The international climate machine is about to achieve a new degree of alarmist absurdity, basically speeding up as they hit the wall. It is all about the Paris Climate Agreement targets and it is kind of fun to watch. Here’s how it goes.
The Agreement has a hard (and silly) target of limiting future global warming to 2.0 degrees C above what are called pre-industrial levels. But there is also a softer (and sillier) target of 1.5 degrees. As usual with international agreements, the language is vague, but all the countries say they will go for 2 but try for 1.5.
The big reason for this is money. Under the Paris Agreement the developed countries are supposed to pay the developing countries whatever it costs to hit the target. Given the goofy computer models it will be much harder, hence much more expensive, to hit the 1.5 degrees of warming target. In fact immediate drastic action is required. Hence the developing countries, which control the Paris process, get a lot more money a lot sooner.
This also raises the pseudoscientific question, what difference does this difference in targets make? Enter the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC. The Paris Agreement is owned by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change machine or simply the UNFCCC. These folks promptly tasked the IPCC with saying how much better a 1.5 degree limit would be than a 2.0 degree limit.
Interestingly this also raises the question what is wrong with the 2 degree target? After all, the global damage has to still be pretty great at 2 in order to justify the 1.5 target. This two edged fact has made some moderate alarmists nervous, but never mind. The UNFCCC is not moderate.
Not surprisingly, the IPCC was up to the job. It has put its draft 800+ page report out for expert comment. And of course they got the desired result, because the IPCC starts with its conclusion then mines the scientific literature for ways to justify it. One might call this Reverse Science, an analog to Reverse Engineering.
As Bernie Lewin explains in his new book “Searching for the Catastrophe Signal: The Origins of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” the IPCC started off in 1988 as a legitimate scientific assessment group. It initially found no conclusive evidence that humans were causing global warming. But the 1992 UNFCCC changed all of that, putting the alarmist cart far ahead of the plodding scientific horse. The IPCC was told to be alarmist or be gone and they are still here.
Here is an example of the hyper-alarmist IPCC draft findings:
“FAQ 3.2: Is a +1.5C world different to a +2C world?
Understanding the difference between 1.5C and 2C of global warming relative to the preindustrial period is central to a safe and sustainable future. Before the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, the world mostly focused on holding global warming to 2C. Yet now, new scientific literature is emerging that highlights negative impacts from a 2C or even lower global warming. There are negative impacts from a global warming of 1.5C but these are less severe than compared to a 2C increase in global temperatures.”
Global warming of 2C vs 1.5C is likely to lead to more frequent and more intense hot extremes in most land regions as well as to longer warm spells. Impacts on cities at both 1.5C and 2.0C of warming would include a substantial increase in the occurrence of heatwaves compared to the present-day, with temperature related health risks being lower in some but not all cities under 1.5C of global warming.”
Note that they say that some of the damage at 2 degrees will also occur at 1.5. This is because some of the computer models say that all warming is damaging to some degree.
It should also be noted that this talk of 2 and 1.5 degrees is very misleading. The UNFCCC and IPCC both accept the goofy surface temperature statistical models, which say that we have already had one whole degree of warming. The satellites indicate that there has been little warming and that little has been natural, but this is simply ignored by the alarmists.
Thus the Paris targets are actually to limit future warming to just 1.0 or 0.5 degrees, respectively. The Paris maximum target is really 1 degree, not 2, and the preferred target is holding warming to half a degree.
No wonder that drastic action is needed (and which is simply going to happen). Given the climate models built-in high sensitivity to CO2 emissions, it is virtually impossible to limit future (computer) warming to just 0.5 degrees.
This impossibility is especially true in those models with built-in future warming coming from past emissions. Some models show a large time lag, with another 0.5 degrees of warming already “in the pipeline” as the modelers say.
This lag is known as the difference between transient climate sensitivity (TCS), which is immediate warming, and equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), which includes the lag time and can be much higher. In fact the UK Meteorological Office now says that the 1.5 degree target could be exceeded within five years.
So basically the alarmists have created a problem for themselves. They first made the models “hot,” which means highly sensitive to CO2, in order to hype the scare. Now they have made the warming-limit target impossibly low for political correctness (and revenue enhancement).
Demanding the impossible is the road to failure. Let’s hope so.