Paris Climate Change Conference

Paris Climate Conference Greenhouse Gas Cuts: Almost No Impact on Global Warming

Plenty of economic pain for a likely reduction in global temperature rise of about -0.17°C in 2100

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BjornLomborg
Salon

At the end of this month, leaders from 80 countries, including President Obama, will gather in Paris to inaugurate the U.N. climate change conference at which a universal climate treaty is supposed to be adopted. The aim of the treaty is to get countries to agree to policies that reduce their emissions over greenhouse gases, chiefly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. The goal of the reductions is to prevent global average temperature from rising by more than 2.0 degrees higher than the pre-industrial average. Average global temperature is now about 0.8 degrees Celsius higher.

As part of the process, each country has been asked to submit their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) to future greenhouse gas emissions cuts. The Obama administration pledged earlier this year that the United States would reduce its emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. At the end of October, the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) released its Synthesis Report analysis of those INDCs. The report concluded that when summed together, they will not put humanity on the track toward fulfilling the 2 degree Celsius threshold.

In new study, "Impact of Current Climate Proposals," published today in the journal Global Policy, Bjorn Lomborg, head of the Copenhagen Consensus Center think tank, adds up all of the INDCs to see what their overall effect on the future trajectory of man-made global warming would be. The answer: Minuscule.

From the abstract:

This article investigates the temperature reduction impact of major climate policy proposals implemented by 2030, using the standard MAGICC climate model. Even optimistically assuming that promised emission cuts are maintained throughout the century, the impacts are generally small. The impact of the US Clean Power Plan (USCPP) is a reduction in temperature rise by 0.013°C by 2100. The full US promise for the COP21 climate conference in Paris, its so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) will reduce temperature rise by 0.031°C. The EU 20-20 policy has an impact of 0.026°C, the EU INDC 0.053°C, and China INDC 0.048°C. All climate policies by the US, China, the EU and the rest of the world, implemented from the early 2000s to 2030 and sustained through the century will likely reduce global temperature rise about 0.17°C in 2100 (emphasis added). These impact estimates are robust to different calibrations of climate sensitivity, carbon cycling and different climate scenarios. Current climate policy promises will do little to stabilize the climate and their impact will be undetectable for many decades.

In the accompanying press release Lomborg states:

COP21Small
COP21

"Paris is being sold as the summit where we can help 'heal the planet' and 'save the world'. It is no such thing. If all nations keep all their promises, temperatures will be cut by just 0.05°C (0.09°F). Even if every government on the planet not only keeps every Paris promise, reduces all emissions by 2030, and shifts no emissions to other countries, but also keeps these emission reductions throughout the rest of the century, temperatures will be reduced by just 0.17°C (0.3°F) by the year 2100.

When releasing the UNFCCC's analysis of the INDCs, U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres declared:

"The INDCs have the capability of limiting the forecast temperature rise to around 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100, by no means enough but a lot lower than the estimated four, five, or more degrees of warming projected by many prior to the INDCs."

Lomborg counters: 

"That entirely misrepresents the world's options. The 2.7°C comes from the International Energy Agency and essentially assumes that if governments do little in Paris and then right after 2030 embark on incredibly ambitious climate reductions, we could get to 2.7°C. 

That way of thinking is similar to telling the deeply indebted Greeks that just making the first repayment on their most pressing loans will put them on an easy pathway to becoming debt-free. It completely misses the point. 

Figueres' own organization estimates the Paris promises will reduce emissions by 33Gt CO? in total. To limit rises to 2.7°C, about 3,000Gt CO? would need to be reduced – or about 100 times more than the Paris commitments (see figure below). That is not optimism; it is wishful thinking."

What should be done to address the problem of man-made global warming? Lomborg asserts:

"Instead of trying to make fossil fuels so expensive that no one wants them – which will never work – we should make green energy so cheap everybody will shift to it."

For more background, I reported that the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan that aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power generation sector by 32 percent by 2030 would reduce warming in 2100 by -0.015 degrees Celsius. See also, my article, "Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Renewable Energy Technology" in which I calculated that it would cost by 2030 nearly $10 trillion to replace all fossil fuel energy in the United States using current versions of renewable technologies.

Note: I will be publishing daily dispatches from the Paris climate conference starting the second week of December.

Disclosure: The Copenhagen Consensus Center paid my travel expenses to report on one of its conferences. The Center had absolutely no say in my reporting and writing on the conference.

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  1. But this is just proof that we’re acting too late.

    DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!

    1. REPENT, CARBON SINNERS!

  2. Climate science is 97% certain of a CO2 Armageddon and 97% certain that smoking causes cancer? Why would you peace loving liberals want this misery to have been real for our children?
    You liberals exaggerate vague science of a crisis to our children just like the fear fostering neocons you hissy fit hate so much.
    Only 34 MORE years of climate action delay, debate and global denial is certain and unstoppable now.

    1. Why would you peace loving liberals want this misery to have been real for our children?

      What? Are you from the future?

      1. You’re dealing with a Hihn-level “intellect” here, Zeb. I wouldn’t expect much.

      2. Future English is hard.

  3. ThinkProgress called this analysis “indefensible.” Which pretty much makes it correct.

  4. That guy looks like Julian Assange and Gordan Ramsay had a love child.

    1. More like the result of a hatefuck, amirite?

    2. Which one is the mother in that scenario?

      1. Assange of course.

        1. Yeah, I can’t really picture Ramsay in that role.

  5. phew – crisis averted!

  6. That is not optimism; it is wishful thinking.

    That’s no moon…

    1. M-O-O-N! That spells moon!

      /The Stand

      1. +1 “we’re all in hell”

  7. And yet ,the Roman warm period and the midiieval warm period were were times of plenty and the little ice age a time of war and famine. Even being one of the causes of the French Revolution. Warm,good,cold ,bad.Then there’s the faft there has been no warming for 18 years and it is impossible to suppot the wolrd as we know it,planes,,cars,ships,farming and chemicals,without oil.

    1. If you adjust your tinfoil hat correctly, you would see how that is a feature, not a bug.

  8. Meanwhile, how many jobs lost because the EPA’s war on coal? Nothing like being made unemployed as part of a meaningless gesture by some bureaucrat.

  9. Climate Interactive charts pledges from each country and overall impact, and they claim that business as usual will lead to a 4.5 C degree increase, current pledges will lead to 3.5 C increase.

    http://www.climateinteractive……coreboard/

    John Sterman (MIT) claims that Lomborg ignores China’s pledges because they go beyond the year 2030. And those pledges alone account for nearly half a degree C decrease. Maybe you know why Lomborg would dismiss those particular pledges.

    Regardless, if the point is that even more needs to be done, welcome aboard. We all know that.

    1. yaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwn

    2. What exactly is the difference between a climate “scientist” with a computer model and a mystic with a crystal ball?

      Oh yeah. Nothing.

      1. Everyone, including they mystic, knows the mystic is full of shit.

      2. “What exactly is the difference between a climate “scientist” with a computer model and a mystic with a crystal ball?”

        The mystic won’t give an answer with more than one significant figure.

    3. There was no reason to believe any of China’s numbers even before their latest “adjustment”.

      1. Thanks for acknowledging Lomborg’s shallow analysis.

        1. I think you misunderstood my point.

          1. I think you only highlighted Sterman’s criticism of Lomborg’s incomplete analysis. You can’t do a “global analysis of country pledges” and selectively disregard some countries pledges. They are pledges…you and Lomborg have no idea whose are more valid.

            1. “you and Lomborg have no idea whose are more valid”

              Yeah, you should be like our resident imbecile and ignore history, ’cause stuff!

    4. “John Sterman (MIT) claims that Lomborg ignores China’s pledges because they go beyond the year 2030.”
      There’s another good reason to ignore them; they’re promises that won’t be kept.
      But hey, Jack! Tell us again about how fracking is causing earthquakes no one can feel! That was good.
      How about massive storms, that are sorta massive if you ignore storms in other places and figure (as the dumb shit you are) that .0.25% larger than the other one makes it MASSIVE! I got a good laugh out of that one.
      And when is the rapture, Jack? Are you giving away all you possessions?

      1. no one would believe “US pledges” and we’re supposed to be the good guys; why the hell would anyone believe either China’s pledges or anything else it says? This is like the climate version of budget talks, with projected cuts slated for years down the road but never happen.

        1. “why the hell would anyone believe either China’s pledges or anything else it says?”

          Because if you don’t, Jack’s rapture isn’t gonna happen.

    5. Climate Interactive charts pledges from each country and overall impact, and they claim that business as usual will lead to a 4.5 C degree increase, current pledges will lead to 3.5 C increase.

      Yes, we should absolutely base statist policies on models from IPCC which have proved 100% unreliable.

      1. You don’t understand. The models were perfectly accurate. It’s not their fault that the climate didn’t cooperate.

    6. John Sterman (MIT) claims that Lomborg ignores China’s pledges because they go beyond the year 2030. And those pledges alone account for nearly half a degree C decrease. Maybe you know why Lomborg would dismiss those particular pledges.

      Why do you hate gay people?

    7. Re: Jackass Ass,

      Climate Interactive charts pledges from each country and overall impact, and they claim that business as usual will lead to a 4.5 C degree increase

      And of course you believe it. Not that the current models have been correct but you’re still the trusting type.

      John Sterman (MIT) claims that Lomborg ignores China’s pledges because they go beyond the year 2030

      Because we all know that China’s pledges mean something.

      Oh, gawd…. Aren’t Marxians gullible?

  10. WE GOTTA DO MOAR OF SOMETHING, AND HARDER! AND NINETY SECONDS AGO!!

    1. Nope, we’ve already passed the tipping point about a dozen times, according to hucksters like Michael Mann. Time to party like it’s 1999.

      1. Climate alarmists are no different that that nut on the corner with a sign that says the world will end on Tuesday, who goes and paints another sign on Wednesday.

  11. I linked this last night.

    “Obama points to blocking Keystone as top accomplishment”
    […]
    “He says going ahead with the pipeline would have harmed the United States’ leadership on curbing global warming.”
    http://www.kristv.com/story/30…..mplishment

    It’s ALL signalling. Giving Buffett the monopoly on oil transport is NOT doing one damn thing, even if you buy the story in its entirety.

    1. According to Charles Koch they estimate that if the Keystone Pipeline were approved it would shave 280 million off their annual profits due to increases in the price of Canadian Oil.

      So, Obama did them a big favor!!!!

    2. Buffett doesn’t have a monopoly. Bill Gates (CN) also hauls a lot of Canadian oil south of the border.

  12. At the end of this month, leaders from 80 countries, including President Obama, will gather in Paris

    Via video conference, right?

  13. we should make green energy so cheap everybody will shift to it

    Does he propose a method to accomplish that? That is, is he suggesting ramped up R&D or is this a call for subsidies?

    1. You tax the shit out of fossil fuels and presto, green energy becomes cheap. Well, actually it doesn’t, but it appears cheap because everything else is artificially more expensive.

      1. Raising the price of fossil fuels is right out, as he said.

        I was rather interested in the solution, if he wasn’t just stating the problem rhetorically. It at least had a glimmer of potential understanding to it.

        He probably draws artificial distinctions between R&D and subsidies like Raven Nation suggests, but at least acknowledges that the fantasy they want to work doesn’t and, as is, can’t.

        1. I read him as “stating the problem rhetorically.”

      2. It’s either that or subsidize the shit out of the “green” stuff. Which also doesn’t make it cheap.

      3. A carbon tax is the only thing that makes sense. Subsidizing green energy is just the government picking winners. And we know how good the government is in doing this.

        Put externalities back on the things that create them. And then the market will find an efficient solution.

        1. So who do you remit your negative tax to? To date CO2 emissions have produced net gain. The planet is greener now than 30 years ago. Crop yields are higher at current concentrations than they would have been otherwise.

        2. A carbon tax … [puts] externalities back on the things that create them

          A tax takes money out of the pockets of people and puts it in the hands of government.

          You have to identify what exactly the problem is that you’re trying to solve. If the problem is “global warming”, well then what are the consequences? The destruction of the planet is ridiculous hyperbole unsubstantiated by historical evidence (the planet has been a lot warmer with a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere in the past, while teeming with life). So you have to identify the predictable effects. All of which, as far as I’ve seen, involve things that are easily mitigated in the developed world. The only real question then is of the developing world.

          How is raising the price of everything going to help people develop, such that whatever effects might occur can be mitigated by them?

          As far as the developed world is concerned, how does putting more money into the government’s hands address the externalities?

        3. Sigh…
          Insert COASE here.

          1. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we should do anything but deal with the consequences. But if you want to reduce carbon, the only thing that works is to have a carbon tax. Coase doesn’t apply very well to pollution because there are multiple victims.

      4. Of course if you want really cheap, clean, and renewable energy, fossil fuels or solar/wind/unicorn-farts are never going to be your go-to energy sources.

        But no-one wants to address the big, radioactive elephant in the room for some reason.

  14. Come on, Ronald. This is activity disguised as action, not a genuine get-something-done initiative. Let’s call it political social signaling. They look like they care; anyone who judges their results just wants unicorns to die. And puppies, too.

    1. Virtue signalling. They want to appear virtuous in front of their peers. It’s the same reason low-testosterone white males can be frequently spotted calling themselves feminist or spouting #BlackLivesMatter. It feels good to be able to pat yourself on the back even in the absence of any measurable success.

  15. “As part of the process, each country has been asked to submit their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) to future greenhouse gas emissions cuts.”

    Dear UN,

    Our INDC is as follows. Go and fuck yourselves, and take your belongings with you. The UN building will be sold, just like you sold yourself on bogus climate science, where there is need to skew, and omit data in order to promote this agenda.

  16. The Copenhagen Consensus Center paid my travel expenses to report on one of its conferences. The Center had absolutely no say in my reporting and writing on the conference.

    They were confident that you supported their main belief and provided you with some travel money. They didn’t need to “have a say” because they knew in advance which position you would support.

    Still waiting for your write up of Mann vs. Steyn but I will not be holding my breath.

  17. Soo, the leading cause of GHG emissions thus far in 2015 is the Indonesia palm plantation slash and burn, but what we really need to do, rather than bribing or shaming those producers into doing something else is create comand economies run by people who already fail to model complex systems accurately. Pardon me if I hesitate to believe this is going to work.

  18. I’m beginning to see climate change as just another Boomer arrogance dressed up in scientishist garb. If you don’t start from the premise that the 1960s were the ideal climate, the urgency fades from doing anything.

    1. It’s really a religion, complete with an initial paradise, the fall of man, a call to cease sinning etc.

      I think there is something in the human psyche that needs religion, and if that need is not being fed by an established traditional religion, then someone somewhere will vomit up a new religion that then other unattached people will glom onto.

    2. I’m pretty well convinced that human activity is having some effect on climate. But to get from there to being one of these true believers does indeed require some religion-like leaps of faith.

      1. I’m pretty well convinced that human activity is having some effect on climate

        At this point, I wouldn’t be convinced if “climate scientists” told me the sky was full of air and the ocean full of water. I’m not convinced of the opposite, either, but as far as I can tell the truth is not “out there”. There’s a handful of solid studies which leave the grand proposition of human-caused climate change inconclusive, and then there’s the remaining “97%” which is just politicking.

  19. BTW Ron ,give it up.It’s not going to destroy the world as we know it. They have no facts,just,oh my gia ,this is going to happend soon or sooner. Solar and wind are a pipe dream and they all rule out atomic fuel,.BTW ,history shows,warmer is better.

    1. history shows,warmer is better.

      For some people, anyway. I don’t think we have a very good picture of how the medieval warm period and other similar warmer periods affected the rest of the world outside of Europe. Warmer weather in Europe is great. In Africa or SE Asia, perhaps not so much.
      However, I agree that it is idiotic to pretend that a warmer climate would not have lots of benefits offsetting the downsides.

      1. You’re going to have to provide some evidence to support your claims. A warmer world is a more productive world. A warmer world turns the Saharra back into a savannah from the desert it is now. A warmer world lengthens the growing season at higher latitudes. The fact that our technology and really our access to energy allows us to live in such diverse and generally colder climates doesn’t change the fact that the Earth remains in an ice age and that the planet would be more productive if it were warmer than it is now.

        1. A warmer world turns the Saharra back into a savannah from the desert it is now

          That raises an eyebrow. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but could you provide the reasoning?

          1. There’s an explanation and empirical data. A warmer world changes the circulation and hydrology patterns at that lattitude. About 10000 years ago it was savannah and that roughly coincides with the Holocene climate optimum.

            1. Hmm, I’d consider that about on the same level as all of the predictions of doom and gloom; possible but likely improbable.

              1. The Sahel is already expanding northward. An increase in global temps would definitely impact Hadley cells. Versus demonstrably false models. Hardly the same.

        2. I’m not really making any claims there.

          A more productive, warmer world isn’t necessarily better for humans in every case. Highy productive malarial swamps and kudzu and poison ivy aren’t so great. That’s all I’m saying. It will probably be good for some and bad for others.

  20. What should be done to address the problem of man-made global warming?

    ?
    How do you solve
    a problem like Global Warming?
    How do you catch a cloud-like concept and pin it down?
    ?
    How do you find a word that means Global Warming?
    A flibbertigibbet! A will-o’-the wisp!
    No! Climate Change! ?

    You would sound much less ridiculous if you stopped calling it a “problem”.

  21. I can’t think of a better model acronym than MAGICC.

  22. “Instead of trying to make fossil fuels so expensive that no one wants them ? which will never work ? we should make green energy so cheap everybody will shift to it.”

    Bjorn, the Marxians are NOT interested in making so-called “green” energy cheaper for everybody because that would mean keeping capitalism alive (in their minds). They’re not interested in making life better for all of humankind. This concern about “climate change” is just another excuse to foster their failed ideology.

    Remember that Marx was peddling Communism as the only path to achieving greater prosperity for everyone ?greater wealth, if you will. The fact that history has proven otherwise has not fazed Marxians, though. They are QUITE AWARE Marxian economic ideas are pure bunk and that every possible implementation of them have led to countless lives lost, destruction of land and property and a miserable existence for the survivors. People who still live under Communist (Marxian) regimes are living inside a veritable time capsule.

    Because they can no longer sell Marxianism as a path to prosperity, Marxians have shifted their focus towards saving the planet from “us” by turning away from this idea of greater prosperity for people under the guise that wishing it is evidence of greed and selfishness. It’s all a sham.

  23. Lomborg is being too nice not to play by the rules of the climate modelers. He’s probably correct in talking the talk so positively to contribute to what passes for learned conversation among the policy elite, but I cannot read this type of stuff without irritation. One never expects them in this type of black-box simulation exercise, but I want to point out that in Lomborg’s piece there are no confidence intervals around any of the projections in table 1 on page 9. And no discussion of possible sources of uncertainty. Just an optimistic and a pessimistic scenario. Try searching for the word uncertainty or random or error. Lomborgs paper could have been a few paragraphs long, mainly to note that the only thing that matters is the sign and the order of magnitude for the effects of C02 reduction plans – the sign is positive (duh) and the order of magnitude is trivially low (also, duh, if you’ve been paying attention), even if one were to claim the simulations are magically accurate. But there is no magic, the models are best guesses, and so the effect is really indistinguishable from whatever you might want it to be. Lomborg won’t say that, of course. He’s playing nice, which is good. Somebody has to.

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