The summary for policymakers of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sixth synthesis report was released on March 20th (available online as a PDF). There is a recording of the IPCC Press Conference – Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report for those who are interested in watching an awkward release of the report.
It strikes me that the IPCC perhaps assumes that everyone is climate literate and are up to speed on climate change. While many journalists clearly got the message, expressed through news reports though e.g. the Guardian and Washington Post, I doubt that relevant leaders were swayed. One problem may be that journalists do not carry as much weight as scientists.
My concern is that the IPCC stubbornly has stuck to a format which so far hasn’t worked, as we can glean from the graphic presented below. Its “calibrated language” and the way its reports are written apparently don’t work, so perhaps it’s about time for a change. I think we can benefit from continuously critical assessments and learn from past mistakes.
Perhaps it would be better to restructure the report for a start and place the credits and the current introduction at the end. After all, they don’t convey the most important message of the report.
When we see that the CO2 levels in the past have kept increasing despite previous IPCC reports and climate summit, I wonder if we need to spell out that the root of our problem is coal, oil and gas in addition to deforestation, rather than using more complicated wording such as:
Global greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase, with unequal historical and ongoing contributions arising from unsustainable energy use, land use and land-use change, lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production across regions, between and within countries, and among individuals.
Apparently, many people do not connect the dots, and it’s not obvious for non-experts, many who are decision-makers, that “unsustainable energy use” is the same as coal, oil and gas.
The term “oil” is only mentioned twice in this summary, and only in connection with carbon capture and storage and methane emissions. Coal, on the other hand, is only mentioned once in connection with methane emissions. The term “fossil fuels”, however, is mentioned 16 times.
Nevertheless, the summary for policymakers states the need for “rapid and deep and, in most cases, immediate greenhouse gas emissions reductions in all sectors this decade” if we want global warming to keep below 1.5°C or 2°C since preindustrial times (p. 21).
The summary for policymakers of the synthesis report is a tough read, and I must admit that I had to take some breaks between reading parts of it. I wonder how many policymakers, whoever they are, have read the whole summary written for them. It contains a lot of good and important points and messages.
My impression is that the summary for policymakers is written in climate-bureaucracy tribal language aiming at climate-bureaucrats who already know the situation. Yet, it desperately needs to reach those who are not yet onboard. It’s full of facts, a bit daunting, and a heavy read, partly because it contains unfamiliar acronyms. I had to look up the acronym “CDR” (Carbon dioxide removal). Is it really necessary to use such acronyms?
Unfamiliar acronyms act as barriers in terms of passing on important messages.
I also wonder how many people correctly understand sentences such as:
Achieving and sustaining net negative global CO2 emissions, with annual rates of CDR greater than residual CO2 emissions, would gradually reduce the warming level again (high confidence).
I complain to my colleagues when they have used the phrase negative emissions, and tell them that all emissions are negative in one way or another. If there is a slight chance that a term can be misunderstood, then it probably will be misunderstood. And I’ve met people who don’t understand that negative emissions actually means carbon capture and storage.
The IPCC’s summary for policymakers stresses the need for emission cuts across all sectors, which also gives me associations with the so-called carbon footprint sham. It’s indeed true that emissions must go down, but we also must explicitly acknowledge that we need to reduce our dependence on coal, oil and gas (“fossil fuels”).
Governments are clearly failing when it comes to stopping global warming so perhaps this summary for policymakers should aim for business leaders. Maybe there could be a real change if the board rooms and CEOs of big oil companies really fathomed the problem?
I think that the most important message of the summary for policymakers can be found on page 30:
Net zero CO2 energy systems entail: a substantial reduction in overall fossil fuel use, minimal use of unabated fossil fuels51, and use of carbon capture and storage in the remaining fossil fuel systems; electricity systems that emit no net CO2; widespread electrification; alternative energy carriers in applications less amenable to electrification; energy conservation and efficiency; and greater integration across the energy system (high confidence).”
Perhaps it would be wiser if it was on the front page and expressed even more directly? The issue here is a disturbed carbon cycle that now is out of balance because carbon has been taken from Earth’s crust and injected into the atmosphere. This information is hidden between the lines and not necessarily in plaintext.
While I agree that the phrase “Net zero, CO2 and net zero GHG emissions can be achieved through strong reductions across all sectors” in the infographic above is technically correct, I think a better plaintext translation “of strong reductions across all sectors” should be much simpler to grasp. E.g. stop extracting coal, oil and gas from the ground.
In other words, I cannot see that the summary for policymakers pinpoints the root of the problems in a clear fashion. And what shall the policymakers do with all these facts? Perhaps there is a need for clear guidance on how to deal with the problem?
Perhaps the past development with increasing CO2 concentrations has been the most natural course because policymakers didn’t get the message despite all efforts? In that case, it will probably continue unless the IPCC manages to write plaintext summaries that actually reach important policymakers.
I don’t think statements such as ‘highway to climate hell’ are helpful either. Earth’s greenhouse effect is not increasing because of a natural process that we cannot control, but a consequence from the fact that we devote much energy and money on digging up coal, oil and gas, so that we can exploit the energy stored in the carbon compounds that they contain. We can stop that development, if we really want to, but if we let it go on for too long, we risk reaching some tipping points with a runaway course that will take us on a wild ride.
When it comes to the substance of the summary for policymakers, I only have a couple of comments. One of these is the statement:
Actions that focus on sectors and risks in isolation and on short-term gains often lead to maladaptation over the long-term, creating lock-ins of vulnerability, exposure and risks that are difficult to change.
That is not the only reason for maladaptation. Decision-making based on non-robust or incorrect information may also lead to maladaptation. There is still a knowledge gap connected to climate model simulations, downscaling and robust regional climate information.
Another detail is the data behind Figure SPM.3, which is from small samples of global climate models (sample size of 5-15) prone to “the law of small samples”. I urge everyone who is involved in climate change adaptation to read Deser et al. (2012) to understand why such small samples give non-robust and insufficient information for making regional future projections.
Climate change must be dealt with through international agreements, as IPCC’s summary acknowledged. It is therefore important to understand what climate-related challenges other nations have to deal with. Perhaps we will see more efforts in terms of downscaling climate projections not just for our own countries, but also for the rest of the world when our nations negotiate solutions? Carbon pricing is mentioned, as is depth, but so far there is little on carbon debt.
I think we must lay it out in simple terms, and the main message from the climate science that this summary is meant to reflect is: Climate change is more severe than ever and is playing out in front of our eyes. And there are lots of different consequences. Humans work hard to add greenhouse gases such as CO2 into the atmosphere. Global warming is not a natural phenomenon, and we can stop it by stopping exploiting coal, oil and gas in addition to taking care of our forests.
Another take on this summary for policymakers is to ask ChatGPT for a layman translation. This is what I got:
Update 2023-04-17: I was recently informed that the IPCC also has a Summary for All this time: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/outreach/IPCC_AR6_WGI_SummaryForAll.pdf
- C. Deser, R. Knutti, S. Solomon, and A.S. Phillips, "Communication of the role of natural variability in future North American climate", Nature Climate Change, vol. 2, pp. 775-779, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1562
60 Responses to "The summary for policymakers of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sixth assessment reports synthesis"
Karsten V. Johansen says
The summaries for policy makers are in fact summaries *by* policy makers. The whole process is the definition of corruption, as documented here https://enb.iisd.org/58th-session-intergovernmental-panel-climate-change-ipcc-58-summary#brief-analysis-ipcc-58 .
This whole climate-conference theatre has been going on for more than thirty years without achieving anything but business as extremely usual, clouded in a thickening fog of “green” words: the CO2 level in the troposphere is now rising faster than ever.
This is just completely absurd, laughable and constitutes in itself an enormous and fast growing crime against humanity. It is a deceptive show run by the great powers and the oiligarchs, and it seems that the de facto objective behind the facade must be quite another than the official hand-wringing. Maybe it rather is to torpedo the whole fight against the fossil industry and the accelerating use of fossil fuels and just to this add ever more other use of other energy sources, and cover this whole operation up behind “green”speak?
At least this torpedoing has been the sole result during the last over thirty years now. *When you constantly cry wolf, but never act accordingly, this result is inevitable.* People naturally will be left concluding that nothing the IPCC says is more than theatre, and thus they vote for/support politicians like Trump/DeSantis and Putin, Xi Jinping, Modi, Netanyahu, Erdogan etc. etc. The world continues towards a new world war over energy and raw materials combined with the collapse of civilization.
In reality the solution to this oligarchic deadlock and road to hell is very simple: as long as the prices of fossil fuels are lower than prices on other energy sources, more use of other energy sources will just lead to more energy use, as seen in this fact: i 1975 the global energy consumption consisted of eightyfive pct. fossil fuel use and fifteen pct. renewables, mostly burning of wood in poorer regions of the world. In 2022 these numbers were exactly the same! In the years between nothing have happened, except an explosion in the total energy consumption. Where is this path or rather roaring motorway leading? To rapidly growing climatic and ecosystemic destabilization and in the longer run: collapse. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sI1C9DyIi_8&t=1535s
Thus we have to do something else than now: 1) the price of fossil fuels must be brought fast upwards and 2) all energy prices will have to rise. How can this be done? 1) By implementing a year by year rising carbon fee on all fossil fuels, at the source, and then spread this revenue equally between all citizens as a dividend. Thus all prices will rise in proportion to the amount of fossil fuels used for the production of goods and services, and the citizens using products and services using less and less fossil fuels for their production, will compensated most. This is called *carbon fee and dividend.* 2) A general energy fee and dividend has to be implemented too, to cut the total energy consumption.
“Otherwise, the planet faces all the climate catastrophes we’re already witnessing evolve. “The climate time bomb is ticking,” said the UN’s secretary-general. “The rate of temperature rise in the last half-century is the highest in 2,000 years. Concentrations of carbon dioxide are at their highest in at least two million years.””
These numbers are grossly misleading. 1) *The rate of temperature rise is probably the fastest in at least tvelve thousand years*, at the end of the last ice age. 2) *The tropospheric concentration of CO2 now is higher than in at least twentythree million years*, and it’s *rate of rise is at least ten times faster than any known rate of rise in tropospheric CO2 concentration in geologic time*.
Why is the IPCC still, and furthermore even more than before (! Until now they have said that the current CO2 concentration is the highest for at least three to five million years…) systematically downplaying this, contrary to it’s rising alarmistic language? I haven’t seen even the slightest scientific evidence for the numbers presented here. Where is it? It runs contrary to everything I have seen in the scientific litterature.
Maybe the aim is to let the problem seem smaller than it is? But that’s spreading a very dangerous illusion.
There is also, at the same time, something very suspicious going on here. I think it has to be seen in context with the next climate meeting taking place in a middle eastern petrostate, the ongoing wars (which are mostly over oil and gas…) and the offensive from OPEC+ which began with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the attempt to stop the *very tiny* attempts to begin winding down global fossil fuel comsumption. The IPCC reports until now have *never even mentioned* the close connection between fast growing fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions…
“Net zero” is just even more crap from the usual oiligarchic suspects, even more of kicking the can along the road.
Fee and Dividend is nonsense as are all carbon schemes. Why? You increase the cost of C, but you give tens of millions the means to spend a lot more, they will – and they won’t care about spending “free” money.
Karsten V. Johansen says
You don’t understand the elementary economic effects of the fee-and-*equal*(in dollars/euros/yuans etc.)-dividend method. People with a high carbon footprint will be economically punished, more, the higher their footprint, because the fee is proportional to the amount of fossil fuels used to produce goods and services, while the dividend is the same amount of money for every citizen, and in total equal (minus the administrative cost) to the total revenue from the fee. This means that for the lower earning citizens – who’s carbon personal footprint is far lower than the personal footprint from the rich, this is well documented – the net result will be positive, more the less they use their money on goods and services with a high carbon footprint, and those goods and services will be *relatively* cheaper and cheaper – while the overall energy prices will be rising because of 1) the yearly rising carbon fee and 2) the yearly rising general energy fee. This means a rising pressure on the whole economy 1) to move away from fossil fuels and 2) to become more and more energy efficient and use less and less energy in total. You can as well use the same fee-and-equal-dividend model on fx. scarce metal and other resources.
Rory Allen says
If the carbon tax income is used to subsidise a network of sustainable energy generation and storage, this will reduce the cost of ‘good’ energy to the customer and other sources of energy will become obsolete quickly enough.
Geoff Miell says
Karsten V. Johansen: – “The summaries for policy makers are in fact summaries *by* policy makers. The whole process is the definition of corruption, as documented here…”
Yep. I’d suggest science communicator David Spratt says as much (and more) in his piece published in John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations blog on 30 Mar 2023, headlined IPCC: a gamble on earth system failure, including:
David Spratt’s piece also discusses the IPCC’s apparent flawed approach to risk:
I’d suggest humanity needs to find effective ways real quick to address our historical and ongoing bad energy behaviour!
There is NO CARBON BUDGET REMAINING for a safe climate for humanity.
Three stages are required to mitigate the climate emergency:
i. Deep and rapid decarbonization of civilisation ASAP – no more new fossil fuel developments AND a rapid phase out of utilization of existing fossil fuel infrastructure;
ii. ‘Negative emissions’ or atmospheric carbon drawdown to safely get CO₂ levels back to well below 350 ppm (CO₂ equivalent); and
iii. Maintain arctic summer sea ice cover.
“What we, humanity, do in the next 4 to 5 years will determine the future of humanity for the next few thousand years.” – Sir David King, Founder and Chair of the Centre for Climate Repair, University of Cambridge
Either we/humanity find ways to drive fossil fuels out of business ASAP, or human civilisation will be driven out of business by global heating.
Chuck Hughes says
iii. Maintain arctic summer sea ice cover.
Using ships with a nebulizer to turn ocean water into vapor sounds a little far fetched. You’d need 700 of these ships operated via artificial intelligence to patrol the Arctic Ocean. They don’t know if it will work, they will have to scale it up withing a few years, I’m assuming it would be government funded?
How practical and doable is something like that?
@Gavin? or anyone.
Kevin McKinney says
I have to concur. It’s been a long-term frustration for me that the language in ARs over the years has been so jargon-laden, leaden, and often opaque (for most readers). As syntheses of the literature–conceptually their primary purpose–I think they are admirable, impressive achievements. For me they are the gold standard for understanding what we know, and how much we can trust it. As calls to action? Not so much.
And as Rasmus intimates, we are desperately in need of more action. I know that their–let’s say, “determined sobriety” of language–and demanding standards of scientific rectitude leading to a de facto conservative bias in framing and estimation were deliberate features from the first report onward, and understand the logic that it was essential in order to maintain credibility. Yet these have not prevented widespread pillorying of the IPCC as “alarmist” and “political”; we’ve all seen these charges and perceptions repeated again and again.
It’s time, and past time, for plainer, more direct speech.
Rory Allen says
I agree, and suggest that the IPCC message would be more effective if it laid stress on the short term benefits to individual countries that arise from moving away from oil/gas/coal, that are nothing to do with greenhouse gas emissions. To name only the most obvious:
– improvement of air quality due to removing vehicle pollution; national energy security due to bringing energy generation within country borders;
– saving in forex by reducing energy imports;
– stimulus to the national economy from local green industry (including retrofitting building insulation);
– lowering energy costs to households due to renewable energy unit costs being lower.
All these should appeal to politicians who want to make an impact on people’s lives for the better, and some of these effects will be almost immediate.
Good post, all valid concerns. I note that ChatGPT follows its source in not mentioning oil and coal. But ypu can’t ask the IPCC to do better in this regard, because the SPM fiinal wording requires consensus of the governments, and — according to press reports — some representatives fought tooth and nail to remove any hint of explicitly blaming coal or oil (the Saudis in the lead on the latter, of course, and I suspect our own USA was not pushing criticism of coal). So it really is up to the journalists to bear the weight here. Of course the actual policy makers will never use the IPCC reports for anything but a paperweight, they get their crucial information from the media (which is logical, since that’s where their constituents get it)… so all power to good science journalists!
Tomáš Kalisz says
this executive summary is, possibly, the first one in the history of IPCC reports, mentioning measures changing the non-radiative heat flux among “forcings” (see the fulltext pdf file with figures available under https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_WGI_SPM.pdf page 6, Figure 2 (c)).
A few days ago, I asked a question in this respect (see attached below). It remains unanswered yet. Possibly it was not asked on the right place, I do not know yet how this forum does work.
Perhaps you could reply?
Thank you in advance and happy Easter
Dear Dr. Gavin Schmidt,
I would like to ask you for your kind comment on a relatively recent preprint published by Makarieva et al, https://arxiv.org/abs/2301.09998 . Particularly, I would like to know your opinion about significance of concerns raised under Figure 5 in this articke, with respect to differences between modelled and observed trends in temperature profile developments.
I am aware of your negative comment on an older article describing the “biotic pump” hypothesis co-developed by this author under JCM post of 20 Mar 2023 at 3:23 PM, mentioning this yet unproven concept:
[Response: This was all shown to be nonsense in the epic series of comments on a submitted (but never accepted) paper. An error in their theoretical derivation was ‘recast’ as a new parameterization but one that has no actual basis in reality. The rejection of this ‘theory’ has absolutely nothing to do with it’s supposed consequences. – gavin]
However, I very recently learned from discussions with scientists like prof. Dennis Hartmann of the University of Washington or Bjorn Stevens of the Max Planck Institut für Meteorologie in Hamburg that latent heat transfer from Earth surface in the atmosphere is among temperature regulation mechanisms implemented into state-of-art climate models.
Furthermore, from the publication by De Hertog at al https://cris.vub.be/ws/portalfiles/portal/88409508/DeHertog_etal_2022_ESD.pdf ,
it is apparent that these computational tools indeed predict some global effects of measures changing the latent heat flux, like e.g. increased irrigation. It is thus my understanding that the current mainstream climatology recognizes changes in the latent heat transport as one of climate “forcings”.
I therefore suppose that the question raised by Makarieva et al (whether or not the recent models properly address the assumed interplay between small water cycle intensity and long-range moisture transport from ocean to continents, as a mechanism that may play a role in regulation of the overall intensity of global water cycle and thus of the intensity of the said global cooling effect) may be indeed justified. I will highly appreciate if you review the recent preprint published by Makarieva et al and comment thereon, irrespective of possible older mistakes made by any of the authors.
Thank you very much in advance and best regards
I arrived at the recent article by Makarieva when I tried to learn how relevant can the predictions made on the basis of the state-of-art climate models be with respect to supposed increase of precipitation in deserts of Arabian Peninsula or Sahara in case of their exploitation for solar energy conversion into electricity. I summarized it in my public orgpage (an interactive dynamic scheme made in application OrgPad) which is accessible under link https://orgpad.com/s/VhvfDd5uRIP
@ Thomas Kalisz
MA Rodger has given you a quite good answer here.
By occasion and looking after the fameous Aral sea to find out about desertification, I found rather what I believe and take for granted, having other learnings and routines for this, than people are having from the fameous, political carriere and commercial Verbal Squat faculty.
The vapour pressure curve of water that ranges continously from overheated steam boilers and down to Antarktis in winter and further down to Mars and Pluto—–
………..The Claussius Clappeyron-principle of eqvilibrium phase transition…. also in vacuum on the moon…..
……and seen Together with fossile evidence from oligozene 30 million years ago when there was much warmer and thus also much more rain in the world….
….. there was a large freshwaqter system in todays deserts of Central Asia.
Not only the fameous http://www.Taklamakan, but also in the west , Lake Aral The Kaspian sea and the black sea all connected and flooded by central continental rain and snow. At 5-8 deg warmer than now.
Further fossile documents of the same is enormeous lignite and Kaolin sediments from that period at high latitudes..
The worlds fameous Loess- sediments due to enormeous frequent dust- bowls on the other hand,….
………. settled sub- glacially at high latitudes during the recent, very cold ice ages. with extreemly low CO2 in the air.
Thus rumors of general desertification in the world due to global warming does contradict a large material of archaeological and geophysical evidence. as also natural and obvious along with elementary geophysics.
In addition, the fameous recent drying up of lake Aral is obviously and officially Antropogene, due to the need for evapotranspiration by Stalins progressive, grand old Party programs with P.
The rivers running into Aral were taken and regulated artificially for cotton production..
There should be many enough systemjatically independent empirical reasons to draw a conclusion then, about the main causes of increasing drought and desertification here and there in the world and not only in the wild west around Grand Canyon Lake Mead, Las Vegas, and Southern California.
Look also Petroglyphs of savannas in Sahara from max holocene and even relict nile crocodile populations in the oases.. ,the history of the fameous Lake Chad is further a document.
In addition to the vapour pressure curve of water, on must also look after the patterns of the meandering jet streams, that seem to be quite sensitive and change more, and also more unpredictable, along with global warming.
That system of global and circumpolar jet streams do decide quite much on where the rain and snow will fall down , Evaporated water will fall down again somewhyere in any case. At sea or on land, But there is hardly less and less percipitation on land in our days due to global warming, there is rather more and more due to warmer oceans. but in an unpredictable way of patterns.
Tis is a more efficient way of seeing it instead of purchasing oneself as artist biologist hydrologist and rainmaker. We see what comes out of it when we puncture them.
It is ugly.
But, such is industrialized dilettantism dia lectic materialism, and trained religious syndicalism that is all the same. .
macias shurly says
@ Tomáš Kalisz says: ” -https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_WGI_SPM.pdf
ms: — Hello Tomáš – I have already posted the same IPCC graphic from 2021 3 times here at RC and asked very similar questions about it in modified form.
*** Land use reflectance and irrigation with a cooling effect on Earth temperature of ~ – 0.1°C. ***
Uhpps – after 33 years something new ??? A water cooled surface ???
First some facts:
– The current global irrigation amounts to ~ 2600 km³/y, of which only ~ 38% (~1000 km³) arrives at the plant and is evaporated. 62% is surface and underground runoff.
– Cooling from increased land use reflectance actually refers to the difference in albedo between densely forested wet areas with a low albedo – and deforested areas whose soils dry out quickly and thus almost always have a higher albedo. Has the IPCC taken into account what this means for the energy balance on a land surface ??? I don’t believe!
– Have they accounted for the expected higher ground temperatures of up to 30-40°C that will occur on the cleared, sealed, canalized land??? I don’t believe!
Thermal radiation of the planetary surface Fs = σTs^4 (Wm−2)
– Did the IPCC calculated the loss of transport capacity of energy between the land surface and the upper troposphere and the guaranteed loss of cloud albedo ??? I don’t believe!
Does the upper troposphere possibly remain too cold due to a lack of surface cooling and less condensation heat from water vapor ?
The upper radiative layer to space Fe = σTe^4 )
As a result, isn’t this a very similar effect as the GHE – ( outgoing radiation is reduced and incoming energy is increased ? )
YES – BUT IN THE SHORT WAVE RADIATIVE EFFECT OF THE CLOUDS (CRE)
Could it be that some IPCC scientists wear sleepy woolen hats with ears and eye patches to avoid having to take in what has happened in the last 2 decades? I think so!
In the Trenberth and Loeb GEB valid for the period 1999-2009 I have added the CERES data from 2000-2020 as 20-year trends. So pay attention to the difference between the yellow and white digits. These are the current developments in the climate over the last 20 years.
GHE & CO2 are only ~1/3 of global warming.
Both the Trenberth & Loeb energy balance model and the CERES observation data used are part of recognized science and the IPCC. The measured values @ TOA have the smallest uncertainties.
– Albedo decreased by ~1.4W/m² (cloud, ice and aerosols)
– The outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) has increased by ~0.57W/m².
– The EEI has more than doubled. ~0.4-0.6W/m² —> ~1.37W/m²
(back to the IPCC table) – There has been no cooling albedo from land use reflectance or irrigation for at least 23 years.
In fact, the IPCC has not yet recognized that humans can not only irrigate, but have also the ability to drain, dry out, burn, seal landscapes for centuries and millennia…etc. – unbelievable lol
On my website you will find plenty of facts quantifying the lack of evaporation on the ground, in the atmosphere and @ TOA … putting human knowledge of water cycles back on its feet.
You can also contact me there – ( I looked on orgpad – but didn’t find any possibility for feedback there.
@Rasmus Benestad says: * IPCC AR6 SYR SPM *
ms — … who knows the number of pages of the synthesis report – has a clear advantage.
He knows how much time he has saved before he throws the bullshit, preferably unread, into the dustbin of history.
William Rees, says
Here is something else in simple terms:
The world is still powered the equivalent of >290/365 days per year by fossil fuels. So-called green alternatives (wind and solar electricity) give us, at most, the equivalent of 18/365 days.
While we must stop exploiting coal, oil and gas to limit climate change, there is zero possibility that ‘green alternative energy’ (which tehnologies are all produced using fossil fuels) can substitute quantitatively for most uses of fossil fuels on a climate-friendly schedule. Rapid suspension of fossil fuel use would crash the global economy, throw millions out of work, make it virtually impossible adequately to provision large cities, precipitate large scale human migrations, generate unmanageable civil strife and greatly exacerbate geopolitical tensions.
Little wonder that policy makers and politicians much prefer the illusion(s) that a rapid energy transition is taking place and that technology also solve any residual problems. This is so much easier than implementing the necessary massive reductions in fossil fuel use — besides, by the time the excrement really hits the wind turbine blades, it will be someone else’s problem (or so they hope).
Ray Ladbury says
And of course, we’ll never be able to light lamps without whale oil. Renewables are the cheapest, fastest growing energy source in the mix–and that is in the face of concerted efforts by fossil fuel companies to hijack the politics of the world’s industrial nations for over 40 years. Maybe try to peddle your crap to a more ignorant audience. We’ve heard this alarmist crap before, and it doesn’t sell here. People here know the facts.
You are arguing that wind and solar can’t do what they are already doing. You really need to follow real-world developments in the renewable energy industry if you don’t want to embarrass yourself by posting laughably false bromides from the fossil fuel industry’s propaganda mill.
Simon Edmonds says
I know we all need to replace the use of fossil fuels, but from the evidence of the last 20 plus years it seem that we don’t have any viable alternative. it’s a case of we’re dammed if we do and dammed if we don’t.
Ray Ladbury says
What we’ve had is a concerted campaign by fossil fuel companies to keep raking in the ching-ching for over 40 years. This has utterly hijacked American politics as the dominance of rich fossil-fuel donors has caused one party to team up with ever more ludicrous fringe voters–to the point where a New York fraudster has been lauded as the second coming.
There needs to be a reckoning where the fossil fuel companies and their leadership are held accountable.
Geoff Miell says
Ray Ladbury: – “What we’ve had is a concerted campaign by fossil fuel companies to keep raking in the ching-ching for over 40 years. This has utterly hijacked American politics as the dominance of rich fossil-fuel donors…”
It appears the same is occurring in Australia, with the major political parties addicted to donations from alcohol, gambling, fossil fuels, & property sectors.
And it seems these donor companies continue to rake in the ching-ching!
It seems the fossil fuel companies don’t appear to be too concerned by the so-called Safeguard Mechanism, the Australian Labor Government’s key climate policy to reach its 2030 emissions target.
And ICYMI, here’s a satirical look at the Safeguard Mechanism (warning: contains language that may offend some), by The Juice Media, duration 0:03:41, as another instalment of their ‘Honest Government Ad’ series:
PG / bleeped versions available at: https://www.thejuicemedia.com/honest-government-ads-teachers/
Ray Ladbury says
I love the Honest Government Ads. They are brilliant. I cannot imagine them without the profanity. Somehow, profanity seems to be the only language sufficient for addressing fossil fuel lobbyists and their politician lackeys.
Ian MacDougall says
I strongly disagree with carbon-capture and storage (CCS). The heat-trapping properties of CO2 which make it a problem today will almost certainly be humanity’s future salvation. Because we are at the mid-point of the latest in the series of glaciations (‘ice-ages’) and but for the heating of the atmosphere brought on by its abnormally high CO2 concentration, would be slowly descending into the next glacial minimum, or ice age. The glaciations run on a ~100,000 year cycle. So lock the atmospheric carbon dioxide up in vegetation: forests, seaweeds, pastures or whatever takes your fancy. But don’t lock it away forever with CCS. Because human civilisation depends on glacier-free land. (In the last glaciation there was ice about 1 km thick where today we find Central Park, New York City.)
Chuck Hughes says
You have no idea what you’re talking about.
Geoff Miell says
Ian MacDougall: – “Because we are at the mid-point of the latest in the series of glaciations (‘ice-ages’) and but for the heating of the atmosphere brought on by its abnormally high CO2 concentration, would be slowly descending into the next glacial minimum, or ice age.”
Nope – some climate scientists suggest there won’t be any more glaciation/ice age for hundreds of thousands to millions of years at the current atmospheric GHG concentration level.
Published on 14 Jun 2016 in Nature was an article by Andrey Ganopolski, Ricarda Winkelmann & Hans Joachim Schellnhuber titled Critical insolation-CO₂ relation for diagnosing past and future glacial inception. It included:
On the afternoon of 17 Oct 2018, Professor H. J. Schellnhuber CBE delivered his Aurelio Peccei Lecture: Climate, Complexity, Conversion. His lecture and Q&A session is available to view/hear in the first hour of the YouTube video titled Keynote Debate Can the Climate Emergency Action Plan lead to Collective Action? (50 Years CoR), duration 2:23:08. Prof Schellnhuber says from time interval 0:20:56:
“… So, some people have speculated the next ice age will be next week. I can tell you: It’s not true! Don’t believe that! [audience chuckles] It will happen… I blow it up… Actually, never again! That’s why we are in the Anthropocene. Remember, if the blue line is crossing or cutting the black line, from the left, there will be another glacial inception. Now this is a hundred-thousand years into the future, and if you look where, in fifty-thousand years, there would be another ice age, but only if the CO₂ would not be influenced by human intervention. Actually now, the atmospheric content is, according to the orange line, and you see, the lines are not crossing anymore, but we will add another billion, and hundred-billions of tonnes CO₂, where rather we will have to use the brown line, so there will be no ice age anymore. The human impact is so powerful already – that’s why we talk about the Anthropocene – that we have suppressed the Quaternary planetary dynamics already.
This is a fact… but let’s see what will happen in the future beyond that. So, just for you to remember, the Holocene… Holocene mode of operation, the last twelve-thousand years where human civilisation was created, will not come back, not for the next millions of years. It’s just… done! …”
MA Rodger says
You appear to be asking whether the increase in latent heat transport in a warming world is being properly represented in climate models as you are of the view that they are not. Your previous attempt at obtaining an answer to this question probably wasn’t very helpful for you.
Perhaps it should first be made plain that increasing in rainfall under AGW is more involved that simply the annual global average such that changes in that annual global average don’t even feature in this Carbon Brief piece ‘What climate models tell us about future rainfall’. So annual global average rainfall is an obscure part of a complex bit of climatology.
There is perhaps an initial rough-&-simplistic way of testing the potential scale any error in rainfall that may exist in climate models. Rain gauges measure rainfall over land (not perfectly) giving a century length record globally and any rise in annual rainfall can be simply converted into changes in the surface energy flux.
Thus the EPA web page ‘Climate Change Indicators: U.S. and Global Precipitation’ provides data showing that measured annual rainfall over land globally has risen something like 0.5″ in a century: so roughly 1.3% increase. Now that would if extended over ocean as well as land constitute +1Wm^-2 of latent heat entering the atmosphere. But note there is no indication of this average global rainfall mirroring global temperature wobbles. (That is the early 20th century shows a rise equal to the late 20th century, times when temperature supposedly driving any rainfall change were not rising equally.)
And we do now have also satellite data which given the extremely lumpy nature of rainfall is likely a better measure.
The Global Precipitation Climatology Project give a value per ºC of global warming over the period 1979-2017 of 1.3%, which miraculously agrees with the EPA rain-gauge-derived data, temperature increase 1900-2021 being roughly +1ºC. GPCP point to the ENSO wobbles impacting precipitation do even out over the period 1979-2017, not something that would always occur.
Now your contention is that this increasing rainfall is not represented in the climate models. However, the Global Precipitation Climatology Project disagree saying of the 1.3%/ºC “This value is close to the value often quoted coming from climate models” while pointing to the wobbly nature of the data making the result a rather sensitive one.
So it does appear that the increase in latent heat transport in a warming world is being properly represented in climate models.
Tomáš Kalisz says
Thank you very much for your feedback and extremely useful references. I was not aware of the GPCP data.
Randall W. Pakinson says
I completely agree with your summary. I’ve been reading these fo the past 35+ years. They are great for scientists to incoroprate into their puzzle-solving work, but have had no effect on emissions, etc. Something needs to change.
Thomas W Fuller says
Sigh… If your post isn’t in Hindi and Mandarin it won’t reach the relevant audience. People who want energy prices to rise face a rather sullen world, the population of which knows pretty damn well that cheap energy leads to the Western lifestyle, something they covet even as they criticize those who got to it first.
Carbon capture and storage doesn’t really exist outside of a few prototypes. Nobody is rushing to adopt reduced carbon cement production. Our renewables sector consists of 1,500 year old technology (windmills), century old technology (solar) and 5,000 year old technology (dams).
You mention word counts for various relevant terms–how many times was ‘nuclear’ mentioned? Have you perhaps noticed the increase in applications to join BRICS?
It’s bead enough that the SPM wanders so far from relevancy–it’s worse that your attempted correction does not really do any better.
Paul Pukite (@whut) says
In the context of the ChatGPT summary provided at the end of Rasmus’ post, there will soon be an explosion in AI and machine learning applications of climate science. About a decade ago, I was the tech lead on a DARPA/DOI project on applying knowledgebases and reasoning to environment modeling. Learned a lot from that on the importance of context modeling, which is what the GPT technology is all about — providing contextual information to the AI/ML tool and letting it go at it. Surprising what it will find out.
Well, currently I am applying neural nets to fluid dynamics, letting the NN do the mapping of the input forcing to the observed behavior of climate behavior such as ENSO, by training on the time-series. Surprising how well it is able to do cross-validation on the NINO4 index. Take a look at this video.
If anyone is interested in collaborating on this stuff contact me @whut on Twitter. Things are going to be moving with incredible speed so you probably want to get aboard on the ground floor;)
Paul Pukite (@whut) says
As a followup I did add an article to my SubStack account SubSurface https://pukite.substack.com/p/machine-learning-validates-the-enso which IMO is the direction we have to go to discriminate the natural extremes from the induced extremes, featuring an interesting application of neural net training for ENSO modeling. Cheers
Paul Pukite (@whut) says
As a second follow-up, note how the known & calibrated geophysical forcing provides a basis for the neural network to model AMO cycles. It fits to the multidecadal variation in seconds
BTW, this is all being done in the Julia programming language, applying the Flux NN library. Recall that the Climate Modeling Alliance is also doing work in Julia, reengineering climate models from scratch https://github.com/CliMA/
Ned Kelly says
Excellent and I wish you the best of luck if it is credible and reliable and better than what already exists.
I will not however hold my breadth waiting for any of this to appear in any IPCC analysis process for at least the mid-late 2030s, if the IPCC still exists then.
I also wish you the best of “scientific rigor” that you can also find a way to add on to your current modelling the impact of ENSO upon the Sea Ice, regional continental temperatures and regional busfire/wildfire drivers, plus wild weather extreme rainfall impacts plugging all that into short and long term Emergency Warning systems.
To put a bomb under all our politicians, national state and local.
I say this because what exists today, in regard to ‘ climate modelling’ and all the science and the IPCC output is absolutely Useless to Everyone!
Paul Pukite (@whut) says
Thank you, Ned
Since ChatGPT was mentioned in the top-level post, I should point out that the reason that GPT LLM technology works at all is by providing the right context to a query prompt. If one doesn’t provide sufficient context or the knowledgebase doesn’t have enough contextual information via connectivity in the LLM, then you won’t get a useful answer.
And a lack of specific context is why climate science is struggling in trying to model challenging topics such as natural variability. Sure, researchers have explored using neural nets and machine learning in this area, but if they don’t provide the right input context, the NN will continue to struggle to discover patterns in the data that are impossible to decode without a contextual key.
That essentially explains why what I am doing may be a breakthrough, as I am providing inputs to a NN model that no one else is experimenting with. Find a research project that is applying long-period tidal forces and annual impulses as input parameters.. If you con’t try it, it won’t volunteer answers.
I have no problems with the IPCC guidelines for decisionmakers, as I realize that they probably conscider the UN situation, especially the UN declaration of human rights article 26,
What can they do others than to take it for granted that the decisionmakers worldwide regardloess of race religion and political opinion do have Baccalaureus 1, Examen Artium at leasst., se artice 26 2.nd punctum.
That guidelines is short and good and I can fill it out for myn own needs and decisionmakings, having examen artium, I was forced into it, and stood the legal way.
But they may be a bit naive about all their readers.
Not every decisionmaker in the world, not even in Norway, is as privileged as me.
It should be a further job for UNICEF then. .
Radge Havers says
Well, if as suggested in the first comment above, that the summary process fails from the get go, then maybe some reasonably authoritative group should prominently post a translated Executive Summary aimed at a broader audience (the “intelligent layperson”).
I suspect that policy makers at the top probably don’t read these reports themselves anyway, but instead dump them on staff and move on to what they really care about, which is drumming up campaign contributions and pandering to the lowest common denominator.
Radge Havers says
I should say that I don’t see a lot of journalists that “get it.” Just a few days ago I watched an interview on TV with a climate scientist who, perhaps a bit too discretely, had to correct the anchor on a number of points, like pointing out that 1.5 degrees does not represent a tipping point. An explanation of why 1.5 is important, though, was left in the weeds and not covered.
@ “And I’ve met people who don’t understand that negative emissions actually means carbon capture and storage”
Dear Rasmus, this is wrong.
Carbon capture and storage do not imply negative emissions.
CCS capture CO2 from the flue gas of industrial sources, so the final effect, at best, is zero additional CO2 emissions
Is carbon dioxide removal (CDR) that allows negative CO2 emission
So I suggest you change the sentence to
“And I’ve met people who don’t understand (like me) that negative emissions actually mean carbon dioxide removal” ;-)
Ned Kelly says
When I see items like this I am unsure whether to laugh, cry or get really angry and lash out.
I have a suggestion Rasmus, with the greatest of respect – Remove all scientists from the IPCC organization and from the IPCC assessment report processes.
Scientists should remain in their normal workplace manning the phones in case someone from the IPCC telephones to ask a question about their published papers or personal thoughts on the issues. Otherwise, they need to completely butt out.
However I suspect such a step still will not produce a better result than the last 30+ years has so far. The only rational next step is to shut down the IPCC and disband the UNFCCC entirely. To start over again. Next time applying some basic common sense to addressing the actual real needs and problems of societies worldwide.
Let me give you a couple of examples Rasmus –
1) You use the term “policymakers” 15 times in your article. What do you really expect Policymakers can do with the “knowledge” contained in these IPCC Assessment Reports and Summaries?
Rasmus you say:
“Earth’s greenhouse effect is not increasing because of a natural process that we cannot control, but a consequence from the fact that we devote much energy and money on digging up coal, oil and gas, so that we can exploit the energy stored in the carbon compounds that they contain. We can stop that development, if we really want to …..
2) Please answer this question in 10,000 words or less: How?
In other words Rasmus, I am asking you to write up the Policy proscriptions to achieve that end Globally.
Good luck with that.
IMO the IPCC reports are not brilliantly written in some respects. I can see why you get frustrated with it. The Summary for Policy Makers is almost the length of a small book. Its a lot for politicians to have to plough through, and important points get lost in the detail.
The summary for policy makers almost needs a short two page introduction, a summary of the summary. Its amazing how much important stuff you can fit into two pages if you have to. You could cover all the issues from the science to projections to mitigation options. It would have more impact due to brevity.
That said, the IPCC reports are technically very good and everything is in them somewhere.
I just get the feeling that regardless of how the reports are written about half the population will find any excuse not to read them and not to believe whats written. And almost everyone on the planet must know the basics of the climate issue by now,. So Im reluctant to be too harsh on the scientists who author the reports.
macias shurly says
@nigelj says: – ” That said, the IPCC reports are technically very good …”
ms: — WOUWH – NIGELJ — the one-eyed high-flyer who checks the IPCC for a moment and then generously distributes good grades. — Did you take a crash course as a climate guru?
Maybe you should do your homework first.
Otherwise I’ll get the impression that you’re a stupid chatterbox or a rubber duck.
David Stern says
Yes these summaries are hard to read. One of the problems is that all the authors and all the countries want to have their pet topics included and nobody wants to get “picked on”, which is why you get:
“Global greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase, with unequal historical and ongoing contributions arising from unsustainable energy use, land use and land-use change, lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production across regions, between and within countries, and among individuals.”
OTOH it isn’t just reduce/stop use of coal, oil gas. Deforestation is also important and so is methane. But still we can get some pretty simple messages. I like the ChatGPT summary.
Still even getting the economic message about why cooperation is necessary across is hard. The bottom line is that without cooperation countries will tend to free-ride because each country bears its cost of reducing emissions but all countries share in the benefits which means that individual emissions reductions efforts tend to be much more costly than the benefits each country receives from them but with joint action together the benefits can outweigh the costs. Stating this simply will probably get some countries objecting that they aren’t free-riders…
Die Dummheit bekämpfen die Götter auch umsonst.
But, as we are not Gods, perhaps see what has worked before. if stupidity ever could be regulated and adjusted and perhaps brought to the better
Die Erziehung des Menschengeschlecthes, G.E Lessing, I never red it.
But, I reallize that I am a child of my time and a result of the Royal National public school, the UN declaration of Human Rights artricle 26, first punctum. For the good and fror the worse, with roots back into Noregs Lærarhøgskule pietism and Grundvigianism, Pontoppidanism and The Royal Frederiks.
This may not be the situation for Politicians, Shamans and Spindoctors worldwide.
I see especially the impact of the alternative Arbeiter und Bauernfakultät in Greifswald in the climate dispute.
Tycho de Brahes royal and Imperial court astrology has only got partial impact in the world.
” Young Man, quit Mysterium cosmographicum and better look after where the stars actually stand and how they moove at any time. Because, the mathematics that can tell us where the stars really are standing and how they moove at any time, will in any case be the very best astrology for the Emperor.”
“The Emperor has got a darkened mind He is taking his signals and guidance from tiniest irrelevant artificial spindoctoral models of the overall situation ( from imperial model and puppet theaters, Rudolf 2). .
The Empero0r is sorely in need for factual court astrology!”
I strongly believe that rather the UNICEF, The Royal Society, Kungliga Akademin, The Royal Frederiks, and Harward…. should have a word on it.
Keith Woollard says
The whole thrust of this article is that despite all the science we are not achieving our goals and the reason we are not is because we are not communicating properly with the proper audience.
I’ll address the main two fallacies of this premise.
1) It is realistic that the world can de-carbondioxide in some supposed time period (let’s say 30 years). This is complete nonsense. Inaccurate statements like “renewables are the cheapest form of generation” are pointless. Do you think that somehow China is increasing FF use because they don’t realise it is more expensive than windmills? They must be under the spell of the evil oil industry (i.e. me). It gives me goosebumps to think I have helped fool the government of one of the biggest economies in the world. FF use is continuing to increase because there is no viable alternative in most places in the world until fusion, which luckily is now 10 years away.
Despite all the pushing of western governments, and the trillions in subsidies, renewables are not even covering the increase in energy needs. You may be able to argue against that in some regions, but that will largely be due to the export of manufacturing to other jurisdictions
2) If everyone knew what we knew, then it would change. This is such a condescending attitude. It may surprise you that different people can look at the same data and the same predictions and still have a different opinion as to the best course of action. Believe it or not, some people look at the data and say “you know what, in the last hundred years, the world hasn’t actually got worse, and we aren’t all dying from global warming, in fact things seem to be better than they were”
Things are OK now, another degree in another few generations is not something 99% of people are going to be concerned about.
Or maybe they are sick of people standing on street corners with sandwich boards saying “the end is nigh”. They just want to feed their family, go to work,go on holidays, not pay twice as much for a car, not be told what they should think and what they should be worried about. They have had that from religious institutions for all of history
It isn’t the language that is the problem, ..
@ Keith Woolard
I have a theory and have made formulas of this also, for the faculty of Humaniora, on behalf of my own faculty that likes formulas and that simplicity works.
But, I will have to re- educate a lot of people here so they could possibly understand how simple and elementary it really is.
The keyewords are
1, SHAME! and
Def: Shame is what you have got/ havent got/ rather should have got behind your hind legs. Nothing more, nothing less, a vital persceptional organ
Def 2 Con- science is what you have got / havent got/ rather should have got quite exactly between your ears and down through your throat behind the uvula, down to the roots of your heart and further down to your ventriculus, so you can vomit of less, it also causes the hickup.
Namely7 Nervus vagus. That th Nervus rather down on the belly side of your body is your CON-SCIENCE. nothing more, nothing less, another vital persceptional organ.
Proper naturalo and well developed, bodily integrated shame and conscience is human and private by nature / creation. It is central human potencials to be developed.
At each their end of the vortex coloumn, in between your fore paws and your hind legs respectively..
Un- warranted control of those 2 vital organs is essencial for all popes and demagoges and high priests, tyrannes of the world.
They do their extreeme best to forbid shame and con- science on individual level,
(It is the Devil really, who must own and rule over people that way.)
So that you will need collective proteses for it, the peoples shame and the peoples con- science, your national shame and your national conscience. Or class- shame and conscience.
This reality, that I have discovered (Pat pending) explains a lot.
It is a very efficient formula in the psycho- analysis.
Shame is normally integrated at the age od 2-3 years, your conscious ideas of shit and dirt and pfui, that you are “clean” and able to own and be personjally responsible for your own diapers, privatly in social room., not make the whole room into your private toilette..
Con- science comes at the age of ……. puberty, con- firmatione. Before that it hardly has any meaning, one is not ready for it. It is violence on unfinished instincts, abuse of minors to ask children under…. 14 for their “conscience”. .
And if that for some reason does not come in order in due time, you will rather adapt those national or collective proteses.
Your fix- ideas are settled for life in early puberty, and one does not chose ones own childrens aunts and confirmation priests. They are forced upon you by most cruel threats such as ” Else you will not grow up,… else you will have no food, else you are not one of ours, Else you will have no sex, else you will be EX-COMMUNICATED!”.
Later, to change ones deeply basic fix- ideas of life…. takes another puberty at higher age, heavy cathastrophies depressions and mental diseases, con- versions. That are feared because it is painful.
The moral of this is that school and upbringing is very important and should be overlooked and not left over to whitchdoctors. And that the UN declaration of Human Rigthts sgould be taken serious. See article 26. 1,2,3
I also use The Farm Animal Welfare coucil §§§§§ 1,2,3,4,5 as an efficient analytic catechism to find errors in peoples life that should be corrected first when a lot of diffuse and secret things are obviously wrong, Because it rules as well for humans,………….. being fur animals.
Church school and politics should be judged according to whether theese basic, vital things are respected or perhaps rather given a damn to..
Ray Ladbury says
Keith, you really don’t understand what the word fallacy means, do you? Well, we can add that to the already very long list. There are different definitions of “cheap”. It is not incorrect to say that renewables are more expensive than fossil fuels. Kilowatt for kilowatt, renewables are cheaper. The problem is that energy infrastructure–and peoples’ expectations of the grid–are obsolete. What is needed is to replace that outdated infrastructure. And while 30 years is quite short for that task, 70 years–including the 40 years that we have wasted in denial because morons like you insisted there was no problem or that the task was impossible.
And the fact is that you DO NOT understand the situation–demonstrably so–given that you contend that the current situation is “OK” or that another degree doesn’t matter. In your case, I don’t think the obstacle is intellectual. Although you clearly don’t have the ability to do the math required to read a scientific article, there are plenty of good popularized accounts of the science. Rather, your problem is that you refuse to believe the science due to your political philosophy. You might want to rethink that.
Keith Woollard says
A fallacy is a falsehood. There are two falsehoods I have addressed
1) .”It is realistic that the world can de-carbondioxide…..”
2) “If everyone knew what we knew, then it would change”
You may wish these things were true, but they are not.
Let’s just look at some numbers using ourworldindata. Sure they are 2021, and they may not be perfect, but they will be close enough for this discussion.
wind & solar = 3,574TWh out of 176,431 = 2.02%
Assuming nuclear, hydro and biomass are not going to change significantly either way, in the next, say, 3 decades we need to install 50 times as much as we have done in the last 1 decade. On top of that we need to generate at least as much again to store using whatever storage works. Do you believe mankind can build 100 times as many windmills and solar panels as we already have? Put another way, everything we have made and installed over the last 10 years, would have to be done every 3 months. And this just to keep up with current power demand. On current trends, we will need 60% more than that. Thank god for fusion
The second falsehood is a little less objective, but you nailed it with your comment “.peoples’ expectations of the grid–are obsolete” People want to turn on powerpoint and have electricity available. The mere fact that you think differently is proof. enough.
Geoff Miell says
Keith Woollard: – “There are two falsehoods I have addressed
1) .”It is realistic that the world can de-carbondioxide…..””
Either we/humanity find ways to drive fossil fuels out of business ASAP and stop burning carbon, or human civilisation will be driven out of business by global heating. The Laws of Physics are not negotiable.
Keith Woollard: – “2) “If everyone knew what we knew, then it would change””
The most significant barriers to change is in our own minds.
I’d suggest most people need to experience personal trauma before changing their behaviour. Unfortunately, for mitigating the worsening climate crisis, that is likely to be far too late for maintaining human civilisation as we know it beyond the next few decades.
The overwhelming evidence/data I see indicates the clock’s ticking and the window of opportunity to avoid civilisation collapse is rapidly closing. Incremental change is now inadequate. Only emergency action to mitigate the worsening climate crisis, akin to a war footing on a global scale of geopolitical co-operation, has any chance of success for human civilisation to prevail into the second half of this century and beyond.
Keith Woollard: – “Thank god for fusion”
Nuclear fusion technologies are STILL decades away (if ever) from being viable.
Energy technologies that are currently unavailable for operational deployment rapidly and at large-scale now are already TOO LATE to mitigate the worsening climate crisis.
Tomáš Kalisz says
I think that you have a very good point – I am personally also afraid that any way towards “sustainable carbon budget” or “sustainable greenhouse budget” will likely fail unless it is somehow economically advantageous for the vast majority of human population.
One pitfal may consist in the circumstance that your belief in economical feasibility of nuclear fusion may be in fact a similar fallacy as a simple belief in economical feasibility of present nuclear fission technology, present solar technology, present wind energy technology, or in bright prospects of “hydrogen economy”.
It is my feeling that the major failure of public discussion about energy and environment may consist in underestimation of human creativity and in insisting on necessity of a BIG CONCEPT that solves everything, must be decided NOW and consequently and obligatorily pursued by everyone since now forever.
I would personally prefer being humble, admitting that universal silver bullets are perhaps not impossible but still rather unlikely, and seeking for practical small steps that may bring a progress in knowledge, health, economy, politics, public order – shortly in all individual and societal abilities that may help to react properly on actual challenges. We should be aware that the real challenges are mostly the least expected ones.
To be more specific with respect to securing the energy for the humankind, it is my feeling that the Achilles heel of the present energetic infrastructure is our inability to store electricity cheap enough to allow economical function of intermittent renewables and classical sources in one grid. I am quite sceptical that huge subsidies can be the right way for overcoming the deficiencies of presently available technical solutions therefor.
Personally, I would rather bet on supporting much cheaper testing of yet experimentally unproven new technical ideas, because it is another Achilles heel of our present society that public money is wasted in subsidizing economically incompetitive technologies whereas proof-of-concept experimenting (which is my opinion the very basis of technical progress) is basically ignored.
I do work as a patent engineer in industry and see that while the industry strongly prefers innovation based on tiniest incremental improvements of well-known commercially established concepts, the patent literature comprises also scarce gems of unexploited, potentially groundbreaking technical solutions. I think that one of very efficient ways how we could better proceed forward could be a smart recipe how to encourage more people to test and develop such revolutionary concepts.
Barton Paul Levenson says
KW: Do you believe mankind can build 100 times as many windmills and solar panels as we already have?
BPL: Sure, why not?
Radge Havers says
Ah, the Internet!
Where the good, bad, and mediocre mix and mingle, often to no good effect, for instance.
What I hear from you is that all this ruckus is disturbing your somnambulant journey through life, and though you’re not really clear on what it’s all about, you wish everyone would just shut-up. You’ve thrown out some words that you hope sort of sound like you might know what you’re talking about to see if anything sticks. Nope.
Well, you can always take a deep breath, turn off your screens, take a pill and go back to sleep. Hey maybe if there’s really a problem out there, when you wake up again somebody will have fixed it. Win-win for you.
Ray Ladbury says
Looking at numbers is misleading if you do not also understand how the numbers are changing.
Looking at people’s current attitudes can also be misleading if you ignore the fact that those attitudes can also change.
And I am afraid you are woefully misinformed about fusion. The limiting factor here is tritium–which is in short supply, difficult to produce and short-lived. A single fusion reactor would exhaust the world’s supply of tritium in less than a year.
Finally, the fact is that we do not have a choice if we want to maintain a semblance of a productive global economy. Without a sustainable energy economy, civilization will not be possible. Also, increased CO2 is already causing billions of dollars in losses every year. That will increase to trillions with another degree or two. If fossil fuel interests and glibertarians had not wasted the past 40 years, we’d be a lot further along toward the goal of sustainability, but the slow students in the class have managed to keep us with a 20th Century economy well into the 21st Century.
Keith Woollard says
You do all realise the “fusion in 10 years is a joke?!?!
It’s always 10 years away, it was ten years away when I was in school in the 60s and 70s,. It was 10 years away in the 50s :-
It will be 10 years away when my 2YO grandson retires
I don’t know what fuel will replace organics, but I would bet my life savings that it won’t be wind, solar or fusion
“I don’t know what fuel will replace organics, but I would bet my life savings that it won’t be wind, solar or fusion.”
Might not be a very safe bet on wind and solar. Renewables like wind and solar are growing fast:
“Low-Carbon Energy Investments Matched Fossil Fuels in 2022, Report Says
Investment in the energy transition hit $1.1 trillion in 2022, matching the investment in fossil fuels for the first time, according to research group BloombergNEF.”
Nuclear power is zero carbon clean energy, but its not a panacea and probably not enough uranium to power the whole planet for more than a few decades from numbers I’ve seen.
If I had to bet money, I would bet the world will will end up with hybrid generation, that combines wind, solar, more extensive use of geothermal power, some nuclear power all depending on what suits individual countries.
And a new energy grid could be built in 30 years if we really wanted to. Look at what America achieved technologically with a rapid transition to building armaments at massive scale in WW2, and despite this living standards actually increased.
However a lot of factors have slowed down progress building renewables, such as the denialist campaign, vested interests, and various psychological factors, and changing that will not be easy.
And although wind and solar are low cost generation per kw/hr, we will need huge quantities of storage or overbuild to get to 100% renewable grid, and this will likely cancel the cost advantage of the generation. Its just that there is no other magic bullet / silver bullet option.
Kevin McKinney says
“I would bet my life savings that it won’t be wind, solar or fusion…”
My advice is, *don’t*. Over the next 2 decades or so, wind and solar will be precisely what “replaces organics.” How do we know? Because it’s happening everywhere now.
“Solar was the fastest-growing source of electricity for the 18th consecutive year, the report said, rising by 24% year-on-year and adding enough power to meet the annual electricity demand of South Africa.
Kevin McKinney says
Sorry for the misformatting below–the blockquote should have started a paragraph earlier.
(Wishing for edit button, for the umpteenth time.)
Ray Ladbury says
Come on, Keith. Why not bet something worthwhile. ;-)
You may be too pessimistic here.
I have livede through many, quite different situation of weaqlth scarcity powrity, depression and luck- happiness. and seen and followed also other people all the way.
Luckily, I must say, my mothers and my grandmothers family were hit by a social cathastrophy and had to learn also powrity and scarcity and how to tackle that. And my wifes family history is a story of war, widowhood and even imprisonment. So I have rather been told from early on and from veterans and experienced old people how to tackle also social disorder powrity tuberculosis and cathastrophies.
So I have made a formula of it ( Oh how I love simplistic formulas and teaqch them around……)
Def: Wealth W is the propottion of what you have H dividede through what you desire, D. .
Simply W= H/D.
Def2, Powrity P is the reciproke of wealth namely D/H. and P = D/H
That rules over 6 potecials of 10 in Dalers at least. It meets existencial minimum at the bottom that is defined by The UniversaL declarationn of Hunan Rights article 25.. But that can be served very well also in an Igloo or a Lavvo or in a 20 ft boat.
Lustig ist das Zigeunerleben
Faria faria ho
Brauch den Kaiser kein Zinz bezahlen
Faria faria ho…
Living in a re- cycled Renault 4 with 2 small children is quite OK.
Thus, being wealthy is quite an art, that has got less to do with your cash earnings. Namely also with magnitudes like your spendings and your debts , your desires, your wisdom, and your stupidity.
I did visit the late soviet union a few times to inspect the iron curtain from both sides. That was rather like a mirrored world. In the eeast they were official materialists, ” Idealism” was oficially condemned But, what they did not manage was material wealth, Our world was , 10- 15 years ahead of them at least, . But their social life and their private friendships and networks were in sublime order. If one needs something, then one knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who can do or deliver, or maybe steal it from the
collective factory else it will only get stolen by the russians. A box of paint 1/2 sack of cement electrical components, tools… textiles etc etc etc.
In the west there was Readers Digest and american dream of luck sheere official Idealism . But society got more and more greedy and cold. No- one could give out anything anymore. But coolers and washing machines luxury cars and dressings could be had everywhere in the shops.
I am brought up never to believe in such things. One cannot serve under 2 lords.
Luck has been examined and measurede in societies, and to many peoples surprize it does not follow peoples cash earnings very well. It seems rather follow that quite ingenious formula of mine d/ o.
Then I judge also the growth of energy and electricity production, and look back into times and situations when it was only a fraction of what it is today, when an incadescent lamp was only 15 watt and only 2-3 of them and they had to be turned off. When Ice also had to be sawed and stored for the coolers, dressings had to be mended and furnitures made from re- cycled materials at home.. Life was not that bad,
It has hardly improoved since then for many people either.
There is a large potencial in western societies for turning down the flush 50-80% in a short, foreseeable future.
As Rajendra Pachaurim put it, “No- one shall need to reduce his living standard, we must only learn to chose other values!”
Living standard wealth and luck is obviously quite more a matter of lifestyle, of culture, and of values than of consumer good and energy production quantities.
I do not mean to sound too pessimistic about renewables. My moods on the issue alternate a bit. I believe they are a good solution, but it will be hard work getting there.
In regard to the ideologies of the soviet union’s socialism, and Americas version of capitalism. I can see positives and negatives in both ideologies, and I have a great deal of difficulty believing either is the correct solution in their pure forms.
The countries that have done best overall socially and economically are the Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Finland and Norway that combine the best parts of capitalism and socialism. This is probably as close to ideal system as we will ever get. There is unlikely to be a utopia.
Yes I agree the middle and upper classes could get by with fewer material goods and energy use and still have a good life. I was very high income, but I live moderately simply. I do not like to be too greedy and flashy just for the sake of it. I mostly keep my electrical appliances until they are totally worn out, rather than buying the latest ones every couple of years, for example.
However Im not prepared to go without the basics, and deliberately live like a poor person either.
As renewables gain traction as a generating source, we might find we have to live with less intensive use of energy. The issue is a rate of change issue. if our societies tried to move too fast to very low levels of energy consumption, it would cause unemployment and crash the economy. We have to move carefully and slowly to less energy use, so things can adapt smoothly. This is my opinion.
Ned Kelly says
” Kilowatt for kilowatt, renewables are cheaper. ”
If it is true that “cheapness” is a primary determinate for choosing new “renewable” infrastrucutre over new fossil fuels electricity generating alternatives …. renewables being more correctly termed “rebuildables” because it is only Sunlight, Geothermal heat and Wind which actually “renewable/free” not the equipment which captures that potential “energy” … then it should logically follow that in China, where one can purchase the absolute lowest price on the planet of “rebuildable infrastructure, including fixed battery storage” and power delivery networking … there would no logical economic or other reason whatsoever for them to be building New Fossil Fuel Electricity Generation power stations anywhere …. yet they are …. by the hundreds right now and the years ahead.
The exact same thing applies in India, in Indonesia and across Asia and the middle east, in Africa, Turkey, Poland, Mexico and South America, even Australia has a couple planned. I saw this detailed info the other day on a site that was collating data worldwide for all forms of energy use and new plant construction and planning. It will be easy to find if you’re motivated, I didn’t bookmark it.
Are they all stupid or are their calculators faulty?
The point being, there is something seriously faulty about the “propagandized theory/myth” that because “rebuildables” are theoretically / claimed to be “the cheapest” right now today, that therefore 1) “rational actors” all over the world should be or must be no longer building New Fossil Fuel Power plants. and 2) we have reached some major economic and technological “turning point” toward lowering ongoing GHG emissions.
We have not.
Something else is going on here when the purported cheapness and what that is assumed to mean, is not the critical determining factor it has been made out to be at all. Something here is being simplified beyond reason and the facts on the ground.
Re Keith W
“If everyone knew what we knew, then it would change”
That is Rasmus’ assumption too. If only the IPCC Summaries could be explained properly to the Boards of Fossil Fuel companies suddenly every thing will become CLEAR to them, and then everything would change in the Energy Sector because now they would “understand”
This is an incredibly pollyanish and childish Santa is coming on sleigh to deliver Xmas gifts tonight kind of non-reasoning which defies reality.
I saw an interesting / funny outtake from HOuse committee, who were asked by the invitee what percentage of the atmosphere was CO2
THey were extrmeley hestitant becaseu none of them knew – dumb as dirt all of them – eventually following along what the first person finally siad the range was put that CO2 was between 5 and 10% of the atmopshere.
These are the Policy Makers the IPCC Reports are supposedly being written for, and who Rasmus and conga line of tens of thousands of climate scientists strangely and irrationally expect to be making POLICY and passing Laws to radically reduce GHG emissions globally.
Again, it’s another view into the quite delusional beliefs / opinions / hopes / assumptions of today’s high end top quality respected climate scientists between what they IMAGINE is/can happen and what the REALITY actually is.
Sad but true.
Here is a trick question:
What percentage of the total Liquid Fuels being consumed today, gasoline, diesel, LPG etc is being Refined/Manufactured from CH4 and not from Oil?
How much has Oil consumption being for Liquid Fuels energy decreased since 2018?
How soon before the global Demand for Oil that is outstripping Supply (already the case for years) that the global supply chain of Oil begins to repeatedly falter and breakdown?
I believe in Killian’s latest prediction, it’s unfortunate that:
“Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.”
Robert A. Heinlein
Reblogged your post https://climatestate.com/2023/04/14/scientist-and-chatgpt-on-the-summary-of-the-ipcc-sixth-assessment-report/
ps. currently testing Chat GPT-3 at my site, visit above link and ask the AI anything. ps. email me if you want infos on howto add this to your site, may come in handy to balance input tasks.
Link for the “Summary for All” is broken, the final “f” is missing (not from the text of the link though) ;)
Thanks for the thoughtful blog post.