Mark Lawrence - Challenges and Approaches to meeting the Paris Agreement Goals

Event type: 
10 November 2017
2.30 - 3.30pm

Climate Change Research Centre, Seminar Room, Mathews Building 4th floor, UNSW, Sydney

Mark Lawrence
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany
Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW, Australia

The 2015 Paris Agreement set targets to limit “...the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre‐industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre‐industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.” Current emissions reduction efforts and future commitments are insufficient to meet these targets. As a result, there is increasing discussion and scrutiny of so‐called “climate engineering” approaches to compliment emissions reductions. The recent European Transdisciplinary Assessment of Climate Engineering (EU‐Trace) project undertook a review of such proposed approaches. This considered both the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (Carbon Dioxide Removal), and geoengineering aimed at directly altering the Earth’s radiation budget (Radiative Forcing Geoengineering), exploring the state of knowledge, potentials, impacts and uncertainties.

In this talk Prof Lawrence will examine four aspects of these issues:

  • The remaining carbon budget until the global mean surface temperature is expected to be committed to exceeding 1.5°C or 2°C;

  • The role of non‐CO 2 gases and particles in climate change;

  • The viability of ideas for Carbon Dioxide Removal;

  • And the “if all else fails” discussion around Radiative Forcing Geoengineering.

Does our knowledge of atmospheric science provide hope, or are we now faced with multiple “inconvenient truths”?


Brief Biography: Prof. Dr Mark Lawrence has been a Scientific Director at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam since October 2011, and is currently the Managing Scientific Director. He has lectured in the faculty of Geoecology at the University of Potsdam since 2013, and was appointed as an Honorary Professor of the University in 2014.

An atmospheric and climate scientist, he received his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA, in 1996 and worked closely with Nobel laureate Paul J. Crutzen at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry (MPIC) in Mainz from 1993 to 2000.