The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) hosted a webinar, September 14, entitled, “Who is responsible for climate damages?” It focused on research by Brenda Ekwurzel, UCS Director of Science, published in Climate Change 2017, entitled “The rise in global atmospheric CO2 surface temperature and sea level from emissions traced to major carbon producers.”
She and others quantified the contributions of carbon emissions to global surface temperature rise, finding that nearly two-thirds of the total industrial CO2 and CH4 emissions can be traced to 90 major industrial carbon producers. Emissions traced to these 90 carbon producers contributed ~57% of the observed rise in atmospheric CO2, ~42-50% of the rise in global mean surface temperature and ~26-32% of global sea level rise between 1880 –2010.
This research is important because it lays the groundwork for tracing carbon emissions from producers to climate impacts. Impacts and costs associated with climate change enhanced weather events are costing all of us dearly. The costs from Hurricane Irma and Harvey alone will undoubtedly exceed $200 billion. Currently tax payers and individuals are paying these costs. As this research is perfected and expanded information will be available for policy makers and the legal system to attribute costs to the fossil fuel industry. To read this research go to bit.ly/GAT_SLR.
Fossil Fuel PCUSA Member