natural range of the last 650,000 years (320 to 790 ppb);It is very likelythat the observed increase in CH4 concentration is due to anthropogenic activities, predominantly agriculture and fossil fuel use;Growth rates have declined since the early 1990s. 30. Increase In Nitrous Oxide (N2O) ConcentrationsThe global atmospheric concentration of N2O increased from 270ppb (a pre-industrial value) to 319 ppb in 2005.The growth rate has been approximately constant since 1980.More than a third of all nitrous oxide emissions are anthropogenic and are primarily due to agriculture. 31. THE VULNERABILITY OF AFRICA TO CLIMATE CHANGEFrom 1992 when the UNFCCC was signed, the special vulnerability of the African continent was underlined.The implication was that vulnerable regions like Africa would get special help to help them cope with the adverse impacts of climate change.Fifteen years down the road, that help has not come. 32. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR AFRICA ?What are the potential IMPACTS of the Climate Changes ?Is Africa Ready for the Challenges posed by the IMPACTS ?How Vulnerable is AFRICA to the threats posed by the CLIMATE CHANGE ? 33. VULNERABILITY TO IMPACTSAmong many things vulnerability to impacts of climate change have been attributed to endemic poverty linked to disease in many African countries;Poor governance and weak institutions have also been blamed;Lim