Monday, March 31, 2014

Some reactions to WGII

Sou | 10:55 PM Go to the first of 18 comments. Add a comment

Human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems.

So opens the Summary for Policy Makers of WGII, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.

Here is a sample of the blogger reactions and (pre-release) news items about the IPCC AR5 WGII report.

Judith Curry said yesterday that she had "yet to read the entire WG2 Report" (surprise surprise, seeing it hadn't been released at the time), but expressed the view that threats on the timescale of the 21st century are not existential.  I don't know what Judith meant by existential threats. She might have meant to the all life on Earth, to the human race, to a single nation anywhere or just to the USA. Although some island nations may be facing an existential threat this century, I'm not aware of anyone suggesting that a major nation or humanity or Earth as a whole could disappear.  However it is likely that if we don't mitigate, then society will face serious challenges.

Judith pointed her readers to Andrew Lillicoe who writes for The Telegraph, who wrote that we don't need to make any serious effort to cut carbon emissions. He's wrong.
Our first step in adapting to climate change should be to accept that we aren't going to mitigate it. We're going to have to adapt. That doesn't mean there might not be the odd mitigation-type policy, around the edges, that is cheap and feasible and worthwhile. But it does mean that the grandiloquent schemes for preventing climate change should go. Their day is done. Even the IPCC – albeit implicitly – sees that now.

You can read some about Andrew Lillicoe here.

The Independent on 18 March wrote an article that took a fairly broad-based approach, including mention of climate migration and cost.
Climate change will displace hundreds of millions of people by the end of this century, increasing the risk of violent conflict and wiping trillions of dollars off the global economy, a forthcoming UN report will warn. 

Suzanne Goldenberg for the Guardian on 28 March also wrote a general article, mainly about weather, flooding and water security.  As with some other writers, she noted that:
Climate change has already left its mark "on all continents and across the oceans", damaging food crops, spreading disease, and melting glaciers, according to the leaked text of a blockbuster UN climate science report due out on Monday.

Aaron Akinyemi in the International Business Times on March 30, 2014 (before WGII release) focused on world stability and security, opening with:
Climate change is likely to undermine global security and exacerbate civil wars, a major new UN report warns.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), extreme weather patterns will complicate existing conflicts over resources such as water and energy, leading to further instability.

Megan Rowling for Thomas Reuters Foundation took a softer approach but nevertheless pointed out that the report emphasised that our response needs to include both mitigation and adaptation. She also wrote that there are limits to adaptation.

Justin Gilles from the NY Times made an interesting point:
The poorest people in the world, who have had virtually nothing to do with causing global warming, will be high on the list of victims as climatic disruptions intensify, the report said. It cited a World Bank estimate that poor countries need as much as $100 billion a year to try to offset the effects of climate change; they are now getting, at best, a few billion dollars a year in such aid from rich countries.
The $100 billion figure, though included in the 2,500-page main report, was removed from a 48-page executive summary to be read by the world’s top political leaders. It was among the most significant changes made as the summary underwent final review during a days long editing session in Yokohama. 
The edit came after several rich countries, including the United States, raised questions about the language, according to several people who were in the room at the time but did not wish to be identified because the negotiations are private.
The language is contentious because poor countries are expected to renew their demand for aid this September in New York at a summit meeting of world leaders, who will attempt to make headway on a new treaty to limit greenhouse gases.

Anti-science blogger Anthony Watts' reaction was forgettable (archived here).  He tried to downplay WGII after his moan of a headline and opening:
The IPCC WGII report is out – now the screaming begins anew
Not so much fanfare now, since leaks pretty much revealed earlier that it’s alarmism on steroids. The always dependably worrisome Seth Borenstein, AP’s science reporter, sums up the alarmism quite well with this tweet:

The tweet being this one. Anthony then went on to copy the headlines from the Summary for Policy Makers but didn't add much more.  Only he copied them from Working Group 1- oh my! (h/t Anonymous). He buried his article under a couple of much more important announcements from his point of view (archived here):
  • The Death of the Bloggies, signified by the fact that The Bloggie awards have been commandeered by climate deniers in all sorts of categories unrelated to climate (Tallbloke won the best European blog, GWPF won the best politics blog, ClimateAudit won the best topical blog, JoNova the lifetime achievement and WUWT a couple of equally ridiculous categories! ), and
  • His followers awarded Professor Michael Mann the WUWT award of Climate Duplicist of the Year.  Which is as zany as you'd expect from WUWT.  If anyone epitomised "what you see is what you get", then it's Michael Mann.  He's about the last person you'd accuse of being "duplicitous".  Outspoken, apparently fearless, yes. Occasionally over-reacts - some would say, though who can blame him after the treatment he's had for the past fifteen years or more.  Definitely not duplicitous.

You can download the WGII report here, which is what I'm doing now. I've been having some trouble accessing the site but it seems to be okay again.


  1. Okay, so Michael Mann didn't pull 97% of the vote, but he was still a clear winner. He should take pride in being able to entice so many sceptics to vote for him. Anyway, an award is an award. It's something he can hang on the wall... next to his Nobel Peace Prize.

    1. I did notice that Anthony Watts was not eligible to be nominated. Perhaps the most duplicitous of all.

    2. I see Willard Tony snaffled a bloggie along with his "Transcendent Rant and way out there theory" mate Rog Tattersall. I wonder if this is a resigning from a club I'd rather not be associated with moment (sorry Groucho).

      R the anon

    3. As I predicted Anthony and his mates have killed off the Bloggies.

    4. As Mike Williamson noted in the last couple of minutes of the 1966 grannie"Ï tipped this!"

      R the Anon

    5. Sou, the Bloggies will only require one category from now on:

      The Blog Whose Readers Most Voted For It (Because It's Owner Shamelessly Told Them To) Even Though This Award Doesn't Have Any Intrinsic Worth Any Longer Since It Was Hijacked By Climate Change Deniers

    6. Anthony could have bought the Bloggies but he decided it was cheaper to steal it by mob takeover.

  2. WRT Andrew Lillicoe's piece, its a bit OT but schemes aren't grandiloquent - speeches about them might be, or the speakers, but not the schemes. I think he means "grandiose". His attempt at some grandiloqence of his own (you have to like the irony) just makes him look a bit of a prat.

    Always funny to see someone use a ten dollar word, only to find its the wrong one. I wonder if he has an asian knock-off Rolex to impress his mates as well.

  3. I've just skimmed the Summary for Policy Makers. It is a strong document suggesting there'll be lots to explore in the full report. I wish I had a bit more time because there are lots of topics covered, each one worthy of a series of blog articles.

    It's quite different to what I remember the previous report to be - in style and the way it approaches the topics. It's very pragmatic.

    The authors are to be congratulated.

  4. Hi Sou,

    Not sure, and haven't time to check, but hasn't Lillicoe ignored the word 'annual' in SFP page 19, final para, sentence 3? I think he's suggesting that total economic impact will be 0.2% to 2% in total (per century); not 0.2% to 2% per year.

    Sorry I can't seem to be able to cut and paste from the pdf. This meme started, I believe, chez Delingpole...

    1. From SPM page 19 (via idunno)

      Global economic impacts from climate change are difficult to estimate. Economic impact estimates completed over the past 20 years vary in their coverage of subsets of economic sectors and depend on a large number of assumptions, many of which are disputable, and many estimates do not account for catastrophic changes, tipping points, and many other factors.59 With these recognized limitations, the incomplete estimates of global annual economic losses for additional temperature increases of ~2°C are between 0.2 and 2.0% of income (±1 standard deviation around the mean) (medium evidence, medium agreement). Losses are more likely than not to be greater, rather than smaller, than this range (limited evidence, high agreement).

      Additionally, there are large differences between and within countries. Losses accelerate with greater warming (limited evidence, high agreement), but few quantitative estimates have been completed for additional warming around 3°C or above. Estimates of the incremental economic impact of emitting carbon dioxide lie between a few dollars and several hundreds of dollars per tonne of carbon60 (robust evidence, medium agreement). Estimates vary strongly with the assumed damage function and discount rate.61

      From the Technical Summary page 32:

      Global adaptation cost estimates are substantially greater than current adaptation funding and investment, particularly in developing countries, suggesting a funding gap and a growing adaptation deficit (medium confidence). The most recent global adaptation cost estimates suggest a range from 70 to 100 US$ billion per year in developing countries from 2010 to 2050 (low confidence). Important omissions and shortcomings in data and methods render these estimates highly preliminary (high confidence). [17.4]

  5. Rather amusingly in his summary at WUWT rather than summarising the SPM of WGII the summary of WGI has been reposted as the below the line 'new' finding. More interestingly I can't find a single commenter who twigged this fact yet.

    1. Heh, I just checked and the post has been up for about 12 hours now. It still hasn't been corrected.

    2. ha ha - good catch! I didn't read past his headline and opening para. Does that make me a fake sceptic? :(

    3. And nine the next morning and he *still* hasn't fixed it.

  6. Tolgate?


    1. More Tolgate:


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