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IPCC WG2 report now out

Filed under: — group @ 30 March 2014

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 Responses to “IPCC WG2 report now out”

  1. 51
    Chris Dudley says:

    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.

  2. 52
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    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.”

    No.
    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.

  3. 53

    #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.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-25/china-narrows-gap-to-u-s-in-ey-renewable-energy-ranking.html

    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.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/China–Nuclear-Power/

    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!

  4. 54

    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.

  5. 55
    Chris Dudley says:

    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?

  6. 56
    SecularAnimist says:

    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.

  7. 57

    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.

  8. 58
    sidd says:

    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 …”

    doi:10.1002/2013GL059010

    sidd

  9. 59
    Tom Scharf says:

    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.

  10. 60
    Mal Adapted says:

    Walter:

    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”

  11. 61
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    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.

  12. 62
    Fred Magyar says:

    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

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaC5mPCpNiA

    Cheers!

    Fred

  13. 63
    Tony Weddle says:

    Chris,

    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.

    SA,

    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.

  14. 64
    Walter says:

    #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.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/03/ipcc-wg2-report-now-out/comment-page-1/#comment-490035

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/03/ipcc-wg2-report-now-out/comment-page-1/#comment-490043

    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

  15. 65
    Walter says:

    If anyone thinks they have a compelling argument or substantive evidence to convince me otherwise, take it here:
    http://whatsupwithrealclimate.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/talk-about-tedious.html

    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.

  16. 66
    Walter says:

    #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.

    Walter

  17. 67
    Walter says:

    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. ”

    http://eme5404reflections.edublogs.org/2011/03/20/credibility-gap/

    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.”

  18. 68
    Chris Dudley says:

    Kevin (#53),

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

  19. 69
    Chris Dudley says:

    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

  20. 70
    Chris Dudley says:

    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.

  21. 71
    Chris Dudley says:

    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

  22. 72
    GlenFergus says:

    Chris:

    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.)

  23. 73
    Chris Dudley says:

    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.

  24. 74
    Hank Roberts says:

    > The US emitted for years causing no damage

    Oh, wait. That’s not right.

  25. 75

    #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:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/13/after-years-of-decline-u-s-carbon-emissions-rose-2-percent-in-2013/

    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.

  26. 76
    Walter says:

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

  27. 77
    Hank Roberts says:

    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

  28. 78
    Chris Dudley says:

    Hank (#74),

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

  29. 79
    Chris Dudley says:

    Kevin,

    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.

  30. 80
    Chris Dudley says:

    Walter (#76),

    You are being a drip.

  31. 81
    Walter Pearce says:

    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.

  32. 82
    Merc says:

    #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.

    regards,
    Merc

  33. 83
    Chris Dudley says:

    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.

  34. 84
    prokaryotes says:

    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

  35. 85
    Walter says:

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

    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/02/221686.htm

  36. 86
    Chris Dudley says:

    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

  37. 87
    Walter says:

    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!

  38. 88
    Walter says:

    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.

  39. 89
    Walter says:

    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/

    Cheers

  40. 90
    Walter says:

    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. :-)

  41. 91
    Walter says:

    #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.”

  42. 92
    Walter says:

    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.

  43. 93
    MartinJB says:

    Walter,

    “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.

  44. 94
    Walter says:

    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.

  45. 95
    Walter Pearce says:

    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.

  46. 96
    flxible says:

    “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.

  47. 97
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 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
    and
    misinterpreting the cite I gave
    and
    pretending I said what you’re spinning

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

    Stop.

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

  48. 98
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