UK-US Workshop on Climate Science Needed to Support Robust Adaptation Decisions

by Judith Curry

Last week, I was privileged to host the UK-US Workshop on Climate Science Needed to Support Robust Adaptation Decisions.

The website for the Workshop is [here].  The Workshop was held in Atlanta on the Georgia Tech campus Feb 6/7.  From the website:

This Workshop addresses the recognized gap between what science is currently providing in terms of information about climate variability and change and the information desired by decision makers, whether in government or business, to make robust development and adaptation plans for managing climate-related risks and responding to opportunities. The Workshop brings together experts on decision making under uncertainty and climate change adaptation with leading climate dynamicists and modelers that are engaged in decision support. The focus is on timescales out to 2050 and regional scales.

Towards bridging the gap between climate information (supply) and decision making (demand) on regional and decadal time scales, the following questions emerge:

  • Are decision makers asking the right questions related to climate variability and change?
  • Are climate scientists answering questions of relevance to decision makers?
  • What questions are we not asking?
  • What are the institutional structures, decision processes, and modes of engagement among information users and producers that allows us to ask and answer the right questions about actionable climate information?

The objectives of the workshop are to:

  1.  Identify strategies that can help bridge the gap between climate information (supply) and decision making (demand) on regional and decadal time scales;
  2. Explore the potential for new collaborations between UK-US;
  3. Identify future research priorities and strategies.

Support for the Workshop was provided by the UK Commonwealth and Foreign Office, the British Consulate General-Atlanta, Georgia Tech, the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College, NOAA, Climate Forecast Applications Network.

This Workshop was motivated by two previous Workshops organized by the Royal Society, that Peter Webster and I were privileged to attend.  The first Workshop was the 2010 Royal Society Discussion Meeting on Handling Uncertainty in Science.  That meeting discussed very broad issues in the uncertainty of science across many fields, but there was a clear interest in the topic of climate change.  This motivated the climate scientist attendees (myself, Webster, Brian Hoskins, Lenny Smith and Tim Palmer) to propose a follow on workshop related to climate.  Tim Palmer then organized the 2012 Royal Society Workshop on Handling Uncertainty in Weather and Climate Prediction, with Application to Health, Agronomy, Hydrology, Energy and Economics.   That Workshop focused more on the shorter timescales (daily to seasonal) where probabilistic forecast methods are being successfully applied across a range of applications.

There was a sense that we needed another follow on workshop to address the challenge of using climate models and other information to support adaptation decisions. Attendees at the second Workshop, in addition to the original 5, included Simon Buckle and Rob Wilby, who joined me in organizing the recent US-UK Workshop (Simon as co-chair).  Subsequently joining us on the organizing committee were Rob Lempert of the Rand Corporation and Roger Pulwarty from NOAA.  The organizing committee invited  a diverse group of individuals from academia, governments, NGOs and the private sector, selected for their innovations and new ideas in addressing climate adaptation, breadth of perspective, ability to engage with a diverse group, and perceived willingness to think outside the box.  Of the final list of attendees, only a third of them were known to me prior to the Workshop.

The Workshop turned out to be fascinating; one participant referred to it as an ‘intellectual feast.’  Many new ideas were generated and some new collaborations were spawned.  A key objective is that the outcome of this workshop extends beyond an elite ‘gabfest’ so that the Workshop proceedings and conclusions are made available to  a broader segment of interested scientists and the public.  We would also like to see this Workshop contribute to the broader public dialogue on climate adaptation.  Towards widening the exposure to this Workshop and broadening the discussion on these topics, I will be doing several blog posts on the presentations and discussion.

Information gaps and needs for investing in climate resilience

This first post addresses the following presentations from the ‘demand’ side, presenting perspectives from the UNFCCC, development, public health, and security.  Click on the title of the talk for the .ppt presentation.

Xianfu Lu –  UNFCCC Secretariat:  Climate science in support of adaptation decisions under the UNFCCC

This talk provided an overview of the discussions on adaptation issues under the UNFCCC, including the organization and the ‘machinery’ of the workings of the UNFCCC.  There are three core areas of adaptation under the UNFCCC:  global policy responses, national implementation, and implementation strategies (finance, technology and capacity development).  The key science question of concern:  Is the 2C warming as a long-term global goal adequate?  Should this be strengthened to 1.5C?  Addressing this question requires: assessing critical thresholds within food production, ecological and socioeconomic systems;  impacts of warming in different regions and sectors; and assessing the impacts of exceeding these thresholds.  The talk provided an excellent list of more detailed questions aimed at addressing  ancillary issues raised by trying to deal with the big questions and implementation of policies.  The need for framing the science needs in actionable terms was emphasized.

Yvan Biot – UK Department for International Development : Climate information and decision making in development and development assistance

The talk began by asking:  Who and what?  Who – citizens, business, governments, international system; context matters.   With regards to: What do they need to know, three questions were raised:

  • Do we need to something urgently?
  • Can we do something sensible now to prepare ourselves for the future?
  • What can we just let happen?

An overview was given of UK DFID an AID, in terms of priorities and instruments used.  A key objective is to build resilience in changing times.   He characterized climate change as a wicked problem.  Biot emphasized the importance of the vulnerability context.  A nice table was included with tools to deal with various levels and types of uncertainty in the decision making context.

Three timescales for adaptation were presented:

  • Next few years: protection against extreme events; address current adaptation deficit
  • Development time scale – 2020’s – disaster risk reduction
  • Longer term – towards 2050: adaptationto long term trend; act iteratively as risks evolve

Biot also argued that we don’t need to worry too much about uncertainty.

Janani Vivekananda – International Alert:    Climate Resilience in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Societies 

This talked addressed understanding the linkages between climate change and security, and approaches to addressing links between climate, resilience and peace.  Concepts of vulnerability, resilience and adaptation were defined.  Conflicts (wars) in the 21st century were mapped out, and population pressures were discussed.  If climate change is a ‘risk multiplier’ which interacts with pre-existing social, economic and political risks, making peace and stability harder to achieve, ten addressing the pre-existing root causes of vulnerability will help build resilience to climate change and contribute to stability.  In addressing problems in an individual region, it is important to understand complexities so as to avoid maladaptation, where resources are wasted to do something that doesn’t help beyond the short term.  Approaches to the climate-resilience-peace nexus: focus on resilience, rethinking development, getting the institutions right, face the challenges of migration, peace positive low-carbon economy.

John Balbus – U.S. National Institutes of Health:  Climate Change and Human Health: Mine the Gaps

This presentation discussed the range of potential health effects of climate variability and change.  Key health threats include: climate change impacts that add to the cumulative stresses currently faced by vulnerable populations; societal system failures during extreme events; lare-scale environmental changes that result in shifting pest ranges, lack of immunity, inadequate monitoring. Moderating influences include population density and growth, technological development, standard of living, local environmental conditions, pre-existing health status, quality and access to health care, public health infrastructure.  Adaptation measures include vaccination programs, disease surveillance, protective technologies, weather forecasting and warnings, emergency management and disaster preparedness, public health education and prevention, legislation and administration.   The presentation concluded that the climate change and health field is still in early days, and that there are opportunities now for advancing the science through development of models and conduct of assessments,

JC reflections:  These presentations reflect the ‘demand’ side for climate information to support adaptation decisions.  One objective for the Workshop is to assess whether decision makers are asking the same questions that scientists think they are answering.  Upon reflecting on the presentations by Lu and Biot, I see two different framings of the climate adaptation problem and its solutions, with substantial differences in the type of climate information needed to support decision making.

The key question for the UNFCCC: ‘Is the 2C warming as a long-term goal adequate?’  raises a wide range of secondary questions to be addressed (some of which are included in Lu’s presentation).   With regards to loss and damage (discussed in this previous post), this implies the need to attribute loss and damage to AGW versus other  climate and confounding factors, which is something that climate science can’t provide much guidance on.  Lu then makes the statement: “But even if we have perfect answers to all those questions, the ultimate answer to the review question, and the decisions on means to address loss and damage inevitably entail value judgment and political/diplomatic resolution, and would go beyond the methods and insights of climate science.”  It seems to me that all of this (including the primary questions) are beyond what climate science can provide.   Climate science and the UNFCCC need for information at this point seems to me to be a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.

As per Biot’s presentation, DFID doesn’t seem to worry about distinguishing whether climate change is natural or anthropogenic, and doesn’t look beyond 2050 in terms of its decision making horizon.  The climate-relevant information desired by DFID is identification of the risks, vulnerability and impacts from climate change. DFID looks at the continuum of vulnerabilities to climate, including protection against extreme events that are happening now (for whatever reason).   I think the timescales and challenges as posed by the DFID can be usefully informed by climate science.

Without assessing the relative merits of the UNFCCC versus the DFID framing of the climate adaptation problem (morally, politically, whatever), it seems to me that the DFID framing of the adaptation problem is something that can be more usefully informed by climate science than the UNFCCC framing.

The DFID framing as presented by Biot doesn’t say anything about mitigation; DFID is focused on development and the risks from climate change out to 2050.  With regards to CO2 mitigation, the timescale of interest  out to 2050 precludes mitigation policies as making much of a difference.  Mitigation was mentioned primarily in context of Lu’s presentation, and is obviously a major concern of the UNFCCC.  The early focus of the UNFCCC on mitigation policies have arguably led the adaptation problem and its solutions in a direction that relies on ‘mitigation-relevant  science’ (i.e. sensitivity and attribution of global climate change), rather than trying to understand regional risk in the context of vulnerability.

In summary, at this point in the evolution of climate science and policy responses to climate change, I see  a more fertile path forward for climate science to provide useful  information to support DFID policies, whereas I see some potentially unanswerable questions in the UNFCCC framing of the problem (which seem ripe for politicization).  Note, these are my own post-workshop reflections, I did not raise the issue at the Workshop as to whether we are asking useful meta-questions about climate change.

Note:  This is the first of several topical posts related to the workshop presentations.  The next post will discuss climate-related issues from the perspective of the private sector.  Please keep your responses on topic and civil, I will moderate the Workshop threads more heavily than usual.

237 responses to “UK-US Workshop on Climate Science Needed to Support Robust Adaptation Decisions

  1. Question, is the 2C temperature increase from 2010 assuming a 2.0 TCR (1.0-2.5 IPCC AR5) with doubling to 800ppm by 2100? Will you be sharing any of the projected impacts on various regions for a 2C temperature increase? (given the .8C temp increase we lived through in the 20th Century?

    What are the projections for “impacts that add to the cumulative stresses currently faced by vulnerable populations; societal system failures during extreme events; lare-scale environmental changes that result in shifting pest ranges, lack of immunity, inadequate monitoring. Moderating influences include population density and growth, technological development, standard of living, local environmental conditions, pre-existing health status, quality and access to health care, public health infrastructure.”

    I haven’t found any decent resources on this. Anyone?

    • Mark Lewis:

      My understanding is that the 2C represents the increase from 1850. So the .8C is already included in that, meaning we can only “allow” an additional 1.2C of warming.

    • OK. AND, 2C targets are (as far as I can tell) a bad joke of hope and change. I really don’t forsee humanity changing its path to skirt 750/800ppm. Assuming AR5 4.5 scenario (we stay on present course until we get technology on our side (commercial cost-efficient) by 2040, then a couple decades to integrate, then lower emissions through 2100), the built up CO2 before 2050 build until level at 2100 – 2C higher than NOW.

      We experienced +0.8 in the last century. We experience 2.0C this century. The question is – how will that effect us?

      Probably ice free summers in the Arctic (AR5). But what else? I haven’t read through WG2 (I will) – does it have any good work on this? Does anyone else have studies on this?

    • Probably ice free summers in the Arctic

      You will not believe the huge snowfalls that will cause.

      That will put the upper bound on temperature and produce the ice increase that will bring the next cold period.

    • Last April Slingo told us we were heading for freezing, drier weather. Now she claims that she meant milder and wetter. This is the last refuge of the scientific scoundrel, an organisation that has lost touch with reality: http://notrickszone.com/2014/02/10/global-laughing-stock-uk-met-office-lost-touch-with-reality-corrupted-valuable-british-institution/

      IPCC climate catastophism is based on fake fizzicks which any competent scientist or engineer (defined as properly educated in Maxwell’s Equations, Statistical Thermodynamics and Radiative Physics) immediately sees.

      In my experience, the most common educated response is ‘How could they be so dumb?’. Unfortunately, anyone under the age of say 55 fails the test of scientific competence because science education has failed. My Thermodynamics was taught by a man who had been a Post Doc under Max Planck in the 1930s. My analysis of the physics, which parallels that of others, is based on thinking ‘What would Planck have concluded next?’.

      In short, those of the modern generation do not have the base-load understanding predicated on knowing how the greats of the past proved their deductions by primitive experiment. The computer model has taken over and it’s now a shouting match with no experiment needed.

      So, you should have told the organisers of this shindig ‘Wait until you have experimental proof’, 30 years, proving adaptation is needed. Yesterday, I saw dishonourable Climate Alchemists from many UK Universities claiming our flooding, a standard occurrence CO2 or no CO2 is proof that we have transgressed against the Great CO2 God. If we encourage these creeps, the next thjng is pogroms and killing unbelievers by putting them in new concentration camps guarded by the pure. It’s very close now.

  2. John DeFayette

    I admit it, I confess, I couldn’t get beyond this:

    “Are decision makers asking the right questions related to climate variability and change?”

    And then, right out of the gate:

    “Is the 2C warming as a long-term global goal adequate? Should this be strengthened to 1.5C?”

    Better than Monty Python!

  3. One again we have a post which seems to have a basic assumption that CAGW is real, and that we need to do something about it. And once again, my approach is to ignore this altogether.

    I found one statement that intrigued me. “As per Biot’s presentation, DFID doesn’t seem to worry about distinguishing whether climate change is natural or anthropogenic,” Surely if all climate change is natural, as I believe, and natural climate change gives us rapidly cooling temperatures, and some of us expect, then this whole exercise is a waste of time.

  4. Judy – I recommend you also alert your attendees to the perspective presented in

    Pielke Sr., R.A., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairaku, J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding, 2012: Dealing with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability perspective. Extreme Events and Natural Hazards: The Complexity Perspective Geophysical Monograph Series 196 © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. 10.1029/2011GM001086. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/r-3651.pdf

    Pielke Sr, R.A., Editor in Chief., 2013: Climate Vulnerability, Understanding and Addressing Threats to Essential Resources, 1st Edition. J. Adegoke, F. Hossain, G. Kallos, D. Niyoki, T. Seastedt, K. Suding, C. Wright, Eds., Academic Press, 1570 pp.http://store.elsevier.com/product.jsp?isbn=9780123847034

    Roger Sr.

    • Thank you.

    • … although I won’t buy the $A1800 book, even with free shipping. The 1570 pp should have been a giveaway.

    • $1800? Must be those friggin’ Dutch science publishers. Yep, Elsevier.

    • Roger A. Pielke Sr.

      From you abstract:
      This vulnerability concept requires the determination
      of the major threats to local and regional water, food, energy, human health, and ecosystem function resources from extreme events including those from climate but also from other social and environmental issues. After these threats are identified for each resource, then the relative risks can be compared with other risks in order to adopt optimal preferred mitigation/adaptation strategies. This is a more inclusive way of assessing risks, including from climate variability and climate change, than using the outcome vulnerability approach adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

      Is this somewhat like Richard Tol did in his paper: “THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURIES” ? http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

      He did not look at the impact of extreme global climate events but rather looked at the economic effects of warming and increased CO2 concentrations over the past 50 years and projected forward to 3.5 C warming and to 2100. He separated the economic effects for agriculture, health, fresh water, storms, sea level rise, ecosystems, energy. Only energy is projected to be a large negative over the 100 years or so.

      [As an aside; I interpret Figure 3 to suggest that if energy costs are significantly less than assumed (as is plausible, IMO), Tol’s projection suggests the projected warming may be net beneficial for all this century – excluding extreme, abrupt global climate change.]

    • When it comes to policy, government must make a list of all issues – not just a list of “possible” climate issues. Then, with a firm idea of problems at hand, make decisions on what to address. As a small government guy, I think the states and individuals should take care of most problems, although there is a place for national government.

    • Climate change is, like politics, ultimately local, as will be every bit of adaptation. Centralizing authority about it is a waste of money and effort. When will we ever learn?
      ===========

  5. UNFCCC: “The key science question of concern: Is the 2C warming as a long-term global goal adequate? Should this be strengthened to 1.5C? ”
    From the response of the skeptics already, there are some science questions that should not even be asked, and this is one of them. It makes them feel uncomfortable.

    • Jim D. you write ” It makes them feel uncomfortable.”

      Why would skeptics feel uncomfortable about science fiction?

    • That’s a science question if engineering, economics, politics and human nutrition are included.

    • John DeFayette

      I thought they might start asking some real sciency questions like “how big a pump do I need to keep the floodplains dry when it rains?” Or “what’s the next unobtrusive method for getting all that liquid, gas and solid fuel out of the ground and turning the wheels of industry?” Or “how cold will it get this winter? Will my people be able to heat their homes?” Or even “shouldn’t we fund more opera or ballet with all that supercomputer climate simulator money?”

      Questions like “how shall I be omniscient today?” just don’t cut it any more.

    • This question is basically: How quickly does agriculture change with temperature and in which direction? How fast will sea level be rising as a function of temperature rise? What happens regionally at 2, 4, and 6 degrees of warming? How much will various land regions warm when the global average warms 2 C? What happens to their rainfall? These aren’t new questions, but studies so far have led to the 2 C threshold. It appears second-guessing is being done in both directions. These are central scientific, and not purely academic, questions that should not be dismissed so easily.

    • Let’s make it 1.0275C, or whatever you and the UNFCCSALT like, jimmy dee. It won’t make any difference. You have gotten about all the mitigation you are going to get. The climate scare peaked a few years ago. The pause is killing the cause.

    • JimD, “These aren’t new questions, but studies so far have led to the 2 C threshold. It appears second-guessing is being done in both directions. ”

      Ya think? This week solar has been revised, there appears to be a flip flop on the impact of the trade winds, there is a new “weather” oscillation and the POLAR VORTEX is still elongated. Another 1 C of warming and we will all freeze.

    • Why would skeptics feel uncomfortable about science fiction?

      Because it is used to tax us!

    • What happens regionally at 2, 4, and 6 degrees of warming?

      We get more change than that every day. We deal with it.
      One January is warmer than others. Another is colder than others. Regionally, colder and warmer by 2,4, 6 and more is extremely normal.

      For a global average, plus and minus 2 degrees has not been exceeded in ten thousand years and most likely will not be exceeded for thousands of years in out future.

      You can forget the global 4 and 6 and put the 2 at very not likely.
      http://popesclimatetheory.com/page27.html
      What never happened in ten thousand years is not going to happen next. But, if you believe in extreme sea level rise, I have a bridge for sale in Arizona.

    • Climate Scientists have not examined the actual data that they do provide for us and see that when oceans get warm, they get wet, and more snow does fall and the warming always stops.

    • Jim, you’re letting the (very human and common on both sides) desire for a quick, snarky one liner blind you to the realities of the situation.

      There is a vanishingly small chance that the nations of the world will come together in time and with enough conviction to meet the requirements laid out by current “consensus” science that are claimed to hold total warming to 2C. I can barely imagine the shock and thrill the Warmist community would have if they found themselves with such a situation, because almost everyone on either side of the science sees how remote that possibility looks about now.

      So yes, fretting about whether we should try to move the threshold lower seems an awfully silly exercise at this late date. The only reason for doing so at this point I can fathom would be to give policy makers a more realistic “doomsday” figure to trot out now that consensus climate sensitivity is starting to look overstated to even the IPCC.

  6. Adaptation Strategy No. 1: Have the courage to do nothing!

    • +1.

      Adapting to something that is supposed to appear sometime in the future implies the ability to predict the future.
      Predicting the future re the global climate by climate scientists has so far proved to be an abject failure of the first order.

      Already some trillion dollars worth of the global treasure as been expended and destroyed over the last two decades for no perceivable or measurable effect on the climate except to pauperise an increasing number of the poorest on this Earth as well as reducing the abilities and resources of the global middle classes to further the climb of society and the rise of civilisation out of the primitive darkness.
      How much more treasure and how many more lives does the arrogant delusional climate science cabal want to destroy in the pursuit of their self delusioned climate modeled chimera and mirage of an unproven, non evident, supposedly CO2 created catastrophically warming world?

      • Global warming is not a problem but it is a symptom of a problem. Anyone who may have thought a generation ago that the US, the UK — or, Western civilization in general for that matter — was invulnerable to an academic integrity crisis such as the runaway dishonor that currently infects the secular, socialist Education Industrial Complex, must surely awaken from their slumber.

        We all must look very carefully at the hard facts: the West is dying. The global warming hoax is only a symptom. The killing by the Left of morality, love of truth for its own sake and the scientific method is the cause.

        And, we as a civilization cannot survive that loss. As Dostoevsky in his inimitable way warned, “the West has lost Christ and that is why it is dying; that is the only reason.”

    • I can see where sensible conservation measures would help when climate gets in a mood. Japanese mitigation work after Thelma (1991) in the Philippines has already saved many lives from subsequent and much worse storms.

      I don’t know if there is a will to re-widen the Hudson at the expense of the Battery Park real estate development which narrowed it some years back. I’m sure the people responsible are now the deepest green kind of zealots, who never met a CO2 molecule they liked.

      But let’s get up-beat here and hope that “robust adaptation” will involve much practical conservation. In fact, nothing else except practical conservation.

      Remember conservation?

    • John DeFayette

      ROM, I’ll be glad to answer your perfectly valid question about climate variability and change: “just enough to get me to retirement.”

      Sorry for the cynical attitude, but this latest confab of the parties reeks of autoreferential job saving panic. The basis for the meeting? “What the heck are we doing anyway and how can we become relevant again like in the good old days?”

    • Just posting on this sub-thread out of solidarity. :-)

    • Adapt, as necessary, but don’t do something stupid to prepare for something that is forecast that has never happened before.

      • True, it’s like Western academia is telling us to build an ark on top a mountain because a big flood is coming. Those outside the West are skeptical: unlike the Democrat party, they’re not believers in climatology which they liken to the ancient science of astrology.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Doing nothing is one of the last choices the afraid ever take.
      Just check any pet forum. The real experts know what goes on. Treatments cause the most casualties – yet treatment, even multiple conflicting treatments, is the first thing grabbed at when one is afraid.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Hardly anyone is prepared to take the blame for doing nothing, Taking the blame for doing what kills is much easier.
      “I tried my best”

    • thisis …, I’ve remarked before that one of the tensions in this issue is between those who are life-affirming and those who are afraid of life. The former embrace life in its infinite variety and seek to make the most of it, the others seek (with no hope of success) to control and direct it. Who are the deniers?

    • F, I’ve long thought that Techno-Optimists vs Malthusian Doomsayers was not even a sporting contest. But with two birds in hand, and blood all over the sitting bush, the alarmists are in the Catbird Seat.
      =======================

      • True, the interesting thing about the Tea Party, for example, is that it isn’t a Party — it’s an idea that the individual is more important than the state. The Left demonizes the Tea Party because they hate the idea: the Left lives in fear of an individual that are free to think for themselves and who is willing to responsibility for their actions.

  7. I don’t understand Biot’s view (i.e., DFID’s) that one can plan out to the 2050’s without distinguishing whether climate changes are natural or anthropogenic.

    Ex post it doesn’t matter, except in terms of blame for wasted investments OR inadequate investments.

    Ex ante it makes a big difference. One should absolutely prepare for long-term natural trends (e.g., century-plus of rising sea levels); not to do so is irresponsible (calling NYC and New Orleans…).

    The decisions about the wide range of anthropogenic scenarios thru the 2050’s is more complex. This line on slide #25 seems daft: “Don’t worry about uncertainties.”

    • Edit to my comment, which was not said well: This line on slide #25 seems problematic given the wide range of possible outcomes: “Don’t worry about uncertainties.”

    • Actually, trends to 2050 are independent of emissions scenarios. Biot’s sense of not worrying about uncertainties is that we have decision making tools that account for uncertainties.

    • Prof Curry,

      Thank you for the explanation!

      I was referring to model outcomes to the “2050’s” for factors such as temperature, sea level, storm frequency & intensity. If I understand correctly (being a layman), there are a wide range of possible — perhaps even likely — outcomes.

      Figure 12.5 in AR5 shows range of global SAT temperatures for the 2050’s varying from +0.5 to +1.5 degrees C (from ~2005). Outcomes for other forms of weather seem likely to vary even more, I suspect.

      I’d be interested to see the public policy decision-making tools to cope with such large uncertainties. In geopolitics (which I know a little about) the tools are little more effective than consulting the Magic 8 Ball.

      Finance has useful quantitative tools for coping with uncertainty in outcomes (e.g., Monte Carlo simulations), but they rely on reliable assumptions about probability and variances. Are these known to useful degrees in climate science?

    • Baysiean analysis is sometimes used in climate science, but the ones I’ve seen make up the priors. I believe the priors work better towards a more meaningful solution if they are supplied from observation.

    • Prof Curry,

      I look forward to your next post. Since we’re not likely to get more definitive conclusions anytime soon, public policy probably depends on managing uncertainty.

    • Two things are certain: warming to any degree will be net beneficial, and cooling to any degree will be net detrimental. All other measures of climate change will have unpredictable local variations, and certainty about them is impossible. We’ll endure whatever, emphasis on the ‘dur’.
      ============

    • they rely on reliable assumptions about probability and variances. Are these known to useful degrees in climate science?

      Yep! What has happened in the past ten thousand years will continue in the same bounds!

  8. Last week, I was privileged to host …

    And they were I’m sure privileged to be hosted! Somebody of integrity and of patience has to do it. Thank you for your restrained yet devastating comments on the UNFCCC ‘framing’. Best wishes with receiving a hearing for them.

  9. David Springer

    “The key question for the UNFCCC: ‘Is the 2C warming as a long-term goal adequate?’”

    Adequate for what?

    Adequate for preventing the looming end of the Holocene Interglaical? Probably not. Adequate for Greenland to have grazing land for cattle and apple orchards again? Maybe. Adequate to scare the bejezus out of the unwashed masses? Evidently so.

    • For that you would have to read the next sentence.

    • David Springer

      The next sentence is bolded below. Please explain.

      The key question for the UNFCCC: ‘Is the 2C warming as a long-term goal adequate?’ raises a wide range of secondary questions to be addressed (some of which are included in Lu’s presentation). With regards to loss and damage (discussed in this previous post), this implies the need to attribute loss and damage to AGW versus other climate and confounding factors, which is something that climate science can’t provide much guidance on.

    • Yeah, DS, as a member of the unwashed masses the CO2
      scare campaign sure scared the bejezus outta’ me (initally)
      until I started reading the non malthusians and non platonists
      regardin’ feedbacks ‘n such. bts

    • DS, not Judith’s next sentence, the next sentence after Lu’s original statement at the top which expands on it. The one about thresholds.

    • David Springer

      So you found some soap and used it? :-)

    • David Springer

      But that’s not who I was quoting, Jim D. Had you paid better attention you would have noticed that I was quoting Curry not the original author. Curry wrote the question raises a wide range of secondary questions. I posed some secondary questions of my own.

      You’ve been hoisted by your own snark it would seem.

    • Once you have ‘loss and damage’ properly (or improperly) attributed, then the lawyers will have something to get their teeth into. They’ll want to see the size of the prize. Can’t expect them to work for nothing…

    • Wash, lather, rinse, DS.

    • michael hart, I don’t think you can sue the fossil fuel industry who can just plead ignorance, but maybe there are some scientists who should have known better than advocate against policies, but they are quite poor, not much money in that :-)

    • blueice2hotsea

      Adequate for what?

      UNFCCC 2013-2015 Review Items
      Question 1: Is the long-term global goal adequate in the light of the ultimate objective of the Convention?
      Question 2: Is the overall progress towards achieving the long-term global goal, adequate?

      Ultimate Objective of the Convention?

      … stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthrpogenic interference with the climate system…

      The review … process could be as important as its outcome.

    • blueice2hotsea

      In 2010 (COP16), Parties agreed on a long-term global goal to reduce GHG emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and periodically review the goal.

      At COP21 (2015), Parties will discuss whether the long-term global goal should be strengthened to 1.5 °C based on the outcome of the review.

  10. Judith Curry

    “If climate change is a ‘risk multiplier’ which interacts with pre-existing social, economic and political risks, making peace and stability harder to achieve, ten addressing the pre-existing root causes of vulnerability will help build resilience to climate change and contribute to stability.”

    One of the “root causes” is lack of reliable and inexpensive energy. Providing reliable energy source seems a foundational task that precedes all others.

    “protection against extreme events”

    Are we having extreme events? or, are normal events being labeled “extreme” and “unprecedented”? Frankly, having a conversation about adapting to extreme events begs the question: are these really extreme events? or, just climate scientists alarmism speak?

    “Moderating influences include population density and growth, technological development, standard of living, local environmental conditions, pre-existing health status, quality and access to health care, public health infrastructure.”

    After reading this sentence my mind recalled late 19th century America and the answers that were developed addressing these very questions. Hopefully there is nothing in the NIH armamentarium like Eugenics that had a Darwinian appeal.

    What was stated as “climate change and health field still in early stage” seems dismissive of the tried and true:

    “Adaptation measures include vaccination programs, disease surveillance, protective technologies, weather forecasting and warnings, emergency management and disaster preparedness, public health education and prevention, legislation and administration.”

    So, start with providing cheap energy, adding what has worked for more than a millennium to lift up the human condition, and be mindful of the strident voices who have “all the answers.”

    • Simple observation tells us that current climate and weather events, with or without climate change (real or natural) pose risks to human health and wellbeing in certain parts of the world.

      Current climate also places economic value at risk and retards development in certain emerging countries. Even absent all future climate change, it is appropriate to adapt to what is happening now, is it not? There are areas as diverse as Tokyo and Bangladesh that are facing serious issues regarding the combination of subsidence, sea level rise and storm surges.

      Whether manmade or not, droughts and floods are a threat due to population increases in certain areas. These surely could and should be addressed.

      If in the process of addressing them we factor in an increased safety margin to protect against potential increased damage due to climate change of 2C per century, we are not being idiots.We are being prudent stewards of our environment and protecting other human beings.

      And if cast as actions that currently need taking with or without climate change, perhaps we can avoid some of the politicization that is prevalent in current discussions.

      Thanks, Judith, both for hosting this and sharing the results.

    • RiHo08
      +10
      “So, start with providing cheap energy, adding what has worked for more than a millennium to lift up the human condition,”

      The one major single most important key to any necessary climate adaption, the provision of extremely cheap, totally reliable energy available 24/7 to everybody from the highest to the lowest and poorest without discrimination or conditions.
      With cheap energy in large lumps we can build sea walls extremely quickly by the use of machines if the sea level increase.
      We can rapidly dredge harbors to deepen them to keep industry and commerce flowing if a new cold era sets in and sea levels fall, a possibility just as likely as any sea level rises.
      We can provide fresh drinkable water in prodigious quantities with cheap energy.
      We can pump and dredge the channels and rivers to rapidly move flood waters away [ shades of the this weeks deliberate [ ? ] flooding of UK’s Somerset Levels and Moors ]
      We can grow immense quantities of food under cover with cheap energy thus providing food security in a potential new cold era.
      With cheap energy we can make habitations comfortable for the whole range of society’s populace from the poorest to the richest in hostile climates whether those climes are hot or cold or just comfortable.

      We can invent and develop new technologies as there will be little need to try and find energy sources ie; illegal wood from forests by the poor just as happening in eastern Europe right now .

      With cheap energy we can now make energy intensive hydrocarbon fuels as the US Navy is doing experimentally on it’s aircraft carriers just like the stuff we pump out of the ground.
      The list goes on.

      Cheap, readily available energy for all was one of the great goals the Industrial Revolution set out to achieve only to now have it aborted and castrated in our times by a grossly corrupt climate catastrophe ideology.

      Energy, cheap always there energy for all is the life blood and foundation of our technological civilisation,

      So what do we have now
      A deliberately almost malevolent ideological goal emanating from influential sections of climate science to make energy unaffordable to force the western populace to use less energy

      To knowingly create unreliability in our civilisation’s energy supplies by forcibly imposing grossly expensive, totally unreliable and completely unaffordable renewable energy systems upon the populace across the western world
      The deliberate forcing up of energy prices at the behest of climate scientists to a point where the poorest of society are becoming unable to afford energy, the deliberate creation of the grossly selfish and inhuman “heat or eat” but not both syndrome.
      The poor and dispossessed are made to bear the brunt and burden of the arrogance of a climate science who thought they knew it all and who have for decades constantly and ad nauseam predicted climatic disasters that have never even looked like eventuating.

      A climate science who quite knowingly advocated restricting energy to the great drivers and innovators of our civilisation, the industry and commerce sectors.

      These are already the so called adaptions that have been deliberately forced onto the public at the behest of the catastrophic ideology of climate science, all for absolutely nought as a whole basketfull of c still borne climate catastrophe predictions just vanish into a mirage of arrogance and gross incompetence in the supposed science that created these still borne catastrophic predictions.

      All it was all to supposedly reduce the emmissions of a very minor green house gas which after some 30 years of lavishly funded research, the climate scientists still can’t tell the public who have paid the immense price demanded by climate science, just how much effect that minor greenhouse gas, CO2 actually has on the global climate.
      Nor can climate science even prove if that green house gas CO2 has even had ANY effect on the global climate.
      In indusstry those same ideologically motivated climate scientists would long ago have been battling to get a job as a floor sweeper with that sort of success rate in their predictions.

      Now they are demanding we prepare to adapt to something that climate science doesn’t know if it actually exists in hard proven reality, if it actually affects the global climate and even quite possibly which way it affects the global climate when the feed backs and etc are disentangled which they aren’t and probably won’t be for another generation.

      As most of you know and some of you regard with disdain, I am a layman, one of that public who have paid for this debacle and one of the public who have to bear the brunt of the gross incompetency backed by a gross arrogance of large sections of climate science, a status backed by an arrogance which was used to enforce an entire climate catastrophe science ideology onto a formerly science trusting public.
      .
      Out here I am now seeing the signs that a very bad odour is starting to surround climate science.
      In a word for a now increasing number of the proles out here, climate science now stinks.

      So before climate scientists start trying to impose their own versions of a forced adaption to meet a completely unknown, unknown even to the extent of the phase of the climate we might have to supposedly adapt to and even the unknown level of the hypothesized threat or even the nature of that supposed threat onto the very public who have paid and who are paying for their quite lavish life styles, they should very carefully consider where climate science is at and where it is and where it might soon head too when the public finally say enough and start to demand retribution and blood revenge for their long sufferings under what has just like ENRON, Maddocks and etc were regarded, previously passed as a reputable pursuit, that of climate science.

    • John DeFayette

      Yeah, you know, I mean…. Like ROM said!

      That rant needs a +1.

  11. “A key objective is that the outcome of this workshop extends beyond an elite ‘gabfest’ so that the Workshop proceedings and conclusions are made available to a broader segment of interested scientists and the public.”

    It’s one thing to make Workshop proceedings and conclusions available.
    It’s another to make them worth something.

    Andrew

  12. “Is the 2C warming as a long-term global goal adequate? Should this be strengthened to 1.5C?”

    I can’t understand how you can take some of this stuff seriously, Judith.

    • I don’t mean to be impolite. My comment is meant sincerely. The hubris is laughable, the underlying assumptions based on models that have demonstrated an utter lack of practical utility.

      Nor is the even more basic question settled as to whether 2 degrees of warming, is really a net negative.

    • pokerguy. 2C is not based on models.

      2C is a top down target.

      easiest way to think about it is.. at +2C we are outside the envelope of past human experience. there be dragons.

      Perfectly acceptable risk management approach. Say you are a company.
      you look at your history and you figure out that You’ve always had two quarters worth of operating cost in cash…. for example.

      You decide that you dont want to ever go below that.. not because you have evidence that it will be bad, but just because you dont want to tempt fate.

    • How do you make decisions? Whether the target is less than 1.5, 2, or 10, how do you act without something to predict results when given action scenarios?

    • Steve, here in lies the problem with you assessment; Mann et al.,
      I do not believe any of the reconstructions of global temperature. I suspect that pretty much of what has been printed about past temperature has been manipulated to erase much of the past variability; either unintentionally or intentionally.
      I have no idea if the ‘global’ temperature has never been up to 1.3 degrees higher than now, based on the literature.
      Individual pollen studies show warming at various times in Europe, but are countered by claims that these are local, and not global. However, your work shows most of the recent warming is also local, and not uniformly global.
      So as long as Mann is the gold-standard that Climate Scientists use to estimate past temperatures, I cannot agree with your view that “at +2C we are outside the envelope of past human experience”
      Until I know what the size of the envelope is, I will suggest we do nothing.

    • k scott denison

      Mosher, the analogy is more like this:

      Imagine you run a company and for less than 5% of its existence you have somewhat reliable records of the amount of cash you have on hand at any point in time. Everything else is an unreliable proxy for cash on hand. Now what?

    • Mosher,

      Count me among those who hold resevations on the accuracy of proxies to tell past temperatures. Particularly on a global basis.

    • Thanks for that, Steven. I expressed myself poorly and deserve the correction. And yet the whole notion which on the surface seems sensible, becomes a deeper and deeper swamp the more one thinks about it.

      We really don’t know how the climate works as evidenced by the models almost universal failure to predict the current 17+ years pause. How much warming is actually Co2? Clearly, we can’t answer that. We don’t even know for sure if anthro Co2 is indeed a significant factor in a climate that’s been warming since the end of the LIA anyway.

      We’re operating in the dark as to both our ability to influence the climate and whether if we can, it’s ultimately wise. If we go into a cooling phase a la another LIA, some extra warming would look mighty attractive. The huge uncertainties considered in the context of the tremendous cost of such measures to be borne by those least able to cope, in my view renders the Precautionary Principle something of a fraud in its recklessness.

    • Doc its not based on mann.
      Its based on the holocene optimum.
      In any case ur objection is off target

    • For folks who dont trust proxies you need to understand that this does not rely on them being that accurate. And further its in line with everything that skeptics say about warm periods in the past

    • timg56 | February 10, 2014 at 7:54 pm |

      Mosher,

      Count me among those who hold resevations on the accuracy of proxies to tell past temperatures. Particularly on a global basis.>

      “Global” does seem to be a major issue. Most proxies will provide a fair indication what “average” was but the peaks and valleys are not very accurate. The ca/mg in the tropical oceans seems to be pretty solid, but because of the land amplification evident in the “surface” temperature record the range “globally” seems to be under-estimated. It does look like there are some non-Mannian approaches that are getting better and a lot more papers addressing issues with different proxies, so I wouldn’t completely give up on paleo just yet.

    • Mosher, not all proxies are uninformative, isotope fractionation and pollen records are reasonably robust; but tree-ring widths and sedimentation rates are not:

      http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024008/pdf/1748-9326_8_2_024008.pdf

      http://asmerom.unm.edu/research/Papers/Polk%20et%20al%202013%20Chemical%20Geology.pdf

      The MWP existed, in North America, China and Europe; and was probably warmer than now.

    • Simple observation tells us that current climate and weather events, with or without climate change (real or natural) pose risks to human health and wellbeing in certain parts of the world.

      Current climate also places economic value at risk and retards development in certain emerging countries. Even absent all future climate change, it is appropriate to adapt to what is happening now, is it not? There are areas as diverse as Tokyo and Bangladesh that are facing serious issues regarding the combination of subsidence, sea level rise and storm surges.

      Whether manmade or not, droughts and floods are a threat due to population increases in certain areas. These surely could and should be addressed.

      If in the process of addressing them we factor in an increased safety margin to protect against potential increased damage due to climate change of 2C per century, we are not being idiots.We are being prudent stewards of our environment and protecting other human beings.

      And if cast as actions that currently need taking with or without climate change, perhaps we can avoid some of the politicization that is prevalent in current discussions.

      Thanks, Judith, both for hosting this and sharing the results.

    • We’ve not seen the limits of hot or cold in the paleontological record, but warmer always has a net benefit and colder always has a net detriment. Recently, the limits have been the two attractors of glaciation and de-glaciation. It’s very doubtful man can push climate past these two attractive limits.

      There is very little certainty in climate, but warmer better, cooler worse is one of them. How did this sick urge to control the world get it so wrong at the gitgo?
      =========

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Mosher says:
      “pokerguy. 2C is not based on models.
      2C is a top down target.”
      2C in what time frame, Mosher? Eh?

      Mosher says: “easiest way to think about it is.. at +2C we are outside the envelope of past human experience. there be dragons.

      Perfectly acceptable risk management approach. Say you are a company.
      you look at your history and you figure out that You’ve always had two quarters worth of operating cost in cash…. for example.”

      2C in two quarters. hah
      Dragons in the fistula

  13. Pity AGW seems to have given up the ghost.

    As a matter of interest, did anyone consider what the effects of a 2°C – or even a 1.5°C – decrease in temperature are likely to be, and what sort of adaption measures would be called for?

  14. The answer is very simple. Adapt. Hot or cold.

  15. Sorry Judith, try again w/out the beer advertisement

    Co2 that CO2,
    is in me, is in you.
    It’s in our bones, it’s in our hair,
    that CO2 is every-where.
    It’s in our brain, digestive-tract,
    it’s in volition-of-the-act.
    Matter of fact I need some now …
    and so do you.

  16. Judith, you said
    “Actually, trends to 2050 are independent of emissions scenarios. Biot’s sense of not worrying about uncertainties is that we have decision making tools that account for uncertainties”.

    Do any of the tools work if the uncertainty is greater than the trend?

    • yes, see one of the last slides in Biot’s presentation, also talks by Lempert and Keller address this topic (I will post on this topic next week)

  17. Last week, I was privileged to host the UK-US Workshop on Climate Science Needed to Support Robust Adaptation Decisions.

    Congratulations, Judith Curry, and what a great topic “Robust Adaptation Decisions”

    Everyone can support economically justifiable adaptation. But many (especially me) need to be educated on ‘Robust Decision’ analysis.

  18. Great!!! A sensible approach to that which is deemed most likely;

    Adaptation. The fact is extreme weather events have always happened and will continue to happen to some degree and without predictability.

    I have, for a long time, appreciated the sensibility (common sense) of Roger Pielke Sr. as well as Jr.

    My take is that this is an opportunity to look at a broad spectrum of possible challenges and give a balanced but encompassing and most efficient recommendation to various possibilities. While, at the same time, not letting a foolish speculation like a several foot rise in sea level in the near future be a predominate ideological and singular cause.

    Regardless of credence given to AGW or GW or GC, knowledge of climatic history will go a long way to predicting what may happen and what we might do about it.

    IMO water, where it is and where it is not, and also what is in it, is of a much greater concern than consequences of various changes in weather.
    In some ways our usage may have gone by a tipping point. Consider the Aquifers.

  19. “curryja | February 10, 2014 at 7:08 pm |
    yes, see one of the last slides in Biot’s presentation, also talks by Lempert and Keller address this topic (I will post on this topic next week)”

    Thanks Judith. I clearly need educating – look forward to your post.

  20. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    When do folks think the ocean-heating will end?

    • Ten years?

    • One hundred years?

    • One thousand years?

    • Ten thousand years?

    `Cuz unless that graph turns over someday, we’re headed toward a planet where human civilizations can’t survive.

    Families that have no grandchildren, and politicians who care only about the next election, and businesses focusing upon this year’s bottom line, all have no particular reason to care about the distant future …

    And for the exact same reason, most people with families *DO* care.

    That’s ordinary human common-sense, right?

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • David Springer

      I think ocean heating will end when teh Holocene Interglacial ends. An ending which is statistically overdue. Is that what you want, John Sidles, a mile of ice over the top of most of North America?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      FOMD asked:  When do folks think the ocean-heating will end?

      • Ten years?
      • One hundred years?
      • One thousand years?
      • Ten thousand years?

      `Cuz unless that graph turns over someday, we’re headed toward a planet on which human civilizations can’t survive.

      Families that have no grandchildren have no particular reason to care about the distant future  and conversely, most families *DO* care.

      That’s ordinary human common-sense, right?

      Dave Springer answers:  Ocean heating will end when the Holocene Interglacial ends.

      Hmmmm … so let’s work the numbers. No theory, just curve-fitting!

      •  We’re 100,000 years out from the next peak glaciation, and

      •  Current warming rates are 1°C/century (and accelerating).

      Conclusion  Purely on the numbers, James Hansen and his scientific colleagues are 100% right.

      Forecast  It’s business-as-usual for individuals that don’t care about the next generation, and politicians who care solely about the next election, and businesses that focus exclusively upon this year’s bottom line.

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • David Springer

      I have children and grandchildren. How dare you insinuate I don’t care about the future?

    • The ocean heating will never end, until the oceans themselves boil away when the sun turns into a Red Giant.
      You see you fool, solar heat always goes into the oceans and heat is radiated away into space; its a flux.

      I think you mean “when will the apparent increase in total heat content of the oceans cease”, probably when they have more sensors in the network and they have someone who has not staked his reputation on finding an increase in ocean heat content, in charge for the program.

    • Fan – you say “We’re 100,000 years out from the next peak glaciation”, and you post a link to a graph. That shows that (a) the downward slope to peak glaciation can take 100,000 years or more, IOW we might be right on the verge of major coolling right now, and (b) the last four interglacials were up to 6 deg C warmer than this one. What was yout point again?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Mike Jonas asks: What was yout [sic] point again?

      Do the math, Mike. The present CO2-driven heating-rate of 1°C/century overwhelms interglacial cycles by two orders of magnitude, eh?

      What is your next thermodynamical question, Mike Jonas?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      morediscourse@tradermail.info
      A fan of *MORE* discourse

    • R. Gates, A Skeptical Warmist

      “I think ocean heating will end when teh Holocene Interglacial ends.”
      _____
      There’s a good chance that humans (actually, the ancestors of humans) had very little impact on climate during the last Eemian interglacial. The notion that we’ve already altered the character of this interglacial to the point of turning the “Holocene” into the “Anthropocene” is an interesting hypothesis. Our numbers and net effect on the planet is certainly greater this interglacial than any other. We certainly know that the biosphere has been altering the climate for millions of years, and now that humans so thoroughly dominate the biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere by our activities, it is not unreasonable to suggest that we are in the Anthropocene, and that the next glacial advance might already be delayed or bypassed entirely. At the very least, the effects might be muted:

      http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112728799/carbon-emissions-global-warming-ice-age-110912/

      Would this be all bad? Is there a limit to how much warming is too much? Can we use our technology to created the “goldilocks” climate in the future, adjusting CO2 and other GH gases to be at “just right” levels so the Earth stays not too hot and not too cold? We’ve so thoroughly dominated every other facet of activity on the planet that geoengineering seems the obvious direction we’re headed and may be seen as obvious to future generations, just as they will look back with amazement that we ever let drivers manually speed around self-driving cars and trucks not controlled by the Cloud.

    • Fan if folks cared about the long term we would fix the 100 Trillion we have in unfunded liabilities first.

    • Gates, “humans so thoroughly dominate the biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere”

      Delusions of adequacy. If it were true, then we would indeed just turn a control knob to a desired temperature, except that 7 billion people couldn’t agree on the setting.

      Your definition of “thoroughly dominate” is far from accurate, I’d say “humans have a very modest influence on …”, which is why we need to be adaptable ourselves to forces beyond our control.

    • R Gates

      …just as they will look back with amazement that we ever let drivers manually speed around self-driving cars and trucks not controlled by the Cloud.

      Be careful what you wish for. There are things a human driver can do that a computer can’t – like anticipate.

  21. fan,

    exactly what is it you expect this ocean heat to do?

    Come rushing back at us?

  22. Professor Curry: Congratulations on your hosting of the UK/US workshop.

    Adaptation and mitigation of what? That is the question. Until climate science can agree on an answer. it is just talk and wasted taxpayer funds.. The 20 or so climate models sponsored by the IPCC should provide the definitive answer, but seem to be getting further away every day. The meeting should have agreed to close gown the IPCC models and call tenders for better models.

    The US has a valuable facility in HITRAN and that organization needs a new contract to support climate modelling. One object: to nail down precisely the temperatures at which emission modes start and stop in the CO2 molecule..

    • Your query

      “One object: to nail down precisely the temperatures at which emission modes start and stop in the CO2 molecule..”

      I can answer that, there is no temperature at which the emission modes start or stop it the CO2 molecule.

      CO2 is active in the IR at all temperatures.

      Down to 15 K anyway, is that good enough for you?

      http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.astrochem.org/data/CO2H2O/co2fig6.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.astrochem.org/data/CO2H2O.php&h=938&w=840&sz=56&tbnid=JEMJ7jY75Sz_uM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=81&zoom=1&usg=__GKYsaBKp2Q68jZFWhPdDlnVLtoE=&docid=q8XBdghoI7FAaM&sa=X&ei=yJP5UvOkIIOTyQGM-oDQBw&ved=0CDUQ9QEwAw

    • Thank you Bob Droege. I guess you are an astronomer.;And of course it was the astronomers who first alerted us to the heat absorbing powers of CO2. However some of the planets have much higher concentrations of CO2 than does Earth and the figures you provide show it. They shoe the rising and falling of IR absorption and emission as a function of frequency (or wave number) through the IR spectrum. But that is because many IR modes are present and as they add, the sharp edges of particular modes tend to be lost.

      If you accept Quantum theory then you have to accept that radiation changes intensity in definite quanta but that is obscured in broadband radiation. In fact at troposphere temperatures there are few CO2 IR radiations, but some are powerful enough to affect climate, so to predict climate we need to understand them, particularly when they switch on and off.

    • Do I guess right that you don’t believe quantum mechanics?

      If you don’t believe quantum mechanics you can stop reading my post now.

      But this quote of yours puzzles me,

      “In fact at troposphere temperatures there are few CO2 IR radiations, but some are powerful enough to affect climate”

      Because each CO2 radiation has its own specific energy and they are all not very powerful, it’s just that are a lot of them. Being a chemist I would describe the phenomena in terms of a first order rate equation. That is that absorption and emission are dependent on concentration which determines the rate of the reaction. And that the CO2 bending and stretching energy levels above the ground state with fractions above the ground state determined by temperature, and as you see from the graphs I cited that they are populated at 15 K, therefore your question is answered, in that the modes are started below 15 K so at atmospheric temperatures the CO2 emission modes are on.

      Though I am not an astronomer, the cite I provide was interesting to me because the article behind the chart was discussing how there are additional active regions of the IR range that become active when CO2 and Water vapor are present together that are not active in either the pure gas spectra. I don’t think that will require a rebuild of the climate models, but it was interesting.

    • Thank tou again , Bob, tor your comments. The lowest frequency IR mode of CO2 is at 14.9 micron, that I am aware of.Below that frequency, H2O takes over as the main absorber of IR, so the lower frequencies are of not much interest to climate scientists. But the 14.9 micron line is close to saturation so could easily be the cause of on/off climate change

  23. I just can’t believe researchers NEVER have anything good to say about higher CO2 levels. And it seems they just gloss over the fact that the feedbacks to more CO2 back-radiation haven’t been demonstrated to be true. Then there is the problem with the models.

    WUWT has posted an old paper about the “pause” being caused by WEAK trade winds. It would be in interesting exercise to read at least the summaries of climate related papers and see just how many different explanations there are for a given phenomenon.

    • Where exactly does it say a slowdown in the walker circulation would cause a flattening of surface air temperature until 2030, or beyond? And with low surface winds, how does western downwelling and eastern upwelling get powered?

  24. A quick response before I go out:

    Xianf Lu, UNFCCC: The key science question of concern: Is the 2C warming as a long-term global goal adequate? Should this be strengthened to 1.5C?
    – The chance of agreement on actions, if any, which would restrict temp rises to 2C if AGW proves valid and resumes, is negligible. This question suggests that the UNFCCC lacks understanding of what is going on.

    Yvan Biot, UKID: A key objective is to build resilience in changing times.
    – Indeed, and times are always changing, so that should always be an objective, irrespective of prospective AGW.

    Biot also argued that we don’t need to worry too much about uncertainty.
    – Very hard for governments to prioritise between AGW-related actions and others if AGW remains uncertain. Unless, re his/her first point, actions which would be positive whether or not AGW occurs are taken.

    Janani Vivekanda, IA: Addressing the pre-existing root causes of vulnerability will help build resilience to climate change and contribute to stability. In addressing problems in an individual region, it is important to understand complexities so as to avoid maladaptation, where resources are wasted to do something that doesn’t help beyond the short term.

    – Quite so, let’s deal with real, here and now problems, that will help the regions concerned whether or not dangerous warming eventuates.

    Summary response: don’t get hung up about prospective CAGW, concentrate on policies which build more adaptive, innovative societies and economies, and we’ll be better able to deal with whatever future befalls.

    • Faustino,

      Summary response: don’t get hung up about prospective CAGW, concentrate on policies which build more adaptive, innovative societies and economies, and we’ll be better able to deal with whatever future befalls.

      +100

  25. Dr. Curry,

    It would improve my confidence if someone would answer:

    a. What will the Temperature of the Earth (TOE) be in 10 years, 50 years, and 100 years if we completely ignore ACO2 and simply meet our energy needs by the most expedient and economical means available?

    b. What will the TOE be in 10 years, 50 years, and 100 years if we enact every energy tax and ACO2 regulation recommended by a panel of climate scientists who are in 100% agreement that ACO2 driven global warming poses an existential threat?

    c. Why is the TOE achieved by stringent taxation and regulation of ACO2 ‘better’ than the TOE that will result from ignoring ACO2 completely?

    It would be even better if, prior to implementing any policy to control ACO2, someone would provide convincing evidence that the policies would have any MEASURABLE effect AND that the results achieved would in fact be desirable and worth the costs in money and freedom that we will be forced to relinquish to do the achieving.

    So far, no one has done any of the above.

    • Basic info for decision-making.

    • Bob Ludwick

      Let me give you my crack at responding to your basic questions

      a. No one knows what the “temperature of the Earth (TOE) will be in 10 years, 50 years, and 100 years if we completely ignore ACO2 and simply meet our energy needs by the most expedient and economical means available”, because we do not know what curve balls Mother Nature is going to throw at us

      b. The same goes for the “TOE in 10 years, 50 years, and 100 years if we enact every energy tax and ACO2 regulation recommended by a panel of climate scientists who are in 100% agreement that ACO2 driven global warming poses an existential threat”, again for the same reason.

      One could argue that the difference between a. and b. could be anywhere from essentially zero to +0.1C in 10 years, +0.8C in 50 years and +1.8C in 100 years, based on 1) UN and US Census Bureau projections of world population growth with the assumption that per capita CO2 generation could increase by 30% by the end of this century (it increased by 15% from 1970 to today) and 2) recent (partly) observation-based estimates of 2xCO2 climate sensitivity.

      c. To your third question, “Why is the TOE achieved by stringent taxation and regulation of ACO2 ‘better’ than the TOE that will result from ignoring ACO2 completely?”. The answer here is simple: It isn’t (the Tol study tells us that the first 2.0 to 2.5C warming will be beneficial to humanity and we will hardly see that much warming within the next 100 years based on latest estimates of 2xCO2 climate sensitivity. A direct or indirect carbon tax will have zero impact on our climate – no tax ever did. And so far, there have been no actionable mitigation proposals that would have a perceptible impact on our planet’s future climate. Proposals have either been political posturing: “we’ll cut our emissions to X% of what they were in year Y by year Z” (with no earthly idea of how to get there), or (even sillier) “we will hold global warming to no more than 2C”. “Stringent taxation and regulation” can only damage the overall economic growth, especially in the developing and underdeveloped world. If this has a real impact on global growth and welfare it could result in lower production rates, less energy used as a result, etc. But even then, a massive 10% reduction in global GDP would only have a small impact on CO2 concentrations by 2100 and posited AGW reductions from these lower concentrations. And, finally, “it ain’t gonna happen” (China, India, Brazil, etc. are NOT going to endanger their industrial development to assuage a rich white man’s guilt-driven hysteria).

      Just my thoughts.

      Max

    • Bob,

      Agree 100%

      +100

    • Heh, I don’t even know wot i’ll be having fer breakfast next
      week or even if’n I’ll be havin’ breaksfast at – all …?

  26. David L. Hagen

    Re: “What questions are we not asking?”

    Creating replacement liquid fuels fast enough
    Liquid fuel shortages can cause severe reductions in agricultural production and delivery of food into famine locations.

    Q1) Will we provide sufficient research and development in time to create replacement liquid fuels capable of replacing the 6%/year depletion rate in current crude oil field production?

    Cold causing agrmore, icultural failure presents a far greater danger than modest warming. Consequently:

    Avoiding Major Global Cooling
    Q2) Can we achieve sufficient anthropogenic global to avoid the severe cooling of another glaciation?

    Restoring the Scientific Method
    The UNFCCC redefined:

    1. “Climate change” means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

    The IPCC and politicians equivocate by using “climate change” for “major anthorprogenic global warming.”
    Roy Spencer shows that > 95% of 30 year IPCC climate model projections are hotter than both UAH tropospheric temperatures and HadCRUT4 surface temperatures.
    This evidences severe Type B error.

    Q3) Can the IPCC restore the scientific method by:
    3A) Verifying and validating models against measurements to eliminate severe Type B error:
    3B) restoring “climate change” to an objective scientific definition;
    3C) clearly defining and distinguishing “anthropogenic climate change” from “Natural climate change”?

    • David L. Hagen

      Unasked Questions continued:
      Cause or Consequence?
      How can we distinguish, quantify and validate cause versus consequences and magnitudes of natural vs anthropogenic CO2, halogenated hydrocarbons/ozone, clouds, solar and cosmic rays?

      • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

        We look at the past and see if the null hypothesis can be falsified:

        http://www.whoi.edu/pclift/Ruddiman.pdf

        The probability is high that the current high GH gas levels are:

        1) Anthropogenic
        2) The highest sustained levels since the mid-Pliocene
        3) Apt to alter the climate in ways not seen since the mid-Pliocene or earlier.

      • R. Gates

        The “null hypothesis” that humans have been largely responsible for the increase in GHG concentrations (primarily CO2) over the past century cannot be falsified (as the paper you cite concludes).

        But the “null hypothesis” that essentially all of the observed warming over the past century has been due to natural causes can also not be falsified.

        “Apt to alter the climate” is not good enough, Gates.

        Max

    • David L. Hagen

      R. Gates
      Your 1) doesn’t distinguish cause v consequence. Murry Salby shows increasing CO2 more likely from warming oceans than anthropogenic.
      Your 2) ignores diffusion. Murry Salby modeled ice core diffusion showing ancient CO2 underestimated by an order of magnitude.
      Your 3) is political not scientific. Spencer shows 95% of 30 year climate model predictions are too hot – aka “wrong” contra scientific method.
      Try scientific arguments.

    • David L. Hagen

      Q1B) How do we develop sustainable replacement liquid fuels? i.e., with Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) > 3 and cost effective.

      For the critical importance of transport fuels and means, see: Modern Transportation and Food: How Carbon-based Fuel Kept the ‘Third Horseman’ in Check

      US ethanol policy is unsustainable, giving 3x lower energy out/in than required. e.g. see Charles Hall on EROI/sustainability etc.

    • @ David L Hagen

      “Cause or Consequence?
      How can we distinguish, quantify and validate cause versus consequences and magnitudes of natural vs anthropogenic CO2, halogenated hydrocarbons/ozone, clouds, solar and cosmic rays?”

      As Jim Cripwell continues to point out: we have not and we can’t.

      And, until the ‘climate’ does something that it has never done before, ABSENT ACO2, that is demonstrably correlated with ACO2, AND we can identify and quantify ALL the non-anthropogenic influences on the climate AND we can predict future natural variations in non-anthropogenic drivers of climate, we will not be able to predict long term climate variations, scientifically.

      Of course none of the above makes any difference to the Progressive-politician/Climate-Science Complex (PPCSC). It will (in the US) continue to issue ex cathedra pronouncements of imminent ACO2 doom, impose ‘fees’ (only the Congress can tax) on ACO2, and regulate the emanation of ACO2 through executive orders and the executive branch departments, using the courts as necessary in ‘sue and settle’ scams.

      Think it won’t happen? The PPCSC has already used the ‘sue and settle’ tactic to get CO2, a gas essential to life on Earth, declared to be a dangerous pollutant subject to MANDATORY regulation by the EPA. And it will only get ‘better’.

  27. In the Lu summary, Dr. Curry says “The need for framing the science needs in actionable terms was emphasized.”

    What does this mean? There are two meanings of “actionable.” One is the law meaning:

    (Websters 1) Giving a reason to bring an action or a lawsuit against someone.

    The other is pretty nebulous:

    (Websters 2) Able to be used as a basis or reason for doing something.

    Almost any distributional information about climate could satisfy the second meaning. If you compute the marginal distribution of landfalling hurricanes in North America, either over space or time, that distribution would be “actionable information” in the second sense (it would be useful information for planning and mitigation). Knowing an expected drift in such a marginal distribution would be even better, though my guess is that fifty years out, the backward-looking 100-year distribution would be about as good for that as any attempt to add in a drift due to climate change. But the point I mean to make is that a request for the scientists to provide actionable information in this second sense is an incredibly weak request. Almost any relatively reliable statistics on historical climate would work without any theoretical understanding or modeling.

    Since the second meaning of “actionable” seems almost vacuously satisfied, are the UNFCCC folks really interested in the first meaning? If so, it’s a frightening thought.

    • NW

      Here’s my take on what is meant by “actionable”.

      An “actionable” mitigation proposal to reduce future global warming would be (for example) the proposal by James E. Hansen et al. to shut down all coal-fired power plants in the USA by 2030, replacing them with non-fossil fuel fired plants.

      If this were done it would reduce cumulative CO2 emissions by 2100 by around 160 Gt, of which around half “remain” in the atmosphere. This is a reduction in the atmospheric concentration by 2100 of around 10 ppmv, resulting in a theoretical reduction of warming by 2100 of 0.08C. Replacing the coal plants with nuclear would cost $1.5 trillion. So this is very little “bang” for a whole lot of “bucks”. And that is the problem with “actionable” mitigation proposals.

      “Actionable” adaptation proposals are another thing. Here we are talking about specific local or regional actions that can be taken in order to adapt to a specific threat or challenge resulting from a change in climate if and when it appears that this threat or challenge could become imminent.

      These make sense while the former do not. It is a positive sign IMO that the discussion appears to be shifting from “pie in the sky” mitigation proposals to practical adaptation actions.

      Max

    • Manacker,

      I Agree with all your comment except it would have been better if you’d left out one unnecessary, and in my opinion misleading/wrong, sentence:

      Replacing the coal plants with nuclear would cost $1.5 trillion.

      The cost of replacing coal with nuclear would be negative (i.e. less than replacing with more coal as the present ones reach the end of their economic life of about 40-50 years including refurbishments) if the impediments to nuclear power are removed. Even if the existing regime of impediments remain in place, the capital cost difference to build new nuclear instead of new coal is about $660 billion, not $1.5 trillion.

      Overnight capital cost:
      Coal: $2,934/kW
      Nuclear: $5530/kW
      Difference: $2596/kW
      http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/capitalcost/
      Projected coal generating capacity in 2040 = 254 GW
      http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/tablebrowser/#release=AEO2014ER&subject=6-AEO2014ER&table=9-AEO2014ER&region=0-0&cases=ref2014er-d102413a
      Therefore, the additional capital cost to build nuclear instead of new coal (in 2012 $) = $659 billion
      This is to replace all USA’s coal generation as it reaches the end of its economic life.

      If nuclear becomes cheaper, it will replace coal more quickly because it will be economic to do so earlier in each plant’s life.

      So, for those who are deeply concerned about CO2 emissions, the solution they should be striving for is to remove the impediments that are preventing the world from getting cheaper nuclear power.

    • Peter Lang

      There are two proposals here:

      1. The Hansen et al. proposal is to forcibly shut down and scrap all existing coal-fired power plants in the USA by 2030, replacing them with non-fossil fuel (best alternate = nuclear) stations. This requires additional investment not otherwise required, in order to build and commission the new plants and scrap the old ones (that do not need to be shut down). This is the alternate I was talking about, which I have called “hare-brained” (0.08C impact by 2100 at a new investment cost of $1.5 trillion before 2030).

      2. A second proposal (made by you and others) to replace all planned future coal-fired plants globally with nuclear plants, starting ASAP (by simplifying the regulatory process, shortening project lead times, etc. etc.) This alternate could make sense, as there is no added incremental investment or cost required (nuclear can inherently compete with coal, once the regulatory hurdles are removed). This proposal would also have a greater theoretical temperature impact by 2100 of around 0.6C. The problem here is political, as many nations are still frightened of nuclear power.

      Hope this clears it up.

      Max

    • We’ve got a twofer and a great future, really. Fossil fuels with mildly beneficial warming and great beneficial biome stimulation, with nuclear for back-up if necessary, and if fears of it are unfounded or overshadowed.

      Naw, saddle up in fear, loose frothing bits of guilt.
      ===================

    • Manacker,

      Thanks. I now understand what your $1.5 trillion refers to.

      However, I think the figure should be between $690 billion and $1.5 trillion even for replacement by 2030, because the $1.5 trillion does not take into account that many of the coal plants will have to be replaced by new plants by 2030 anyway. In fact nearly half will be retired and replaced by the cheapest/best alternative in that time anyway. Much of it will be coal since the infrastructure is in place and the world is now turning back to coal. So the cost to replace the roughly half the coal plants with nuclear by 2030 should be the cost difference between least-cost new fossil fuel and new nuclear.

    • Manacker,

      I also understand the reality that to replace the entire coal fleet with nuclear by 2030 is unrealistic, pie in the sky stuff, and demonstrates a lack of understanding of real world large scale projects, funding, etc. James Hansen should stick to what he knows (from is PhD) modeling Venus’ atmosphere.

  28. They only consider out to 2050, but even extrapolating the last 35 years of land temperature rise forwards gives you 0.9 C more than today by 2050 because the CRUTEM4 rise rate since 1980 has been 0.25 C per decade, and that includes the “pause” which didn’t affect land so much because it is due to a natural internal variation of the ocean. Business as usual emissions have us nearer 500 ppm by then, so that has to be considered as a factor too.

  29. Judith Curry

    This was a very interesting post on a new development, and I see you are getting all kinds of mixed comments. Let me add mine.

    My major take-homes were:

    1. “Getting ready for climate change” no longer means only “getting ready for human-induced climate change” (the brief of IPCC and UNFCCC), but includes all potential changes in climate that Nature or anyone else throws at us if and when it appears these changes could become imminent. This appears to me to be a major change in focus (that makes sense).

    2. A move toward “adaptation instead of mitigation”! (Despite UNFCCC still pushing for mitigation). Roger Pielke’s “bottoms up approach for developing coping strategies” (which he posted here) make sense in this context. They focus on more than just climate change (let alone just anthropogenic climate change) – including air pollution, water availability and quality, food production, etc. These are things any long-range policy maker should be thinking about. Besides, there haven’t been any specific actionable mitigation proposals that would have a perceptible impact on our planet’s future climate – all that has been discussed is a direct or indirect carbon tax – and we all know that no tax can change our climate.

    3. 2C versus 1.5C as the “long term global goal”. This is a red herring IMO, and is simply a reaction to the current pause plus the many recent observation-based studies which suggest that the CO2 temperature response (at equilibrium) is around half of the earlier model predictions used by IPCC. Tol’s study shows us that the first 2.0C to 2.5C warming above today’s temperature (and not some hypothetical “pre-industrial” value back in 1750) is beneficial to humanity. Above this temperature, the main detrimental factor is added energy cost; so if energy can remain inexpensive, the net beneficial warming above today’s temperature is even higher than 2.5C. So why change the (already silly) target from 2C to 1.5C? (No valid reason.)

    Purists, like Jim Cripwell are lamenting that the basic question of CO2 climate sensitivity is not being addressed (we do not yet have any empirical scientific evidence that CO2 causes any perceptible change in our climate!) – and I agree with him (and you?) that the many uncertainties in the “science” need to be much better defined before we jump off into any major actions whose unintended negative consequences we are unable to assess today – but, at least, it appears to me that the hysterical “act now or die” alarmists are no longer running the show (but maybe I’m just am optimist).

    Max

    • A Serf List, Getting Ready Fer Climate Change:

      Hmmm … bucket, mop, galoshes, mackin-tosh, umbrella,
      sun-shade, watering can, sun-block cream, sun-glasses,
      Kalgoorlie water bottle, # fan ,* not of more discourse,*
      wading pool, b-y-o-wind-break … that should do it …

      # look it up.

    • Beth

      Yew are so rite. But mah granpappy alweez tole me te alweez hav a jug of likker aroun in case of a cold snap er a heat wave er a drowt er a fludd er nun of them jes in case. An fer the ladies a cupple a nice bottles of wine. Fer the young-uns it’d be a box of Moon Pies an a case of RC Cola, but ah reckon yew prolly hav sumthin else wher yew live.

      Yore feller serf Max

    • Beth, that’s standard daily preparation in North East England. Plus anti-freeze (for drinking).

    • Max ‘n Faustino, policy gurus, how could I
      have overlooked medicinal licker and anti-freez,
      tsk! Bein’ a red-headed Scot with aller-gees
      I find a modicum of Scotch – on – the – rocks
      does the trick. plus a little musick and
      the dance. ) Will forward some of the above …
      musick i mean. Bts

    • Manacker

      +100

    • Beth, either my headphones or my soundcard is on the blink, no music. I have danced in Queen Street mall a couple of times in recent months when a friend’s band have been playing Irish & Scottish music. Great fun. I prefer YM to AR.

  30. The key question for the UNFCCC: ‘Is the 2C warming as a long-term goal adequate?’

    Doesn’t have a @#% thing to do with adaptation.

    Neither does most of the rest of it, from the descriptions provided.

    This conference sounds a lot like one of those interviews where the journalist asks important questions, that the interviewee then ignores in favor of non-responsive prepared talking points. “This is a conference on adaptation? How wonderful! Here’s my thoughts on mitigation goal setting …”

    Adaptation plan? That’s a contradiction in terms.

    Adaptation is a positive compensatory response to something that is happening, not more political strategizing on how to push policy with responsibility-free “predictions” of what might happen. That is just more scary story telling for pecuniary gain, and the question being answered seems to be “Oooh, what data do we need for that?” Same old, same old ‘climate science’.

    Adaptation is the province of engineers, not climate scientists,

    • John DeFayette

      +100

    • Adaptation is the province of engineers, not climate scientists

      Indeed.

      +100

      (Might help to have a handful of practical meteorologists around, too, for better storm early warning systems, etc.)

  31. It seems to me the whole focus should be on whether or not burning all know reserves of fossil fuels would warm the planet up to Eocene type temperatures as Hansen warns. We wont stop CO2 emissions unless it is a settled issue as to there being a chance of such a catastrophe. Talking about 2 oC changes won’t get us any where. We either need a total transformation to a fossil fuel free economy OR we need to stop wasting resources on “green washing” measures. What we have now is the worst of all possible worlds -ineffectual “green washing” measures that do nothing but piss people off.
    So long as the focus is on peering into the noise of current climate data rather than examining Eocene data, we will just flounder.

    • We can tell you that there are no monsters under the bed, but if you sleep better thinking they are there, we’ll keep quiet.
      ==================

    • What warming man has done in the past has been beneficial, what warming man will do in the future will be beneficial. The monster lurking under your bed is Santa Claus waiting to distribute the benefits of cheap energy to all the good little boys and girls.
      =================

    • stone, pick a climate sensitivity to CO2 that frightens you and calculate how cold it would now be without man’s input.
      ============

      • Man has increased CO2 by 40%, if we burn all remaining fossil fuel reserves, then Hansen warns that we could get to 8x pre-industrial CO2. We are talking UTTERLY different ball parks comparing what we have done so far and what we are on course to do if we carry on exponentially increasing our burning of fossil fuels. Either Hansen is WAY out about remaining known coal reserves and his climate sensitivity estimates are WAY out, or you are being unconscionably complacent.

    • The more you blame man for warming, the colder we would now be without man’s input. Run up and down those curves a little, what a fun slippery slide you’ve got.
      ===========

    • C’mon little man, up those steps. I know it’s way high up there, and the curves go on like forever, but you’ll come safe back down to Earth and little ol’ me, dontcha worry bout a thing.
      ==============

    • Kim, if that is the best argument you can offer to refute Hansen’s warning then frankly, I’m not much reassured.

    • Sweet dreams are made of this.
      ============

    • stone, I have tried to tell you but you wont listen. CAGW is a hypothesis that no-one can either prove or disprove. No-one can show that Hansen is wrong. By the same token, Hansen cannot prove his is right. Hansen has come nowhere near showing, scientifically, that he is correct.

      All we can do is look at what is actually happening, instead of looking at what a bunch of hypothetical estimations and the output of non-validated models tell us. When I do this, I see very strong signs that adding more and more CO2 to the atmosphere has a negligible effect on climate.

    • Negligible and luckily, beneficially; fortunately, and foreordained, there is the appreciable benefit of the greening of the biome. You can lead an alarmist to horticulture, but dare you not unsaddle him of fear, or unbit him of guilt.
      ============

    • Why should focusing on Hansen’s warnings be “the whole focus” for anyone, on either side if the debate? Here’s a pro tip: go look around a few Warmist sites and see how many denizens are focusing their debates on Hansen talking about 20C warming. You’re not going to find many even around the true believers.

      Why? Because :

      A: his numbers are suspect, as people have made an honest effort to show you already, though it seems you weren’t persuaded or didn’t properly follow up with the (admittedly cursory) reading you were guided toward.

      B: It’s a situation, even if we were to momentarily assume it were absolutely accurate, that is centuries away and would require humanity ignoring many warnings along the way. You’re posting to a thread where we’re (in part) discussing climate scientists asking whether they should focus their guidance on limiting temperatures to 1.5C or 2C. You and Hansen are wringing your hands about 20C. That. Is. Nuts.

      Either way you decide to believe (and you seem to be pretty settled in on your position) you’re probably going to have to make a more concerted effort to find others that share your concerns, or papers looking to confirm or refute such a silly hypothesis. There simply isn’t going to be a lot of robust data or discussion about Hansen’s 20C prediction, because it’s so fanciful. Even most Warmists see the folly of such an extreme hypothetical.

      • Santo, this decade our use of fossil fuels has been increasing at 3% per year. That rate of acceleration is just as it has been since 1950. If we keep that up, then as Hansen says we will have emitted 10000 GT carbon after 118 years more of this. We aren’t talking centuries, we are talking one century. It will take a big effort if we are to move off fossil fuels. If we are going to do so then we need to start ASAP. People don’t care about 2 degrees centigrade. That gets lost in the general noise of year to year variation. People care about avoiding apocalypse. Hansen’s warning is of apocalypse. That is why I think the priority should be on either verifying or refuting Hansen’s warning.

      • That is why I think the priority should be on either verifying or refuting Hansen’s warning.

        So far there is no evidence to support his warnings. There is some evidence of warming, but no solid evidence its different than past warming/cooling cycles. Much like your comment about the stationary pacific pressure ridge, that’s due to the PDO, and was expected actually.

  32. WhistlersPastTheGraveyard

    In London flooded homes along the River Thames are being evacuated and thousands more are at risk. In Japan, reports Reuters, eleven people died, more than a thousand were injured and tens of thousands lost power when the worst snowstorm in decades hit Tokyo and areas around the Japanese capital before heading north to blanket the tsunami-hit Pacific coast. Many countries in the Middle East were hit by snow. The BBC reports that heavy snow in northern Iran has left around 480,000 homes without power and some towns and villages cut off.

    PRISTINA (Reuters) – Kosovo started rationing water in and around its capital Pristina on Monday as it struggled with its worst shortages in at least three decades, officials said. Unusually low levels of snowfall and rain had left reservoirs at worrying levels, said state water company Prishtina.

    Incredible Ice Storm in Slovenia, Heavy snow in Southern Alps
    As bad as the icing has been in portions of the U.S., it pales in comparison to the incredible accumulations that have paralyzed Slovenia in southeastern Europe. Ice accretions up to (and perhaps over) 3” have toppled power lines and left 25% of the countries homes without power. Authorities say 40% of the country’s Alpine forests have been decimated. Southern Austria was also hard hit.

    If it doesn’t rain in Sao Paulo, Brazil in the next 45 days, the system that provides half the city’s drinking water will run dry.

    A persistent ridge of high pressure off the Pacific Coast fueled the warm spell, shunting warm air and rainstorms to Alaska instead of California, where they normally end up. The last half of January was one of the warmest winter periods in Alaska’s history, with temperatures as much as 40°F (22°C) above normal on some days in the central and western portions of the state, according to Weather Underground’s Christopher Bart. The all-time warmest January temperature ever observed in Alaska was tied on January 27 when the temperature peaked at 62°F (16.7°C) at Port Alsworth. Numerous other locations – including Nome, Denali Park Headquarters, Palmer, Homer, Alyseka, Seward, Talkeetna, and Kotzebue – all set January records.

    The heat was so persistent that it caused changes in Alaska’s appearance that popped out from space. Warm-weather rainstorms flooded rivers and sent plumes of sediment curling into the Gulf of Alaska, a spectacle more typically seen in spring and summer

    • Whistler – this same weather pattern occurred in 1918. Get over it.

    • A post on the UK floods coming later today

    • From the article:
      The weather in 1918

      October and November brought more rain, strong winds and even sleet and snow, and a correspondent mentioned on 15 October that ‘the battle may be said to be almost as much as against the weather and the mud…’

      Heavy rain continued periodically to sweep across the theatre of war into the first week of November, interspersed with thick fogs that were by now more of a nuisance, when airborne observers lost sight of retreating troops.

      http://www.weathercast.co.uk/weather-news/news/ch/0b0f30ed8e5ad0c099d58063e01fda68/article/the_weather_in_1918.html

    • From the article:

      We think we’ve got it bad this winter. But, this city’s endured some real winter challenges–like the blizzard of January 1918 pictured in these shots from Kenneth Johnson. That’s Kenneth’s grandfather clearing the snow over on Iowa Street here in the city. That storm–on Jan 5-6, 1918 is ranks as the city’s 8th largest snowstorm on record having produced 14.8″ of snow.

      http://blog.chicagoweathercenter.com/2014/02/04/chicago-during-the-blizzard-of-january-5-6-1918/

    • Judith

      I wrote this on the Dawlish sea wall breach a few days ago.

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/09/black-swans-dispatches-from-the-front-line-of-climate-change/

      Look forward to the UK flood article. I was on the South West Flood defence committee of the Environment Agency for nine years and met the chairman of the EA-Smith. He is a political placeman totally unsuited to the position. His inaction on the Somerset flooding is inexcusable although there are nuances the MSM don’t pick up on. He was warned what would happen.

      I also lived close to the Thames for many years so am very familiar with the flooding there.

      Both events happen very regularly. We are becoming too ultra sophisticated in our management of flooding. It needs people on the ground with excavators, bill hooks and spades, not politicians following an over green agenda to protect water voles over humans (I have first hand experience of that policy)

      tonyb

    • Here is an interesting resource. I don’t see any mention of floods in England for the Winter of 17-18.

      http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/archive/monthly-weather-report-1910s

    • There was a good bit of rain January, 1918.

      http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/d/o/Jan1918.pdf

    • Whistler

      Flooding and extreme weather? You must be glad you didn’t live in 13th Century Britain

      1234 third unseasonable year
      Wet weather in autumn choked the seed and loosened it.

      1236 great floods in Jan, Feb and part of March that no one had seen the like before. Bridges submerged, fords impassable, mills and ponds overwhelmed and sown land meadows and marshes covered. Thames flooded palace of Westminster so small boat could be navigated in the midst of the forecourt. And folk went to their bed chambers on horseback
      Followed by dry summer with intolerable heat that all lasted four months. Deep pools and ponds were dried up and water mils useless.

      1237 great rains in February, fords and roads impassable for 8 successive days
      Turbulent year stormy and unsettled

      1238 great floods in many parts probably December
      Cloudy and rainy in beginning until spring had passed then the drought and heat were beyond measure and custom in two or more of the summer months. Great deluge of rain in the autumn that straw and grain became rotten and an unnatural autumn which is held to be a cold and dry season gave rise to various fatal diseases.

      1239 very wet weather continually from Jan to March, it has continued for four months without intermission.

      1240 dry Jan to March, wet from April to December but fruitful and abundant but wet and rainy autumn greatly choked the abundant crops.

      1241 drought from March 25 to Oct 28 drought and intolerable heat. Pastures withered, herds pined away from hunger and thirst
      December very cold and bitter weather the like of which no one had seen before, binding the rivers killing large numbers of birds

      —— ——-
      the current extremes, although nowhere near as bad as in the past, might be an indication of the changes we can see between the cusp of the MWP and LIA as evidenced above.

      We need a plan A for warming AND a plan B for cooling. Both of which have their consequences.
      tonyb

    • Planning for warming is a lot easier than planning for cooling; perhaps that’s why we’re planning for warming, though cooling is a lot more likely, in the short term, in the medium term, and in the long term.
      ============

    • Drought in Brazil is a terrible thing. The 1877-8 Great Drought is estimated to have killed half a million. Of course, the drought which afflicted China at the same time may have killed twenty times that number, just over a few provinces. In the late 1870s India starved and Australia was dangerously parched. Even in normally wet NZ you had to buy water by the bucket.

      Yet the CET records a decade of storms, snow and massive rains on the other side of the world!

      It’s such a naughty planet. So let me know when you find a “normal” or “stable” climatic era and we can dial back to it. Apparently you can do that now.

    • In the short term, the concatenation of cooling phases of the oceanic oscillations.
      In the medium term, the response to the Livingston-Penn Effect, the Cheshire Cat Sunspots.
      In the long term, the end of the Holocene.

      So culturally, rather than face grim frozen reality, we’ve chosen to anoint our selves with guilt, and dress ourselves in fear, and shake rattles at the prospect of warming, which sustains more total life and greater diversity of life, than the true bogeyman, global cooling.
      ===============

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “We need a plan A for warming AND a plan B for cooling. Both of which have their consequences.”
      —-
      Planning broadly is wise, but the allocation of resources is always key. Can the same sort of hardening of infrastructure be viable in warmer and colder climates? iOW, It would be foolish to build a higher sea wall if the sea level is falling.

    • You’re often very attractive, RGates, especially early, when the light dawns.
      ===================

    • I am amazed by how many have fallen for the narrative of unprecedented weather. If there are data to prove these kinds of events have not happened in the last several thousand years with the same frequency they are happening now, I am all ears. A lot of people are ripe for this kind of propaganda.

    • ck, this narrative evolves like ‘The Android Media Strain’. ‘Weather Weirding’ is far more infectious than ‘Global Warming’, which is a good, or ‘Climate Change’ which eventually is understood as a given, and also a good. The meme of weather wilding is ancient, effective, and wrong; shall we call it evil?
      ====================

    • Around 1200 bridges were flooded…

      In the 1920’s the bridge on Dad’s farm flooded every spring. It was abut 2 feet above the creek. Then they moved the crossing about a 1/4 mile downstream and built a wooden bridge that was about 7 foot above the creek. It would flood once in a great while. In the 1990’s the county came in and put in a concrete bridge that is 12 feet above the creek, and it has never flooded. So extreme events on the farm are way down.

    • @ whistller

      ………..and if it hadn’t been for anthropogenic CO2, NONE of these reported events would have happened. After all, such things NEVER happened in the past, before humans started emitting ACO2 in wholesale quantities.

      To guarantee that we are never again subject to damaging weather events and warm spells during Alaskan winters I demand that the EPA shut down ALL sources of ACO2 (Well, maybe allow limited exhalation. For essential personnel only, of course.) immediately. That way our descendants, if any, will be able to bask in perfect weather 24/7365 (366 in leap years). Farmers will have the perfect amount of rainfall, at the perfect time and temperature, every year. The reservoirs will be perpetually full–but not too full. It will snow enough–in the appropriate locations–that the ski resorts will prosper, but not enough to crush roofs or cause avalanches. No more ice storms; precipitation will be confined to snow and rain and put on indefinite hold if the temperature is within 3 degrees of freezing. No more floods. Hurricanes/typhoons/tornados will be archaic words in old dictionaries. As will be air conditioning, furnace, and thermostat.

      Too bad I won’t be around to enjoy it.

  33. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Peter Lang advocates libertarian realism: “Even  brachiopods  children still exist. They’ve survived everything we can throw at them.”

    Peter Lang, yer posts are givin’ childish libertarian cognition a bad name!

    Libertarian Cognition Regarding Climate-Change:  “We’re not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed! But we libertarians *DO* say no more than two or three billion killed by climate-change, tops.

    Uh … depending on the breaks!”

    That kind of short-range self-centered never-grew-up libertarian thinking is completely nutty, eh Peter Lang?

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • John DeFayette

      FOMD, you’re treading on sacred ground here. Be very careful how you use the good Doctor. Some of us more religious types might be terribly offended.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “That kind of short-range self-centered never-grew-up libertarian thinking is completely nutty, eh Peter Lang?”
      —-
      Thanks for my early morning laugh! You do have a way with words.

  34. Maybe the climate scientists instead of talking about how we, that is the public should adapt to changing climatic or weather event circumstances should instead take a look at how they as climate scientists will adapt to the increasingly hostile and likely highly critical political and public attitudes towards climate science and it’s practitioners and their prognostications over the next few years,
    Changes in public and political attitudes towards climate science that are probably inevitable as is always the case in these types of circumstances as personnel move on and out and new faces in politics intent on leaving their mark on the world and with new priorities, short shift the older prevailing order and replace it with the new.

    Even more so if the plateauing of global temperatures continue and / or start to fall as some solar physicists, particularly the Russians are suggesting.

    • Yeah, sure ROM, find an area of public policy in which scientists have a greater ability to effect social change with such a paltry investment of facts. That their great failure was predictable is just that much more dismaying. And so it goes on, with these sorceror’s apprentices.
      =====================

  35. Just out from the UK parliament’s 2nd AR5 review. Found it more enlightening than its predecessor: the RMetS speaker seemed to be tilting the boundaries of accumulated knowledge by adding ‘facts’ to the discussion which do not from my understanding exist in the real world. Her organisations supposed total acceptance of AR5 also seemed to be at odds with its previous Chief Executive leaving the profession completely (with what seemed to be a lessening of respect for ‘climate scientists’), it might appear that on a statistical level the overwhelming majority of churchgoers believe in god, a simmilar occurrence being those on esters climate committes

    Talking money and policy – there were sound arguments that the UK cutting emissions was effectively in reading the problem, by driving manufacturing to china then shipping the finnished product half way round the world; a sf defeating exercise. Carbon trading also got knocked by it being too uncertain in theong term. The meeting was as a rule far more factual and less partisan than its predecessor. The RS got some criticism for changing its policy on passing an “opinion” on a scientific matter. A policy that held firm for a few 100 years thrown out on the CC matter. Peter Lilly, who always puts in a robust preformance failed to disapoint by pushing the meteorologist to confirm or deny an apparently insignificant line decision, which was equally met by the opposing player. Reminiscent of McKinroe V Connors on the centre court. Ultimately the meeting was about helping the polititions to form policy, and the outcome seemed to be that UK plc should not burden itself overtly with tackling CC while the big hitters (Us & China) were churning out the emissions at a rate that would make us look insignificant on any stage.

    • Much obliged to you, CMcM, for the optimistic report. They come to their senses slowly, and one by one.
      ===========

    • The Bish has a thread now, too. Hurray, Peter Lilley, bravo, Graham Stringer. Catcalls for the alarmists, the headless chicken little brigadiers.
      ==================

  36. KIM
    Men go mad in crowds, but ‘come to their senses one by one’. Popular Delusions….. should be required reading for everybody above the age of four.

    • This madness of the herd has been, is, epic.
      =========

    • KIM
      Stringer put a good question to RMetS which was met with the degree of highest scientific integrity that we have come to expect from the CC Club. Are the planets ‘energy buttons’ being pressed in a manner consistent with the emissions senario? The answer was so factually wrong that I pointed this out to the committee chairman after the meeting: earths polarity points to the accumulation of the harmful anthropogenic particles accumulating at the poles (as in the ozone depletion scenario) when the evidence shows AGW is predominantly an equitotial affair.

    • Whoa, now you’ve twisted my latitudes longitudinally. Is ‘flouride’ accumulating at the poles, or on horses on the flooded hills?
      =================

    • KIM
      With luck the whole matter will be washed up soon along with all the other anthropogenic dross that we throw in the sea. Myself and Dr Gadian are preparing a presentation for Tim Yeo, the E&CC chairman due to a chat we had after the first AR5 review. There is a significant degradation in the planets largest weather system that many CC finnanced institutions are ignoring since it will rain on their revenue parade. Gadian’s credentials are beyond question, so him bringing this to the attention of the head honcho combined with proof of disinformation should allow for a significant change of course, and hopefully a return to the good old days of sticking various miscretins heads on a spike above the city gates.

    • From your slips to odd gears.
      ===========

  37. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    Judith Curry, congratulations for hosting this US-UK workshop.
    But, does this mean that you are not interested in the debate about the scientific basis of anthropogenic climate change theory?.
    I sent you three “.doc” files for this debate. So I would like to know if:
    (A) Do I have to wait to get them publicited in your blog?, or
    (B) That “deep paradigm shift” I talked about in the 3rd file (titled: “Appropriate timescales in climate change debate”), will never be publicited in your blog.

  38. We can do something that will benefit no matter which way things go, and there’s no reason they can’t be in place long before we burn all the fossil fuels.
    Advanced Nuclear power: Fission, Liquid Salt, and then Fusion. We can make a significant impact to fossil fuel usage in 20-30 years if we act. I think business would build next gen fission plants, if the legal delays, costs and licensing fees weren’t draconian.
    I don’t mind solar and wind, but they need to stand on their own, the Gov can make research more affordable for these to make the tree huggers less mad. But Solyndra should be a lesson in what the gov should not be doing. The Gov should make all energy research tax advantageous, lots of people would self fund development.

    But nuclear is the only source that can power a growing first world, world.

    I know there are some who think, well if we only had 1-2 billion people, blah, blah, blah, if you really feel that way, do everyone a favor and get off the bus.

  39. “Towards bridging the gap between climate information (supply) and decision making (demand) on regional and decadal time scales…”

    Our local newspaper has a front page picture of a front-end loader dumping snow into a dump truck to be hauled away. “Budget Buster” is the headline. There follows a litany of road commission speakers describing the severe draw-down of road salt and the overtime pay for snowplow crews. They go on to say that their winter budgets are nearly exhausted and that they soon will be drawing monies from the summer road repair budgets.

    These winter road maintenance budgets are prepared ahead of time with input from State and University climatologists. These self described scientists pepper the local news and editorials about climate change, how winters are becoming warmer due to global warming, that we are all going to fry & die. The road maintenance budgets are then conjured by bureaucrats looking at the last three winter’s expenditures and shaving a few more dollars off this years budget. There is no contingency funding because……? the budgeteers had expert climate scientists advise them, not one, but several.

    On the second page of the newspaper are comments from the road crews, one 25 year veteran saying: ” People forget what a real winter is like.”

    Therein lies our current adaptation issues: sharps-penciled accountants shaving budgets, a little here, a little there based upon the most recent past experiences, enlisting collaborating self-styled editorialists using their science credentials to advance their personal agenda. Smaller budgets and no contingency planning because? winters like they use to be ain’t gonna happen. We have already had our average winter’s snowfall and we have two more months of winter to go.

    The tax dollars that have been shaved that would have gone into road maintenance winter and summer, have delightfully been skimmed for some green feel-good project; i.e., setting up gardens in rural areas so that homeless people can grow their own organic foods. That is: dysfunctional people, with overwhelming medical, mental health, shelter needs, without transportation, daily tending to gardens in remote areas with a long range objective of harvesting vegetables that have a narrow window of ripening opportunity. I kid you not!

    The public (I am one of the public) needs to “mind the gap” between information supply and decision making demand as ideologues and governments are most interested in getting the process right, and never mind the outcome, or at least, they are not to be held accountable for the outcome.

  40. Hi Peter Lang – With respect to your question

    “Is this somewhat like Richard Tol did in his paper: “THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURIES” ? http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

    our approach is significantly different. Even before one looks at weather/climate statistics scenarios that might occur in the future, we propose that the threshold of changes that would result in a negative (or positive) impact must first be determined. This is essentially a reversal of how the different IPCC reports have been sequenced.

    Roger

    • Well, still, it’s a continuum winding variably temperospatially. How are you going to find a ‘threshold’ anywhere?
      ==========================

    • our approach is significantly different. Even before one looks at weather/climate statistics scenarios that might occur in the future, we propose that the threshold of changes that would result in a negative (or positive) impact must first be determined.

      I agree, sort of. But not entirely persuaded that ‘threshold’ is the right word, because there are different ‘thresholds’ for every thing. It seems to me what we are looking for is a better estimate of the impacts per degree of global warming, and divided into different types of impacts such as Tol has done: storms, agriculture, health, water, sea level rise, ecosystems, energy and I’d add ‘abrupt climate change events’ (global and local),

      I also wonder if Tol, for example, hasn’t been working impacts for over 20 years.

      I am 100% in support of diverting a significant proportion of the funding that is currently directed to climate change projections to reducing the uncertainties in the ‘damage function’. I think this is another way of arguing for more research on impacts. Tol, Nordhaus and others, who have done much of the hard work estimating the damage function (and estimating the economic consequences based on the projections of climate change), continually point out that the uncertainties in the damage function are far greater than in climate sensitivity. Tol points out they are little better than a guess at this stage, despite him having been at the forefront of the work on impacts for over 20 years.

      I find IPCC WG2 unpersuasive. It simply reinforces my impression that it is influenced by environmental NGOs and social scientists. Since WG3 depends on WG2, it is also not persuasive.

      I’ll add a second comment below that I’ve been asking but get almost no responses. That, in itself, tells a story – i.e. no one can answer it.

    • Roger A. Pielke Sr.

      I’ve been asking this question, but have received no serious replies. That suggests the answer is “No, no one has attempted to address that question”

      Probability that mitigation policies would succeed

      Can anyone point to any authoritative analyses that evaluate the probability that the mitigation policies proposed by their advocates would succeed in delivering the claimed benefits?

      The question is about the probability of success in the real world given the real world diplomacy, trade, conflict, international and domestics economics and politics, etc.

      The expected benefits must be clearly specified in terms of climate damages avoided. They must be measurable benefits (of climate damages avoided) and the dates by which those benefits would be realised.

      Some examples of subordinate questions that may help to understand what is involved in answering the primary question above are
      (I’ve used Australia’s ETS as an example but the questions can be applied to all the advocated mitigation policies):

      1. How much would Australia’s ETS change sea levels by 2050 and by 2100? Provide the answer in units of length, with mean, standard deviation

      2. How much would Australia’s ETS, if it lasted, change global average surface temperature? Answer in units of temperature with mean, standard deviation.

      3. How much would it change the productivity of the land? Answer in $ of change to GDP, with mean, standard deviation and probability distribution.

      4. What is the probability distribution of climate damages avoided if the ETS lasted to 2100? Answer in real 2013 dollars, with mean, standard deviation.

      5. What is the probability that the ETS would last to 2100?

      6. What is the probability that the world will implement Australia’s ETS?

      7. What is the probability that the world will implement any global ETS?

      8. What is the probability that a global ETS will survive for 100 years?

      9. What is the probability a global ETS, if implemented, would be maintained for 100 years with high participation rate (e.g. at least 80% of all GHG emissions from all man caused sources from all sectors of all economies in all countries of the world)?

      My submission to the Australian Senate hearings on Repeal of the Carbon Tax Legislation may be of interest (Submission No.2 here: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Clean_Energy_Legislation/Submissions

    • In contemplating the ‘damage’ caused by climate change to be expected in the next century or so, it might be useful to remember that the only EMPIRICAL damage that can be unambiguously assigned to ‘Climate Change’ to date is the trillion dollars (+/-) that we have already expended in FIGHTING it by mandating the purchase of ‘environmentally friendy’ toilets, shower heads, washing machines, EPA milage mandates, hugely expensive light bulbs, energy taxes, windmills, solar plants, ad infinitum.

      Oh, by the way, if we can believe the Climate Scientists, it has all been for naught; CAGW has proceeded apace. See the commentary on this site. Our plight continues to be dire.

      If the ‘Lucy’s’ just double or quadruple the cost of energy and simultaneously reduce its supply by eliminating fossil fuel plants, without replacements, all will be well though. We Charley Browns will have the perfect climate (for sure, this time) and won’t require (or have available) the energy formerly wasted on such luxuries as heating and air conditioning. And if we all move out of the ‘burbs’ and into ‘sustainable’, centrally controlled cities and walk to work we won’t need cars, so except for the armored SUV’s required by the bureaucrats to get around in as they manage us, the CO2 produced by burning gas can be reduced to almost nothing, relatively speaking. If anyone actually NEEDS to drive to the next town they can just go down to the intercity travel office, fill out the proper forms, get a permit (if their need is ruled legitimate), pay the fee, wait for the next governmentally supplied intercity capable vehicle to become available, and off he goes.

  41. “The key question for the UNFCCC: ‘Is the 2C warming as a long-term goal adequate?’ raises a wide range of secondary questions to be addressed (some of which are included in Lu’s presentation). With regards to loss and damage (discussed in this previous post), this implies the need to attribute loss and damage to AGW versus other climate and confounding factors, which is something that climate science can’t provide much guidance on. Lu then makes the statement: “But even if we have perfect answers to all those questions, the ultimate answer to the review question, and the decisions on means to address loss and damage inevitably entail value judgment and political/diplomatic resolution, and would go beyond the methods and insights of climate science.” It seems to me that all of this (including the primary questions) are beyond what climate science can provide. Climate science and the UNFCCC need for information at this point seems to me to be a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.”

    Absolutely correct, except for one thing. The only reasons that we have for believing in future harmful effects of AGW come from so-called climate scientists. Aside from the Holy Church of The Environment, there is no mass movement calling for government action on climate change or whatever you want to call it. What we need now is for the field of climate science to police itself and return to the well worn standards of scientific method. As it exists now, climate science is ill and needs the good tonic of skepticism, as embodied in traditional scientific method, to restore its health.

    • Permit me to emphasize one of the main differences between the scientist qua scientist and the policy maker qua politician. The policy maker in a democratic country is ultimately responsible to the electorate. The policy maker will take into account information that science cannot substantiate. The policy maker must listen to his electorate and attempt to satisfy them. When the call for action on “climate change” is not from the common man/woman but from highly funded political organizations, such as the Holy Church of The Environment, the policy maker has to take that into account. (These matters are more confusing these days because of the EU which is a collection of bureaucrats acting as if they had been elected and the newly found activism of the UN.) The scientist qua scientist must carefully explain his/her research so that it does not become fodder for highly organized and well funded political organizations, not to mention the Al Gores. Climate scientists should distance themselves appropriately from the propaganda based on computer models.

  42. Judith: Do governments ever make useful plans on the decade to multi-decade time scale?

    If we still build in the 100-year flood plain, do you think our building plans will (or currently should) compensate for the possibility of 1 m of SLR mostly late in the century?

    Almost every nation’s funding for retirement programs and the increasing percentage of retired workers is completely inadequate. Although the amount of economic growth we can expect in the future is uncertain, the uncertainty in economic growth is far smaller than in climate change. In the US, the Medicare Trust Fund goes bankrupt in two or three years.

    Trying listening to the discussion at the Energy Institute (h/t Bishop Hill) discussing the coming squeeze in British electric power generation, rising prices, and the realization that they don’t have public support for the changes they feel are needed (always a problem in a democracy).

    1:10:30. If you could pass one law, what would you ask for? The former energy minister: Make it impossible to pass a law committing the government to any goal without a clear roadmap for accomplishing it.

    Defense makes long-range plans, though everyone says we are always planning to fight the last war. Twenty years ago, the US planned to buy >2000 F-22 fighter planes to replace our aging fleet. We recently ended production at 2000 F-35 fighters over the next two decades.

    Imagine it is a century ago. What could scientists and economists have told us that would have made the world a better place in 1935 or 1950? Think about how big initiatives in the last half century have faired. The War on Poverty? Star Wars? No Child Left Behind? The war on cancer was declared in 1971, but it took three decades before the first drugs were available that targeted fundamental mechanisms that make cancer cells proliferate abnormally. (Most of these are drugs are proteins or antibodies, a classes of drugs unknown at the time, except for insulin.) Energy independence has been a goal since 1973, but we only made progress towards this goal when the politicians started ignoring it around 2000. The Civil RIghts Movement and Legislation have made great changes, but it great inequality remains despite affirmative action programs testing the limits of constitutionality.

    Climate scientists may feel that should give governments the best scientific advise possible, but your advice needs to be tailored to the entities you are advising. Given that they are democracies, hiding uncertainty and downplaying difficulties will lead to policymaking disaster.

  43. WhistlersPastTheGraveyard

    my last posting on this blog but I’ll just say a few

    “Whistler – this same weather pattern occurred in 1918. Get over it.”

    nope. not worldwide. I could have posted 100 other contemporaneous items. The extreme swings are happening all over in greater frequency. You have to do some legwork to see it, however, as major media doesn’t collate and report (contra the idea that there is a blizzard of climate change propaganda…in the USA, colleagues reported ZERO mention of Climate Change on the CBS/ABC/NBC nightly news programs in the past 6 weeks of weather reporting, exactly the opposite of some concerted effort to mold the minds of the masses). Meanwhile real oceanographers are becoming more and more concerned with the homo sapiens-induced pH levels and the various marine life die-offs you aren’t hearing about (do you think the data all appears on the internet? lol). Anyway, you’ll all be scrabbling for rationalizations soon enough while we head inexorably towards, if not extinction, a rather marked culling (and no, there are no realistic prophylactic measures, it’s already baked into the global cake).

    • Whistler

      The idea that there have been no news about climate change is an absolutely extraordinary one, as is the idea that climat events worldwide aren’t well known.

      Fortunately we c an see we have been this climatic way before albeit not for at least half a century.

      Tonyb

    • Aren’t you echoing Slingo? Instead of investigating the case at hand in some serious way, maybe even scientifically on occasion, we change the topic to the many other uninvestigated cases. At some point, we have to stop hand-waving and start doing science.

    • Meanwhile, real millennarians and alarmists – the ones you never get to hear from – are warning of a marked culling of the human race. (This is being kept under wraps on purpose, since there’s only so much room on a spaceship.)

      Hope it’s not going to be like 1939-40, when Australia had its most lethal heatwave (mid La Nina Jan 1939!) then the Big Heat in Queensland the next summer. Meanwhile, the 1939 cold wave descended on the Northern Hemisphere with those horrific storms and freak weather (all bad) everywhere you looked.

      You know, taking into account the biggest killer of all, the flooding in China, I’d say to our climate manipulators: Absolutely do NOT restore the climate to a 1930s “norm”.

  44. Hi kim

    You wrote

    “Well, still, it’s a continuum winding variably temperospatially. How are you going to find a ‘threshold’ anywhere?”

    Actually, there are often sharp thresholds (e.g. 0C). for example, for vegetation, freezing and other temperature thresholds are very important.

    Even for the more gradual elevation of risk, it is still important to determine where a threat is no longer tolerable, and what can be done to prevent reaching that level.

    Roger

    • Thanks, R; measuring with such fine tolerances may give you something of value.
      ========

    • I blame the bad jokes on the machine from which they’re read to me. It’s like waiting for go.dotEquilibrium. Thresholds shift constantly and are determinably, interminably, value laden. Phase changes do seem exceptional to this general rule.
      ========================

  45. Matthew R Marler

    For an example of non-robust adaptation, consider modern California. In response to warnings about the effects of global warming, CA might have upgraded and expanded its flood control and irrigation networks; those are in need of ordinary maintenance. Instead, CA has passed AB32, requiring the construction of $billions worth of solar farms, wind farms, and transmission lines. CA could shut down its entire industry without affecting global CO2; any reasonable forecast for the future is that future extremes will exceed past extremes (the mid-nineteenth century flood, for example); yet the state is going for a non-achievable goal and giving up on an achievable goal. That’s without even considering the “high speed train” project.

    • Pie in the sky in the land of fruits and nuts?

      Consider the seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant built at Santa Barbara.

      It cost an investment of $34 million back in 1991.

      It’s capacity was around 120,000 gal per day (around 0.1% of the local demand). It essentially stood idle because the incremental cost to operate it was several times higher than alternate water sources. Lots of folks scrambled around in the “who’s to blame for this?” game.

      Now it would cost an estimated $17 million to refurbish and get operational again.

      And, further up the coast at the SF Bay, where water is colder and SWRO costs are higher, folks are starting to talk about doing the same thing there, because of the current drought. And they are even dreaming of running it on solar or wind power (ouch!), adding more “pie in the sky”.

      I’m not saying that SWRO is not a viable technology, for example in locations where there is no alternate, a reliable and inexpensive source of energy is readily available and the seawater is much warmer (United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia), but “ya gotta have a plan” (and this was apparently missing in the Santa Barbara case).

      Max

    • The HST reminds me of Australia’s NBN, a back-of-the-envelope plan, recently costed at $A94 bn, to provide Australians with Internet speeds far in excess of almost everyone’s needs at prices above those we wish to pay. In a recent by-election, following the resignation of ex-PM Kevin Rudd, the ALP candidate’s main point was that the new (Coalition) government’s lower-priced alternative to NBN would have speeds only 1/40th of the ALP’s version. [I don’t believe that is true, but no matter.] I pointed out to her that this was nonsense, because, in fact, after spending of around $A12 bn over six years, the speed of the NBN almost everywhere in Australia is zero. At end 2012, 35,000 premises were connected, currently probably still < 100,000 in a population of 23.4 million.

      There used to be a term “vapour ware” for pie-in-the-sky software promises. Likewise for the California train and our super-speed Internet.

      (Was posting long pre-Mnacker but my trusty Internet connection failed.)

    • Manacker,

      The Australian water desalination plants are a story too. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide. All built plants that have huge costs whether they are used or not. The Adelaide plant would take 100 years to pay for itself and has a design life of about 40 years (from memory). These were build because the Climate Commission and various other government funded agencies and advocacy groups kept telling us during the drought the dams will never fill again. Of course, that came after 30 years of dams being banned by greenies and the socialists because they are ‘unsustainable’ and interfere with habitat of the spotted green frog, etc.

    • Faustino,

      Australia is zero. At end 2012, 35,000 premises were connected,

      20,000 of those ‘connection’s werr achieved by buying the local ACT Transact service. It is fibre to the node. It is 1990’s technology and far slower than the standard broadband everyone else can access in Australia, including by wireless.. NBN bought Transact in June 2013 to make the number of connections completed by 30 June (just before the recent Federal election) look better.

  46. Pingback: UK-US Workshop Part II: Perspectives from the private sector on climate adaptation | Climate Etc.

  47. Pingback: UK-US Workshop Part III: Strategies for robust decision making for climate adaptation | Climate Etc.

  48. Pingback: Workshop summary from Climate Etc | rmdobservations

  49. Pingback: UK-US Workshop Part IV: Limits of climate models for adaptation decision making | Climate Etc.

  50. One of the phrases in the article asks “what questions should we be asking”. I think a few would be…

    1. Shouldn’t the IPCC at least mention, if only to dismiss it, the 2009 research showing radioactive decay is a variable for some isotopes ijn relation to cycles of the sun, ie it’s 36 day cycle, and proximity to it(always thought to be a constant for all). Radioactive decay is responsible for a huge percentage of earths internal heat generation. I think therefor any information relating to it should be thoroughly investigated.

    2. Should we be trying harder to explain the difference in temperature that occurs during the short milankovitch cycles, where during equal periods of insolation, at similar distances to the sun, we experience global temperature fluctuations based on relative tilt of the earth.

    3. Should we be looking harder at research done on the variability of birefringement of light as it passes through ice and ice crystals, based on the strength of the magnetic field the medium is in? We know ice crystals are a significant part of the atmosphere (all cloud to ground lightning, I read is born in ice crystals). It may affect cloud creation. Ice melting. Who knows what else.

    4. Should we be looking a lot harder at the confirmation of the existence of the Higgs bosun and how that affects our understanding of the way entirety of everything works, magnetism, gravity, electricity, light. It seems that our understanding of the way the universe really works, is in a lot of flux right now, and the IPCC doesn’t seem to have awareness of this.

    5. When looking at how the climate works, are we remembering to take a step back. Look at how everything works, from the local interstellar cloud, to the heliopause, to the sun and solar activity cycles, and then to the earth, and the interchange of energy between all of the above, how earth is a lightning rod, partway between the sun and the heliopause, and gets hit with a large percentage of secondary radiation from the sun, as a result of flares, CME’s etc. The Voyager probe has recently left the heliopause, after almost 40 years in transit. It is 19,000,000,000 km away (the heliopause is a BIG bubble). the heliopause (and sun and planets) are moving relative to the local interstellar cloud at 26 km/s. the medium outside the heliopause is 40 times denser than inside. The magnetic charge outside is several times stronger than expected. The volume of “cleared” space, the heliopause displaces in a year is around 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 cubic kilometers. The stuff had to go somewhere. And that seems statistically relevant information to me.

    6. We are aware of solar cycles. We are aware of the maunder minimum and the dalton minimum. Yet insolation was not on the famous hockey stick graph. To compare two sets of data without an obviously relevant third set being present to me seems like bad work. As we know more about how the sun affects the earth, the sun being the real driver becomes more and more relevant. The sun is repeating a 200 year old pattern that does not bode well for the climate in the northern hemisphere for the next 30-40 years. If there is a case to be made for “waves” of energy and density variations in the interstellar medium, the reasons for the variation in peaks of the 11.5 year solar cycle become usable as predictive tools (until we have a probe far enough ahead of the heliopause to measure this for us, and prove or disprove a relation), and the tidings of many cold winters to come, become very potentially significant. It will be hard to convince people to prepare for super ice storms, blackouts, snow removal, etc, if we continue to fill their heads with concerns of melting icecaps, rising oceans and out of control temperatures.

    7. Not that I care, but on the issue of rising oceans? REALLY? We know that Mariana’s trench is the deepest place in the ocean because it has the heaviest crust. We know that the great lakes sit ontop of a massive disk of rock that acts like a trampoline and goes up or down as ice forms and melts above it. That process created the niagara gorge and Niagara falls 10-12,000 years ago. We know that the contintents float in comparison to the mantle. We know that melted sea ice does not significantly change sea level (cause ice floats). So concerns about sea levels, other than where they may change in response to tidal swells, and orbital and land shape variations, but based rather on actual quantity of water changing, don’t make sense. Water floats on continental plates. Pushes it down, more so in the heavier plate locations. This is not a system where the sea level, in general , globally, can vary significantly. It does not seem a sensible concern to me.

    8. As an interesting side note,, to help keep our place in the universe in perspective, 7,000,000,000 humans, at an average weight of 75kg, dumped into a giant box, would only take up .5 cubic km. Yes that is correct. 7,000,000,000 * 75 = 525,000,000,000 kg (or litres) (about the same in litres, because we mostly float). 1 cubic meter is 1,000 litres. 1 cubic kilometer is 1,000*1,000*1,000 cubic meters (of 1,000 litres each) so 1 cubic km is 1,000,000,000,000 litres or kg (at the density of water). We take up about .5 of that space. HALF A CUBIC KILOMETER. Spread out really thinly, and mostly along waterfronts. We are not overly significant.

    You asked “what questions should we be asking”. hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Alistair

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  52. Fools. Still solving hyper-warming problems, when cooling is going to be (the far more difficult) real-world challenge.

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