As I explained in my previous article — “1.5 degrees of climate madness” — the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is struggling with a tiny bit of global warming. It reluctantly accepted the task of saying what difference a half a degree of future warming makes in the alarmist playbook. Not surprisingly, it is having trouble doing so.
The half degree in question is the tiny difference between the two UN Paris Agreement targets of limiting future warming to either 2.0 degrees or 1.5 degrees above so-called pre-industrial levels. Given that alarmism assumes that one degree of warming has already happened, these targets are really just 1.0 or 0.5 degrees of future warming. That is a very small amount of global warming.
So the question is what difference does this tiny difference make as far as future global impacts go? Climate science, especially model driven alarmist pseudoscience, simply does not have the precision to answer this question. This pts the IPCC into a bit of a bind.
The models are all over the place when it comes to projecting impacts for this little bit of projected warming. Alarmist impact studies are usually based on 3 or 4 degrees of warming, sometimes more. Some models actually show net benefits for a half degree of future warming. The alarmists can’t have that conclusion, nor will they get it from the politically driven IPCC.
Even worse, the hotter climate models say that an additional 0.5 degrees of warming is already coming due to past emissions. This makes the 0.5 degree target impossible to meet, which is not a conclusion that the IPCC will draw.
It is somewhat fun to watch the IPCC struggle with this impossible bit of alarmism. They just had their annual meeting and the reports are telling.
Apparently there have been over 40,000 formal comments submitted on the draft 1.5 degree impact report. This is certainly a measure of the scientific confusion that is intrinsic in alarmism. Also, a number of the authors have resigned, perhaps being overwhelmed by all these comments.
One country at the annual meeting actually raised the question whether the 1.5 degree target was feasible. Given the politics of the UN Paris Agreement, the IPCC is not about to announce that one of the Paris Agreement targets in not attainable. That would be political suicide.
In addition, the IPCC seems to be having some difficulty recruiting authors for its next big Assessment Report (AR6), which they are ponderously gearing up for. It is due out in 2020 and they are just now selecting authors. Potential authors are nominated by their respective governments; this being the Intergovernmental Panel after all. This means they are very likely to be activists.
At the annual meeting it was reported that for the AR6 Working Group 1, the science group, 232 nominations were accepted but 80 of these people then declined the job, or over a third. Assuming that these folks agreed to be nominated, that is a big fraction of declines. Perhaps the present confusion is contributing to this reluctance.
Mind you, while future climate change is not predictable (because it is natural), future IPCC reports are predictable. They are going to find that while hitting the 2.0 degree target reduces the projected damages supposedly caused by human caused climate change, there are still enough damages to justify hitting the 1.5 degree target.
As a political tightrope exercise the IPCC report will be impressive. As science not so much. Okay, not at all, as there is no science there to begin with, just the usual climate change alarmism.