09 Dec 2009

French COP15 analysis tool developed with Open University expertise

COP15 is now underway

COP15 is now underway

The Open University has taken a role in helping French officials assess climate negotiations and decisions at the COP-15 climate change conference.

The SynsCop15 programme, which was initiated by the French Ministry of Environment through the GICC programme (managing climate change impacts), brings together three modelling systems which analyse climate policy, technology and energy considerations and the economic impact of negotiations at the Copenhagen Climate Change conference.

A set of scenarios has been simulated representing different arrangements proposed at COP15 – from complete failure in negotiations, to an agreement within G20, to a full international agreement. The results are used to address questions about the consequences of policies negotiated or discussed at the conference, and it is available for members of the French delegation to use throughout COP15.

Dr Neil Edwards from The Open University has been involved in the climate modelling functions for the project and said: “The future is never easy to predict but it is essential that the negotiators at COP15 have access to the most recent and relevant analyses as they weigh the options for the future of planet Earth.”

The scenarios offered by the project website range from complete failure of negotiations, whereby some countries revert to national interests and global emissions continue to grow rapidly to 2030, requiring even more drastic action later; through to an international agreement which sees rapid, concerted action to reduce emissions. The 2°C climate target is feasible in the long-term (assuming that a World Climate Agreement is implemented for the rest of the century), even in the case of the failure of negotiations; but this outcome incurs greater global costs – higher mitigation efforts (such as renewable energy, and more nuclear) would be required after 2030 to compensate for the short-term options not taken. The energy-system must also be CO2-free almost 10 years earlier than in the international agreement scenario, in order to reach the same point in achieving the 2°C target.

SynsCOP15 will run throughout 2010, and interactive functionality will be developed so that visitors to the website can input scenarios and find out instantaneously the impact that these would have on the climate and on the economy.

Notes to editors:
The three systems which are used in the SynsCOP15 programme are:

1. TIAM : A World "Bottom Up" Technology-Economy model, including a climate module, simulating partial economic equilibrium (energy system) and able to account for some uncertain parameters;
2. GEMINI -E3: A World "Top Down" macro economic model (Computable General Equilibrium model), simulating the macro-economy and able account for some uncertain parameters;
3. GENIE: A Climate model of intermediate complexity, simulating the evolution of the global climate system with regional resolution. GENIE-1 (used in the Beta version of the website) has 2-D atmosphere and 3-D ocean, whereas GENIE-2 (final version of the website) is a fully 3-D coupled model.

The SynsCop15 programme has been led by the Swiss consultants Ordecsys, in collaboration with Kanlo consultants in France.

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