Climate Act Technical


In this context, some assert that the UK Climate Act is C&C while others insist that it isn't. C&C and the Climate Act go back a long way through a lead time of many years, as can be seen here, where an array of political and personal attitudes is also evident. Here Adair Turner, the Chairman of the Climate Change Committee, expresses some incomprehension as to why this had became such an emotional issue for Whitehall by 2008.

Disagreements between Whitehall-governed climate-actors come & go. For GCI from the outset in 1990, technical competence has been the issue. This competence has meant the technical truth & reconciliation of the numbers that leads hopefully to climate-justice without vengeance & so to the UNFCCC-compliance.

This remains the paramount objective. Without that we are lost. Here it is the qualified extent of the competence behind the Climate-Act that is addressed.

What we all need constantly to remind ourselves of are these points: -

Consequently, clarifying Contraction & Concentrations in the UK Climate Act is fundamentally and unavoidably necessary to achieving this.
Here making clear the distinction between non-feedback human-emissions & non-human feedback-emissions is the issue

  • The C-BAT model does do this with a view to clarification and hopefully making a bad situation become less bad or even better.
  • The authors of the Act at the UKMO and the UK Climate Change Committee [CCC] didn't do this & so made a bad situation worse.
  • Government's UKMO-led AVOID programme doesn't and has now dropped reference to concentrations & feedbacks altogether.

In fact UKMO & CCC appeared to be unaware of this issue altogether. Now, in 2013, the AVOID programme appears still to show no willingness properly to grasp this issue. If they did, or better still when they do, it will require inter-alia an acknowledgement of the extent to which they misled the EAC Enquiry into this matter in 2009 right up until the final evidence session in October when the Minister gave some memorably ludicrous evidence to the EAC.

When the UK's Climate Ambassador told EAC recently C&C misses the point it was just another bit of this 'emotion' in Whitehall. With no evidence of urgency regarding UNFCCC-compliance, it clearly showed he had not just missed the point, he had lost the plot as well.


Using the Carbon-Budget Analysis Tool [C-BAT], here is a bit more technical detail about this. It relates first to DOMAIN ONE - measuring Contraction and Concentrations - the first and governing DOMAIN of the Four DOMAIN Sequence in C-BAT. This is the domain that determines whether we are cognizant of the perilous siutation we are going into with feedbacks and the potential for human mitigation efforts to be over-whelmed by the acceleration rates of these, and so whether we are serious about achieving rates of C&C that are UNFCCC-compliant or not.


The Medium CO2 Emissions Budget [yellow] in the Carbon Budget Analysis Tool [C-BAT] is identical to that in the UK Climate Act [UKCA]. It is their so-called 2016 4% Low Budget. The primary authors of UK-CA were the UK Meteorological Office [UKMO]. They came up with the Contraction and Concentrations carbon-budget 2016 4% Low on which the Act is based. Assuming we held to it for 100 years, UKMO gave the 2016 4% Low Budget just a '44% probability' of keeping world average temperature increase to not more than 2.1 degrees up on the pre-idustrial average.

In its original version, running between 2000 and 2100, 2016 4% Low weighed 480 Gt C. Here, running from 2010 to 2110 [the first ten years having been removed as the time has passed] it now weighs 395 Gt C [as shown in C-BAT Medium Budget], but otherwise it remains identical to the path-integral of 2016 4% Low.

On technical matters, particularly on feedbacks, the UKMO misled the Environmental Audit Committee [EAC] Enquiry "'Targets in the UK Climate-Act: Where did they come from; were the models on which it is based valid?" held in the UK House of Commons [HoC] in 2009.

That said, the joint-formulation by UKMO and the Climate Change Committe of the Climate Act jointly misdirected the EAC enquiry into a confusion of interlinked science/policy matters that exploded into the political confrontation at COP-15 UNFCCC in Copenhagen in 2009.

Central to this process of misdierction were: -

  1. A Failure to distinguish non feedback-human emissions from from non-human feedback emisssions
    In the EAC enquiry UK-MO insisted to the EAC that, "all known feedbacks had been modelled into this budget" [i.e. 2016 4% Low; as can be seen in the evidence to EAC here]. However, UKMO didn't distinguish between what were the human emissions in this 'policy-budget' as distinct from what were the non-human emissions from feedback-effects, in this 'science-budget'. These emissions - human and non-human - were all mixed up together. Overall, it was anybody's guess as to quantifying which emissions were which, let-alone at what rates and in what amounts these undisaggregated rates were foreseen.

  2. The Assertion of Negative Feedback rates as 'most probable'.
    Not just lacking supporting evidence for their negative feedback hypothesis, UKMO actually even repudiated the portrayal of positive feedback in IPCC AR4 [2007], and specified that the negative feedback rate the specified would be the most probable through to greater than 100% sink-efficiency by 2050! Completely contradicting 20 years years of broad consensus in the IPCC acknowledging the growing dangers of positive feedback effects as the planet warmed, this UKMO position meant that by 2050, sinks would be taking more emissions away than human sources from the 2016 4% Low 'Medium Budget' were providing, even though they specified continuing temperature rise throughout. In a nushell, just halfway through the contraction-event or along the timeline of the UKCA 2016 4% Low budget [of 480 Gt C], they said this would be causing concentrations to fall! There is no evidence to support this position asserting negative feedback, while there is much evidence to suppport the opposite view, that feedbacks will be increasingly positive.

  3. Assertion of Ocean Acidification ceasing to increase in 2050 as a result of this Negative Feedback
    A direct consequence of UKMO making these arguments, was to result in the entirety of the UK Government's AVOID programme claiming that Ocean Acidification would stop in 2050 as well.

  4. The CCC's acceptance of all this with the addition of the prescription of Convergence by 2050
    Another direct consequence of UKMO making their arguments the way they did, was to result in the Government's Independent Climate Committee apparently accepting all this in ignorance or in good faith and then making the assertion of convergence to globally equal per capita sharing of this contraction-concentrations budget by 2050 as well, and then saying to the EAC that in effect the UK Climate Act is C&C and it, "is pretty strong support for what GCI is saying."

This may be strong support for the per capita equalisation principle. Welcome as that was, the UKCA was not what GCI was saying.
In the 25 years of developing the C&C model, GCI never actually prescribed anything.

The UKCA, with its evidentially unsupported projections of negative feedback and, with its prescription of 2050 as the convergence date, was at best a flawed and prescriptive example of C&C. it is a matter of public record that a huge GCI effort has been put in over more than 15 years to support: -

  • the examination in IPCC of contraction:concentration rates that might be UNFCCC-compliant and
  • the negotiation of the convergence-rate within these that might turn the long-running adversarial disagreement at the UNFCCC into the detente of a *global deal* - what Ross Garnaut called the main equity lever.

C&C as a projection of this is widely recognized.

The budget 2016 4% Low behind the Climate Act is neither credible science nor did it lead to sensible policy, effective diplomacy, let-alone a global deal. Once it became the Act, it was an opaque, flawed and confused mixture of science and social policy. When the UK Government tried to lead with their Climate-Act prescription of 'C&C' as 'global policy' at COP-15 in Copenhagen in 2009, it was and was widely regarded as a diplomatic fiasco. It was no surprise that their model imploded and that it was denounced at the COP-15 event in December 2009 and that this ended in failure, blame and recrimination.

In 2009, after asking for GCI's analysis of what they said had been done in their 2016 4% Low Budget, UKMO agreed with GCI's numerical analysis of what they'd done, as here. They also then said however, that their result, "was perfectly reasonable." In reality it wasn't reasonable and it wasn't even credible as the UKMO didn't model in major feedbacks like melting perma-frost at all. Moreover, they rebutted any challenge about this omission as well [see their evidence to EAC HoC here].

Now, in 2013, various eminent people are practically queing up to say, "climate change is much much worse than we realized." In the wake of this, is UKMO now trying to cover its tracks by [only] privately briefing the EAC on their, "latest projections." If so, one can legitimately ask, are they now concealing what will inevitably follow - a significant climb-down by UKMO on this whole issue of feedbacks. Will eminent people whose reports suggested climate change could be dealt with for 1 or 2% of global GDP and whose politics helped to create the UK Climate Act, now be asking who gave them such bad 'scientific' advice?


An enquiry into the transparent and technical competence needed to resolve this matter of UNFCCC-compliance would be appropriate. Because of what we all stand to lose with continuing failure to achieve UNFCCC-compliance, it should turn - now urgently - on clarifying the distinctions below and taking actions and perhaps now finally even giving leadership, rooted in that.


Here is a functioning version of C-BAT Domain One [draft only] that makes this distinction between non-human feedback emissions and non-feedback human emissions transparent. In the model here, this is the emissions-difference between: -

[a] the Integrated Position [which doesn't make the distinction] and
[b] the Segregated Position [which does].

Doing this is obviously crucial as: -

[a] failing to just leads to the science/policy hybrid with no disaggregation that just deepens the mess we are in while
[b] recognizing there must be disaggregation enables some credible risk-averse policy formulation to emerge.

Feedback rates are triggered on what NB are acceleration curves. There is nothing humanity can do to control the emissions from positive feedback once they have taken hold. The only thing humans can do, to avoid being overwhelmed by runaway rates of climate change that will follow doing too little too late, is to accelerate the control of human emissions.

For example we can and we should swich from the Medium Emissions Budget to the Low Emissions Budget shown here as GCI argued in the EAC Enquiry in 2009. [Indeed we argued this case at COP-2 with the introduction of the C&C model in 1996]. These budgets, shown here, are still shown proportionately as subject to the same risks and uncertainties, albeit at lower emission-budget levels. Adair Turner supported this in evidence to the DECC Committee

C-BAT users can use the slider on the right-hand side of this draft Graphic User Interface [GUI] to select: -

[a] the budget [High Medium Low] for integrated or segregated feedbacks and
[b] the rate of feedback and risk they feel is appropriate to that choice and the situation we are going into.

The CBAT GUI is draft but is now active and provides from +40 to -40 user-options for each of the six budgets shown here.
Positions 0 to +40 are determined by concentration path-integrals [2010 to 2110] going from CAF 50 to CAF 100 in 40 equal steps.
Positions 0 to -40 are determined by concentration path-integrals [2010 to 2110] going from CAF 50 to CAF 0 in 40 equal steps.
For 'balance' 40 rates of positive-feedback are matched by 40 rates of negative-feedback shown here for the 3 * 2 budget-settings.
However, there is no evidence to support the emergence of net-negative-feedback and much to support the opposite.

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Click image above to see state of CBAT working now . . .

The UK Climate Act is the CBAT Medium Budget [switch UKCA 'on' - scree top-right]

Domain One - Contraction and Concentrations is fully working.

  1. There are 3 carbon emissions budgets [LOW MEDIUM HIGH] users can choose from
  2. There are tied to carbon concentrations in the atmosphere with either 'Integrated' or 'Segregated' feedback
  3. 80 'positions' for each of these
  4. 5 Climate Sensitivity Levels & 5.clock readings for those plus Temperature Sea Level & ocean pH

Domain Two - Contraction and Convergence is still in preparation but partly working.
Domain Two choices are a function of choices made of Domain One.
See guide to 'Toggling Between Domains One and Two' here.

The image here shows that in CBAT Domain Two using the Vertical SLIDER: -

  1. The Convergence START date is proportional to regional emissions shares in 2010
  2. The Convergence END date is proportional to regional emissions shares in 2010
  3. Any start-date and any end-date can be user-chosen integrated within D1 budget chosen [100 * 100 possibilities]
  4. This will eventually be all three budgets * the 80 position shown for each [making a total of 2.4 mill 'C&C-user-options' ]
  5. With the totals in the budget slider and the tables always adding to the same Gt C! see here

    The 6 Regions aren't yet shown on screen but are presently identified and shown as here





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If UNFCCC-compliance is the ends, then cognitive mapping & technical competence is incontestably part of the means.
Here, it is the limited extent of the science/policy competence behind the UK Climate-Act that that is addressed.
So making clear the distinction between non-feedback human-emissions & non-human feedback-emissions is the issue.