Post 3 – Global Warming Mind Map: Social Value Perspective

By Vicky Lam


This mind map of global warming covers the human (stakeholders) and non-human (environment) aspects.



I include these images mainly on scientific and statistical data since they can help us to visually grasp the trends, disparity, and hence impacts of global warming and climate change on our environment and economy.

Image 1: Global abatement cost curve beyond business-as-usual – 2030 (Dauncey G., 2009, The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming, New Society Publishers, Leicester, p.71)

This image compares relative abatement costs of different mitigation measures, which is useful to understand the financial impact when considering various mitigation options for reducing carbon emissions.


Image 2: Global Temperatures from 1860 to 2000 (“Global Warming and Climate Change”, The Cheaper Petrol Party, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

This image compiled by Climate Research Unit of University of East Anglia and Hadley Centre of UK Meteorological Office records global temperature change from 1900 to 2000 as around 0.57 degree Celsius.


Image 3: Global Fossil Carbon Emissions (“Global Warming and Climate Change”, The Cheaper Petrol Party, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

This image shows the sharply rising trends of global fossil carbon emissions after 1950 due to fossil fuel burning. Cement production releases carbon dioxide resulting from thermal decomposition of limestone to lime.


Image 4: Recent Sea Level Rise (“How rising sea levels will affect US: Miami and New Orleans underwater by 2100”, Zime Science, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

The data in this image indicate a sea level rise of around 18.5cm from 1900 to 2000.


Image 5: Annual Carbon Emissions by Region (Finn M., “Israel Cuts Carbon Emissions to Boost Economic Success”, posted 11 April 2016, Science World Report, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

This image shows the comparative rise in annual carbon emissions by regions, data source from Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre. China acknowledged in 2010 it was the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, surpassing USA who is the top emitter of the world in 20th century. Carbon emissions is proportional to a region’s wealth and hence its energy consumption.


Image 6: Global Warming Predictions (“Global Warming Predictions Map”, 2016, Wikimedia Commons, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

This image shows predicted distribution of temperature change from Hadley Centre HadCM3 climate model, and plotted colors depict average change is 3oC, with predicted change of 1.4 to 5.8oC from 1990 to 2100. Continents warm more rapidly than oceans (due to lower heat capacity of landat ) in the model. The lowest predicted warming is 0.55oC south of South America and the highest is 9.2oC in Arctic Ocean, indicating largest carbon emitters located in northern hemisphere.


Image 7: Fossil Fuel Usage per Person (“Fossil Fuel Usage per Person (Global Warming)”, what-when-how, viewed 7 August 2016, <>)

This image shows the comparison of fossil fuel consumption per capita for the top 20 largest populated countries. Large range indicates disparity between the rich, industrialized and poor/developing countries. Australia’s fossil fuel usage per capita can be very high but not on the list due to its small population.


Image 8: Economic Efficiency of Fossil Fuel Usage (“Economic Efficiency of Fossil Fuel Usage”, Exploring the Environment, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

This image shows how efficiently the 20 largest economies convert fossil fuel usage into wealth (tied to availability of fossil fuel energy sources) in terms of the ratio of gross domestic product generated to number of kg fossil fuel carbon released. France and Brazil ranked top two because they heavily rely on alternative energy source, hydroelectric and nuclear power while other countries rely on coal as energy source.


Image 9: Global Trends in Greenhouse Gases (Verheggen, B., 2012, “Global Trends in Greenhouse Gases”, Encyclopedia of Global Warming & Climate Change, 2nd Ed, SAGE Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, California, Vol. 3, p.1549)

These images illustrate the trends in major greenhouse gas concentrations from 1970 to 2010. Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide show continuous rise that they account for 99% of global warming potential in the past 50 years. CFC-11 & 12 show gradually drop after Montreal Protocol that limited their release to protect ozone layer.


Image 10: Australians’ Thoughts about Climate Change 2010 – 2014 (“54% of Australians skeptics of man-made global warming, 80% don’t donate to environment or vote for it”, JoNova, viewed 7 August 2016, < >)

This image shows the survey carried out by CSIRO – Australian Attitudes to Climate Change 2010 – 2014 regarding the thoughts of the Australians about the causes of climate changes. 46% respondents indicated that climate change is largely caused by humans while a substantial percentage believed that it is just a natural fluctuation. Surprisingly, this indicates most Australians (54%) disagree with IPCC experts and do not believe climate change is dominant by human activities. Full survey report of CSIRO can be seen at:





Post 2 – Two Scholarly Articles

By Vicky Lam

Article Title: Global Warming Debate
Author: Bart Verheggen, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands

Bart Verheggen (Bart Verheggen’s weblog 2016)

Verheggen is an atmospheric scientist working in Netherlands. He wrote many articles about climate change and global warming before such as “Scientists’ views about attribution of global warming”. In this article which is analytical and opinion-based, he highlights global warming has been subject to hot debates for decades because inherent uncertainties and perception of risks around this issue are influenced by one’s ethical, ideological and political beliefs, and cultural values.


Do greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need reducing? According to mainstream scientists, the Earth is warming due to human-induced emissions of GHG which is supported by theory and observations, whereas opponents argue that emission-abatement schemes would ruin the economy because the full consequence of climate change could not be captured until many decades later, and so they have no incentive to do positive actions to mitigate carbon emissions right now. Proponents for stringent emissions reductions claim that transformation of global energy system is easy and can boost the economy while advocates for continuing emissions argue that unlimited global warming will have positive economic effects.


In author’s view, recent climate debates are characterized by polarization and politicization. Policymakers and general public rely on scientists to explain the phenomena. Opponents do not agree scientific consensus because there exist errors or uncertainties in scientific prediction or global climate models while proponents argue that changes in climate will be more extreme than scientists can predict.


The debates in scientific context mainly focus on concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2).   Few people deny basic characteristics of GHGs, which absorb infrared radiations emitted by the Earth and cause greenhouse effect, and make the Earth warmer. Opponents argue that greenhouse effect conflicts with the second law of thermodynamics, and absorption of CO2 by the Earth’s atmosphere would become saturated, and radiation is able to escape to the outer space.


Other debates are on carbon cycle; proponents believe that climate effects of CO2 can last for many decades or centuries whereas opponents argue that it takes five years for a CO2 molecule to be removed from the atmosphere, and very low CO2 concentration is insignificant to cause climate change.


I support the author’s views of the need to abate the GHG emissions, as in his article, he gives scientific justifications and quotes relevant incidents happened in the past of the adverse greenhouse effect on biodiversity, food supply, health and sea level.


Article Title: Economics, Cost of Affecting Climate Change
Author: Emily McGlynn, U.S. Department of State

Emily McGlynn (Ecologic Institute 2016)

Emily McGlynn is an expert on climate change and global warming. Her research focused on domestic and international climate change policy, arctic policy, emissions trading and renewable energy. In this article, which is mainly analytical and research-based, McGlynn outlines various options for reducing greenhouse gases and compares the cost of implementing different mitigation measures to reduce carbon emissions, and the costs indicated in her article is in terms of US dollars.


In order to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions that have impacts on climate change and global warming, the author suggests that the world should take proactive measures to develop less energy and emissions intensive systems of production and consumption, which may require significant investment in new economic sectors, infrastructure and education.


The marginal costs for each mitigation measure can range from negative (such as for adopting some energy efficient standards) to high (such as for developing renewable energy technologies, and carbon capture and store scheme). Some of her findings are summarized below: –


  1. Fuel switching is to move from one type of fuel to another (such as from coal to natural gas), and the abatement cost of fuel switching is fairly high, ranging from $175 to $190 per ton of CO2e (or tCO2e), due to the need to change existing infrastructure. CO2 equivalency (CO2e) of a GHG refers to the amount of CO2 needed to effect the same overall global warming potential (amount of heat trapped) over a given time period (100 years).
  2. Using renewable energy of lower carbon emissions in lieu of generating electricity from conventional fossil fuels, such as from solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydropower, waves and tides, the abatement cost is comparatively cheaper, talking about $25 to $150/tCO2e.
  3. The abatement cost of using nuclear power is very low in the range of $10 to $20/tCO2 Nuclear power generation only produces very few CO2 emissions but its adoption is debatable because of safety issue and initial costs.
  4. Using more efficient fuels, improving combustion processes and energy technologies, constructing greener buildings, and increasing vehicle efficiencies (such as hybrid vehicles) or add retrofits to existing infrastructure can reduce energy consumption, and the abatement cost can be (-)$50/tCO2e, which is gain instead of loss.
  5. Reducing deforestation and, hence impacts of land use change on soil capacity to retain carbon, can reduce greenhouse gases. Abatement cost through forest management and afforestation ranges from $30 to $100/tCO2e.
  6. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology can effectively remove CO2 from the power plant, oil refineries and heavy industrial sources. The abatement cost is high, in the order of $150/tCO2e.


The abatement costs can be visually represented by a marginal abatement cost curve, which displays abatement costs per unit of CO2e avoided.

Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (McGlynn 2012)

As highlighted by McGlynn, other mitigation measures include geo-engineering (control of solar irradiance by injecting particles into atmosphere), and carbon cycle management (harnessing and confiscation of ambient atmospheric CO2), these technologies being developed and immature, their abatement costs still remain uncertain; also, there are controversial issues related to the cost calculations such as the discounting rate used to calculate the net present values in cost benefit analysis, assumptions on estimates of climate-related damages are uncertain, and co-benefits of other activities (health benefits, economical growth and job creation) if not duly accounted for in the calculation. Another controversial issues are who to pay the mitigation costs – the carbon emitters, consumers or general taxpayers, and how to exert leverage on private funding and public funding.


Having said that, in my view, this article is trustworthy, and it is good to know the comparative mitigation costs of various options available in order to consider which one is more cost effective for implementation by a sovereign state.



  1. Verheggen, B., 2012, ‘Global Warming Debate’ in Encyclopedia of Global Warming & Climate Change, 2nd Ed, SAGE Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, California, Vol. 2, pp. 654-660
  2. McGlynn, E., 2012, ‘Economics, Cost of Affecting Climate Change’ in Encyclopedia of Global Warming & Climate Change, 2nd Ed, SAGE Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, California, Vol. 1, pp. 476-480
  3. Verheggen, B., 2016, “Bart Verheggen’s weblog on climate change issues”, viewed 6 August 2016,
  4. “Emily McGlynn” in Ecologic Institute, viewed 7 August 2016,