IPCC WG2 report now out

Instead of speculations based on partial drafts and attempts to spin the coverage ahead of time, you can now download the final report of the IPCC WG2: “Climate Change 2014:Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” directly. The Summary for Policy Makers is here, while the whole report is also downloadable by chapter. Notably there are FAQ for the whole report and for each chapter that give a relatively easy way in to the details. Note too that these are the un-copyedited final versions, and minor edits, corrections and coherent figures will be forthcoming in the final published versions. (For reference, the WG1 report was released in Sept 2013, but only in final published form in Jan 2014). Feel free to link to interesting takes on the report in the comments.

131 comments on this post.
  1. Danny Bloom:

    climate change friends and advisors HELP ME on this DAN BLOOM asks re recent AP story that mocks global warming issues as a mere “game” WTF? your opinion? tell me

    Shame on AP reporters SETH BORENSTEIN inm DC and KAORI HITOMI in Tokyo whose bylines appeared on Ap story online for for ending their very important and good climate story with a mockery of serious issue by writing in last graf: ” So far, the scientists have not come up with the next step, common on Facebook pages: The interactive quiz to determine which global warming problem you most resemble.” WTF? That is funny? Mocking the serious issues confronting humankind
    by adding that last graf that lowers the discussion to trendy Facebook list trend and asking which global warming problem the reader most resembles?

    I wrote to Seth and he apologized and said he was jetlagged and wishes he never added the last graf. but it went on the wire worldwide now and the climate denialists are eating it up: “see” they say ” even AP mocks global warming as a mere trendy facebook list game and of course climate change is a hoax.”

    Thanks AP for being a professional wire service. NOT.


  2. Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid:

    Most probably due to some goverment pressure, the possibility of adaptation is now emphasized …
    Some media are seeing this as kind of U turn … But, due to our innaction, it will be a necessity rather than a “new” possibility …
    I´m afraid this approach will backfire in the medium and long term: most people won´t NOW reduce emissions as IT IS NECESSARY.
    Adaptation will only slightly soften some of the problems, only to some people, and only for some time … And it will be very expensive too!

  3. Mike Donald:

    Ah well. Here’s the Guardian’s 5 key point from the report


    Is it me or is there a reduction in the number and venom of denialist posters on the web? Wishful thinking I’m sure.

  4. pete best:

    Here in the UK it has been announced and reported on but then one of the BBC’s talk radio stations (5live) decided that a more critical response was needed and hence Judith Curry has been interviewed. Oh the joy of our fair and balanced media. However she just seemed to focus on the fact that there has been no warming for 16 years (she have a peer reviewed paper for that fact I wonder) and then told us about how ACC is but part of a larger environmental picture (feeding the world etc).

    So it turns out that there is no warming but there is some ACC but its only one amongst a lot of issues environmentally hence the sceptical side of the argument are still and forever casting their doubt.

  5. GlenFergus:

    I’ve long thought that, like the 2°C maximum warming target, there should be an ocean acidification target at pH 8.0, as a global surface average. Such a target would have real meaning to many technical non-specíalists, and might help engage them with the consequences.

    It’s disappointing that WG2 chose to formulate figure SPM.6 in terms of pH change alone, without reference to absolute values. There’s not even some note like, say, “Average global ocean surface pH over 1981-2005 was 8.1″.

  6. Rob Nicholls:

    1. Rafael Molina Navas (#2). I don’t think the IPCC is necessarily over-emphasising adaptation (compared to mitigation), although there are blogs and media reports suggesting this.

    I noticed that Professor Curry’s article on AR5 WG2 yesterday (admittedly before WG2 was published) seemed to imply that the IPCC seems to be now focussing more on adaptation and less on mitigation, and Curry quotes (apparently favourably) a Telegraph article by Andrew Lilico saying “If the leaked draft is reflected in the published report, it will constitute the formal moving on of the debate from the past, futile focus upon “mitigation” to a new debate about resilience and adaptation.”

    Leaving aside the breathtaking statement that mitigation is “futile” (perhaps these people live on a planet where 3 or 4 or 5 degrees C of sudden warming can be said with certainty not to have very serious negative impacts, but I fear the impacts may be very serious here on Earth), I don’t think the IPCC is “moving on” from a focus on mitigation. I understand that a whole IPCC working group (Working Group III) is dedicated to the mitigation of climate change. I think it will release its report on 13th April.
    One more quote from Prof Curry: “While I have yet to read the entire WG2 Report, the message that I am getting is there is a great deal of uncertainty in the attribution and future projections of climate change impacts, and that the threats on the timescale of the 21st century are not existential.” Once again, Curry’s repeating the suggestion that the attribution of climate change is much more uncertain than the totality of the evidence seems to suggest (I’m not a physicist, I’m just going by the IPCC’s view, and Curry has not presented the extraordinary evidence needed to support her extraordinary statement that the IPCC has got it very wrong). Curry seems to be strangely comforted by all the uncertainty around future climate change impacts, as if the uncertainty is on our side. This is not a good way to manage such major risks.

  7. Robert Dyson:

    Working to slow global warming and in principle start to reverse it does not fit the short-term profits of a lot of powerful people, even assuming they have a grasp of the matter. For most of us it would be wonderful work and jobs with clear beneficial goals that would be enjoyable to do. The response of many of the relatives of the missing Malaysian flight shows how some people will deny the best evidence. I am in a community group trying to raise awareness of climate change, and help with mitigating technologies like insulation and solar power, but it is incredibly hard to move people.

  8. Rob Nicholls:

    Having re-read the quote from Judith Curry in my comment above, I think she was probably talking about the attribution of climate change impacts (relevant to WG2) rather than the attribution of climate change itself (relevant to WG1), and so I think she probably wasn’t repeating her previous suggestion that the attribution of climate change (in terms of warming over the last 50 years or so) is much more uncertain than the totality of the evidence seems to suggest (according to IPCC WG1). Apologies for this misinterpretation.

  9. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Here’s a quick summary: We are all sitting ducks.

  10. Chris Dudley:

    My favorite figure so far is Figure SPM.5. This shows that under RCP2.6 extinctions can be avoided. Just think, we can still emit 270 Gt of carbon and avoid some serious issues. We’ve got a cushion!

  11. Hank Roberts:

    > global surface average

    Have you talked to any ocean biologists about that criterion?
    It’s been a while since I have, but I’d expect they’d tell you that it’s not the average that kills the organisms, it’s the excursion, and the timing of the excursion.

    You can get a hell of a lot of polluting done before the average reaches some threshold criterion, and polluters know that if you instead limit emissions and watch for extreme events, you have a better chance of reducing the damage to ecosystems. Costs’em tho’.

  12. Pete Dunkelberg:


  13. Rachel F:

    Pete B, I despair at the BBC.
    Five live seem to be even worse than Radio Four, which is pretty dire. They actively promote deniers. No better than Fox news.
    I wrote another strong letter to them, this time as a formal complaint about their general reporting on CC. If more people would complain more frequently, they might listen eventually. They are supposed to be the voice of mainstream thought and reliability and they are most certainly not in this case. It is very misleading for the public.

  14. Chris Reynolds:

    #2, Rafael Molina Navas,

    Regardless of reducing emissions, adaptation is necessary because the committed warming will set the climate for about the next 20 years.

  15. GlenFergus:

    Hank, Hoegh-Guldberg lives in my town (but it’s a big town…). Answer is no, haven’t asked, but I reckon I know what he’d say. Has said, tirelessly.

    You could make a similar point about 2°C. It’s not the global average that kills things.

  16. Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid:

    #13 Chris Reynolds
    You are right … but I said that too:
    “… adaptation … due to our innaction, it will be a necessity rather than a “new” possibility”
    #6 Rob Nichols (and others who mentioned BBC)
    I wrote my post before reading more deeply and directly IPCC paper … just after listening BBC Radio 4 “Today” programme, where in an interview to one of the “authors” in Japan, the presenter and the interviewee were both emphasizing adaptation as a “new” approach in IPCC paper…

  17. Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid:

    #13 Chris Reynolds
    You are right … but I said that too:
    “… adaptation … due to our innaction, it will be a necessity rather than a “new” possibility”
    #6 Rob Nichols (and others who mentioned BBC)
    I wrote my post before reading more deeply and directly IPCC paper … just after listening BBC Radio 4 “Today” programme, where in an interview to one of the authors in Japan, both the presenter and the interviewee were emphasizing adaptation as “new” approach in IPCC paper …

  18. Hank Roberts:

    > It’s not the global average that kills things

    Yeah, things (plants and animals, including us) getting killed is a concern for those individuals.

    But (except for the individuals and communities affected) killing individuals isn’t tragic, all die one way or another.

    Killing off populations, ecosystems, and species has a nasty feedback multiplier: trophic cascades.

    I keep wondering if the whales can come recover, or if we’re already capturing too much krill to leave food for whale populations to recover.

  19. dan bloom:

    NYTimes today link – College Classes Use Arts to Brace for Climate Change


    New York Times
    … of the mushrooming subgenre of speculative fiction known as climate fiction, or cli-fi, novels like “Odds Against Tomorrow,” by Nathaniel Rich, …

    Using the Arts to Teach How to Prepare for Climate Crisis

    … of the mushrooming subgenre of speculative fiction known as climate fiction, or cli-fi, novels like “Odds Against Tomorrow,” by Nathaniel Rich,

  20. John Bruno:


    As Glen says, it isn’t the global average that matters, for temperature, pH, or really any environmental factor that affects critters. What affects them is deviations (short and long term) from the conditions under which they evolved and are physiologically acclimatized to, i.e., local conditions.

    In terms of pH, we have a poor understanding of what “normal” is in many parts of the ocean, especially nearshore environments, or how much variability there is in “normal” even over short time scales (days, hours, etc). Check out Fig 2 in Hoffman et al 2011: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0028983

    and Table 1, ie, mean pH among the samples sites ranged from 7.8 to 8.1 and within some sites. Just like with surface or ocean temperature, the global average pH is a pretty meaningless value, and like temperature, pH is changing at dramatically different rates in different regions (due to greenhouse gas emissions).


    John B
    Prof of Biology, UNC Chapel Hill

  21. Chuck Hughes:

    This was on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams as of tonight:


    I’m wondering if even this goes far enough in explaining in no uncertain terms how dire our situation is?

    I don’t guess there’s any way to get Judith Curry to put a sock in it. I don’t understand what her problem is with being able to analyze the data and be accurate. Is she doing this on purpose or is she just that thick? Rhetorical question I know but it boggles the mind.

  22. Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid:

    #6 Rob Nichols (and others who mentioned BBC), and #17 (mine)
    What follows, from last part of linked BBC News article, is in similar line to what I heard yesterday at “Today” programme.
    “I think the really big breakthrough in this report is the new idea of thinking about managing climate change as a problem in managing risks,” said Dr Chris Field.
    “Climate change is really important but we have a lot of the tools for dealing effectively with it – we just need to be smart about it.”
    There is far greater emphasis to adapting to the impacts of climate in this new summary. The problem, as ever, is who foots the bill?
    I WOULD ASK Dr Field: Is it now THAT simple, do we JUST need to be smart about it? … Has that “solution” not been there for many many years, to no avail?

  23. Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid:

    #20 John B
    “Just like with surface or ocean temperature, the global average pH is a pretty meaningless value, and like temperature, pH is changing at dramatically different rates in different regions (due to greenhouse gas emissions)”.
    ¿MEANINGLESS values? … I consider you, Prof of Biology, should be more carefull when choosing your words … They mislead ordinary people.

  24. Pete Best:

    Rachel – yes indeed scientifically the BBC is somewhat seemingly biased but they would say fair and balanced (due diligence or something like that). To understand all things newspaper then watch this from the now sadly departed Stephen Sneider:



  25. Chris Dudley:

    One of the interesting repercussions of this report is that while RCP2.6 emission scenario requires little adaptation beyond what we are doing now, the others do imply a need for adaptation and the current figure is around $100 billion an year for poor countries. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/01/world/climate-study-puts-diplomatic-pressure-on-obama.html

    This means that there is an opportunity to reduce risk that might cut that $100 billion/year figure substantially.

    Our national flood insurance program http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Flood_Insurance_Program makes flood insurance available in communities that adopt flood plain management ordinances that prevent construction in flood plains, thus eliminating flood risk over time. A world climate insurance program might include some similar features. Insurance for climate damage might be issued to countries that take steps to mitigate risk, such as cutting greenhouse emissions, preserving forests, withdrawing from flood plains, building storm shelters, and constructing famine prevention infrastructure.

    Owing to the environmental clause in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), premiums for the insurance program could be subsidized through tariffs on the exports of countries that do not participate in the program because they intend to increase greenhouse gas emissions or destroy forests.

    For the US, the program would likely look like re-insurance, with the tariffs on Chinese imports backstopping increased payouts for flood and crop insurance. In less developed nations, if may look more like the introduction of flood and crop insurance for the first time with a couple of decades of low premiums while development goals are met.

    The nice thing about this is that full participation means low premiums and few occasions for payouts since all countries would be cutting emissions and preserving forests. Partial participation, on the other hand, cuts the economic growth rate of nonparticipants by reducing their export market share. This slows the growth in emissions, and if payouts become very large, cuts off those exports entirely, likely ending emissions growth. Such a function also helps to limit program costs.

    Full participation by all nations might also be used to greatly accelerate emission cuts by including a “biggest loser” mechanism, where premium holidays are allowed based on the most effective mitigation efforts.

    Another feedback that might be useful would be to invest the insurance program reserve funds in mitigation technology such as clean energy projects.

  26. John Bruno:

    Rafael Molina Navas, Madrid, meaningless yes in the context of the discussion. Like the average salary of everyone in Spain has no influence on your personal spending and financial situation, animals don’t respond to the global average (temp or pH), just what they experience locally.

  27. owl905:

    WG2 is playing catch-up with circumstances and developments. Like WG1, it is bogged down in covering all the bases with all the pro-pollutionist attacks and claims – attacks and claims that have quite simply worked better than the explanation of the science. That link to Brian Williams ed. on it is worth the price of admissions for the single moment of clarity:
    “Here is the takeaway: unless the world changes course quickly and dramatically, the fundamental systems that support human civilization are at risk.”

    For a counterpoint – how to get the wrong thing on the table in a way that really sizzles and sells: Exxon’s Outlook Report, issued its forecast of energy demand and supply through 2040. They see their forecast, with lower GHG growth, primarily through efficiencies and reduced coal usage. And they shine when they say it closest to RCP 4.5 with no impact on dividends. And for icing, they even have a graph (by global region) showing a “Mission Accomplished” gentle rise in CO2 that naturally flattens and starts to decline in mid-2020s:


    Like Lincoln (would have) said: “You can fuel some of the people all of the time.”

    And a footnote: for anyone to write that the average for global temperature and ocean pH is ‘pretty much a meaningless value’ is not only sad with an edge of hubris, they adds to a serious drift towards turning AGW dangers into a game of ‘Where’s Waldo?’

  28. Killian:

    10 Chris Dudley says:
    31 Mar 2014 at 9:28 AM

    My favorite figure so far is Figure SPM.5. This shows that under RCP2.6 extinctions can be avoided. Just think, we can still emit 270 Gt of carbon and avoid some serious issues. We’ve got a cushion!

    No, you don’t. I like to point out… Greenland is already melting. The thick ASI is virtually gone. West Antarctica is losing more ice than Greenland. Methane emissions in Siberian waters are expanding rapidly, now thought to not be equal to all other natural sources, but twice that.

    And, my favorite, look at a graph of ASI extent going back to 1900. When did the ice start decreasing? 1953. What was the CO2 ppm then? About 315, iirc. ****315****. Not 400, not 450, not 350. 315. This means the planet started responding in significant ways to warming virtually as soon as we passed 300ppm. Add in the lag time, and the hard limit is definitely 300.

    Sorry, but you have ZERO cushion. But perhaps, and hopefully, your “!” was intended to invoke sarcasm.

  29. Fred:

    The report was a major disappointment. Apparently, the IPCC is simply unable to produce anything timely, or properly disseminate just how serious the current changes are.

    I think the IPCC is now irrelevant, incapable of keeping up with the current measurements and assessments, too slow to produce anything useable, and too weak to speak the clear truth. Literally “ever word” was wrangled over – this is not what humankind needs now.

    Once again, climate science “lets us down” (imo). A planetary emergency exists – and we’re still at square one. The IPCC utterly failed to issue an emergency alert. Or even account for a number of positive feedbacks. So what was the point in this futile exercise? Apparently, to appease politicians and industry.

    The IPCC is irrelevant. Much to do producing nothing useable. There is STILL disagreement. STILL debate. STILL hesitation.

    Unbelievable. But what I’ve come to expect from supposed “experts”.

    Sorry – but you guys and gals are doing a SHITTY job informing the world just how serious the situation really is. You’ve lost the public debate already. And I’m going to keep saying that until somebody in your group starts telling it like it is. Just how bad does it need to get before somebody speaks up? All this piddling around is a gigantic waste of time humanity doesn’t have.

  30. Hank Roberts:

    > the average … pH

    I think a few readers may be getting this point backward.

    Someone earlier proposed setting an average ocean pH as a _target_.

    I argued that — for a variety of reasons — you can’t do that.

    Later comments conflate pH with atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    CO2 in air is well mixed within a year or so. We know the CO2 average because nature averages it out — mixes CO2 planet-wide. So people can — meaningfully — talk about a target, whether it’s 350 or whatever. It’s measurable.

    Ocean pH is increasing.
    You can’t specify _any_ average target.

    No average is available.

    Nature doesn’t mix CO2 well fast in water like it does in air.

    We don’t have the global data nor instruments to get such data globally, needed to figure out an average. And it wouldn’t matter if we did, average doesn’t matter.

    Local pH excursions limit what lives

    ‘oogle it: ocean pH meter measurement change accuracy “error bars” — then use Scholar.

    See the difference? Opinions vary.
    Facts, not so much.

    Sure, politically, you can make up anything and call it a goal.

    The goal should be — no damage from ocean pH change, stop doing that.

  31. Fred Magyar:

    For Crimminie’s sake! The folks in this thread who are complaining about Prof. Bruno’s comment about the global pH average of the oceans apparently understand neither averages nor ecosystems and biology! The average pH value is indeed MEANINGLESS to organisms at the local level. Furthermore this statement should neither confuse nor confound the readership here. This is after all, a science based site, not intended for the AVERAGE (pun intended) reader >:-) BTW if anyone wants to understand the affects of pH at the local level, may I suggest setting up a living coral reef aquarium and letting the pH rise and fall over the course of a few months while observing what happens to the occupants of the tank…

  32. Kevin McKinney:

    “But perhaps, and hopefully, your “!” was intended to invoke sarcasm.”

    – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/03/ipcc-wg2-report-now-out/comment-page-1/#comment-488981

    Killian, I do believe you’ve divined his intent…

  33. Radge Havers:

    Fred @ ~ 29

    The blame, if you will, is shared and widespread. The message is out there, you’re aware of it for instance. What we lack most of all is leadership from members of our corrupted political system, and serious reporting and commentary from members of our MSM entertainment industry who masquerade as journalists.

    Still, it’s an interestng question; how much of a difference can messaging from scientists potentially make? If you think it’s so easy, you try it.

  34. Ray Ladbury:

    Might I suggest that you pause and reflect a bit, and maybe become a bit more familiar with the situation in which WG2 is operating before trashing the efforts of those who are doing far, far more to address the problem than you are.

  35. Eli Rabett:

    BBC took it on the nose a few days ago when the House Commons Committee Report told them to stop with the false balance and give the deniers 3% of the time or so.


  36. Hank Roberts:

    When I ‘oogled pH target etc. (yesterday), the top 2 hits are the watts and curry blogs. Hyping false precision? Eschew.

  37. sidd:

    Re: “West Antarctica is losing more ice than Greenland”

    i thought the opposite was true

  38. Chris Dudley:

    Ah, the Killian, still full of p&v. OK, you follow RCP2.6 with me until 2100 and I’ll work with you to get to 280 ppm thereafter. Deal? We’ll be at 361 ppm in 2300 without sweating it so that part shouldn’t be too hard. It’s just the part prior to 2100 that will take a little thought on how to make it happen. http://nldr.library.ucar.edu/repository/assets/osgc/OSGC-000-000-010-882.pdf

  39. Dean Myerson:

    Some of the coverage I’ve seen, including some network news in the US, has emphasized negative impacts on agriculture, particularly later in this century, but some starting now.

    Nothing personal against polar bears and ice packs, but the possibility of food shortages or even food price increases could motivate the public a lot more than arctic impacts.

  40. owl905:

    Fred @29 wrote: “Sorry – but you guys and gals are doing a SHITTY job informing the world just how serious the situation really is.”
    To put it back in terms you can understand: “Bullshit baffles brains.” And that’s how the pro-pollutionists rigged the roar. If you don’t have time or preference for the chalky taste of AR5, try the AAAS 29-pager, “What We Know”
    Then try and compare how many people know ‘what we know’ versus … ‘the Pause’.
    The message gets harder to hear when the other team isn’t held accountable for their criticisms or responsible for their spins.

  41. Timothy Chase:

    Sidd wrote in 37:

    Re: “West Antarctica is losing more ice than Greenland”

    i thought the opposite was true

    I thought so, too, but according to a new paper just six glaciers are responsible for draining more ice into the Amundsen Sea than all of Greenland into the Arctic Ocean. From the introduction:

    Pine Island, Thwaites, Haynes, Smith, Pope, and Kohler Glaciers are among the fastest-flowing glaciers in continental Antarctica [Rignot et al., 2011b]. Combined together, they drain one third of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet into the Amundsen Sea Embayment (ASE), or 393 million square kilometers. Their mass flux into the southern Pacific Ocean (280±9 Gt/yr in 2007) [Rignot, 2008] is comparable to that of the entire Greenland Ice Sheet into the Arctic Ocean [Rignot and Kanagaratnam, 2006].”

    Mouginot, J., E. Rignot, and B. Scheuchl. “Sustained increase in ice discharge from the Amundsen Sea Embayment, West Antarctica, from 1973 to 2013.” Geophysical Research Letters (2014).

    Incidentally, at this point there are no glaciers along the coastline of Greenland that aren’t going to sea, either. Models had suggested that the Northeast region would be stable, but instead ice is moving as far inland as 600 KM.

    Please see:

    Here, we show that the northeast Greenland ice stream, which extends more than 600 km into the interior of the ice sheet, is now undergoing sustained dynamic thinning, linked to regional warming, after more than a quarter of a century of stability. This sector of the Greenland ice sheet is of particular interest, because the drainage basin area covers 16% of the ice sheet (twice that of Jakobshavn Isbræ) and numerical model predictions suggest no significant mass loss for this sector, leading to an under-estimation of future global sea-level rise.”

    Khan, Shfaqat A., et al. “Sustained mass loss of the northeast Greenland ice sheet triggered by regional warming.” Nature Climate Change (2014).

    Later in the paper they state that the northeast had been stable until about 2003, followed by fluctuations until April of 2006, then sustained ice loss through April of 2012.

  42. Ken Fabian:

    Fred @29 – I suggest that it is principally at the level of politics, where people who actually hold positions of trust and responsibility and power to act on our collective behalf – positions that should entail being well informed and expert advice taken seriously as a minimum prerequisite – are letting us down and are active in preventing the clear and repeated warnings via IPCC and others being treated seriously.

    Instead of choosing the policy course according to the nature of the problem, they appear to be acting as the political advocates for narrow but extremely profitable (as long as the real and full costs continue to be deferred to the wider and future global community) economic interests. Those fossil fuel dominated interests have no requirement, except perhaps theoretical… or hypothetical, to be up front, honest and truthful; on the contrary they have the ‘free speech’ right to say whatever they like to spruik for their interests as they perceive them, and have no enforceable or even expected requirement to take the science seriously or discuss it honestly. In the case of climate the truth is very bad for their future profitability and they are not going to admit the truth or act on it’s basis by choice. They can and do use all the tools in their bag of tricks – political donations, lobbying, PR, Advertising, direct media ownership and Tankthink to ensure the politics falls out in their favour.

    Fred, you can blame climate scientists and the IPCC but the responsibility to respond appropriately to the warnings they give lies elsewhere.

  43. Walter:

    #29, #33, #34, #40

    RE: Jim, “Sorry – but you guys and gals are doing a SHITTY job informing the world just how serious the situation really is.”

    If I posted the links to ~100 published academic papers in the last 5 years that provide compelling research that the above statement is true … would that still not make any difference to the endless criticisms and insulting put downs here of people who pass by occasionally that in FACT DO speak the Truth? Answer: Nope!

    RE: the sock-puppet nym Radge Havers aka Crazy Oats “What we lack most of all is leadership from members of our corrupted political system, and serious reporting and commentary from members of our MSM entertainment industry who masquerade as journalists.”

    It’s only their fault? They have failed because THEY don’t understand the science? And the politicians are CORRUPTED? Who knew? Spun like a true politician, you missed your real calling Crazy Oats!

    And what have you done yourself Radge, besides add your 2 cents worth into the echo chamber that is RC for a decade? Write a list so we can all learn for an “expert” action hero! :)

    What’s the job of the IPCC Crazy Oast?
    Quoting: “One of the main IPCC activities is the preparation of comprehensive Assessment Reports about the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its causes, potential impacts and response strategies. Since its inception in 1988 the IPCC has prepared four multivolume assessment reports and is in the process of finalizing the Fifth Assessment Report.” http://www.ipcc.ch/activities/activities.shtml

    iow IT’S TO INFORM and EDUCATE the POLICY MAKERS of the SCIENCE – it’s not the Media’s nor Journalist’s job nor Jim’s nor MY responsibility to do that but the IPCC plus it also belongs fair and square inside the DOMAIN of all interested Climate Scientists and their group institutions and universities.

    Now, about your “If you think it’s so easy, you try it.” and Ray Ladbury’s “… those who are doing far, far more to address the problem than you are.”

    I recommend the non-stop whiners and critics of anyone passing through RC who expresses their VALID evidence based disappointment of the ‘state of play’ today read the following RC article again and again until they get it right.

    And then a hundred times more to be sure it actually sinks in until the cognitive dissonance and level of denial finally subsides.

    A failure in communicating the impact of new findings
    … but because the way it presented the science.
    The report was written by top scientists, so what went wrong?
    My impression is that the amount of information crammed into this report was more important than making a few strong messages.
    The SPM really provides a lot of facts, but what do all those numbers mean for policy makers? There was little attempt to set the findings in a context relevant for decision making
    A summary should really start with the most important message, but the SPM starts by discussing uncertainties.
    My recommendation is that next time, the main report is published before the SPM. That way, all the space used on uncertainty and confidence in the SPM could be spared.
    I also recommend that people who decide the structure of future SPMs and undertake the writing take a course effective writing for non-scientist. At MET Norway, we have had such writing lessons to improve our communication skills, and I have found this training valuable.

    The day that the resident defense personnel speak to people such as Jim here the EXACT same way they do when Rasmus Benestad and ALL the other authors on RC CRITICISE THE WORK OF THE IPCC et al and Climate Science Communication failures … I will happily die of shock!

  44. Chris Dudley:

    Kevin (#32),

    No sarcasm at all. I like the figure and I am very pleased that an RCP that is consistent with the goals of 350.org has been included in the analysis and it is shown to prevent one of the first irreversible consequences of warming: mass extinction. I’m not entirely sanguine about the situation with coral reefs, which seem to be very sensitive. But, Figure SPM.5 is encouraging with regard to RCP2.6. If you read “Reinventing Fire” by Amory Lovins, it seems clear that so long as we can penalize the Chinese into getting smart, the cushion available in RCP2.6 is adequate.

  45. Walter:

    Anyone who has issues with people expressing their genuine feelings and being truthfully critical of 25 years of climate scientist’s communication failures publicly could email Dr James Hansen directly here: jeh1@columbia.edu and lodge their personal criticisms of that kind of commentary.

    Quoting Hansen:
    “What makes me sick is the realization that climate change and air pollution were both preventable. Thus they are true human-made tragedies. And I know that we in the West bear a moral burden.
    “We scientists have special responsibility. We had knowledge 25 years ago that should have allowed climate change and air pollution to be manageable problems, not tragedies. However, we failed to communicate the implications well enough with political leaders and we did not achieve effective action.
    We must try harder now, because it is still possible to minimize the climate change effects and it is possible to solve the air pollution problem.
    “We scientists should have made clearer that there is a limited “carbon budget” for the world, i.e., a limit on the amount of fossil fuels that could be burned without assuring disastrous future consequences. We should have made clear that diffuse renewables cannot satisfy energy needs of countries such as China and India. It seems we failed to make that clear enough.”

    For those who prefer to blame everything on politicians by generating multi-node conspiracy theories versus say “reason and holistic perspectives” and the very reality of global politics and economic constraints then again email James Hansen and tell him to please shut up and get with the programme.

    Quoting Hansen (CAPS for my emphasis):

    “It is easy to blame governments for the fact that we are marching inexorably toward climate disasters, as if humanity were a bunch of lemmings scurrying toward a cliff. I have argued that politicians are well-oiled and coal-fired,and, indeed, documentation of that exists.
    However, this is surely NOT THE ONLY CAUSE, and it may NOT BE the most IMPORTANT ONE.

    “Indeed, a case could be made that politicians have been pushed into a situation such that they have no choice but to approve continued coal-burning, hydro-fracking for increased gas and oil production, and pursuit of oil and gas in extreme and pristine environments.”

    FROM http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2014/20140310_ChinaOpEd.pdf
    Do Scientists Have a Duty to Expose Popular Misconceptions? by James E. Hansen http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2014/20140221_DraftOpinion.pdf

    Or via here with more background Hansen info: http://whatsupwithrealclimate.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/james-hansen.html

    DUTY – what dos that mean?

    du·ty [doo-tee, dyoo-] noun, plural du·ties.
    1.something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.
    2.the binding or obligatory force of something that is morally or legally right; moral or legal obligation.
    3.an action or task required by a person’s position or occupation; function: the duties of a clergyman.

    …. or a collective of global Climate Scientists even?

    imho it is the height of naive self-deluded haughtiness to have expected that the world and all upon it including Policy makers/ Politicians and Industry and the Coal Miner’s Daughter would have humbly automatically deferred to the pronouncements of the IPCC and Climate Scientists just becausue they said so.

    Being in touch with the realities of the world and cognitive sciences would have been far more rational and a sign of intelligent thinking and planning since 1988 when the IPCC was formed. That never happened, therefore the communications have been an abject failure across the board.

    Instead in 2007 after 17 years of the message NOT getting through the majority of the climate science community silently watched as a “partisan politician” totally polarized the climate change public debate forever whence the IPCC and the scientists totally lost control of the communication process.

    That’s factually correct and is what happened. The highest Intelligence of Humanoids, with the whole backing of the world’s academic resources and experts in public communication and political science at their fingertips, SHOULD have known better and the onus is still upon them ALONE to actually do better.

    You’re the experts in the field, it’s your message, and it’s up to ALL CLIMATE SCIENTISTS to convince others of the validity of that expertise in knowledge. No one else.

    Time to work smarter, not harder.

    Time to stop making excuses and blaming everyone else for making it hard.

    It was always going to be hard. That should have been THE given with a coordinated LONG TERM plan developed (at least by 2000) by the leaders of the scientific community to stay ahead of the obvious criticisms and special interest groups of anti-climate science activism which would surely follow.

    25 years of finger pointing doesn’t make a solid case to be believed now.

  46. Chuck Hughes:

    No need to worry folks. Congress is getting right on this problem making absolutely sure nothing politically gets done to solve it. In fact, they think we would be much better off if the scientists would quit talking about Climate Change. And what better way to do that than by passing some more anti-science legislation:


  47. Radge Havers:

    “…and I have found this training valuable…”

    Spewing is not good communication. Ask for your money back.

  48. Tony Weddle:


    RCP 2.6 doesn’t give us any sort of cushion. It is a scenario for what could happen with an aggressive emissions reductions programme. At the moment, we don’t look like getting anywhere near that. It’s not really available as a viable option, because no government would accept the economic impact that such a programme would have.

    A cushion would mean that we can continue to emit at the current rate for some time until something bad happens. Unfortunately, we have no time to do that. The IPCC report gave a budget range that starts at zero for a chance of limiting warming to 2C. I see no cushion in that.

  49. Walter:

    Chris …. “If you read “Reinventing Fire” by Amory Lovins, it seems clear that so long as we can penalize the Chinese into getting smart, the cushion available in RCP2.6 is adequate.”

    Not only do the Chinese need to get smart, but they have to be “penalized” into it? I honestly do not comprehend the making of these kinds of statements … anywhere.

    OK, so the 1.25 Billion in the OECD nations have produced ~60% of cumulative emissions to China’s 1.36 billion of only 11%

    The OECD today uses ~40% of all carbon energy to China’s 26% and India’s (1.2 billion) only 6%

    So who uses most of the Global FOSSIL FUEL energy supply and KWh per person and produces the largest share of CO2e Carbon Pollution bar none now and Historically that created this current problem???

    The OECD group of nations and their citizens.

    Not only that but the OECD have shipped a majority of their manufacturing and heavy industry needs to China and others in Asia …. therefore in reality (the truth is) the OECD’s ‘real’ contribution to current CO2e AGW is far above 40%… and maybe closer to 50% given the majority of fossil fuel emissions comes from industry etc.

    Not only that but the #1 developer of new safe Nuclear energy plus Hydro plus Renewable in production and deployment and formulated long term plans for the future is ….?

    Yes, China.

    So right now the OECD 1.25 billion people are producing/causing above >40% of Fossil Fuel CO2e emissions of the globe to the 1.36 billion Chinese but the ones who need the big stick approach are … the Chinese?

    The ones who need to be Penalized and to “Get Smart” and do what the people in the OECD tell them THEY need to do ……… are the Chinese?

    Don’t think so. Try the mirror?

  50. Entropic man:

    Walter (#45)

    Unfortunately we are fighting an uphill battle against human psychology. People are reluctant to react to risk until they are in immediate, obvious danger. Until ththey rationalliae excuses to do nothing.

    Unpalatable as it may sound, serious mitigation/adaptation attempts will only follow an obviously climate change related disaster sufficient to convince even Bridenstine.

    By then, of course, it will be far too late. :-(

  51. Chris Dudley:

    Tony (#48),

    You probably accept that dangerous climate change has already begun. That might be why you say we have no cushion. And perhaps I should find another word aside from irreversible since some lives are already being cut short by the effects of climate change. They can’t be brought back. From the SPM:

    “Impacts from recent climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires, reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of some ecosystems and many human systems to current climate variability (very high confidence). Impacts of such climate-related extremes include alteration of ecosystems, disruption of food production and water supply, damage to infrastructure and settlements, morbidity and mortality, and consequences for mental health and human well-being. For countries at all levels of development, these impacts are consistent with a significant lack of preparedness for current climate variability in some sectors.”

    Though, the phrasing makes it sound as though, if we had just thought to install air conditioning in Russia, things would have been hunky: its our fault for not preparing, not our fault for loosing the menace in the first place (a bit of Pielke/Revkin confusion there).

    But it is acknowledged later that no combination of mitigation/adaptation avoids all risks so the phrasing is merely unfortunate, I guess.

    “The overall risks of climate change impacts can be reduced by limiting the rate and magnitude of climate change. Risks are reduced substantially under the assessed scenario with the lowest temperature projections (RCP2.6 – low emissions) compared to the highest temperature projections (RCP8.5 – high emissions), particularly in the second half of the 21st century (very high confidence). Reducing climate change can also reduce the scale of adaptation that might be required. Under all assessed scenarios for adaptation and mitigation, some risk from adverse impacts remains (very high confidence).”

    But, “abrupt and irreversible regional-scale change in the composition, structure, and function of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, including wetlands” are avoided under RCP2.6 as are ocean acidification risks as well and the mass extinction risk I mentioned initially. So, from an ecological perspective, where we appropriately use collective measures without writing obituaries, RCP2.6 does have a cushion while still avoiding the irreversible.

    Now, if you object to the word cushion on technical feasibility grounds, you are merely mistaken, that path can be followed while boosting prosperity both globally and locally. And, rather obviously, the government of the Maldives has already accepted the impacts of eliminating emissions in their jurisdiction while many others are adopting target waypoints that could be consistent with RCP2.6 if broader adoption of emissions cuts were forthcoming. So, claiming no government would do this thing is simply incorrect. The big question is would China do this thing and I think China has shown sufficient sensitivity to international leverage such as tariffs that there is a chance it would.

  52. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Walter! @ 45 for instance. Slow Down.

    you say
    “Instead in 2007 after 17 years of the message NOT getting through the majority of the climate science community silently watched as a “partisan politician” totally polarized the climate change public debate forever whence the IPCC and the scientists totally lost control of the communication process.

    That’s factually correct and is what happened.”

    You have fallen for the “blame Al Gore” denier trick.
    What happened in 2007 was that far more people learned about climate science and the danger of global warming than ever before.
    What did not happen was any substantial change in the difference between average views of the two US political parties.

    ** That happened in 2009 with the infamous CRU hack of thousands of emails. ** Look it up. I do not have more time just now.

    Your thesis does not give nearly enough “credit” to the massive political attack.

  53. Kevin McKinney:

    #44–Wow. I stand corrected.

    But it boggles my mind that with ~35/GT yearly, and little evident progress toward mitigation on a global scale, 270 could seem like a ‘cushion’–much less, a cushion with an exclamation mark.

    And I’ll add that it seems bizarre, as well, to conceptualize the problem as one of ‘penalizing the Chinese into getting smart.’ First, though the Chinese are now contributing ~26% (2012 data) of the total, that is, after all, only 26% of the problem. Second, though China has been the fastest-growing emitter, it is arguable that it isn’t they who need to ‘get smart’–they have built the world’s largest renewables manufacturing sector and have been aggressively adding renewable energy capacity for 20 years now (4 consecutive ‘5-year plans’ have exceeded targets for renewable, IIRC.) They are, according to Bloomberg, one of the top renewables markets in the world:

    China installed a record 12 gigawatts of photovoltaic panels last year, more than the total amount of solar power in operation in the U.S. It’s targeting a further 14 gigawatts this year. The country also installed about 14 gigawatts of wind power in 2013 and is targeting 18 gigawatts this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.


    Lest our nuclear-oriented friends here feel left out, China is bent on adding more nuclear to the mix as well:

    Mainland China has 20 nuclear power reactors in operation, 28 under construction, and more about to start construction. Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world’s most advanced, to give more than a three-fold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 58 GWe by 2020, then some 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050. The impetus for increasing nuclear power share in China is increasingly due to air pollution from coal-fired plants…

    At the end of 2010, fossil fuelled capacity (mostly coal) reached 707 GWe, hydro capacity was 213 GWe (up 16.6 GWe in the year), nuclear capacity was 10.8 GWe and wind capacity reached 31 GWe…

    A 2013 report from the NDRC said that China added 15 GWe of wind energy capacity in 2012 and 3 GWe of solar. It endorsed targets to add 21 GWe of hydroelectric capacity, 18 GWe of wind and 10 GWe of solar in 2013. Another 12 GWe of solar PV is to be added in 2014.


    Much less nuclear, at least in the next few years, than the increase in wind and solar capacity, but then nuclear does have that very high capacity factor, of course.

    But what of coal? It’s very well-publicized that coal capacity has been added. But it’s less well-remarked that the addition of new coal plants is supposed to be balanced by the retirement of older, less-efficient ones. The nuclear.org site gives an indication that this has actually been happening:

    These capacity increase figures are all the more remarkable considering the forced retirement of small inefficient coal-fired plants: 26 GWe of these was closed in 2009 and 11 GWe in 2010, making 71 GWe closed since 2006, cutting annual coal consumption by about 82 million tonnes and annual carbon dioxide emissions by some 165 million tonnes. China is well advanced in developing and deploying supercritical and ultra-supercritical coal plants, as well as moving quickly to design and deploy technologies for integrated (coal) gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants. Nevertheless it consumed about 3.91 million tonnes of coal in 2012, more than half the world total, and coal comprised more than 70% of China’s primary energy. In 2014 it is expected to use 3.8 billion tonnes of coal, while aiming to cut consumption in the northern areas spanning Beijing, Hebei, and Tianjin by 17 Mt.

    I wouldn’t like to argue that this is cause for complacency, nor suggest that this means there’s no ‘Chinese problem’ in regard to carbon emissions. But it does suggest that perhaps the Chinese are less in need of ‘getting smart’ WRT emissions than Western commenters are prone to assume. They do at least have a strategy to slow (and eventually reverse) emissions growth, and are actively pursuing it. Would that the US, Canada, or Australia could say the same!

  54. Philip Machanick:

    All this stuff about adapting for climate change reminds me of cold-war nostrums for surviving a nuclear strike. Luckily no one had to put that one to the test. It’s increasingly looking as we aren’t going to dodge this one.

  55. Chris Dudley:

    My least favorite figure so far is SPM.7. It seems impossible from the SPM to figure out where it comes from or what it represents. Looking at “Chapter 7. Food Security and Food Production Systems” it seems to be a mashup (fig. 7-5) of studies using different emissions scenarios. So far as I can tell, the scenarios are for 3 to 4 C of warming by the end of the 21st century, but that is really a guess. Does anyone have better insight?

  56. SecularAnimist:

    Tony Weddle wrote: “an aggressive emissions reductions programme … we don’t look like getting anywhere near that. It’s not really available as a viable option, because no government would accept the economic impact that such a programme would have …”

    Of course aggressive emissions reduction is a viable option.

    If you look at the “programmes” that are right now, today, significantly reducing emissions, what you will see is that their ONLY negative economic impact is to transfer wealth from the fossil fuel industry to other sectors of the industrial economy.

    Their impact on the economy as a whole is positive (not to mention their numerous and enormous beneficial impacts on public health, on major environmental problems other than global warming, and on the resilience of technological infrastructure).

    The obstacle to scaling those “programmes” up to the needed level is not that “governments” won’t accept it — the obstacle is that the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in the history of the world won’t accept it, because the “economic impact” of doing so will be to put them out of business.

    And those corporations have a death-grip on the energy policies of the major GHG emitting nations.

  57. Kevin McKinney:

    Oops. In my comment here, I made an elementary goof by confusing units, or rather what the units were supposed to be measuring.

    My “~35″ should have been, I think, “~9″, since (if I’ve now got this right) the 270 number for RCP2.6 was for GT of carbon, not CO2. (Accordingly, my “35” was for CO2, but should have been carbon also.) Pesky O2… ;-)

    Correcting the number makes the bogglement I mentioned less acute, but doesn’t completely eliminate it.

  58. sidd:

    Re:Mass waste of GIS,WAIS

    The Mouginot paper refers to ice flux through grounding line gates. But this is not predominant in GIS, rather surface ablation is, as in Enderlin(2014)

    “Our findings provide observational support to recent model predictions that SMB, not discharge, is the primary driver of GrIS mass loss on decadal and greater time scales …”



  59. Tom Scharf:

    From a skeptic’s point of view, I would say that it is better that the report toned down the rhetoric for your side. Past reports were pretty high on rhetoric (which I stipulate many of you believe to be accurate) and the world effectively yawned. More of the same wasn’t going to move the needle any. I’m not debating here whether you are right, only that the message isn’t working. Being beaten with the climate guilt bat gets old after a while, decades.

    I was kind of expecting (hoping?) questionable extinction numbers, extreme weather, world conflict attribution, and climate refugee counts and such to be highlighted in the SPM. Many believe this is what is needed for action, my opinion is this just hurts credibility.

    Just one example. Extinctions. AR4 stated extinction rates in the 30%, 40% to 70% range for certain scenarios (AR5 less?). The science / media who report these numbers don’t really connect the dots very well. Intuitively plant and animal life survives temperature extremes daily, monthly, seasonally, annually, year to year much greater than expected temperature changes. Nature is fairly robust to anyone who beats back weeds in their yard weekly and wonders why we can’t eliminate mosquitoes and cockroaches that should be first on the extinction list. 30% extinction rates at 0.2C per decade? Hard to believe. If you are right, you will need to connect the dots better to make it more credible, or it is probably not wise to highlight it.

  60. Mal Adapted:


    You’re the experts in the field, it’s your message, and it’s up to ALL CLIMATE SCIENTISTS to convince others of the validity of that expertise in knowledge. No one else.

    Walter, if you’re waiting for climate scientists to save us from our onrushing doom, you are as much a part of the problem as any denier! How many times must it be repeated:

    A drastically warmer world is inevitable unless “ordinary people” take responsibility.

    Scientists have made the information available, but the recognition of its validity is up to every individual citizen who understands that there’s a world that exists outside his/her head. Anyone who has a stake in the future has a stark choice: either become expert in all scientific disciplines, or learn who to trust for essential knowledge. Parents must insist that their children acquire scientific meta-literacy, and nations must require it of their leaders, or the six-degree world awaits.

    Sigh. As always, these words are apposite (my italics; substitute “climate scientist” for “ecologist” if it matters to you):

    One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac.

    reCAPTCHA is Delphic: “ngtheNo thus”

  61. Pete Dunkelberg:

    What I Learned in School Today

    Today I visited a nearby Community College. It was there Earth Day event for this year, and I was one of the people at one of the tables with relevant information. I covered climate change in addition to another topic. I had a printed handout on the new WG2 report. Most students seemed not to have noticed the report at all. I tried to get their interest by starting “How many of you (they came in small groups) hope to be alive in 2040?” They all hoped to be alive although they hadn’t thought about it. I gave them my handout and explained that although I had colorful handouts on other subjects, for this the most important thing going on there was no money for a fancy handout. I told them they should read it so that they would know what was going to happen to them. After each bunch had listened a bit I gave them some tokens that they could exchange for something and they went away as others approached. There were no deniers, but neither was there much if any interest.

  62. Fred Magyar:

    Tom Scharf @59,

    “Nature is fairly robust to anyone who beats back weeds in their yard weekly and wonders why we can’t eliminate mosquitoes and cockroaches that should be first on the extinction list.”

    I certainly agree that nature is quite robust! However the precautionary principle should be applied in spades when talking about things like eliminating all mosquitoes or even all cockroaches.

    Even if we could, do you really want to eliminate the food supply upon which millions of birds, fish, bats and other creatures depend? Have you really thought through the consequences of what you are suggesting?

    And one person’s weed might be another’s ornamental plant…

    As for mass extinctions: TED Talk Peter Ward Carbon Dioxide & Earth’s Mass Extinctions




  63. Tony Weddle:


    There is no cushion in RCP2.6 because we aren’t following RCP 2.6. If we did follow 2.6 then there is a chance that the risks won’t become too severe – the SPM doesn’t say that there are no risks if RCP 2.6 is followed. You say that RCP 2.6 would give increased prosperity, but we aren’t following that scenario, so I guess you could be wrong – why else would governments not follow a path of increased prosperity.


    There are no emissions reduction programmes, because emissions are not reducing and not even levelling out; they are increasing. Maybe you might be able to say not doing this or that would have resulted in even more emissions but we aren’t getting emissions reductions which is what is needed. There is no time, that I’m aware of, when emissions have reduced whilst economic growth has risen (I think there was a period in the 70s when growth was static – at least in official figures – when emissions reduced for a short period). Governments want to have growth becaue they are blinkered, so will never do anything that might increase the chance of low or no growth. There is often a lot of talk, but no walk.

  64. Walter:

    #60 Mal Adapted

    No Mal, your argument is far from compelling.

    RE quote:
    “Walter, if you’re waiting for climate scientists to save us from our on rushing doom, you are as much a part of the problem as any denier! How many times must it be repeated: A drastically warmer world is inevitable unless “ordinary people” take responsibility.”

    No because that is a false argument.

    “Ordinary people” have NO CHOICE than to rely upon the work and conclusions of scientists, and their ability to form a coherent, compelling, and sustained argument and presentations of “undeniable” evidence for action using their effective communications and collective EXPERTISE.

    There is no other avenue for “Ordinary people” to take absent the above.

    The Ordinary people do NOT, repeat DO NOT have the ‘power’ to generate change in a political process when the scientists are incapable of convincing the politicians at large when they have DIRECT ACCESS to those Politicians via Institutional Power Structures that the Ordinary people do not possess.

    The responsibility is 100% and rests upon the shoulders of those with a) the knowledge b) the resources c) the access and d) the POWER of Influence.

    If they cannot convince the politicians in power globally .. and I mean all of them not just demorats or greens .. then there is no chance an ill-informed proletariat who do NOT have the “institutional based power” behind them nor the personal skills (or even IQ) can pull it off.

    In fact it is upon the “experts’ to carry the day and to likewise convince the “Ordinary people” as well should the Politicians ignore the advice of experts.

    I tell you this …. mass immunizations of the early 20th century such as Polio, small pox etc and the implementation of Antibiotics to address global human problems were not, were never, the responsibility of the “Ordinary people” to make that happen… and it was not required.

    The experts won the “argument” based on communicating the complexity of the science and proving their advice is the correct course of action.

    Your approach however Mal, (and many others) is to “blame the victim” instead.

    In an emergency or crisis or dangerous situation it is not upon the “Ordinary people” to suddenly without training become an ambulance man, fireman or policeman and perform the duties of such “experts” in their field without any knowledge or experience, or training and therefore NO SKILLS in those roles.

    Pseudo arguments that the hoi polloi need to get scientific training and better education in schools is beyond ludicrous bordering on mythical thinking imho. It is clearly (to me) totally irrational and a very fraudulent argument all round. Repeating fallacies ad nauseum won’t ever change that and suddenly make them “true” or logical in the real world.

    RE quote “Scientists have made the information available,…”

    NOT GOOD ENOUGH – it takes MORE than simply providing “information” ….. self-evident facts from the real world ( and the endless wisdom found inside Universities worldwide and History books ) proves this is so.

    This (using your own words) ‘is up to every individual CLIMATE SCIENTIST who understands that there’s a world that exists outside his/her head’ and that this world and the “Ordinary people” within that world operate on a different level than inside the academic science institutions in which they operate as a “norm”.

    That is a “given” fact of life. Please stop blaming “Ordinary people” and the parents of children, and those ‘ordinary people’ who may be skeptics or even active denialists on blog sites etc for the specific failures of the climate scientists to convey the urgency of their own research and carry an argument to a successful conclusion for the good of all.

    I’ll stick to my opinions and pov as articulated here… and has the ‘tacit’ support of the likes of James Hansen and Rasmus Benestad and a thousand mile long conga line of other scientists and academics.



    You can stick with your opinion and beliefs Mal. Feel free. I do not accept them for good “reason”.

    I totally refute your false claim that I am part of the problem, I am not. thx

  65. Walter:

    If anyone thinks they have a compelling argument or substantive evidence to convince me otherwise, take it here:

    I am all ears.

    I know what I know, I knwo what I believe, and I know that I can (and do) change my beliefs and opinions in a second when shown I have got something wrong and have learnt something better than I knew before.

    Not only that, I also acknowledge such changes, admit any errors, and always thank the messenger.

    That’s not a theory nor a belief, for I have hard won experience and evidence to back up that claim.

    iow I KNOW that that is 100% true.

  66. Walter:

    #59 Tom

    “only that the message isn’t working” and
    “If you are right, you will need to connect the dots better to make it more credible, or it is probably not wise to highlight it.”

    Good for you, for skeptics and questioners are not welcome here, as you would already know.

    In the 1970’s there was a training video we all had to watch, called “The Credibility Gap”.

    It was the difference between the *images* shown in TV advertisements with the real world experience of customers with real staff in the stores, using REAL footage. A real eye opener, never forgot it, often used it in teaching and coaching others ever since.

    I look at it like this: If Monckton is able to convince millions with his communications which rely upon doctored graphs, false quotes from papers, logical fallacies, poor science, untruths, Spin and BS of something that is NOT TRUE … then why can’t the Scientists do the same about something that is true and accurate?

    Monckton is the world’s greatest smartest wisest god-gifted communicator ever to walk the Earth or something?

    Don’t think so.


  67. Walter:

    Hi tried to find that video, but can’t … found this though speaking about it.

    “I had to watch many videos that showed me the meticulous McDonald’s methods for doing about everything, and my favorite among them was “The Credibility Gap.” Someone had this ingenuous idea to show the McDonald’s commercials where quality, service, cleanliness and value were in full force and then thrust into the scene a store where none of those standards were being met. ”


    includes info on “In Andrew Flanagin and Miriam Metzger’s “Digital Media and Youth: Unparalleled Opportunity and Unprecedented Responsibility” in Digital Media, Youth, and Credibility, the authors discuss how much our society has changed because of the Internet, specifically in the way we determine credibility.”

  68. Chris Dudley:

    Kevin (#53),

    China is increasing emissions, the US is cutting emissions. Don’t get swamped there.

  69. Chris Dudley:

    Tony (#63),

    For the US, at least, the government is not fully aware of the situation. NREL, part of the government, has a clue about costs for the future while EIA, another part of the government, isn’t a aware of that. They do know about gas and oil though. Outside the government, a comprehensive look that covers several scenarios: CCS, nuclear, large scale renewable with transmission and more decentralized renewables, can be found in Amory Lovins’ “Reinventing Fire.” http://www.rmi.org/reinventingfire

  70. Chris Dudley:

    Walter (#49),

    You appear to be confused. RCPs are about future emissions. The US and many European countries are cutting emissions. China is increasing emissions and is the largest emitter. So, yes, to follow RCP2.6, China must be turned around very soon. Placing tariffs on their exports is likely an effective approach since in is already part of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) http://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/envir_e/envt_rules_exceptions_e.htm

    At the least, China should be made to pay for everyone’s adaptation costs since AR5 makes it very very clear that it is recent and future emissions that are the problem there. Our recent excess crop and flood insurance outlays should definitely be recouped through tariffs in Chinese imports, not premium increases.

  71. Chris Dudley:

    There seems to be some lack of knowledge of US policy regarding emissions. We are regulating emissions largely through the Clean Air Act and have a target of a 17% cut from 2005 levels by 2020. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/03/with-a-bit-of-luck-the-u-s-could-actually-hit-its-2020-climate-change-goals/ This in on the way to a goal of an 83% cut by 2050. Recently, new rules are being proposed for methane emissions. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-28/obama-climate-plan-said-to-include-study-of-methane-leaks.html

  72. GlenFergus:


    At the least, China should be made to pay for everyone’s adaptation costs since AR5 makes it very very clear that it is recent and future emissions that are the problem there. Our recent excess crop and flood insurance outlays should definitely be recouped through tariffs in Chinese imports, not premium increases.

    Let me guess … like me, you live in a high-emitting western country like the USA, Canada, Australia? Maybe you should review some of Dave Archer’s stuff (linked in the side bar, under contributors). A key point is that, for CO2 at least, when it is emitted matters little, because the atmospheric lifetime is huge*. It’s actually how much that matters. Wouldn’t ya say that we (as in you and me and our countrymen and women) might have had a bit to do with that, already?

    (* It’s a point that few who claim to know the issues seem to notice, understand and appreciate. Around a third of this decade’s atmospheric CO2 increase will still be there in 10,000 years. Yes, that is right, a third … and 10,000 years. “A diabolical policy challenge”, Nicholas Stern.)

  73. Chris Dudley:

    Glen (#72),

    Not at all. Liability does not work that way. You can drive safely for years, but when you snap and accelerate into a pedestrian, you are a criminal. All the miles you covered prior to that are not part of the crime even if they can be seen as getting you to the crime scene.

    The US emitted for years causing no damage while also inventing all the tools the world needs to end emissions. The US, now aware that there is a problem, through the EPA endangerment finding, is applying the brakes using the very technology we happened to invent just because we do that kind of thing. That technology is available to China and since China does not need to swallow the sunk costs in existing energy infrastructure, as we must, China can implement those solutions at even lower cost than we can. Yet China has its foot jammed on the accelerator and AR5 says it is definitely aiming at the pedestrians. Past emissions are innocent, but future emissions, guided by an intent to harm, are not. And China must pay.

  74. Hank Roberts:

    > The US emitted for years causing no damage

    Oh, wait. That’s not right.

  75. Kevin McKinney:

    #73–Disagree. There is a total carbon budget, which all past emissions must be charged against. Therefore, past emissions were not ‘without harm.’

    Giving developed nations a pass on past emissions while limiting the development prospects of less-developed nations would be a patent injustice–a principle well-agreed at the international level (though, one must admit, highly contentious in practice.)

    Moreover, the US decline in emissions is not yet cast in stone, despite the 20-year low in 2012–last year saw a 2% *increase*, for example:


    When you point out that Chinese emissions are still increasing, you aren’t saying anything I didn’t already say in my comment. I certainly agree that pressure needs to be applied to all recalcitrant nations, including China–though I think China is a good deal less recalcitrant, in significant ways, than is usually assumed.

    As a Canadian, for instance, I’d certainly suggest that my nation should be very high on the list. Though its emissions are relatively small compared with the top couple of leading emitters, it’s nevertheless about eighth on the international list. (A nice illustration, IMO, of the multilateral nature of the problem–most of the emissions come from the many ‘small’ emitters.) Unfortunately, Canada has been going backwards fast, despite ratifying Kyoto (and then withdrawing, when its targets had become completely unattainable due to lack of serious planning and action), and still adhering (in theory) to the 2009 Copenhagen agreement.

  76. Walter:

    [OT – keep general stuff on the open thread, thanks.]

  77. Hank Roberts:

    for Chris Dudley:
    Liability, and responsibility, is shared.
    The last straw doesn’t break the camel’s back; the total load does.
    The last part per million of CO2 doesn’t break the climate system.

    Joint production and responsibility in ecological economics: on the foundations of environmental policy
    ISBN: 1840648724 9781840648720
    OCLC Number: 237083350

    Preview here

  78. Chris Dudley:

    Hank (#74),

    That is right. Dangerous climate change basically began when China became the biggest polluter.

  79. Chris Dudley:


    There is not any right to cause intentional harm. And, there is no divvying up of some carbon pool. You snooze, you lose on that one. China had everything it needed to develop earlier, but it sent its educated people to concentration camps. Violating human rights on a massive scale is not a justification for wrecking the climate.

    Regarding Canada, I think NAFTA gives us fewer options to extract reparations for their rogue behavior. But, denying Keystone XL would be an appropriate sanction at least.

    Owing to China’s huge emissions, climate tariffs should be applied there first. If they turn around and India does not, then tariffs should be applied to India next, followed by Australia (though Australia is already reaping the whirlwind with its own climate hits and may smarten up for that reason). Other nations that are not a part of NAFTA could obviously recoup some of their losses from tariffs on Canadian imports. Kyoto compliant Russia, in particular, has as a claim for compensation for those wild fires. But, for the US, keep that maple syrup coming. You guys are the only ones who can make it anymore.

  80. Chris Dudley:

    Walter (#76),

    You are being a drip.

  81. Walter Pearce:

    Chris Dudley went on this same rant (“Past emissions are innocent, but future emissions, guided by an intent to harm, are not”) some time ago, despite being corrected multiple times.

    His inability to grasp the fact and consequences of previous emissions appears to be ingrained, so it’s pointless to argue. Eye-rolling is probably the best response.

    On the other hand, regarding his comment @78 — well said.

  82. Merc:

    #66 Walter,

    Monckton has had the advantage of the unconditional backing of Rupert Murdoch (News Corp, Fox etc) and the fossil fuel industry. So he gets unlimited opportunity to spruik his message.

    Repitition Works. Repitition Works. Repitition Works. Repitition Works.

    As an example, here in Australia a few years ago a journalists called Mike Seketee wrote a column in a News Corp paper (the Australian) about the record heat wave of 2009 during which Melbourne recorded its highest ever temperature (46.4C). The Australian allowed a response by Monckton in which he published a false claim that it was hotter in 1939. Seketee was not allowed to respond. Other News Corp papers followed with some viscious columns faithfully supporting the Monckton claim. News Corp always allow the skeptics to have the last word. And, conveniently, their regular columnists, like Andrew Bolt, are given full pages every day to sprout their nonsense. No such space is given to tell the true story of climate change.

    When you have that kind of backing then you don’t need to be a particularly talented or smart communicator.

    So its one thing to compose effective communication (be it text or video), its yet another to get it published or broadcast in the mainstream media.


  83. Chris Dudley:

    Hank (#77),

    I think you want to think about your analogy. We put a load on the camel so it will carry that load. The prior loading was all perfectly fine. Following your argument, no one should ever put anything at all on a camel.

    In the case of the US, the use of the camel has been particularly productive because we’ve used the camel (without breaking its back) to invent everything that is needed to let the camel retire comfortably. And, we have even taken steps to start cutting its load in view of its condition. There are some countries, however, that, even after the camel has look right around at them and told them not to load it anymore, will continue to load it even when they could instead take advantage of all our inventions to carry thing instead of using the camel at all.

    So, no. Those who are trying to relieve the camel do not share responsibility with those who are trying to kill it. It is those who are trying to intentionally overload it who are liable.

  84. prokaryotes:

    UN climate report: Pricing of CO2 emissions critical

    ‘A cost USD 0.15 per kilo CO2 would be enough to solve the whole climate change problem,’ says Thomas Sterner, professor of environmental economics at the University of Gothenburg.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-04-climate-pricing-co2-emissions-critical.html

  85. Walter:

    U.S.-China Joint Statement on Climate Change
    February 15, 2014


  86. Chris Dudley:

    Walter (#81),

    That past carbon dioxide emissions are innocent of any future temperature rise is borne out by the science as Hank reminds us here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/04/impacts-of-climate-change-part-2-of-the-new-ipcc-report-has-been-approved/comment-page-1/#comment-492945

  87. Walter:

    Peter #52 “You have fallen for the “blame Al Gore” denier trick.”

    No I have not. It has nothing to do with any “denier trick” and besides, I am NOT ‘blaming Al Gore’. I am relaying the factual history and effects that surround that event. A very different kettle of fish entirely. And no where now or in the past have I ever denied the effect of the “denier attacks” upon the science and the public debate over this issue. Of course that has had an “effect”. One that has not been successfully countered in the minds of the global public, yet.

    RE “…. between average views of the two US political parties.”

    It would be a wise move for Americans (and others) to stop bringing everything back to a US centrist focus. Such a continual POV is called “myopia” – one nation of 200, 317 million of 7,000 million people on Earth.

    AIT had an effect in other places in the world not just inside the USA. Those effects were FAR different than what occurred or didn’t occur inside the USA. My focus is Global. I won’t change that for others personal ‘convenience and mindsets’.

    And why should I look up the CRU hack when I am already fully aware of that when it happened? I am not 5 years old and didn’t just arrive in an alien spacecraft! Please, keep it real.

    Chris #70 “RCPs are about future emissions.”

    They are about a whole lot things beyond merely future emissions. Every single one is based upon the past emissions and the present emissions too.

    Chris #86 = FALSE

    Merc #82 I am fully aware of the impact of Murdoch. To view that in a balanced way you need to also consider the endless support of Fairfax to accurate reporting of Climate news, plus the ABC network on TV, radio, and Online, and Q&A etc plus SBS accurate reporting of issues and current affairs reports. And consider the reporting in all news of the Greens and the Labor party over the years as well. Fact is a “majority” of Australians have some kind of positive ongoing exposure to News via the ABC. Whereas a majority of Australians are NOT exposed to Murdoch’s propaganda.

    John Laws and Alan Jones and many other R/W radio shock jocks on the other hand, well they also promote Monckton and trash Flannery and the Climate Commission etc.

    But again I say I take a “global approach” to this. The public domain was left vacant by the IPCC and no other international scientific “institution” or “group” filled the void left after AIT hit the screens. Individuals and a small groups (such as RC here) did speak up and made very little impact in shaping people’s views, expect for those who were already aware and self-informed about climate change issues.

    Noting the historical realities is not an indictment of those that did do something. A blog site here and there, a media release by a science academy now and then, is NO competition for Murcoch’s media, nor the NYTs or the spin and bs from politicians being reported on the nightly news.

    So I do agree wiht this: “Repetition Works. Repetition Works. Repetition Works. Repetition Works.”

    There wasn’t enough from the Scientists via an institutionalized structure or powerful global movement in the political, education, communication media fields.

    Today it is still extremely disjointed with multiple players all doing their own thing. Many climate scientists won;t even talk to each other … let alone COOPERATE together against a fellow enemy .. that being DIS-information.

    Divide and conquer works too!

    Sorry to others for repeating myself .. :-)

    #83 Chris “Following your argument, no one should ever put anything at all on a camel.”

    Irrational Non Sequitur and Sophistry par excellance!

  88. Walter:

    RE “Please, keep it real.” in my own comment

    That and a few other things above was sent with a good natured – SMILE – , however the blog is stripping out my brackets. :-(
    OK, now I know. thx.

  89. Walter:

    Merc, a PS. I think it useful to also consider the role of The Greens from 2007 to 2009 especially for the situation today in Oz. It was their mindless intransigence and extreme positions that led to the blocking of the CPRS, of Abbott rolling Turnbull, Gillard rolling Rudd, and the carbon tax and mining tax debacles that came later. Many ways of slicing that for sure, but this in one way to look at it.

    As per the “Green” Chris Dudley approach here now http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/


  90. Walter:

    Entropic man #50
    “Unfortunately we are fighting an uphill battle against human psychology ….. serious mitigation/adaptation attempts will only follow an obviously climate change related disaster sufficient to convince even Bridenstine.”

    I am well aware of that, and agree with your prognosis. Therefore I don’t “battle”. I merely “speak” and plant seeds. :-)

  91. Walter:

    #84 Prok, “A cost USD 0.15 per kilo CO2″ of course equals $150/tonne.

    Compare that to the EU “The average price was €22/tCO2 in the second half of 2008, and €13/tCO2 in the first half of 2009.” the latter being $18 USD.

    Compare that to the CCL plan starting at $15USD / tonne the first year rising by $10/tonne per year, after a decade circa 2025 that’s $105/ton, and increasing if targets still had not been met (a very hypothetical case of course).

    In Australia for 2 years almost it is A$25/Tonne (almost equiv to USD) and the nation, large and small business, plus a majority of voters have gone ballistic over it. Most likely outcome post July ’14 is that law will be repealed.

    A Price at $150/tonne (almost anywhere) would likely look identical to 1776-1779 in the British Colonies of America – A Revolution.

    The ref says: “… a sufficiently high emission tax of SEK 1 (about USD 0.15) per kilo CO2 (or an equivalent permit trading scheme) were introduced in all sectors across the world, the total emissions could be reduced by half by 2050.”

    Prok, a 50% reduction by 2050 is not enough to stop runaway climate change or staying under 2C. It needs to be 90% cut on 1990 levels, imho from papers and credible energy projections I have seen.

    However, such a $150/tonne price “would be enough to solve the whole climate change problem” because the world’s economy would scream to a halt with multiple revolutions all over. iow, my guess is it would exchange one problem for hundreds far more immediate and dangerous.

    It would be far more rational and cheaper to simply regulate emissions as pollution and cut them year on year for 30+ years, and let human enterprise and genius work out how to do that best.

    I do agree with the closing lines in that ref
    “…. the report from Working Group I, …. described the climate situation in the world as catastrophic.”

  92. Walter:

    Merc, 82, re “So its one thing to compose effective communication (be it text or video), its yet another to get it published or broadcast in the mainstream media.”

    That’s true. It is also true, imho, that years ago now, a globally coordinated scientist based Public Relations effort to follow Monckton every where he went in the world, and totally trash his reputation by tearing his illogical arguments apart and repeatedly exposing his rank untruths and the fraudulent materials he used in his talks etc would have made it into the Mainstream Media soon enough.

    Same goes for Watts and all the other public figures – cutting the heads of snakes is all one needs to do, but no one wanted to get their hands dirty. Most assumed (in science circles) it would just go away and thought it was just “too silly” to bother with and no one would pay Monckton any attention in time.

    They were very mistaken. They should have sought out the advice of World Historians who would have set them straight on this matter quick smart.

    Alas, this would still be workable yet there is still no one willing to get their hands dirty and deal with this problem effectively.

  93. MartinJB:


    “However, such a $150/tonne price “would be enough to solve the whole climate change problem” because the world’s economy would scream to a halt with multiple revolutions all over. iow, my guess is it would exchange one problem for hundreds far more immediate and dangerous.

    It would be far more rational and cheaper to simply regulate emissions as pollution and cut them year on year for 30+ years, and let human enterprise and genius work out how to do that best.”

    I think the implementation of the latter is basically cap and trade (either that or destructively dirigiste) with the caps decreasing through time. But I don’t think anyone thinks that a comprehensive cap and trade scheme is remotely simple.

    Its equivalent in the carbon tax space is a tax that ramps up more or less predictably over time (say to $150/ton as an end-point, perhaps). I think that has its own issues (for instance, it does not “guarantee” a given amount of carbon reduction and does not have an obvious mechanism for rewarding carbon sequestration activities), but may be simpler.

    Both have the benefit of working within the current entrepreneurial and innovative framework so don’t require entirely rewiring the world’s economic structure at the same time as trying to restructure its energy infrastructure etc.. I’ve read how each method is THE way to go. Whatever. Unfortunately, the US doesn’t seem to be in any immediate rush to do either one, and where there is some effort it hardly seems aggressive enough. Sigh.

  94. Walter:

    Thx MartinJB.

    I am actually only speaking about direct Regulation of Carbon pollution especially from power plants/electricity. Total supply side Regulation laid out in advance so all know the future expectations.

    The same way CFCs and DDT and Sulphur emissions were all Regulated out of use, by nations all agreeing to cut the maximum allowable CO2e carbon use/ emissions by “Energy Suppliers” from a max of 90% in 2015 to 5% in 2050.

    This makes it an “Energy Industry” problem to work out through Market Forces. It is no longer an issue that affects every single business, consumer and taxpayer. Such a Regulation simply means that progressively by 2050 no ‘energy supplier/provider’ of any kind can sell or use more than 5% of fossil fuels in it’s total energy supply mix.

    These impositions would only be applied to the 50 wealthiest nations of the world, the OECD, G20, and BRICS, who are using over 80% of all today’s fossil fuel energy anyway.

    The other 150 small/developing nations can do what they can to improve their lot and grow their economy, including building new fossil fuel energy power stations and expanding their transportation industry.

    By 2050 this means over 90% of the fossil fuel industry has been progressively closed down and that for companies to survive they have had to move into the Non-Carbon Energy supply sector or move their operations to a third world nation and the sooner the better.

    All the pressure would be on the Energy Supply Companies to cut their fossil fuel component asap, and to build, grow, and invest in every Non-Carbon Energy source possible … and at the cheapest price possible.

    All the pressure would be on Energy Supply Companies to meet the rising demand of Energy in their local region. This includes both grid energy supply, efficiency solutions, and self-sufficient renewable energy units for residential and business consumers.

    The pressure on the Non-Carbon Energy suppliers would be to lower their KWh per unit costs and remain competitive with each other and the falling carbon energy price as excess supply increased.

    The one major problem with this plan is what to do when Non-Carbon Energy supply is unable to meet the demand? About the only thing that could be done is to loosen up the Regulations for a while.

    Cutting out subsidies, and continuing all other new/existing pro-renewable/non-carbon development strategies should apply. I think anything that raises the cost of energy is a move in the wrong direction. More energy and cheaper for all globally is a better ideal, imho.

  95. Walter Pearce:

    Chris @ 86…The issue is cumulative emissions. To the extent that a country, such as the U.S., continues to emit large quantities of CO2 (and it is), it is a significant contributor to future warming.

    When the U.S. contribution goes to zero, then we’ll own zero percent of future warming.

    This isn’t hard.

  96. flxible:

    “In the case of the US, the use of the camel has been particularly productive because we’ve used the camel (without breaking its back) to invent everything that is needed to let the camel retire comfortably. And, we have even taken steps to start cutting its load in view of its condition.”

    Pure malarkey. The US camel has in fact been China, whose comparatively cheap labor has allowed the US [and others] to produce everything that allows the US to appear to have reduced the emission load, and in the process the cheap Chinese labor has paid the price.

    Get off the politics Dudley, China does not control our future.

  97. Hank Roberts:

    > Chris Dudley says 5 Apr 2014 at 10:56 AM

    > That past carbon dioxide emissions are innocent of any
    > future temperature rise is borne out by the science

    Bogus claim

    > as Hank reminds us here

    Bogus attempt at enhancing credibility by
    misinterpreting what I told you
    misinterpreting the cite I gave
    pretending I said what you’re spinning

    You’re trying to put your foot in my mouth.


    Speak for yourself, and find support if you can.
    Stop making stuff up. That’s a debating tactic, not science.

  98. Hank Roberts:

    The Right to Development in a Climate Constrained World: The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework

  99. Hank Roberts:

    The Greenhouse Development Rights (GDRs) framework …. does not attempt to divide up a physical resource like, say, “atmospheric space.” Rather, it proceeds from the recognition that this space is, for all intents and purposes, exhausted. Thus it seeks a fair way of dividing up the effort – on both the mitigation and adaptation sides – needed to establish human civilization on a new path.

  100. Hank Roberts:

    and, with a graphic showing emissions pathways:
    Three salient global mitigation pathways, assessed in light of the IPCC carbon budgets

  101. Hank Roberts:

    My purely personal complaint about the GDR is only this:

    … “negative emissions” designates CO2 that is removed from the atmosphere, and can refer to either techno-industrial processes (e.g., Biomass Energy with Carbon Capture and Sequestration, or BECCS) or changes in land-use practices that yield substantial enhancement of carbon sinks (e.g. afforestation and low-carbon agro-ecological techniques).[11]

    What’s missing? Changes in ocean-use practices, e.g. restoring a source of biologically available iron to the upper ocean. How much difference would that make, if indeed enough plankton will remain available to rapidly increase the number of whales? Dunno.

    Just a feeling I have. But, glory be, scientists are doing those numbers among much else.

    Now, land use, that should figure on restoring the elephants and bison and, perhaps, mammoths where their range has been appropriated.

  102. Tony Weddle:


    Can you point to some data that shows emissions due to US economic activity (to the American way of life) are decreasing? Please don’t limit your data to just the emissions which physically occur within the US borders. Even emissions within US borders are not decreasing intentionlly, but largely as a by-product of economic decisions (the phrase “is cutting emissions” implies a conscious decision to cut emissions).

    As Hansen has pointed out, the US has by far the largest responsibility for total GHG emissions; the warming that is occurring now is due to emissions (by everyone) that occurred decades ago. The UK is also well up there, especially in terms of total per capita emissions. China is well down the chart in terms of per capita emissions.


    You seem to be washing your hands of blame for any of the situation by defining responsibility as the ability to respond. Whatever an individual’s response to the problem (predicament, really), all of us (pretty much) in developed countries are to blame for what is happening.

  103. Fred Magyar:

    Hank Roberts @ 101,

    “What’s missing?”

    A serious discussion about how we are going to drastically reduce human global population in a humane and equitable manner before nature and the four horsemen of the apocalypse do it for us.

    I’d much rather do that before I start tinkering with ocean ecosystems by tring to produce plankton blooms with iron, before you do that you might want to consult some marine ecologists, just sayin.

  104. Chris Dudley:

    Hank (#97),

    Not bogus. Read your cite: “…there is no climate change commitment because of climate inertia.”

  105. Chris Dudley:

    Walter (#95),

    You are correct that future US emissions will lead to warming. However, sufficient persuasion has been brought upon the US that it is cutting emissions. Dangerous climate change arrives and the US applies the brakes. Future Chinese emissions will also contribute to warming. But there is a difference, their emissions are growing. Thus, there is need for a persuasive method that is thus far lacking to get them to change. Since they don’t have an internal mechanism such as the EPA’s endangerment finding, external persuasion seems like it must be necessary. The US is in the best position to lead in this effort owing to both our military superiority at sea and our large trade relationship with China.

    There are a number of possible approaches. Personal diplomacy is being carried out by Al Gore, Amory Lovins, Bill McDonough etc…. trying to guide China to a clean development path. The current administration is attempting to work on side agreements on issues like methane. However, on carbon dioxide, the prior administration poisoned the well with “carbon intensity” which is a nod and a wink. So, we need something more concrete at this point. UN sanctions against Security Council members don’t work so that is one less stopping point prior to the naval blockade-type approach. In between, we do have China’s very sincere interest in trade. That provides leverage through the environmental language of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade. The US has standing to invoke this owing to the Clean Air Act and resultant regulation of emissions.

    If we don’t do something to turn China around, when we are in a position to lead, then we ourselves will have failed all the undeveloped nations whose futures will be wrecked by the depredations of dangerous climate change. As AR5 points out, adaptation is not really an out for them, they just get morbidity and mortality consequences.

  106. Kevin McKinney:

    From Hank’s #98:

    Such examinations can be quite striking, for they plainly show that wealthy countries with high RCIs are obligated to deliver reductions far larger than even the ambitious “90 percent by 2050” targets now being discussed (at least by Al Gore and a few others) for Annex I countries. Indeed, for key wealthy countries, reduction obligations exceed even total reference trajectory emissions. So that even if these countries were to reduce their emissions to zero, they would still be obligated to pay for further emission reductions internationally.

    This result, though striking, is not surprising. In fact, it exists by design. It is the logical outcome of the fact – for it is a fact – that any framework that actually preserves the right to development must obligate the wealthy nations to rapidly reduce their own emissions at the same time as they pay to accelerate the decarbonization of the developing world. It follows, just as implacably, from an allocation of reduction obligations on the basis of responsibility and capacity. It is the reason that Greenhouse Development Rights works, the way it drives global decarbonization, the means by which it creates the atmospheric space needed by those who are still “under-developed.”

  107. Chris Dudley:

    flxible (#96),

    You might want to think things through a little more carefully. Chinese dumping of solar panels has the effect that manufacturing in the Pacific Northwest is reduced. Consequently, more panels are built using coal power in China rather than hydro power here. It makes sense to shift smelting of aluminum and refining of silicon to clean energy regions I think.

    In any case, research sponsored in the Carter administration is the reason we have RCP2.6 as an option now. You are going off the topic confusing deployment with R&D.

  108. Pete Dunkelberg:

    Walter @ 87, I disagree that you are “…relaying the factual history….”
    I take it you have not looked up when the big jump in politicization of the climate discussion did and did not occur.

    Walter @ 91 “…a 50% reduction by 2050 is not enough to stop runaway climate change ….”

    What do you know that the RC team doesn’t know?

  109. Chris Dudley:

    Tony (#102),

    Well here is a news report on the US cutting emissions intentionally. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-26/u-s-carbon-emissions-on-track-to-fall-17-meeting-obama-goal.html I posted another with a graph not too long ago. New CAFE standards are an example of regulating emissions.

    I think you need to find an exact quote where Hansen has said that. Every time I’ve heard him say something along those lines, he points out that he is talking about a concentration/forcing stabilization trajectory. But, as Gavin reminds us here http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/04/impacts-of-climate-change-part-2-of-the-new-ipcc-report-has-been-approved/comment-page-2/#comment-496541 Ending greenhouse gas emissions now does not have a serious future warming commitment and leads to cooling, though associated ending of aerosol emissions may have a warming effect. It has been suggested recently that biomass burning would replace those aerosols. http://climate.uvic.ca/people/ahmacd/Publications_files/MacDougallEtAl2013.pdf However, biomass sulfur content is usually low.

    China is not all that far down on per capita emissions. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jul/18/china-average-europe-carbon-footprint And, in three years may pass the US: http://e360.yale.edu/digest/chinas_per_capita_emissions_could_rival_us_by_2017_report_predicts/3141/ Regarding per capita emissions, everyone who is above the US 2050 per capita emissions goal should be cutting emission now, as we are, not later. Those who are below should be getting clean development subsidies to stay there payed for by tariffs on exports of countries who haven’t gotten with the program yet.

    Gavin, please don’t think I’m citing you to lend this response credibility. I’m just acknowledging you as a source of information as is polite ;-)

  110. wili:

    The US is sending coal overseas where it will be burnt. We are not free of responsibility for that. (Did we think they were going to use it for art?) When you add in the effect of these exports, plus the effect of all the manufacturing of consumer goods that we buy from China and other places that burn coal to make it, there is no _real_ reduction in US’s effective emissions.

  111. Walter:

    108 Pete “What do you know that the RC team doesn’t know?”

    A lot!

    Why do you ask? Because you would not believe me or accept it anyway.

    Direct refs never seem to make any difference here. One more or a 1000 will make no difference. Neither does Logic and Reason most of the time with most of the public commentators or scientists. Best.

  112. Walter:

    Tony 102, “defining responsibility as the ability to respond.” and ” (pretty much) in developed countries are to blame for what is happening.”

    Like many others you’re conflating BLAME and FAULT with the word “responsibility”.

    Almost everyone does this as soon as they hear the word “responsibility”.

    That assumption is not correct. I have explained that multiple times here (and on my ex-blog) in various ways over months, to no effect. I can do no more.

    Almost no one is capable of listening to anyone else anymore … and I mean that in a holistic sense regarding climate change and economic issues across the board. Good luck. I recommend you and everyone else buy some land (or make friends with someone who does) with a reliable water supply and survive as best you can.

    History repeats until the lessons are learned. After the crash of 1929 everything was going to be fine, that was the propaganda of those days for several years, until 1933 rolled around, then the shit hit the fan big time.

    GFC v2.0 is knocking on the door. If you’re lucky enough to own shares, a 401K, or have money in the bank get it all cashed out now and then use that sensibly. And far better before Easter than after. By the time the planned G20 in Australia arrives in Nov 2014, it will be a completely different world. American’s would be wise to look to Greece for what the future holds for you. Best.

    ReCaptcha says: 2008

  113. Walter:

    #109, Gavin’s judgment and conclusions are far from perfect. He and other scientists here who run RC are as human as the next guy is, and not Gods.

    And anyone who has to quote “newspaper” articles to support their “beliefs” is seriously conflicted.

  114. Walter:

    Kevin 106, now that’s 100% rational and the Truth of the matter right there. But it is also logical and rational that that will NOT happen… until something else happens to change forever, the status quo.

  115. Chris Dudley:

    wili (110),

    The US does not make choices for China on emissions, so China’s emissions are not our emissions. Because we are now cutting emissions, we can place tariffs on imports from China. Not too sure about your fossil fuel export argument. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/04/impacts-of-climate-change-part-2-of-the-new-ipcc-report-has-been-approved/comment-page-2/#comment-496927 Additionally, are you willing to say that the oil we import is not a part of our emissions when we burn it? That accounting seems like it would get pretty squirrelly pretty fast.

  116. Chris Dudley:

    Walter (#113),

    Actually, what Gavin has to say about climate models is rather informed. He’s put a lot of effort into knowing what he is taking about.

    And, news reports have a basis, so if you are worried about their accuracy, you can check on them. Here is the horse’s mouth if you don’t appreciate the service Bloomberg provides in synthesizing things.

    The US intentionally cutting emissions: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/

    US emissions going down: http://www.eia.gov/environment/emissions/carbon/?src=Environment-b2

    And here are the 17% and 83% cut goals from the State Department: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/140007.pdf

    And here is the overall plan so far. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/image/president27sclimateactionplan.pdf

    Thus far WTO only comes into the plan as a carrot:

    “The U.S. will work with trading partners to launch negotiations at the World Trade Organization towards global free trade in environmental goods, including clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, hydro and geothermal.”

    I think that tracking RCP2.6 will require a stick as well, though it is possible that just gabbing about it here could save the White House or State Department from ever mentioning it except obliquely in private. But, you want your ducks in a row. There is never any official mention of gunboats on the Yangtze or US assistance with ending the opium trade, but they definitely color relations between the US and China to this day.

  117. wili:

    cd @ 115 wrote: “The US does not make choices for China on emissions”

    Riiight. So we sell all those millions of tons of coal to China, but we think that China might ‘choose’ to not burn them. Sound a bit more like rationalization than reason to me.

  118. Chris Dudley:

    wili (#117),

    Read the link I included for you. There are reasons not to export coal, but controlling China’s emissions is not one of them without forming a coal exporting cartel.

  119. Walter:

    105 “You are correct that future US emissions will lead to warming.”

    Not only that, but even a reduced amount of emissions into the future than are currently put out means additional ‘forcing’ that must add to further warming ….. for millennia. Which 99.9% of readers here probably already understand, bar one.

    116 “Actually, what Gavin has to say about climate models is rather informed. He’s put a lot of effort into knowing what he is taking about.”

    Just to be clear about my view – Of course he is. Gavin is an expert in his field, maybe the best, I don’t know how to judge such a ranking though. The point is, like me, like everyone on earth, Gavin is not an omniscient god either. Cherry picking out one article, sentence, or comment by gavin on RC that appears on the surface to support one’s irrational and unfounded political argument is not a valid way to proceed whilst ignoring multiple other scientific papers and research data for energy use, (as others have already noted quite well.)

    I have no reason to doubt that at some time in his life gavin has been faced with some compelling evidence which required him to shift his opinions and conclusions about a subject. That’s universal, but in science it is critical if one wishes to be successful in their field, which gavin most certainly is. But this is not about gavin personally or his models, but how his comments have been used, nay mis-used.

    There nothing wrong in realising one has got something not quite right in their past ‘opinion/belief’ due to a prior lack useful information, incorrect assumptions, or by some faulty thinking. Refusing to even look at new information or another science paper on the subject, and refusing to budge one inch in reviewing their beliefs is. The former is a sign of wisdom, the latter self-defeating. imho.

  120. Chris Dudley:

    Walter (#119),

    So, at some time you will begin to budge. I’m obviously citing Gavin on a scientific question, not a political one. Once you take the time to understand the underlying issue, you’ll see that I have been careful to get it right and include the appropriate caveats.

    You can agree or disagree on RCP2.6 being the correct choice. One reason to disagree might be that pushing a fellow security council member that hard could lead to war. Better to let people in undeveloped counties die than our sailors and soldiers. But, quantitatively, RCP2.6 does seem to require a strong push soon which means using existing strong tools. GATT seems like what is available. Both China and the US have agreed to its terms while China’s refusal to accept some limit in Kyoto kept the US out. The Framework Convention on its own does not seem to have what it takes to do RCP2.6.

    If you feel RCP2.6 is too difficult, just come out and say you support mass extinction of species, creating climate refugees and resource wars like the Darfur genocide. That is a political choice too. But don’t mix up the scientific issue of how the climate behaves with politics.

  121. Chris Dudley:

    Further to my (#116),

    It is is interesting that the current administration’s view of GATT is that energy issues have yet to be addressed while the perpetrator of the prior administration is sticking his oar in saying export restriction on US oil are prohibited by GATT, despite the rather obvious strategic nature of the resource and the existence of an international cartel in oil (no free market). http://www.bushcenter.org/blog/2013/09/11/us-export-restraints-crude-oil-violate-international-agreements

    To me this seems like a rather unseemly interference in the present administration’s attempts to get things done. But perhaps tone deafness is the least flaw we should expect from that quarter. But I do think that paint-by-numbers is a better pursuit than this.

  122. Tony Weddle:


    I’m not sure which reference you’re after but figures 25 and 27 in Hansen’s “storms” book show the cumulative and per-capita emissions for various countries. If you’re after the percentage of climate response for a particular forcing, Hansen mentioned 40% within 5 years, 60% within a century and 100% in a millennium. However, forcing would start to decrease if all emissions cease, though not immediately. As Gavin’s second link points out, warming could continue for several decades before declining, when a fuller range of factors is considered. However, I’m not sure if slow acting feedbacks are included there.

    Your referenced article attempting to show that the decrease in emissions was caused by actions intended to reduce emissions, rather that as a consequence of actions occurring for other reasons (economic downturn or a switch to cheaper gas), doesn’t do the job. You are still assuming that the reduction in emissions is intentional and will continue. Also, you have not addressed emmissions that are occurring outside of the US but as a result of economic activity in the US (e.g. exporting manufacturing and coal).

  123. Tony Weddle:


    I checked Merriam Webster for the definition of “responsible”. There are several; here is a common one:

    liable to be called to account as the primary cause

    This is the definition I was using when referring to countries being responsible for the bulk of emmissions that have caused warming.

  124. Fred Magyar:

    Chris Dudley @ 121,

    “…despite the rather obvious strategic nature of the resource and the existence of an international cartel in oil (no free market).”

    Surely you jest Mr. Dudley!


    A Look At OPEC Plus US States January Production Numbers
    by RON PATTERSON posted on MARCH 28, 2014

    “The notion persist that OPEC has millions of barrels per day of spare capacity and could increase production if only they desired to do so. Many, in fact most people, really believe that all 12 OPEC nations are operating as a cartel and that perhaps all OPEC nations could increase production if they got the word. I think that idea is absurd and only the truly naive and those who know virtually nothing about the history and ability of OPEC could possibly believe such nonsense. And OPEC has done nothing to squash that idea.”

    BTW the reductions in US emissions that you continually tout as being a policy goal, probably have a lot more to do with the realities of peak oil and it’s consequences on both the US and the global economy than a sane look at reality by the current US administration and any real desire to move our economy away from fossil fuels. We certainly live in interesting times, as in the infamous Chinese curse!

  125. Chris Dudley:

    Tony (#112),

    Emissions cuts are the law. Can’t get much more intentional than that for a nation. http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/

    Book cites for Chinese emissions are out-of-date before delivery owing to very rapid growth.

    I do think that placing tariffs on Chinese imports would address external emissions, though since China is sovereign their emissions are their own. We can pressure China, but we don’t control China.

  126. Chris Dudley:

    Fred (#124),

    OPEC is a cartel. It is its ability to idle capacity without cutting prices, not the existence of currently idle capacity that makes it so.

  127. Fred Magyar:

    Chris Dudley @126,

    Huh?! I guess you didn’t even bother to read Ron’s post. The point was OPEC neither has any idle capacity left, much less the ability to idle capacity without cutting prices. To make matters even worse there is the problem of the Export Land Model. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_Land_Model

    OPEC, simply put, is no longer a real cartel with any clout. If anything they are now a paper tiger.

  128. Tony Weddle:

    Chris, whether those vehicle emissions changes will result in reduced emissions overall is something we’ll have to wait and see on (anecdotally, I hear SUV sales are an increasing proportion of an increasing number of car sales). But there’s a bigger picture as to what has caused emissions reductions since the GFC. If you’d like to believe that US legislators are having an impact in order to reduce climate changing emmissions, that’s up to you.

  129. Chris Dudley:

    Fred (#127),

    OPEC only breaks when the Saudis have more that 50% idle capacity. So, even at 30% electrification of transportation, oil prices will remain high, causing reduced prosperity throughout the world. That is what cartels do. TOD gets many things backwards.

  130. Chris Dudley:

    Tony (#128),

    Congress last spoke on this issue in 1990. This is the EPA acting under the authority of the Clean Air Act as it must once pollutants have been found to be dangerous, which they have.

    I understand it is complicated, but the US has pretty sophisticated environmental laws which are set up to run on the basis of science. Essentially Congress already acted. They may act again to set up cap-and-trade as they did with sulfur emissions, but if not, each source or industry will be regulated individually, the default method. All road transportation is now under regulation and shortly large stationary sources will be as well. The regulations are out of the EPA and at the White House for review right now. http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/energy-environment/202281-crucial-climate-regs-head-to-white-house

  131. William Gloege:

    Ray of hope: The California drought may be the “Pearl Harbor” moment in climate change. Reports say a strong El Nino is forming and that may magnify the effects of the drought (although other climate experts say it will bring needed rain). In any event over the next few years the drought will produce heavy casualties on the disbelieving population.

    Central Valley farmers are feeling the early effects that will continue and grow worse as the heat is ratcheted upwards, emptying reservoirs of their last water. This will be a sign hard to ignore when all this hits the California $2 trillion economy supporting 38 million people.

    How will the decision makers react? We shall soon see.