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From Down With Tyranny
I'm just delving into the new IPCC special report on the effects of limiting, or not limiting, global warming of 1.5 degreesC (full report here), and there are a number of bottom lines coming out of it, including this one, which we reported earlier: "IPCC Manipulating Climate Report Summary to Favor Wealthy Nations."
The reference to manipulation refers to the executive summary part of the report (titled "Summary for Policymakers"), which national representatives are allowed to edit line by line. The rest of the report is written by climate scientists, but written by consensus, which causes it to "lean conservative" in its prognostication and prescriptions.
On that last point, Climate Central wrote in 2012:
Across two decades and thousands of pages of reports, the world's most authoritative voice on climate science has consistently understated the rate and intensity of climate change and the danger those impacts represent, say a growing number of studies on the topic.
This conservative bias, say some scientists, could have significant political implications, as reports from the group -- the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- influence policy and planning decisions worldwide, from national governments down to local town councils. ...
A comparison of past IPCC predictions against 22 years of weather data and the latest climate science find that the IPCC has consistently underplayed the intensity of global warming in each of its four major reports released since 1990.The drastic decline of summer Arctic sea ice is one recent example: In the 2007 report [here], the IPCC concluded the Arctic would not lose its summer ice before 2070 at the earliest. But the ice pack has shrunk far faster than any scenario scientists felt policymakers should consider; now researchers say the region could see nearly ice-free summers within 20 years.
Sea ice predictions that are way off the mark are just the first of the prognostication failures the article lists.
Yet taking all that into account, the bulk of which will strike most people as obvious, I still want to write several pieces about this publication, starting with this one. Greenpeace bottom-lines the report as follows:
... 2 degreesC is much more dangerous than thought when the Paris deal was signed. We are closer to critical tipping points and other key risks than we thought. Four out of the five main Reasons for Concern have been revised to signal substantially higher risks with lower levels of warming for humans, species and economies.
... Limiting warming to 1.5 degreesC instead of 2 degreesC would make a huge difference for the life in oceans and land. It would protect hundreds of millions of people from frequent extreme heatwaves, halve the proportion of additional populations suffering water scarcity and help achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication goals.
... Limiting warming to 1.5 degreesC or below is challenging but still achievable, if we are fast, bold and lucky, and accelerate action on all fronts now.
... Solutions exist that could enable halving global carbon emissions by 2030 in ways that support development goals, build climate resilience and deliver us healthier and more prosperous societies.
... The next few years are critical for the world to embark on a transformational path to reduce its carbon emissions and increase its forests to bring emissions to net zero by mid century the latest. With countries' current climate targets for 2030, we would have no chance. So they must be improved.
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