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David Hone
Climate Change Adviser, Shell Group

David Hone

David Hone is the climate change adviser for the Shell Group and vice chairman of the International Emissions Trading Association. He also works closely with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. ALL POSTS

Responding to future impacts

The decisions we have made and are in the process of making are already based on an assessment of the future impacts of elevated CO2 levels in the atmosphere. But as the science has become better understood over the last decade we have collectively shifted the goal posts. If I had been writing this post in 2001 when I first started working in the climate change field for Shell, a discussion about a 550 ppm stabilization target would have been seen as acceptable. Now, it is easy to be heckled for even mentioning 550 ppm, although Shell scenario work shows that such a target is already very challenging and is perhaps the best that we might actually achieve. It is certainly better than a world heading towards 1000 ppm (the flip side of the more CO2 optimistic scenario), but nevertheless the discussion is squarely focused on 2 degrees Centigrade or something like 450 ppm. But just as we are becoming settled with that discussion, an even more ambitious 350 ppm, based on new thinking about impacts is on the table for consideration -- although with no clarity whatsoever as to how we might achieve it.

Science by its very nature will never be settled, it will be constantly challenged by new thinking and new data. Nevertheless, political decisions about reducing emissions need to be made now, simply because of the time it takes to implement them and see the results. Although not all will agree, a political agreement of "two degrees" is probably as good as anything else today. It is at least aligned with a loose collective view on the future impacts and is built on an even stronger foundation that we meddle with the composition of the atmosphere at our peril. Most importantly, it sets a level of ambition that requires action by all and it dictates a "ballpark" emissions level over the coming decades that requires a real response now rather than later.

By David Hone  |  January 7, 2010; 7:20 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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U. S. Senate Minority Report

“For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" - Geologist Dr. David Gee the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.

“Earth has cooled since 1998 in defiance of the predictions by the UN-IPCC…. The
global temperature for 2007 was the coldest in a decade and the coldest of the
millennium…which is why ‘global warming’ is now called ‘climate change.’” -
Climatologist Dr. Richard Keen of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado.

“The ‘global warming scare’ is being used as a political tool to increase government
control over American lives, incomes and decision making. It has no place in the
Society's activities.” - Award-Winning NASA Astronaut/Geologist and Moonwalker Jack Schmitt who flew on the Apollo 17 mission and formerly of the Norwegian Geological Survey and for the U.S. Geological Survey.

“I am a skeptic…Global warming has become a new religion.” - Nobel Prize Winner for
Physics, Ivar Giaever.

Warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to
know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.” - UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical

“The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn’t listen to others. It doesn’t have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists.” - Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.

“The models and forecasts of the UN IPCC "are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity.” - Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico

“It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don’t buy into anthropogenic global warming.” - U.S Government Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg of the Hurricane Research Division of NOAA.

“Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will.” – . Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, NZ.

Posted by: AJAX2 | January 10, 2010 3:50 PM
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Shell has a climate change advisor? Hey, call him "vice president of greenwashing." The oil companies are determined to use any tactic they can to preserve their profits, no matter what, until the day the world ends.

Posted by: MagicDog1 | January 10, 2010 1:28 PM
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This reminds me of Visionaries that look to where we should try to be, and everyone else in the room is looking around and whispering, "How do we do that?" You'd think that if most office buildings and homes had solar panels and we used other low emission energy in combination with natural and fossil fuels we might see a dramatic affect and possibly get closer to our lofty goals. But I'm not sure if we really know the outcome of our recent actions -- our levels may be too hard or too easy. We need our energy people to help make the combination of present and future energies work together until we find the ultimate clean everlasting energy. Like Mr. Hone suggests, we need to remain determined but flexible and realistic.

Posted by: allaire | January 9, 2010 9:48 PM
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