by Judith Curry
Global warming is irreversible without massive geoengineering of the atmosphere’s chemistry. – Fred Pearce
This topic landed on my radar screen this morning with a tweet that announced a forthcoming book from Mike Hulme: From Mike Hulme’s web site:
(23 September 2013) ‘Can science fix climate change?‘ I have just submitted my full manuscript of this new book title to Polity Press. The book argues against the research and deployment of large-scale sunlight reflection methods, especially stratospheric aerosol injection, as a response to climate change. The book will appear in the New Year as part of their New Human Frontiers series. Here is a brief summary:
“In this book I outline the reasons why I believe this particular climate fix—creating a thermostat for the planet–is undesirable, ungovernable and unreliable. It is undesirable because regulating global temperature is not the same thing as controlling local weather and climate. It is ungovernablebecause there is no plausible and legitimate process for deciding who sets the world’s temperature. And it is unreliable because of the law of unintended consequences: deliberate intervention with the atmosphere on a global-scale will lead to unpredictable, dangerous and contentious outcomes. I make my position clear: I do not wish to live in this brave new climate-controlled world. In Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel ‘Brave New World’, his ironic Utopia was brought about by totalitarian engineering of the human subject–‘Yes, everybody’s happy now’. For those promoting the virtues of designer climates the equivalent pathological Utopia would be brought about by totalitarian engineering of the planet.”
IMO, Mike Hulme is one of the most interesting voices in the climate debate. On this particular topic, I am with him 100%, and I certainly look forward to reading his new book.
Well, so far my attention has been focused on AR5 WG1. Will the biggest changes in the AR5 relative to AR4 be coming from the WGIII Report?. New Scientist has an article by Fred Pearce ‘World won’t cool without geoengineering, warns report‘. Excerpts:
Global warming is irreversible without massive geoengineering of the atmosphere’s chemistry. This stark warning comes from the draft summary of the latest climate assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Delegates from national governments are discussing the draft this week, prior to its release on Friday morning.
According to one of its lead authors, and the latest draft seen by New Scientist, the report will say: “CO2-induced warming is projected to remain approximately constant for many centuries following a complete cessation of emission. A large fraction of climate change is thus irreversible on a human timescale, except if net anthropogenic CO2 emissions were strongly negative over a sustained period.”
In other words, even if all the world ran on carbon-free energy and deforestation ceased, the only way of lowering temperatures would be todevise a scheme for sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
The draft report says the available evidence now suggests that above a certain threshold of warming, the Greenland ice sheet will almost disappear within approximately 1000 years, which will result in 7 metres of global sea-level rise. It estimates that the threshold may lie between 1 °C and 4 °C of warming, but is not confident of this figure.
My reaction to reading the title of this article can be summed up in two words: ‘insane’ and ‘megalomania.’ Upon actually reading the text, it seems that this is Fred Pearce’s inference based upon come of the conclusions from the WG1 SPM, and no clues are really provided regarding WGIII.
JC message to IPCC: Once you sort out the uncertainty in climate sensitivity estimates and fix your climate models, let us know. Then please do the hard work of understanding regional vulnerability to climate variability and change before you tell us what constitutes ’dangerous’ climate change. And let us know if you come up with any solutions to this ‘problem’ that aren’t worse than the potential problem itself.