Well it turns out that 2007 IPCC predictions about the extent about the rise of global greenhouse gases were all wrong. The actual increase falls outside the projected range. It is higher than the predicted worst case:
Greenhouse gases rise by record amount
Levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago
The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide has jumped by a record amount, according to the US department of energy, a sign of how feeble the world’s efforts are at slowing man-made global warming. …
“The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing,” said John Reilly, the co-director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.
The world pumped about 564m more tons (512m metric tons) of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009, an increase of 6%. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries, China, the US and India, the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases. It is a “monster” increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University …
In 2007, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its last large report on global warming, it used different scenarios for carbon dioxide pollution and said the rate of warming would be based on the rate of pollution. Boden said the latest figures put global emissions higher than the worst case projections from the climate panel. Those forecast global temperatures rising between 4 and 11 degrees Fahrenheit (2.4-6.4 Celsius) by the end of the century with the best estimate at 7.5 degrees (4 Celsius). …
“Really dismaying,” Granger Morgan, head of the engineering and public policy department at Carnegie Mellon University, said of the new figures. “We are building up a horrible legacy for our children and grandchildren.”
Climate Skeptics Take Another Hit
Physicists are notorious for believing that other scientists are mathematically incompetent. And University of California-Berkeley physicist Richard Muller is notorious for believing that conventional wisdom is often wrong. For example, the conventional wisdom about climate change. Muller has criticized Al Gore in the past as an “exaggerator,” has spoken warmly of climate skeptic Anthony Watts, and has said that Steve McIntyre’s famous takedown of the “hockey stick” climate graph made him “uncomfortable” with the paper the hockey stick was originally based on.
So in 2010 he started up the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) to show the world how to do climate analysis right. Who better, after all? “Muller’s views on climate have made him a darling of skeptics,” said Scientific American, “and newly elected Republicans in the House of Representatives, who invited him to testify to the Committee on Science, Space and Technology about his preliminary results.” The Koch Foundation, founded by the billionaire oil brothers who have been major funders of the climate-denial machine, gave BEST a $150,000 grant.
But Muller’s congressional testimony last March didn’t go according to plan. He told them a preliminary analysis suggested that the three main climate models in use today—each of which uses a different estimating technique, and each of which has potential flaws—are all pretty accurate: Global temperatures have gone up considerably over the past century, and the increase has accelerated over the past few decades. Yesterday, BEST confirmed these results and others in its first set of published papers about land temperatures.
Let’s just remind ourselves how all this ends:
World on course for catastrophic 6° rise, reveal scientists
The world is now firmly on course for the worst-case scenario in terms of climate change, with average global temperatures rising by up to 6C by the end of the century, leading scientists said yesterday. Such a rise which would be much higher nearer the poles would have cataclysmic and irreversible consequences for the Earth, making large parts of the planet uninhabitable and threatening the basis of human civilisation. …
Although the 6C rise and its potential disastrous effects have been speculated upon before, this is the first time that scientists have said that society is now on a path to meet it. …
So how is 100% Pure NZ responding? No Right Turn sums up:
Climate change: National’s record
The study looks at five key areas of climate change policy: contributing to international action, giving price signals to markets, supporting domestic R&D, supportive regulation and policy development, and supportive infrastructure investment. The government response is assessed from its media statements and policy releases, and they tell a sorry tale. Since coming to power, National has failed to take the lead in pushing for international action on climate change (or indeed, shown any real commitment at all). They’ve gutted the ETS and signalled a further extension of pollution subsidies in future, making it clear that polluters won’t pay. They’ve failed to fund R&D on renewable energy (and the new Ministry of Science and Innovation’s Statement of Intent doesn’t even mention the term, or climate change). And they’ve failed to regulate to improve the energy efficiency of the housing stock or vehicle fleet. Only in infrastructure has there been good news, with some upgrades to public transport and a promise to fund broadband (which might make it easier for people to work from home) – and even that is undermined by their overwhelming focus on roads.
This is absolutely damning. Climate change is the biggest challenge facing our civilisation, and our government’s response is a mixture of sticking their fingers in their ears and hoping it goes away (their international and domestic foot-dragging) and leaving it to the next generation to fix (their inadequate “50% by 2050″ target). Given the costs of inaction, they must do better.
Remember where this (too long) post started. Greenhouse gas emissions are ahead of the worst case predictions. The Nats are doing their very best to do nothing. Even if they were brilliant at everything else (hah!) they deserve to be voted out for this one massive failure alone. We need a Labour / Green government, and then we need it to get real on climate change…