Stunned disbelief meets leaked climate report

The reaction to this newspaper report on a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been one of stunned disbelief (e.g. on Prometheus),

THE world’s top climate scientists have cut their worst-case forecast for global warming over the next 100 years.

A draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, obtained exclusively by The Weekend Australian, offers a more certain projection of climate change than the body’s forecasts five years ago.

For the first time, scientists are confident enough to project a 3C rise on the average global daily temperature by the end of this century if no action is taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Draft Fourth Assessment Report says the temperature increase could be contained to 2C by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are held at current levels.

Did the newspaper get it wrong, or does the report really say that there is only 1 degree Centigrade’s difference between doing nothing, and doing lot of very expensive things? Given the uncertainties of forecasting, is a 1 degree difference significant?

The Australian also reports sceptical climate scientists as saying,

…man-made increases in carbon dioxide levels are tiny compared with the Earth’s natural exchanges: about 5.5 gigatonnes of carbon a year from human activity compared with about 750 gigatonnes in the atmosphere, another 1000 gigatonnes in the surface oceans and 2000 gigatonnes in vegetation and soils. The deep oceans, they say, contain 38,000 gigatonnes.

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5 thoughts on “Stunned disbelief meets leaked climate report

  1. Given the fact that a realistic cloud model doesn’t exits, that the sun’s activity will begin to decrease and temperatures will decrease over the next 10 years, volcanic activity can reduce the temperatue if there are eruption, the predictions can only happen in some perfect model world and not the one we live in. Lets face it , GW is a good living for some charlitans.

  2. According to British scientists drilling for ice samples in Antarctica, the level of green house gasses are the highest in 800.000 years – so something is defiantly happening. What happens if the climate is brought permanently out of balance? On a personal note I there is some very brave people around … playing russian roulette with the entire planet is something I personally would not dare.

  3. But why just look at the last 800.000 years? Also from the Australian (Sep 2),

    “US paleoclimatologist Tim Patterson told a congressional committee last year that there was no meaningful correlation between carbon dioxide levels and Earth’s temperature during this geologic time frame.

    “In fact, when carbon dioxide levels were over 10 times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half-billion years,” Patterson said.”

  4. The issue is not: Has it been warmer in the past? The issue is: A rising temperature will cause huge problems all over the world. Sure, siberia will thaw and may become a nice place, and the summers in northern Europe will be comfortable enough that you don’t have to fly to the mediteranean resorts anymore. But there will also be floods, droughts, famines, and all the problems associated with it.

    I’m also quite tired about the debate. Climate change is occuring, it’s causing problems already, and it is – even if not entirely man-made – at least triggered and/or made worse by man. This has been accepted widely for some years; why do some people still argue about it? Spend your energy finding ways to improve the environment instead. If you deny global warming, you’re ignoring the reality of the world.

  5. Climate change is certainly occurring, the climate has always changed. I agree with you about the necessity to improve the environment. The question is, how? Do you agree with Frances Cairncross (see previous post)? Or James Lovelock?

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