Monday, August 9, 2021

We've got to get serious about climate, we've wasted too much time

Sou | 8:27 PM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment

The IPCC Summary for Policymakers WG1 report has just been released. You can download it here.

I will be going through it and the technical report (when it comes out) over the next few days. You can download the full report here. Warning: it's 3949 pages long! An initial glance shows that we need to do more to reduce emissions. A whole lot more.

The press conference is on YouTube:

This report will have a lot more space devoted to regional changes. There is a fabulous interactive atlas which allows you to drill down and across in all sorts of ways.

There is so much to work through. Here are some initial points that might interest you:

  • It's still possible to keep global warming to <2C if we get to zero emissions by 2050. If we keep the same rate, we'll prob hit 2C by mid-century.
  • "Climate change is already affecting every inhabited region across the globe with human influence contributing to many observed changes in weather and climate extremes"
  • There has been an increase in the lower bound of climate sensitivity, which is now more confidently estimated at between 2C and 5C, with a "likely range of 2.5°C to 4°C (high confidence), compared to 1.5°C to 4.5°C in AR5, which did not provide a best estimate."
  • "Global warming of 1.5°C relative to 1850-1900 would be exceeded during the 21st century under the intermediate, high and very high scenarios considered in this report"
  • "It is virtually certain that the Arctic will continue to warm more than global surface temperature, with high confidence above two times the rate of global warming."
  • Of particular interest to Australia & USA, it is very likely droughts and floods will worsen, amplified by ENSO: "It is very likely that rainfall variability related to the El NiƱo–Southern Oscillation is projected to be amplified by the second half of the 21st century in the SSP2-4.5, SSP3-7.0 and SSP5-8.5 scenarios."
  • As I've long expected, the oceans and surface won't keep absorbing CO2 at the current rate: "under the intermediate scenario that stabilizes atmospheric CO2 concentrations this century (SSP2-4.5), the rates of CO2 taken up by the land and oceans are projected to decrease in the second half of the 21st century".
The current pledges aren't enough for safety. We need to do more.

Andrew Dessler summed it up well, if a little crudely, on Twitter:

Further reading

There are lots of articles in the media already. Journos got advanced copy (bloggers didn't). Also other sources.

It would be great if you would add more links in the comments.


  1. Endless lies.

    Not even remotely possible to keep warming below 2C.

    The 1850 figures is politically chosen to misrepresent the real amount of actual warming and should be 1750 (NASA's own estimate).

    The Arctic will be "lost".




    Sue, don't post this if you don't want to. I'm very exhausted from the endless lying and gross misrepresentations still being emitted. The new IPCC Report is more alarming - but it's still misrepresenting the actual facts as expected.

  2. Here's a reminder of how bad 2C is. I hope we can stay below that, but even 2C is dreadful.

    During the height of the last Ice Age maximum, the world was between 2C and 3C colder than in the early 1900s. A difference of 2C to 3C is the difference between half of the world covered in ice, and the climate we all grew up in.

    What 2C to 3C warmer means is hard to understand, but it will inevitably mean a difference on the same scale. Humans have never lived in that world. Our civilization as it is cannot possibly handle it. This doesn't necessarily mean the collapse of civilization, but it does mean enormous changes we aren't prepared for and don't understand.

    A century is not a long time. I've lived well over half a century already. A good percentage of the people born this year will live to see the year 2100. They won't even be 80 yet. Consider that, if the timescale of the coming climate catastrophe seems like a long time.

  3. Are we not still at the stage where politicians are struggling to stabilise the rate at which we add electric bars to the fire?

    Here in the UK our politicians now talk like climate hawks. But in their deeds it is still business as usual.

  4. Unfortunately, such changes are irrevocable and what we will have as a result, if we don’t change our attitude, we don’t want to imagine.


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