Science Media Centre

Science Media Centre

Featured

Sea level rise expected even with Paris Agreement – Expert reaction

Posted in Expert Reactions

Even if all nations manage to stick to their Paris Agreement targets, we’re still committed to sea level rise.

A study published today in Nature Communications projects 0.7 to 1.2 metres of global sea level rise by 2300 assuming the Paris targets are met. But for every five-year delay in mitigation after 2020, the researchers estimate an extra 20 centimetres of sea level rise.

The SMC asked experts to comment on the study, please feel free to use these comments in your reporting. 

Professor Dave Frame, director, New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington, comments:

“This is a great example of how delays to mitigation can make the costs of climate change add up. It also shows, again, the importance of the thermal expansion and mountain glaciers for sea-level rise this century.

“I don’t think arguments about sea-level rise are anything like a game-changer, because if people aren’t prepared to mitigate on behalf of their children, whom they love, it’s hard to see how information about people 300 years away will do more to alter their behaviour.”

Professor Tim Naish, Director, Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University of Wellington, comments:

“The paper by Matthias Mengel and colleagues in Nature Communications this week shows that even with stringent greenhouse gas emissions mitigation as agreed to in the Paris Agreement, the planet will still be committed to ongoing rising sea-levels to the year 2300. Their result is not surprising and is in line with recent studies by Golledge and colleagues (2015, Nature) and DeConto and Pollard (2016, Nature), which show that the thermal inertia in the ocean and Antarctic ice sheet results in multi-centennial sea-level rise even if net zero emissions are achieved by the end of the century.

“Of significance, however, is that they show that the mitigation pathway to zero emissions matters and that for every five years’ delay in reaching peak carbon, an additional 20cm of sea-level rise occurs. Therefore, global sea-level could be between 0.7 to 1.2m above present by 2300. This paper together with a developing understanding that a stability threshold in Antarctica’s ice sheets might be crossed at 1.5-2C global warming, reinforces the urgency for nations to dramatically increase their nationally determined contribution (pledge) at the first, five-yearly stocktake in 2020.

“Emissions must peak as soon as possible, followed by aggressive reduction to zero emissions well before the end of the century, if we are to significantly reduce the risk extreme sea-level rise associated with rapid collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Continue reading “Sea level rise expected even with Paris Agreement – Expert reaction

The Latest

Reflections On Science

Doubters try to bury sugary-drinks tax — Boyd Swinburn

Despite doubt-mongering by the Food and Beverage industry, a tax on sugary drinks would help counter childhood obesity and dental caries, writes University of Auckland professor of public health Boyd Swinburn, on the NZ Herald.  An excerpt (read in full): A report by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) concluded that a sugary drinks tax by itself […]

Expert Reactions

Regulator asks how food editing by new genetic techniques should be treated – Expert Reaction

Planning for future GM foods coming down the line, the food safety regulator, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is calling for suggestions for how it should consider applications for foods that have been made using new genetic techniques that aren’t currently covered by their laws. The current code only covers food produced by genetic […]

In the News

Top researchers honoured in Prime Minister’s Science Prizes

The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes have been presented in Wellington today, awarding a total of $1 million across five categories. The top prize has been awarded to a multidisciplinary team from Plant & Food Research that helped the New Zealand kiwifruit industry recover after the discovery of the vine-killing disease Psa (Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae). Plant […]

Q&As

What is AMB-FUBINACA? – Expert Q&A

Yesterday, New Zealand Police confirmed 20 deaths linked to synthetic drugs since July. Most of the samples from people who had died, and those seized in raids by police, were found to contain the dangerous chemical AMB-FUBINACA. The SMC prepared this Q&A on what is known about AMB-FUBINACA. Feel free to use these comments in your reporting. Prof […]

Copyright 2018 Science Media Centre (New Zealand)

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy