Let us leave aside the whole issue of whether any of it is true. As normal around here we’ll agree with what is being said – but then look for the implications of what is being said.
This, for example, largely says that climate change is solved:
New climate targets announced by the US and other rich nations in recent weeks have put the world on track for global heating of about 2.4C by – the end of the century, research has found.
That is a 0.2C improvement on the previous forecast of 2.6C, but still substantially above the Paris goal of holding temperature rises to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels, with an aspiration to limit heating to 1.5C.
Yes, it’s quite true, it doesn’t as yet meet that political – not scientific – target that has been set.
But now compare this to the Representative Concentration Pathways. Which of these do we seem to be hitting?
RCP3.4 represents an intermediate pathway between the “very stringent” RCP2.6 and less stringent mitigation efforts associated with RCP4.5. As well as just providing another option a variant of RCP3.4 includes considerable removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
A 2021 paper suggests that the most plausible projections of cumulative CO2 emissions (having a 0.1% or 0.3% tolerance with historical accuracy) tend to suggest that RCP 3.4 (3.4 W/m^2, 2.0 – 2.4 degrees Celsius warming by 2100 according to study) as the most plausible pathway.
Well, yes, it is that one, isn’t it?
But now consider something else. There are all sorts of papers out there insisting that if business as usual continues then the oceans will boil and all that. But when you check such papers they always define this as business as usual:
In RCP 8.5 emissions continue to rise throughout the 21st century. Since AR5 this has been thought to be very unlikely, but still possible as feedbacks are not well understood. RCP8.5, generally taken as the basis for worst-case climate change scenarios, was based on what proved to be overestimation of projected coal outputs. The RCP8.5 scenario may be relatively unlikely, with one report calling it “increasingly implausible with each passing year.” RCP8.5 remains useful for its aptness in both tracking historical total cumulative CO2 emissions and predicting mid-century (and earlier) emissions based on current and stated policies
It’s unlikely, yes. In fact it never was likely. But it is still being used as the standard by which the horrors are detailed for us. That is, much of the hysteria about climate change is stoked by people deliberately and knowingly using as “business as usual” something which we all know isn’t in fact business as usual.
Without this latest round of pledges – just from technological advance into the pricing of wind and solar – we’re probably on RCP 4.6. With this latest round of pledges 3.4. Horror stories of 8.5 are, in fact, now lies.
That is, even if we care to assume that the IPCC is correct about climate change the truth is that we’ve largely already beaten it. All that’s left is a few bits of cleaning up around the edges of a mild and chronic problem. Which is nice, isn’t it, even if Greta and George won’t believe it.