In The Field

Climate war game: The latest modelling

11 a.m.

This slide, depicting atmospheric carbon dioxide levels under various scenarios, provides a basic update for where we stand so far in the war game. The “proposals to date” scenario might be a little optimistic, given that it assumes the 2012 Copenhagen agreement will ultimately be upheld. There is ongoing debate about the significance of that agreement, but we’ll see how it plays out today. It was produced by the Sustainability Institute, which is taking part in the game.

War Game slides 28 July 08.jpg

The main proposals yesterday came from India and the United States, which pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2025. The green line assumes that the rest of the world joins in the action, aside from China, which has yet to agree to any kind of numeric target; the pink line assumes unanimity moving forward.

As discussed yesterday, India’s proposal to commit to specific targets (in exchange for agreements on technology transfer and investment) is a bit more complicated than it sounded at the time. India said it was willing to commit to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by mid-century, but the end target should be a world in which the per-capita emissions are roughly equal. Under this scenario, the United States would need to reduce its emissions by some 96 percent, compared to a reduction of just 39 percent in India, according to an analysis by war game organizers. China would need to curb emissions by 86 percent.

The country teams have now broken up into smaller groups to take on simultaneous negotiations on the full range of topics: emissions; environmental refugees; resource scarcity; and disaster relief. Delegates hope to iron out more-detailed policies that will ultimately gain the approval of their respective countries. Again, the goal is to create a new framework for a comprehensive international climate agreement by the end of the day. Tall order.


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