Teasing Out Anthropogenic and Natural Warming

Like many instructors, I include a lecture in my climate change courses responding to the primary arguments of skeptics. One of the most frequently advanced arguments is that observed temperature increases are merely part and parcel of natural climatic variability. A recent study in the journal Nature Geoscience would be an excellent student reading for such a module. The study, which focuses on the Earth’s energy balance to tease out the respective contribution of anthropogenic and natural factors to current and projected warming, employed a massive ensemble of the Bern2.5D climate model. It reinforces the findings of optimal fingerprinting attribution studies that has also found natural variability to be a minor factor in warming trends. Among the key findings in this study:

  1. Simulated mean temperature increases from the model were 0.82C from 2000-2009 compared to 1850-1859, similar to the observed value of 0.79C.
    1. Greenhouse gases contributed 1.31C to the increase, or 159% of the total warming;
    2. The cooling effect of aerosol forcing is approximate -0.85C;
    3. Warming associated with  tropospheric ozone and solar variability are of similar size, approximately 0.2C
    4. The individual contributions to warming since the 1950s break down to 085C from greenhouse gases or 166%, with net cooling from direct and indirect aerosol forcing of -0.45C, offsetting 44% of greenhouse induced warming.
  1. It is “extremely likely” that at least 74% of observed warming sicne 1950 by caused by radiative forcing, with less than 26% attributable to “unforced internal variability;”
  2. Under the SRES A2 scenario developed by the IPCC, the study concludes that projected temperature increases of 1.29C by 2050 from 2000 will be “almost entirely due to increase greenhouse gas forcing;”
  3. The findings of this study are also consistent with temperature reconstructions over the previous 1000 years, which found relatively small temperatures variations primarily attributable to solar and volcanic forcing;
  4. Warming induced by carbon dioxide will persist for at least 1000 years because of slow ocean carbon uptake, mandating a focus on carbon dioxide mitigation in climate change policy.

Bursary Available, U. Sussex Climate/Energy program

E.ON and The Crown Estate are offering a bursary of up to £9,000 towards costs of tuition fees and dissertation travel for a student who has been accepted for either of these two University of Sussex MSc programmes:


- Climate Change and Development

- Energy Policy for Sustainability.


This offer is made in conjunction with the Brighton-based charity, Renewable World. Renewable World is an international NGO, working in South Asia, Central America and East Africa to tackle poverty through the provision of affordable renewable energy in remote, off-grid settings.


On top of the financial support, the successful candidate will be offered an (unpaid) internship within the UK-based global programme team at Renewable World. This is an excellent opportunity to gain first-hand experience of the programme work of an international development NGO, and an insight into the running and management of NGO. The dissertation topic is to be agreed with Renewable World. The deadline for applications is the 6th of August 2012. Please see attachment for more information.


Both programmes are still accepting applications for the 2012 entry.


Best wishes,

Florian Kern


Dr Florian Kern


SPRU – Science and Technology Policy Research

Freeman Centre, University of Sussex

Brighton BN1 9QE, UK

Telephone: 0044 (0)1273 872831

University of Sussex staff profile

New MSc programme Energy Policy for Sustainability

Scholarship opportunity in Brazil offered through the OAS Scholarships Program:

The Educational Portal of the Americas is pleased to inform of this scholarship opportunity offered through the OAS Scholarships Program:

Due to the demand and success of the 2011 scholarship program sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Brazilian Universities Coimbra Group (GCUB), with the support of the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations’ Division of Educational Issues, this year the OAS and the GCUB are providing 160 scholarship opportunities to outstanding citizens of OAS member countries to study masters or doctorate programs in Brazilian universities.

Through these advanced training opportunities, the OAS supports the development of human resources of its Member States. The above opportunity makes it possible to promote greater integration between the Brazilian universities and Latin America and the Caribbean; thus promoting the scientific and cultural exchange, internationalization and the mobilization of outstanding students from the Americas.

The master and doctoral programs offered by the educational institutions of Brazil covers various fields of study, research and development of the next generation of advanced technology appropriate to the realities and needs of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Potential candidates must review the List of Participating Brazilian Universities and Available Programs. Applicants are asked to select up to three (3) Programs, each from a different participating university located in a different geographical region.

Place of Study:               Brazil (19 universities)

Program:                          Master’s and Doctoral degree

Deadlines:                       Application for admission and
scholarship: August 31, 2012

Language:                      Portuguese

Scholarship Benefits: 100% of the total cost of tuition, monthly
allowance for living expenses,
contribution to travel expenses to Brazil                                            and Portuguese language learning.

For more information about this scholarship opportunity, application process and forms please click here

For more information on OAS Scholarship opportunities please visit:  www.oas.org/scholarships

IPCC announces call for applications for second round of awards under the IPCC Scholarship Programme

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Chance (IPCC) has opened a call for applications for the second round of awards under the IPCC Scholarship Programme.
The IPCC Scholarship Programme aims to build capacity in the understanding and management of climate change in developing countries by providing opportunities for young scientists from developing countries to undertake studies that would not be possible without funding under the programme.
Applicants must be post-graduate students under the age of 30 studying at PhD level. They must have already been accepted at a recognized educational institution to start studies in 2013, or be currently enrolled on continuing PhD courses. Research proposals should focus on one of the following fields of study:
  • Socio-economic modelling related to climate change
  • Underlying science of climate change
  • Climate change and water
 Applicants must be nationals of developing countries and priority will be given to students from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
With a value of up to USD 20,000 per year, each award will be given for a period of one year and is renewable once, subject to satisfactory progress during the period of study and term reports signed by the research supervisor.
Applications will undergo a two-level selection process. IPCC scientific experts will first assess the applications in an initial review and the IPCC Science Board will then review the applications and make a final selection.  The candidates selected for an award will be notified individually during the second quarter of 2013.
The IPCC Scholarship Programme was established with the funds received from the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. The IPCC Scholarship Programme is supported by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
Students interested in applying for an IPCC scholarship can download forms at:
Completed application forms and supporting documents should be uploaded by 30 September 2012 at:

Climate Law & Economics Post-Graduate Courses Available in Spanish

FLACSO – Argentina invites applications to a series of post-graduate courses on Climate Change Law and Economics to be dictated in Spanish in Buenos Aires, Argentina, or via webinar for students abroad. For additional information contact  


El Programa en Desarrollo, Innovación y Sociedad (PRODIS) de FLACSO – Argentina invita a incribirse en los nuevos Cursos de Posgrado en Derecho y Economía del Cambio Climático que darán comienzo a partir del 21 de Agosto de 2012, y podrán ser cursados en formato presencial o por webinar.

Estos cursos tienen como objetivo brindar una capacitación técnica interdisciplinaria para tomadores de decisión en un escenario de cambio global. Partiendo de la problemática del cambio climático los alumnos estudiarán las opciones y herramientas jurídicas, el análisis económico y las últimas tecnologías para responder de manera autónoma y racional a los desafíos del cambio global, tanto desde una empresa en el sector privado como desde la planificación en el sector público. Se abordarán la elección de instrumentos para la promoción de la innovación tecnológica, la huella de carbono, los desafíos para el comercio internacional, entre otros temas.

Los primeros tres cursos que darán comienzo a partir de Agosto de 2012 son los siguientes:

-  Economía Ambiental (modalidad intensiva)
Profesor: Diego Azqueta, Catedrático de Fundamentos de Economía, Universidad de Alcalá.

-  Economía del Cambio Climático y los Recursos Naturales
Profesor: Ignacio Carciofi, Investigador del Grupo de Economía Ambiental (GEA), Universidad de Alcalá.

Derecho Internacional y el Cambio Climático
Profesores: Embajador Raúl Estrada Oyuela, Diplomático Argentino y experto en derecho del cambio climático, quien presidió las negociaciones del Protocolo de Kyoto; y Soledad Aguilar, LLM, Investigadora de FLACSO, Experta Temática de IISD Reporting Services y Directora del Foro de Cambio Climático y Comercio.



* Estos cursos de posgrado otorgarán créditos para el Diploma Superior en Derecho y Economía Ambiental y del Cambio Climático, organizado por el Programa de Desarrollo Innovación y Sociedad (PRODIS), actualmente en proceso de aprobación y que dará comienzo en 2013.


Successful Outcome of Rio + 20 Conference for Oceans and Marine Issues


There are 20 paragraphs in the  Rio+20 Conference Outcome Document “The Future We Want” (http://www.uncsd2012.org/thefuturewewant.html) on oceans and seas, and an additional three paragraphs on small island developing States , which stress the critical role that oceans play in all three pillars of sustainable development, and a commitment to protect, and restore, the health, productivity and resilience of oceans and marine ecosystems, and to maintain their biodiversity, enabling their conservation and sustainable use for present and future generations. The contribution that oceans can make to the sustainable economy, or the blue economy, was  also recognized. One of the few concrete developments at Rio was an agreement to launch a plan to protect the high seas, though the meeting postponed the decision for a High Seas Biodiversity Agreement for  two years. In addition to the formal outcome, the Rio+20 process included the opportunity for governments and other organizations to make voluntary commitments, allowing civil society to capture the opportunity as to the next phase of the sustainable development paradigm. There are currently five Rio+20 registered Voluntary Commitments in the category of Oceans, Seas, and SIDS, two of which were registered by the Global Ocean Forum. See for more information: http://www.globaloceans.org/sites/udel.edu.globaloceans/files/RioVoluntaryCommitments.pdf

Release of 2012 edition of the REN21 Renewables Global Status Report

The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st  Century (REN21) Renewables Global Status Report is a collaborative effort of over 400 authors, contributors and reviewers, and is  the most frequently referenced report on renewable energy market, industry and policy trends. It provides an accurate report of the growth of electricity, heat, and fuel production capacities from renewable energy sources, including solar PV, wind power, solar hot water/heating, biofuels, hydropower, and geothermal.

 The 2012 edition of the REN21 Renewables Global Status Report  (GSR) was released on June 11, 2012. The findings in the REN21 2012 GSR speak to the steady growth in renewable energy markets, support policies and investment over the past years.

 The REN21 2012 GSR indicates that for 2011:

  • Renewable sources supplied 16.7 % of global final energy consumption. The share of most renewables increased, while the share of traditional biomass slightly declined.
  • 118 countries implemented renewable energy targets, with more than half those targets being in developing countries.
  • Investment in renewable energy increased 17% to a record $257 billion, despite a widening sovereign debt crisis in Europe and rapidly falling prices for renewable power equipment.
  • Photovoltaic module prices dropped by 50% and onshore wind turbines by close to 10% bringing to price of the leading renewable power technologies closer to grid parity with fossil fuels such as coal and gas.

These are just a few of the trends  that illustrate the significant and rapidly growing share of renewables in energy markets, industrial policy and investments, moving renewable beyond “niche” status. The 2012 GSR places a special focus on rural renewable energy by highlighting the main trends in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The REN21 Renewables Interactive Map, highlights country specific renewable energy developments

 Adjunct Professor Magdalena Muir was a reviewer and contributor to the 2012 GSR on the energy and water nexus; the use of renewable energy in arid, arctic, island and remote locations; and marine renewable energy and offshore grid infrastructure in Europe and globally. These specific renewable energy issues are rapidly evolving, and will have heightened importance in the REN21 Global Status Report for 2013.

Further information on www.ren21.net website:


There are also a series of public outreach events for the REN21 GSR taking place over the next few months:

16 Jul GSR2012 Brussels Launch Event Brussels, Europe Event details

25-28 Jul Clean Energy Week Sydney/Australia Sydney, Australia Event details

29-31 Aug Brazil Windpower – Rio Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Event details

12-14 Sep Clean Energy Expo Asia Bangkok, Thailand Event details

29.Oct -2 Nov International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference Accra, Ghana Event details