The never-ending RCP8.5 debate

I think my New Year’s resolution is going to be to not talk about RCP8.5. However, I think I will briefly summarise the state of the never-ending debate. I thought we’d reached a bit of a breakthough when Zeke Hausfather and Justin Ritchie posted an article suggesting that [a] 3C world is now “Business as Usual”, but it seems to have degenerated once more. David Wallace-Wells also has a follow up article pointing out that our climate future doesn’t look as bad as it once looked. If you’re interested, Pietro Monticone has a summary of the state of the debate.

The basic idea is that current emission projections (from the International Energy Agency) suggest that emissions won’t rise much between now and 2040. If you then make some reasonable assumptions and project these to 2100, you find that we will probably follow something close to an RCP6 pathway which will probably lead to warming of between 1.9oC and 4.4oC, with a best estimate of around 3oC. In other words, current policy suggests that business-as-usual is closer to RCP6, than to RCP8.5 (which has often been regarded as a business-as-usual pathway).

So, the basic message seems to be that we’re heading towards a world where the climate impacts might not be as apocalyptic as they could have been. Good news, in some sense. However, there are a great many uncertainties associated with these projections. Even though we may be heading towards a 3oC world, we can’t rule out that we’ll still end up in a >4oC world.

This is where I have some problems. Some are interpreting this as suggesting that we’ve essentially limited warming to ~3oC, which completely ignores all the uncertainties associated with these projections. Similarly, some are arguing that we should pay no attention to studies that use RCP8.5, which completely ignores that we still can’t rule out levels of warming typically associated with RCP8.5 (>4oC, for example). From a climate modelling perspective, RCP8.5 is simply a concentration/forcing pathway. Even if it’s now higher than is likely along business-as-usual pathway, it is still a useful pathway for investigating the higher levels of warming that are still possible.

I think it is good that we may have ruled out some of the worst case impacts, but we’re still potentially heading for a world that has warmed by more than 3oC (potentially even 4o – 5oC). Also, despite the confidence of some energy analysts, we have still yet to peak global emissions. A number of quite high-profile climate scientists (Richard Betts and Ken Caldeira) are still pointing out that given the uncertainties associated with socio-economic projections, and potential carbon cycle feedbacks, we really can’t yet completely rule out an RCP8.5 concentration pathway.

I do think it’s become very unlikely that we will follow such a high concentration pathway, but I also think that this current narrative has been poorly framed, and that some will use it to argue that we don’t really need to do much more about climate change. I do worry that in 10 years time we’ll be having a similar discussion – “yes, emissions may have continued rising through the 2020s, but – trust us – they’re just about to peak”. I hope I’m wrong.

Links:
A 3C world is now “Business as Usual” – Breakthrough Institute article by Zeke Hausfather and Justin Ritchie.
We’re Getting a Clearer Picture of the Climate Future — and It’s Not as Bad as It Once Looked – Article by David Wallace Wells.
RCP8.5 issues & comments – summary by Pietro Monticone.
Your Hot Take on Climate Models Is Just Another Political Opinion and That’s Okay – Medium article by Aaron Huertas.

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137 Responses to The never-ending RCP8.5 debate

  1. Part of the issue in the RCP8.5 debate is, in my view, that some don’t clearly define what they’re objecting to. RCP8.5 was developed about 10 years ago. Clearly what might have been a reasonable business-as-usual pathway 10 years ago, may not be a reasonable one today. This doesn’t suddenly mean that we should dismiss all the work that’s used RCP8.5.

    Also, the cumulative CO2 emissions associated with the original RCP8.5 were between about 1800GtC and 2300 GtC (roughly). Given that we’ve already emitted ~600 GtC, are emitting ~10GtC/year today, and that carbon cycle feedbacks could add >100GtC, this didn’t seem all that implausible.

    However, it seems that some of the assumptions about methane in this pathway were unrealistic. The updated SSP5-8.5 pathway, therefore, has lower methane emissions and, consequently, higher CO2 emissions. This does make an RCP8.5 concentration pathway even less likely than I had appreciated, but it’s seems a bit disingenuous to blame climate scientists for not somehow realising this.

  2. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: It is definitely time to shift the discussion from what was modeled last time around to what is being modeled this time around.

    Per Zeke Hausfather…

    CMIP6 will consist of the “runs” from around 100 distinct climate models being produced across 49 different modelling groups. The effort is already a year behind schedule, and it appears increasingly unlikely that all the CMIP6 models will be available in time for inclusion in the AR6.

    Enough data is now available for Carbon Brief to produce an initial assessment of how things have changed since CMIP5. These models are running a number of new and updated emission pathways that explore a much wider range of possible future outcomes than were included in CMIP5.

    While the results from only around 31 CMIP6 models have been published so far, it is already evident that a number of them have a notably higher climate sensitivity than models in CMIP5. This higher sensitivity contributes to projections of greater warming this century – around 0.4C to 0.9C warmer than similar scenarios run in CMIP5 – though these warming projections may change as more models become available. Researchers are still working to assess why sensitivity values appear higher in the latest generation of models.

    CMIP6: the next generation of climate models explained by Zeke Hausfather, Carbon Brief, Dec 2, 2019

  3. I understand the utility of the rcp’s etc, but when they are the focus and are used to suggest that maybe things will be ok in 2040 or in 2100, I am astounded at the absurdity of that. There are many tipping points that we are likely to cross between now and either of those dates and it is reasonable to assume that we don’t know what happens when we cross the tipping points.

    If you look at the situation and conditions in Australia at the current level of warming and think, well, maybe we can continue emissions for a couple more decades and still be ok, then I have to wonder about the mental processes at work.

    Business as usual has really come to mean: let’s dawdle on required changes, argue about consequences and do everything required to avoid the changes required to get to net zero in a time frame that will avoid crossing tipping points like the blue ocean Arctic.

    The blue ocean arctic is the event that concerns me the most because it leads to thawing of permafrost, ocean floor, etc that will automatically push the atmosphere into a new state and the new state is not going to be one that we like. If you need to know how much you might dislike the new state, go on vacation to Sydney this week.

    Please speak with scientists in Australia about our climate situation if you cannot take a vacation to enjoy the new normal down under.

    Cheers

    Mike

  4. The RCPs are still doing what they were designed to do. Provide benchmark levels for climate models with a given endpoint of watts per square meter at the top of the atmosphere.

    The scientists who developed the RCPs were tasked with finding a plausible road to reach those signposts. It seems they didn’t do as good a job as one might have hoped, especially for RCP 8.5.

    The fact that the media chose to focus on RCP 8.5 as the ‘business as usual’ outcome was unfortunate, as it was not based on anything in the pathway’s documentation nor the narrative subsequently developed to explain it.

    I personally think emissions will continue to rise, although not monotonically. I am blessed by the belief that atmospheric sensitivity is much lower than the 3C baked into all the Representative Concentration Pathways and that the consequences will not be as bad as feared by so many in attendance here.

  5. TF,

    The scientists who developed the RCPs were tasked with finding a plausible road to reach those signposts. It seems they didn’t do as good a job as one might have hoped, especially for RCP 8.5.

    Not really climate *scientists*, at least not how I think most would interpret it. Those involved in developing the scenarios were more (I think) economists, energy modellers, etc. Some climate scientists were probably involved, but they weren’t simply developed by those who study our climate.

    The fact that the media chose to focus on RCP 8.5 as the ‘business as usual’ outcome was unfortunate, as it was not based on anything in the pathway’s documentation nor the narrative subsequently developed to explain it.

    Nope, it is exactly how it was described the paper that first introduced it. For example,

    RCP8.5 depicts, compared to the scenario literature, a high-emission business as usual scenario.

  6. Umm, yes. ‘compared to the scenario literature.’ Not to anything in the real world.

  7. Willard says:

    I did a thread on ML and Auke’s contributions to ClimateBall Discourse.

    My favorite bit is still this one:

  8. TF,
    Do you at least acknowledge that RCP8.5 was indeed described as a “business as usual scenario” in the paper that first introduced it?

  9. Francis says:

    I guess I’m an ignoramus on this issue, but when I look at electricity usage per continent Africa seems to be way off the pace. If the people living there choose to use coal for their power over the next 80 years, aren’t we right back in RCP 8.5?

  10. JCH says:

    On the relationship between Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation slowdown and global surface warming

    Abstract

    …The observed weakening of the AMOC has therefore delayed global surface warming rather than enhancing it.

  11. Francis,
    I’m certainly not an expert, but I think that is amongst the things that concern people. Can we really be sure that fossil fuels won’t end up continuing to dominate our energy supply and, if so, what does that imply as the developing world continues to get richer? I think there are indications that the developing world may well develop energy infrastructure that is dominated by alternatives, but it seems clear that this is not yet a foregone conclusion.

  12. I acknowledge that the phrase ‘business as usual’ is employed twice in the abstract to the paper. I think we differ on what the authors intend by their use of the phrase.

  13. TF,
    Possibly, but I think we may also differ on what climate scientists mean when they use it in their papers. My guess is they go something like: “what should we call this RCP? I know, let’s see what they called it in the paper that first described it. Oh, they called it a business-as-usual scenario. Let’s call it that.”.

  14. paulski0 says:

    RCP8.5 was developed about 10 years ago. Clearly what might have been a reasonable business-as-usual pathway 10 years ago, may not be a reasonable one today.

    I’m not sure this is a good framing. The RCP framework was developed about ten years ago and RCP8.5 was one of the four forcing benchmarks which came from that. But this came from a literature review of economic/energy scenarios – A forcing of about 8.5W/m2 at 2100 simply turned out to be the forcing outcome around the upper end of the range of hundreds of scenarios reviewed. RCP8.5 level scenarios had existed long before this, they just hadn’t been called RCP8.5 before. For example, A1FI in SRES.

    But with regard to what’s reasonable today, the SSP framework came about just a few years ago and produced an RCP8.5 level scenario, so it’s not just something which happened ten years ago. Likewise the expert elicitation published earlier this year indicated a majority who believed SSP5/RCP8.5 was a plausible, though unlikely, scenario.

    This doesn’t suddenly mean that we should dismiss all the work that’s used RCP8.5.

    I sort of think it could do, at least in a narrow sense. The whole point of the RCP framework is to provide scenario-independent information on climate implications at various forcing levels, as a service for impact assessors, policy analysts etc. If it were truly believed that a particular RCP forcing level is actually impossible to reach, then I would think impact assessors, policy analysts etc. shouldn’t be using it (other than signal-to-noise “per degree warming” type analyses).

    But, despite what a few people on Twitter want people to believe, I don’t see any evidence of a consensus among energy analysts and modelers that RCP8.5 is impossible. There’s a clear consensus that it’s an unlikely high-end no-mitigation pathway (with the obvious implication that pursuing mitigation policy makes it pretty much impossible), but I see no evidence of a consensus that it is inherently impossible.

  15. John Hartz says:

    paulskio:

    The RCP framework was developed about ten years ago and RCP8.5 was one of the four forcing benchmarks which came from that.

    Where is the RCP development process documented?

  16. Paul,

    But, despite what a few people on Twitter want people to believe, I don’t see any evidence of a consensus among energy analysts and modelers that RCP8.5 is impossible.

    Indeed. There is a paper that surveyed a group of experts. The results seem to suggest that a reasonable fraction think that RCP8.5-like emissions are certainly possible in 2100 (according to the Twitter discussion, these weren’t the right kind of experts).

  17. paulski0 says:

    Tom,

    The scientists who developed the RCPs were tasked with finding a plausible road to reach those signposts. It seems they didn’t do as good a job as one might have hoped, especially for RCP 8.5.

    That’s really not how things happened. Plausibility of the RCPs was already established by the published scenario literature review which provided the RCP range. The individual RCP scenarios (e.g. Riahi et al. 2011 for RCP8.5) were developed simply to provide emissions data for climate modelling each of the pathways, while also giving a roughly representative idea of what would be required to follow each pathway.

    John Hartz,

    <a href="https://sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/ddc/ar5_scenario_process/RCPs.html"Here's the IPCC mini-site on RCPs. That links at the bottom to this paper introducing a special issue of several other papers describing various aspects of the RCP setup.

  18. paulski0 says:

    The “business as usual” thing is really bizarre to me. I mean, everyone recognises by now that they’re simply using different ways of defining “business as usual”, right?

    The standard definition going back decades in the climate change literature is that BaU is an earlier synonym of “baseline”, meaning a scenario involving no climate policy. This I’m pretty sure is the definition being used by various parts of IPCC reports and any climate change papers referencing RCP8.5 as a “BaU” scenario (including Riahi et al. 2011). And, according to that definition, there is no question that RCP8.5 is BaU – it doesn’t include any climate policy. Where some people seem to get lost here is in assuming that referring to RCP8.5 as BaU means nothing else could be also BaU, and that you are automatically promoting RCP8.5 as THE ONE TRUE BAU SCENARIO. But this is just not the case. There is a range of plausible BaUs, and Riahi et al. 2011 specifically call RCP8.5 a high-emission BaU scenario.

    Now, some people want to continue using the BaU phrase but under a different definition. Or definitions – it seems like those who are sure that RCP8.5 can’t be called BaU have proposed several different ideas, whether explicitly or implicitly, of what BaU should mean. For example, that only the most likely no-policy pathway should be bestowed the honorific of BaU.

    But very recently the focus of what should be BaU has switched to the IEA energy outlooks and suggestions that the IEA Current Policies Scenario = BaU. To me this seems completely reasonable, sensible and easily-understood, although I tend to think “Current Policies” is even clearer. The problem I foresee, and it seems to be already happening, is in the assumption that calling it BaU makes it the upper end of possibilities, but this doesn’t make sense once you introduce policies into BaU because policies can be repealed or left unenforced.

  19. John Hartz says:

    paulskio: Muchas gracias.

  20. Joshua says:

    > I am blessed by the belief that atmospheric sensitivity is much lower than the 3C baked into all the Representative Concentration Pathways

    Interesting. You BELIEVE it will be MUCH lower.

    Not that it MAY be lower. Not that it is SOMEWHAT lower.

    If only those dern alarmist climate scientists would be up front with their uncertainties, then “skeptics” (who as we know demand that uncertainty be dealt with properly) would….

    Oh…

    Never mind.

    But they still made them do it.

  21. Joshua,
    I’m sure that it’s been pointed out to Tom that the RCPs are simply concentration pathways and don’t depend on the ECS. There will be some dependence on temperature when going from emissions to concentrations, but this isn’t particularly large.

  22. Everett F Sargent says:

    So putting all of our eggs in one basket, as it were. Let’s just drop 1.9, 2.6, 3.4, 3.5 and 6.0 as being too low. Let’s just drop 7.0 and 8.5 as being too high. Damn, I s-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o like repeating myself. :/

    That leaves us with something between 6.0 and 7.0, let’s call this BAU and label it 666, it even has a nice ring to it, RCP 666 BAU. GMST exceeds 3C with 99.99% certainty by 2100, exceeds 4C with 66.66% certainty and exceeds 5C with 33.33% certainty.

    So basically something between 3C and 6C in 2100. Or the CMIP6 scenario that produces the highest GMST in 2100 (excluding the 7.0 and 8.5 scenarios).

  23. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    Good point. Aside from having some mysterious method for disappearing uncertainties, how does Tom bake a temp rise into a concentration pathway?

  24. Joshua,
    When you try to associate emission pathways with concentrations, then you do need to include the climate sensitivity. If it’s low, then we would probably have a lower concentration pathway for a given emission pathway and, hence, lower warming. However, this is not going to turn an RCP8.5 pathway into an RCP6 pathway, etc.

  25. Chubbs says:

    To get to 85 need to go through 26, 45, and 6. I take it as a good sign that 85 has already become unpalatable. By the time we get to 26, hopefully 45 will be off the table.

  26. Greg Robie says:

    On this Christmas morn, as my place on our planet races toward the sun, I’m watching the astronomical twilight brighten to nautical twilight. Soon the illumination will be civil twilight.

    I know the light I am witnessing is reflected. Atmospheric molecules and particles are capturing solar incidence, reflecting and refracting it, and illuminating the sky above me and making visible to my eye the kitchen counter where I’m making my third mug of coffee.

    I consider how this time of twilight marks the hour and fifteen minutes that tends to define the end of the radiant cooling and surface atmospheric temperature decline for each day. The Pause: the transition from the heat loss of night to the heat gain of dawn.

    I think of the resolution of the early climate models and the assumptions such necessitated. I wonder if such limits of resolution is not relevant to this post. What necessary assumptions have not been revisited with the technological advances of increased computing power and higher resolution calculations? Can the dynamics of twilight be incorporated such that “The Pause” is more fully reflected? Has this happened?

    With the climate sensitivity numbers racing past the 5°C mark, maybe so.

    FWIW, and to my blue collar mindset, the hoopla about “it isn’t as bad as we think” has me checking my pocket for my wallet!

    Happy Solstice +4, or just another moment in an ever expanding universe … & within civil twilight (here).

    =)

    sNAILmALEnotHAIL …but pace’n myself

    https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCeDkezgoyyZAlN7nW1tlfeA

    life is for learning so all my failures must mean that I’m wicked smart

    >

  27. Willard says:

    > everyone recognises by now that they’re simply using different ways of defining “business as usual”, right?

    Not really:

    I’m not even sure our contrarians realize that the IPCC has not quantified or even qualified the plausibility of its scenarii.

  28. David B. Benson says:

    Possibly relevant
    https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/japan-population/
    as Japan appears to be leading the entire globe in population decline.

  29. David B. Benson says:

    Some predict a global population decline starting sometime this century:
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_decline

    Everyone agrees that we are overfishing the oceans, for example.

  30. In disavowing 8.5, Wallace-Wells seems to be walking backwards in the footsteps of Mark Lynas, who’d rather we forgot the cover of Six Degrees, featuring the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral awash in the North Sea.

  31. David B. Benson says:

    Russell Seitz — 25 m of SLR in the future is far from unlikely.

  32. Dave_Geologist says:

    I’m with paulskio. I’ve always considered BAU to mean “absent any mitigation efforts”, and I’m sure that’s how climate modellers used it. Laggardly as our response has been, it would be extremely disappointing if despite all those wind farms and retired coal-fired power stations, we were still on a no-mitigation pathway. In a world with no bad actors, we could use BAU to mean a projection of current trends, including currently planned or promised mitigations. But we know that those mitigations can be reversed, and indeed have been reversed in Trumpland, Bolsonaroland and Duterteland.

    I would prefer something like MIP (mitigation as (currently) planned or promised). You can debate which P is appropriate. Given my background I tend towards oil industry reserves definitions. You don’t have to wait until a field is on production before moving it from resources to Reserves (although as each reservoir unit goes on production, it gets promoted into a higher category). You do however need to have committed the capital, generally through having obtained Government development approval and having made a Board decision. That’s OK for five-year development timeframes, but for 50 years hence you’d need to modify that to something like legal commitments (UK, and through the Courts, Netherlands), or a track record of walking the walk on the talk you want to take as your P.

    Another difficulty of letting current IEA (or BP, or whatever) projections be called BAU is that it opens the door for inactivists to say there’s no need for further action, we can stop where we are and it’s sorted. To take the ozone hole analogy, there really are people out there who claim that there was no need to ban CFCs because the hole is repairing itself, and people out there dumb enough or motivated enough to believe it.

    Even if bad actors were absent, it would remain important to have a benchmark against which we can judge the effectiveness of our mitigations in (say) 2050: “we’ve been making these efforts for fifty years, what have we gained from it?”. Without that (and projections of what the 2050 or 21000 climate would have been absent mitigations) you can’t do a retrospective cost-benefit analysis. Given that there are a lot of 2050 commitments in service of a 2100 outcome, I expect governments, populations and the IPCC will want to take stock mid-century as a guide to what to do after 2050.

  33. Dave_Geologist says:

    Ah, I see I used MIP rather than MAP. That’s because my original thought was Mitigation In Progress, as per the O&G Reserves analogy. Only projects with committed capital would count, i.e. close to a BAU definition but 2020 usual not 2000 usual. I think that may be much harder to compile though, without off-the-shelf products to choose from.

  34. I think DG is pretty accurate with most recent post except I think he has the time frame wrong when he says: “Given that there are a lot of 2050 commitments in service of a 2100 outcome, I expect governments, populations and the IPCC will want to take stock mid-century as a guide to what to do after 2050.”

    I think we need to be taking stock on something closer to a 2 to 5 year time frame given the accelerating pace of global warming impacts. I recognize that it is very difficult to recognize and predict the timing of tipping points ahead of us because we live on human time, thinking in annual business cycles, or biannual election cycles, and the tipping points ahead will occur in geologic time and to predict geologic tipping points within these human time frames is so difficult that it approaches foolishness to try. And yet, the consequences are so severe that to ignore the tipping points that we trigger in human time frames is to speed an extinction event on the scale of the great dying event.

    At its core, this long time frame practice relies on looking at history and projecting that the future will be similar to the past and that is generally true. Human beings are very bad at recognizing and factoring in change when the driver is growing exponentially instead of in a linear manner.

    Nothing is so powerful as an exponential whose time has come.
    http://donellameadows.org/archives/nothing-is-so-powerful-as-an-exponential-whose-time-has-come/

    I shake my head when I hear/read suggestions that we will need to take stock in 2040 or 2050. The exponential growth characteristics of our problem are not going to allow us to “take stock” in that time frame. For a reference, look at the hockey stick graph. That is exponential growth. The lagging consequences of the hockey stick growth of CO2 are in the pipeline, they will not arrive and cause inconvenience, they will arrive and present like fire activity in Australia or glacial melt in Greenland.

    So, a question for Dave the Geologist: does your time frame for taking stock take account of the possibility of exponential change? Should it?

    Warm regards

    Mike

  35. David B. Benson says:

    Not even planting trillions of trees
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/694/trillions-trees
    replaces eliminating, mostly, fossil fuel consumption. A supplement to draw down the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

  36. Dave_Geologist says:

    mike, I don’t mean we shouldn’t be continually evaluating in the meantime. Or that we’re doing enough already. But questions like “how reliably can climate promises be delivered in a world of 4-5 year electoral cycles and average two-term rules”, “how much warming does gas for coal really save (allowing for duty cycles and hard-to-measure fugitive CH4)”, “what is the real lifetime environmental as well as climate impact of full-scale deployment of EVs and battery farms?”, “will the follow-on Paris promises for 2C not 3C really be met”, needs a multidecade perspective. Since 2050 is halfway to 2100, it seems like a good point to see how we’re delivering and whether the process we’ve chosen is working, and working fast enough. Obviously if we’re still on my MIP path, with no new UK or US wind installed after 2025, we’ll know before 2025 that we’re off the Paris path. But if we look at p115 of the 2019 BP Energy Outlook, we’ll be into the 2030s before we know we’re on their Evolving Transition (missing Paris) vs. their Rapid Transition (meeting Paris). Obviously we’ll know long before that if we’re not meeting XR’s targets. Indeed I would argue we know that already – we’ve missed them. To meet them would require an unprecedented level of commissioning and decommissioning in the next decade, on a par with the US WWII effort which at peak accounted for more than half of US GDP. The bulk of the world’s population won’t be hurting enough and scared enough to sign up for that in that timeframe, if ever. Sorry.

    We’ll also know if some of the low-bound tipping points have happened. OMG OOPS! is one of the things that might influence our stock-taking. I’m not overly worried about them being instant and irreversible because most won’t tip at a single temperature globally – they’ll go piecemeal. The exception may be large swathes of Arctic tundra, where you have a lot of low ground with long spatial temperature correlations.

  37. Dave_Geologist says:

    Follow-on mike: I find this paper a useful summary of where we are; it’s consistent with other work, both on how quickly temperatures plateau in a notional instant-net-zero case, and in commissioning/decommissioning timeframes. Hopefully the figure will display (Fig. 1).

    I see the right-hand purple curve as approximating Paris but with us honouring the additional commitments. Comfortably below 3°C, a 50/50 chance of hitting 1.5°C, and an 80-90% chance of less than 2°C. No more net-positive-carbon investments after 2030, but let the existing ones (and the ones we build in the 2020s, at a declining rate) last their natural life. Their model lets some long-life assets be net positive emitters after 2050, but look at it as a simple thought-experiment. I would optimise it by varying the date according to asset life. No new coal stations after today, CCGT and trains can have a few more years, ICE/hybrid buses a decade and ICE/hybrid cars 10-15 years. Aircraft will need carbon-neutral biofuel. That would lose you some early wins, but avoid having dirty assets running into the 2060s, while allowing things like technologies and (e.g. charging) infrastructures to mature and come down in price. Presumably DICE and more complex optimisation models can address that.

    When compared to the left-hand purple curve (no more net-positive-carbon investments after 2018), they’re not that different when you include the error bars: the difference is smaller than ECS uncertainty. I see that as vindication of what the IPCC and the infamous large group of scientists said. We don’t need to be at net zero by 2030, but we do have to have stopped doing the wrong things and be doing the right things by 2030, in order to get to net zero by 2050..

    The green curves and uncertainty bands are instant-net-zero scenarios, analogous to the one ATTP has discussed in previous blog posts. The warming in the pipeline from past emissions more or less cancels out the environmental uptake of CO2. The RH one is what XR want. And they’re right, the upper uncertainty band just stays below 1.5°C. We need to be net zero by 2030 to guarantee that, as opposed to giving us a 50/50 chance. But in practice that boat has sailed, and absent clear-air capture and storage, or massive transfer to static power stations with CCS and batteries everywhere, we’re already running a risk of greater than 1.5°C.

  38. David, Mark Lynas’ made his apocalyptic predictions about the century at hand, not the far future, witness The Guardian lede for lynas self-description of Six Degrees:

    Six steps to hell
    By the end of the century, the Earth could be more than 6C hotter than it is today, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We know that would be bad news – but just how bad? How big a rise will it take for the Alps to melt, the oceans to die and desert to conquer Europe and the Americas? Mark Lynas sifted through thousands of scientific papers for his new book on global warming. This is what the research told him …
    Mark Lynas
    Mon 23 Apr 2007 10.10 EDT

    The books cover features the inundation of London’s 21st century skyline, not just old St.Paul’s

  39. John Hartz says:

    Something to ponder…

    “Humans are the first species with not just the power to alter the planet on a geologic scale but also the capacity to predict the consequences. We understand the connection between our actions and each of Earth’s possible futures.

    “What a profound responsibility that is. What a beautiful gift.”

    Ghosts of the future by Sarah Kaplan, Outlook, Washington Post, Dec 6, 2019

  40. David B. Benson says:

    Russell Seitz, from Meltwater Pulse 1a, about 5 meters by 2100.

    John Hartz, not the first species. For example, azeola did a number early this eon.

  41. John Hartz says:

    David H Benson: Did the azeola have the capacity to predict the consequences?

  42. David B. Benson says:

    John Hartz — Do humans?

  43. Steven Mosher says:

    at wuwt every discussion typically ends in discussion of evil liberals. discussion de evolves
    along the easiest path, the path of least resistance, the path that ends in points where there is no disagreement.
    at other sites, the discussions veer toawrd discussing doom or renewables.

  44. David B. Benson says:

    Off-topic topic for this thread but questions about efficient electricity markets often arise. So here is a good link:
    http://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/714/pjm-style-electricity-markets

    Requires some study.

  45. izen says:

    @-Francis
    ” but when I look at electricity usage per continent Africa seems to be way off the pace. If the people living there choose to use coal for their power over the next 80 years, aren’t we right back in RCP 8.5?”

    The people living in Africa do not get to make the choice to use, or avoid, coal as their source of power.

    In what is perhaps the most positive recent news there are clear signs that the main enablers of continued fossil fuel use are increasingly avoiding fossil fuel investments.
    Goldman Sachs has just announced it is dropping coal investments and any funding for drilling in the Arctic. Other financial institutions have already made these sorts of choice.
    If the other major banks, and perhaps most importantly the financial funding of China follows this avoidance of fossil fuel investment then the chances of RCP 8.5 become much reduced.

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Is-This-The-Beginning-Of-The-End-For-Fossil-Fuels.html
    “The eventual death of oil and thermal coal won’t come from environmentalists, or even directly from renewable energy–it will come when big banks decide to stop financing it, rendering it ‘unbankable’. “

  46. izen says:

    In related good news, and long predicted by WHUT/Paul, fracking is starting to collide with the internal contradictions of its business model. As increased supply drives down prices, but smaller than predicted production from a well drives up costs, the investors are finally starting to realise they may be in a resource ‘Ponzi’ scheme rather than a fossil fuel bonanza.

    Another impediment to reaching RCP 8.5 perhaps…

    https://news.peak-oil.org/2019/12/banks-get-tough-on-shale-loans-as-fracking-forecasts-flop/
    “Some of the banks that helped fuel the fracking boom are beginning to question the industry’s fundamentals, as many shale wells produce less than companies forecast.
    Banks have begun to tighten requirements on revolving lines of credit, an essential lifeline for smaller companies, as these institutions revise estimates on the value of some shale reserves held as collateral for loans to producers, according to people familiar with the matter.”

  47. angech says:

    Willard, it wasn’t that bad was it??

  48. Stephan Harrison says:

    Whether or not we reach RCP8.5 radiative forcing, we can still get RCP8.5 levels of warming if TCR is high.

  49. Chubbs says:

    This is the wrong debate. The factors which make RCP85 increasingly unlikely are all in play right now. Getting easier and easier to shift off of the RCP45/6/85 path. If the RCP85 critics are right, historians in 2100 are going to wonder what took so long.

  50. Steven Mosher says:

    evil banks save the planet

  51. Everett F Sargent says:

    SM sez,

    “at wuwt every discussion typically ends in discussion of evil liberals”

    Actually the discussions over there all start with evil liberals and those discussions are always in a state of increased entropy.

  52. John Hartz says:

    One of the best year-end summaries I have come across to date.

    The Growing Climate Risks Scientists Uncovered in the 2010s by Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News, Dec 27, 2019

    Do the new research findings described therein suggest that the set of models created for CIMP6 may already be obsolete? Key components of the Earth’s climate system seem to be changing faster than the models can be updated to reflect the “new normals”.

  53. thanks to JH for the link. I think we should take stock every decade or two to check if we are making progress on reducing accumulation of ghg and CO2 in atmosphere and ocean. I think it’s clear for the teens decade that we have done very little. But there is more talk about the problems and who knows? maybe at the end of the 20s we will be able to look back and pat ourselves on the back for fixing the problems. No need to fret too much about it for now. It’s clear that the goals of extremists like XR and Greta Thunberg are not going to be met, so let’s take a couple of years for some me time, then hit it hard in the mid 20’s and beat this thing. I think lapel buttons that say Stop Global Warming might be a hot property! Buttons we can wear won’t wreck the economy and we can put some of the proceeds from sales into making windmills less of an eyesore or something like that.

    CO2? How are we doing?
    Record territory!

    Daily CO2

    Dec. 26, 2019: 412.36 ppm
    Dec. 26, 2018: 409.17 ppm

    co2.earth

    Warm regards

    Mike

  54. izen says:

    @-SM
    “evil banks save the planet”

    ‘Save’ might be overstating it.

    But, ‘banks restrain the worst of the damage from fossil fuel use for reasons of financial expediency’ may be a possibility.

  55. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    >>> This is the wrong debate.

    I agree.

    Hubris, folks. At least those ancient Greeks understood…

    The Earth has never gone through a climate change episode quite like the current one.

    We’ve punched Gaia right in the face, and she is now just beginning to get around to doing something about us.
    I think we do not really know the limits of what will happen by 2100, let alone thereafter.

    Of course we know that Bangladesh will be submerged. And most of Southern Vietnam. New York, Venice, Shanghai, etc. Peanuts compared to ecosystem collapse…

    Atmospheric CO2 concentration is now higher than it’s been in about 2 million years, and rising. Every time the Earth’s atmospheric and ocean chemistry has changed as rapidly as it is now a mass-extinction event has occurred. It’s happening. Think about that while debating the details of RCPs and TCSs.

    Also:
    Look around…
    Venus and Mars both had liquid water in their ancient pasts.

    Venus probably got too hot for water because the Sun’s output slowly increased and the surface water eventually boiled off and was dissociated into H and O gases that the planet could not retain. CO2 could no longer be washed from the atmosphere and accumulated, resulting a hot-house.

    Mars probably got too cold for water because geological recycling of carbon became too slow to keep the Martian greenhouse effect effective.

    As humans continue to rapidly alter atmospheric and ocean chemistry, we are running an one-off global experiment in a solar system that used to have three planets with liquid water.

    So – What makes you think the Earth is so damned special?

    The stock markets are up!?!

  56. Say Amen, somebody. The Reverend has spoken!

  57. John Hartz says:

    smallbluemike: Pray tell, what are the “extremists goals” of Greta Thunberg?

  58. Hey JH: I think GT and XR folks generally think we ought to actually get to net zero by 2025 or 2030. That is a goal that might give these folks a more secure future, but I don’t think there is any question that the goal meets the definition of extremist. As a lifelong extremist, I agree with GT and the XR folks, but I recognize that our goals make us extremists or radicals.

  59. John Hartz says:

    smallbluemike: To the best of my understanding, Greta Thunberg has steadfastly refused to set any goals. Rather she implores politicians to listen to the scientists and to develop and implement mitigation actions based on the best scientific information available.

  60. izen says:

    @-John Hartz
    “Greta Thunberg … implores politicians to listen to the scientists and to develop and implement mitigation actions based on the best scientific information available.”

    That is what makes her, and the XR crowd, extremists.
    Taking action based on the best scientific information would fly in the face of the political reality that there are many other interested parties who wish to influence government action. Or inaction.
    And many of them have far more power, and spend far more money lobbying government than Greta and her fellow travellers.

    I struggle to find any historical example of governments taking action in response to scientific information which would have significant economic and social impact without at least compromise with those elements of society who would be inconvenienced by any such action.
    As with climate change, the first responses are usually opposition, delay and doubt.
    (Lead, DDT, CFCs, SOx, tobacco…)

  61. jh says “Greta Thunberg has steadfastly refused to set any goals. Rather she implores politicians to listen to the scientists and to develop and implement mitigation actions based on the best scientific information available.”

    mike says, can’t get much more extremist than that.

    I am not saying she and XR are wrong, just that their goals are extremist because they refuse to consider delaying or deferring essential action based on the economic impacts and inconvenience that those actions will require.

    I share your sense, JH, that GT’s requests are reasonable. I support the 2025 XR net zero goal, but because of the political and economic realities, the reasonable goals of GT and XR are nonetheless, extremist and radical. A lot of people remain unconvinced that we are in a situation where these ideas make sense. If you want to understand the concerns that drive folks like GT and XR, you have to review the views espoused by folks like Oreskes and Stern https://www.districtenergy.org/blogs/district-energy/2019/10/24/climate-change-will-cost-us-even-more-than-we-thin

    A lot of smart folks remain unconvinced that Oreskes and Stern might be right about our predicament.

    The folks who think Oreskes and Stern are essentially correct are extremists, by any reasonable evaluation. I am one of those folks.

    Cheers

    Mike

  62. David B. Benson says:

    smallbluemike, is there an Extremist Society?

  63. Nathan says:

    “That is what makes her, and the XR crowd, extremists.
    Taking action based on the best scientific information would fly in the face of the political reality that there are many other interested parties who wish to influence government action. Or inaction.”

    I must say I find this quite confusing.
    Sure they’re trying to influence government, but why does that make them extremist? And this logic also implies that everyone that is trying to influence govt is also extremist.

    I think this is poorly thought out. Trying to influence govt just makes you a party to democracy, that’s all.

  64. Dave_Geologist says:

    As per my comment higher up (I’ll re-post the figure from this paper), extreme action might be regarded as decommissioning a lot of assets before the end of their natural life, coupled with a massive programme of building out replacements (or not building replacements and we all cycle and wear coats indoors). The green curve and uncertainty bounds in the right-hand figure are for everything net-zero after 2030. I rather suspect that the blip at the start would be larger, because a huge amount of steel and concrete would be made and manufactured into things within a decade rather than over three decades. Think scrapping most of the world’s cars, and replacing them with EVs which take 50,000km to pay back their manufacturing emissions. Scrapping gas-fired power stations, and a vast build-out of wind farms and batteries. That may cause a short period above 1.5°C which could be a hard sell (we sacrificed half our GDP for a decade so as not to melt the permafrost, and doggone it if all those manufacturing emissions didn’t melt it anyway!). The flip side is that we’d see measurable cooling in the lifetime of today’s young people, as opposed to, at best, unsatisfying stasis.

    The purple curve and bands are net zero for all new investments after 2030, but existing assets are run until the end of their service life. The difference is between having a 50/50 chance of hitting 1.5°C by 2100 and maybe a 90% chance of below 2°C, and a 50/50 chance of hitting 1.1°C by 2100 and maybe a 90% chance of below 1.5°C (but with a pulse almost as high as 1.5°C and up to almost 2°C around 2040). As I said earlier, the cost of that would be huge, as much about scrapping existing investments early as making new ones. I wouldn’t have started from here, but given that we’re starting from here, the version with no premature scrappage is much more saleable to populations, businesses and governments. In fairness to XR, I did hear one of their spokesmen say they realise 2030 is unrealistic, but are pitching low in hope of getting a settlement between 2030 and 2050. But I understand they’re decentralised so not all will be of a compromising mindset.

    The relatively small difference between the from-2018 and from-2030 purple curves is a reflection of the long service life of things like power stations. It’s cumulative emissions that count for the final temperature, and substituting wind for coal 12 years late still leaves 75% of the cumulative emissions from a 50-year-life plant up for grabs. There’s an interesting parallel with BP’s 2019 Energy Outlook. The main difference between their high and low cases is how decarbonised static power generation becomes: renewable vs. FF electricity, and replacing household and industrial piped gas. They have similar levels of EV etc. rollout. How fast will India and China cut FF generation, and will Africa replicate their coal-fired period? That highlights a role for the wealth-transfer part of Paris. Technology advances are taken as a given, in those parts of the world who can afford it. We owe it to those who missed out on the good times to shield them from being choked back in their development by the CO2 overhang we’ve gifted them. To anyone who said “but what about the poor people in Africa?”, I say “step up to the plate and subsidise their electricity and transportation roll-out so they don’t have to rely on coal and gas”. Perhaps that makes me an extremist of a different sort .

  65. izen says:

    @-Nathan
    “Sure they’re trying to influence government, but why does that make them extremist? And this logic also implies that everyone that is trying to influence govt is also extremist.”

    That is a fair point, and just trying to influence government IS a part of democracy.
    But there are several aspects that put them outside the mainstream, or conventional paths of democratic action.

    First Greta and XR are trying to significantly alter the basis on which policy choices are made. There have been several Utopian suggestions in the past that society SHOULD be a technocracy, run by the smartest scientists who could then dictate what was for the greatest good for the greatest number…
    I know of no historical instance when this has been put into practical effect. The closest may be the way during WW2 both Germany and Britain converted to a total war economy with the widespread use of scientific advice on how to most efficiently deploy the workforce to make munitions and feed them on the limited food available.
    Perhaps the argument is that we are faced with an existential threat of similar magnitude to WW2 and should again adopt that total war system which overrides the current financial, manufacturing and services business that propel our consumer society.
    It would be difficult to see this as anything other than an extremist proposal.

    Second, the other agents that influence governments as part of the democratic process have significant involvement in the financial and social web of relationships that underpins the government. In a mature democracy like the UK there are decades of history of people attending the same schools, universities and grouse shoots. In the US the process of regulatory capture seems a little more overt with those that have a united citizens making direct contributions to the people with political power.

    Consider the two approaches taken by XR and the ALEC. Both want to influence democracy to pursue policies they favour.
    One organises mass street protests.
    The other writes the local, State, and Federal regulations it wants and presents them as ‘guidance’ or helpful advice to legislators to whom its fellow travellers are also making large donations.
    Which do you think is going to get labelled as extremist?

  66. John Hartz says:

    smallbluemike: For your edification…

    For climate scientists and advocates, it’s a familiar trap. Any political program sufficient to address climate change at scale is, almost by definition, going to be radical, which allows the right to dismiss it as “far left.” The go-to attack on the climate movement is that it’s a “watermelon,” green on the outside and socialist red on the inside — that climate change is just a cover story for the political program.

    Thunberg has sidestepped attacks on her motives by almost entirely refraining from endorsing specific political reforms or policies. “I can’t really speak up about things like [politics],” she told Wallace-Wells, “no one would take me seriously.”

    Her insistence on this point was illustrated when she submitted the IPCC’s report on limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in lieu of testifying to the House. Attached was a short letter that said: “I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists. And I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take action.” She refuses to allow her opinions to become the focus.

    Why the right’s usual smears don’t work on Greta Thunberg: She keeps the focus on science, and they hate it. by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Dec 12, 2019

  67. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Please convert the font of the first full paragraph of my prior pot to italics. Thanks.

  68. Izen said “Perhaps the argument is that we are faced with an existential threat of similar magnitude to WW2 and should again adopt that total war system which overrides the current financial, manufacturing and services business that propel our consumer society.
    It would be difficult to see this as anything other than an extremist proposal.”

    I think that is most sensible approach to the climate crisis and it is inherently an extreme position as it commits to war system footing that overrides the established and mainstream considerations that normally dictate how the global economy is organized and directed. I think this is as extreme and radical as human beings can be. I think it is what is called for now.

    People facing the problem of fascism in the 1930s did not engage in a lot of modeling about where that would lead by year 2000 or 2050 or 2100, they recognized the threat and mobilized to tackle the problem in less than two decades. We can quibble about neoliberalism as the new fascism, but the fascism of the 30s was recognized as a real threat and an extreme mobilization was required to defeat that threat.

    Leaders would have to step up and say that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself and that they have nothing to offer us in this essential struggle but blood, toil, sweat and tears.

    That kind of honesty is rare in leaders.

  69. David Benson :
    “Russell Seitz — 25 m of SLR in the future is far from unlikely.”
    “Russell Seitz, from Meltwater Pulse 1a, about 5 meters by 2100.”

    David, , St.Paul’s dome stands 100 m high, not, 25.

    Lynas and Wallace-Wells 8.5 walkback is a wise climateball move , as their New York Magazine and Six Degrees covers are already looking about as credible as Waterworld

  70. I am not aware of an Extremist Society. I can’t find an Extremist Society on google search, but the Federalist Society might fit?

  71. John Hartz says:

    This just in….

    The record in recent decades for the highest level of ice to melt in Antarctica in one day was reached on Christmas Eve, data suggests.

    Around 15 percent of the continent’s surface melted on Monday, according to the Global Forecast System (GFS) by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). The data comes from the Modèle Atmosphérique Régional (MAR), a model used for meteorological and climatic research.

    Xavier Fettweis, a climatologist at the University of Liège in Belgium, who tweeted the data on Friday, said this is the highest melt extent in Antarctica in the modern era, since 1979. He added the production of melt water is a record 230 percent higher than average since November this year. That’s despite the melting season not yet being over.

    Record hit for most ice to melt in Antarctica in one day, data suggests: “We are in a Climate Emergency” by Kashmira Gander, Dec 27, 2019

  72. David B. Benson says:

    Russell Sietz, London is 11 meters above sea level.

  73. Willard says:

    > Lynas and Wallace-Wells 8.5 walkback is a wise climateball move

    I don’t always appreciate when other ClimateBall players play my favorite moves, but when I do I find them wise.

    In other news:

  74. Mal Adapted says:

    Nathan:

    Sure they’re trying to influence government, but why does that make them extremist? And this logic also implies that everyone that is trying to influence govt is also extremist.

    I think this is poorly thought out. Trying to influence govt just makes you a party to democracy, that’s all.

    Heh. While I was preparing my defense of izen, he defended himself perfectly well. I’ve got about two cents worth to add.

    The elements of society who would be inconvenienced by collective action to decarbonize the global economy, and whose influence on governments is out of proportion to their individual votes, must regard science, and democracy itself, as the weapons of “extremists”. Hence the pressure for compromise. Greta Thunberg, whose future will be determined by the timeliness and efficacy of collective decarbonization, is impatient with official opposition, delay and doubt. AFAICT, she just wants them (i.e. us) to get on with it. To a fossil-carbon capitalist, she’s an extremist by definition.

    In practical terms, she’s putting the burden on voters in nominally democratic societies to vote AGW-deniers out of their governments. As she and her age cohort become voters themselves, sufficient numbers of climate realists may be reached sooner rather than later. In the US, at least, critical elections can turn on bare pluralities. It’s why the Koch Klub spends so much on lobbying and public disinformation.

  75. BBD says:

    +3C eventually gives us what, about +20m SLR? Mid-Pliocene Warm Period-ish?

    This will come in fits and starts from about mid-century for what? A millennium? Two?

    Coastal infrastructure, ports, citiies and all, will be lost over and over again. Inland migration will be forced and incessant. Arable land will be lost, endlessly. All this will get underway in the midst of a sustained failure in global food security and ever-worsening political and social tension driven that creates.

    Quite why Russell is sanguine about SLR evades me. Nor does this require 8.5.

  76. smallbluemike says:
    I think GT and XR folks generally think we ought to actually get to net zero by 2025 or 2030.

    Greta Thunberg has not mooted anything even remotely near those ambitions. Quit putting words in her mouth/attributing thoughts to her which aren’t hers, please.

    She has enough burden already without armchair nervous nellies misrepresenting her.

    Even Kevin Anderson, who, as I understand it, is an important advisor/reviewer to Thunberg’s independent messaging, isn’t calling for this. Hell, Jim Hansen/Bill McKibben – who think that 350ppm is target CO2 – don’t either.

    You personally want to agitate for zero (net) emissions by 2025/2030? Go for it! But don’t imply conscription to your position of others who actually don’t support it.

  77. BBD says:

    Greta Thunberg has not mooted anything even remotely near those ambitions.

    Yes, that was my impression.

  78. David B. Benson says:

    Seas will rise:
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/28/submarine-to-explore-why-antarctic-glacier-is-melting-so-quickly
    It appears that 2 meters of SLR are now going to be delivered quite soon, with more in store.

  79. Mal Adapted says:

    Russell:

    Lynas and Wallace-Wells 8.5 walkback is a wise climateball move , as their New York Magazine and Six Degrees covers are already looking about as credible as Waterworld

    So, whose job is it to tell the public about the worst-case climate scenarios? As we’ve discussed to death, scientists are under strong pressure to be conservative. Lynas and Wallace-Wells are journalists exploring the upper tail of model projections, under the precautionary principle. Six degrees was a plausible worst case when Lynas published his book. Wallace-Wells’ uninhabitable earth was more speculative, but still in the realm of probability. Well, so now that a worst-case emissions scenario has been found unlikely, Lynas and Wallace-Wells are updating their earlier speculations. It’s OK for them to do that!

    Besides, as you surely know, magazine covers aren’t always consensus projections, or even those of an article’s author.

  80. John Hartz says:

    A nice overview article about glaciers published today — based on presentations made at at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco on Dec. 9.

    Satellites Show Glaciers Rapidly Shrinking from Climate Change by Elizabeth Howell, Science & Astronomy, Space.com., Dec 28, 2019

  81. Nathan says:

    Izen

    “First Greta and XR are trying to significantly alter the basis on which policy choices are made.”
    Are they? Really? I don’t think they are. How do you show this is a significant alteration?

    “Second, the other agents that influence governments as part of the democratic process have significant involvement in the financial and social web of relationships that underpins the government.”
    OK, but again, this does not show XR and GT are ‘extremist’ – perhaps it shows they are grass-root movements.

    “Consider the two approaches taken by XR and the ALEC. Both want to influence democracy to pursue policies they favour.
    One organises mass street protests.
    The other writes the local, State, and Federal regulations it wants and presents them as ‘guidance’ or helpful advice to legislators to whom its fellow travellers are also making large donations.”

    I find it bizarre that mass protests are considered ‘extremist’ – civil disobedience has a proud and successful history. It’s typically how REAL social change is accomplished.
    I also find it strange that you think XR are not writing to legislators and providing guidance. Pretty sure they do that as well.

    “Which do you think is going to get labelled as extremist?”
    Neither. Both approaches have a long history and have succeeded in the past.

  82. Nathan says:

    Mal Adapted

    “To a fossil-carbon capitalist, she’s an extremist by definition.”

    I suppose they would want to present her as ‘extremist’… More to try and discredit her.

  83. Nathan says: “I find it bizarre that mass protests are considered ‘extremist’ – civil disobedience has a proud and successful history. It’s typically how REAL social change is accomplished.”

    You may think that civil disobedience is mainstream and not extremist but:

    After Standing Rock, protesting pipelines can get you a decade in prison and $100K in fines

    “…the protesters were on private land with the landowner’s permission, some were eventually arrested by St. Martin’s Parish Sheriff’s deputies in mid August. The pipeline was completed in March, yet Foytlin could still face up to five years in prison and $1,000 in fines.”

    https://grist.org/article/after-standing-rock-protesting-pipelines-can-get-you-a-decade-in-prison-and-100k-in-fines/

    If you think there is some balance and equality in influence between the ability of billionaires and protesters engaged in civil disobedience in attempts to influence public policy and accomplish social change, I am simply willing to agree to disagree with you on that.

    I don’t track the number of states that have passed statutes criminalizing civil disobedience of this type, but versions of the ALEC bill criminalizing this type of civil disobedience had been introduced in 15 states by March 2019 according to this article in Inside Climate News.

    https://insideclimatenews.org/news/28032019/pipeline-protest-crackdown-state-law-legislation-south-dakota-conspirators-riot-boosting

    Many forms of extremism are well tolerated within our society without leading to widespread movement to criminalize them, but civil disobedience against fossil fuel infrastructure is being criminalized. If it’s considered criminal, is it extremist? I would say, yup, all signs point in that direction.

    So, the folks who engage in this kind of activity may have jumped straight over the extremists label and are treated as potential felons within the criminal justice system.

    Nathan, if you think it’s bizarre that mass protests are considered extremist, please step into the front row of a pipeline protest in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Iowa or Texas. Present your arguments when arraigned and report back please.
    https://www.kut.org/post/new-texas-pipeline-protest-law-about-more-pipelines

    Cheers,

    Mike

  84. what has greta said on emisson reductions?

    “the 1.5 °C commitment as part of the Paris Agreement is insufficient and that the greenhouse gas emissions curve needs to start declining steeply no later than 2020.[70][71] In February 2019, at a conference of the European Economic and Social Committee, she said that the EU must reduce their CO
    2 emissions by 80% by 2030, double the 40% goal set in Paris.[72][73][74][75][76]” per wikipedia, who knows? might be accurate.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greta_Thunberg

    At the United Nations, she said: “”The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.

    “Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.

    “So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences.

    “To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.

    “How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just ‘business as usual’ and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years.”

    Anyone who wants to see a lot of daylight between Greta’s goals and those of XR is welcome to try. Here’s something to consider on that:
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10154011/extinction-rebellion-greta-thunberg-break-law/

    Kind of moving away from the RCP 8.5 discussion. As Greta might say: How dare you?

    Cheers,

    Mike

  85. Nathan says:

    Smallbluemike

    “Nathan, if you think it’s bizarre that mass protests are considered extremist, please step into the front row of a pipeline protest in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Iowa or Texas. Present your arguments when arraigned and report back please.”

    Well, I am in Australia… So no.
    And even if the Australian Government made laws to outlaw mass protests, I still wouldn’t consider them ‘extremist’.
    I am actually more interested in why yourself (not sure if you do), or Izen consider it extremist

    “If you think there is some balance and equality in influence between the ability of billionaires and protesters engaged in civil disobedience in attempts to influence public policy and accomplish social change, I am simply willing to agree to disagree with you on that.”

    Well, of course I don’t believe that. The billionaires win more often and have a lot more power. There’s not much ordinary citizens can do, other than protest.

    “Many forms of extremism are well tolerated within our society without leading to widespread movement to criminalize them, but civil disobedience against fossil fuel infrastructure is being criminalized. If it’s considered criminal, is it extremist? I would say, yup, all signs point in that direction.”

    Well, again perhaps it’s just the billionaires winning…
    Civil disobedience has worked in the past. And will work in the future. Maybe you think it’s ugly or contemptible, but many of the privileges we enjoy come from Civil disobedience. There’s an endless selection to choose from. Wikipedia has a handy list.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Examples_of_civil_disobedience

    But hey, why do women need the vote?

    I am curious, do you think these protesters are extremist?

  86. Thanks, smallbluemike, confirms she’s said nothing anywhere near like:

    “GT […] generally think(s) we ought to actually get to (global) net zero by 2025 or 2030.”

    Always good practice to avoid misattributing positions to others. Cheers.

    Don’t sweat too much going off-topic on this particular post/thread. Why start now?

  87. izen says:

    @-Nathan
    “I am curious, do you think these protesters are extremist?”

    I think they are commonly ascribed that quality because their political opponents, the establishment and mainstream media use that adjective.

    They also fit the most common definition of extremists by using public demonstrations, civil disobedience and agitation outside the ‘normal’ channels of engagement with government to promote their goals.

    You are correct that there is a long history of such tactics of public disruption and calls to radically change the way government policy is decided. The abolition of slavery and votes for women are the most obvious examples. Both were regarded as extremist positions when first advanced, and many within those movements were branded as such until their aims were eventually achieved.
    ‘Extremists’ is the standard form of denigration applied to those that reject the status quo and try to change it through public agitation whether left wing, Muslim or white supremacists.

    I am curious, why do you think these protesters are NOT extremist?

    @-“I also find it strange that you think XR are not writing to legislators and providing guidance. Pretty sure they do that as well.”

    There are a few organisations that are trying to implement policy that would mitigate climate change in a manner similar to ALEC, but they are few and far between. They also lack the funding and symbiotic lobbying and support of billionaires and united citizens that has made ALEC so effective.

    While I recognise the role and historical precedents for civil disobedience and public agitation, I would favour that far more was done to oppose the regulatory capture of government by big business. Perhaps financial regulations could be implemented that would place a ‘carbon price’ charged on all investments into fossil fuel production by banks, hedge funds and sovereign wealth schemes.
    Norway has shown how this could work.

  88. Nathan says:

    I don’t think they’re extremist, because what they are doing is not extreme. It’s pretty stock standard activity we’ve seen time and time again.
    You seem to be saying they’re extreme because they’ve gone outside ‘normal’ channels. But I would say this is a normal channel.

  89. Nathan says:

    Public protest also helps focus attention on the influence big business has.
    Can help the govt make courageous decisions they otherwise wouldn’t.

  90. izen says:

    @-Nathan
    “You seem to be saying they’re extreme because they’ve gone outside ‘normal’ channels. But I would say this is a normal channel.”

    Greta Thunberg is most commonly described as ‘radical’ with the modifier ‘dangerous’ often added.

    “Her radical approach is at odds with democracy.”

    Extinction Rebellion are frequently described as extremists, and worse.
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/16/treat-extinction-rebellion-extremist-anarchist-group-former/
    “Extinction Rebellion (XR) should be treated as an extremist anarchist group and police must stop their “soft touch” approach”

    That you would regard them as within ‘normal’ political agitation suggests that you are a dangerous, radical, extremist.
    (grin)

  91. Nathan says:

    “That you would regard them as within ‘normal’ political agitation suggests that you are a dangerous, radical, extremist.”

    Ha!

    “Her radical approach is at odds with democracy.”
    I read the article and are none the wiser about why her ‘radical’ approach is at odds with democracy. Nor why her approach is radical…

    Ho hum…
    and this book the author of the article wrote: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflections_on_the_Revolution_in_Europe
    Doesn’t fill me with confidence that he’ll explain anything in detail or present a coherent argument… I find it odd that those enamored with free markets are not enamored with free movement of labour. Makes it sort of half a free market.

    ‘“Extinction Rebellion (XR) should be treated as an extremist anarchist group and police must stop their “soft touch” approach””

    This is unfortunate as XR are strictly non-violent… So to treat non-violent people with violence is, in the words of a man greater than I, Sad.

  92. Dave_Geologist says:

    A slight caveat to the Greta quote (actually a major one, the same conflation of business-as usual with mitigation-in-progress or mitigation-as-planned I alluded to above). Per the Smith et al. paper, a 50/50 chance of staying below 1.5°C by 2100 is emphatically not business-as-usual (IOW continuing to build coal-fired power plants and ICE cars). It’s mitigation-as-planned (or rather promised). No net-carbon-positive investments after 2030, or equivalent (no coal plants after tomorrow, no diesel trains after 2025, no petrol/diesel/hybrid cars after 2035, etc.). That’s a big deal. Most countries haven’t got to the hard stuff yet. Nor have they even made the promises (which would be full-fat Paris with follow-ons, not just the existing voluntary “commitments”).

  93. Juan Wurold says:

    I understand the need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, all of them, the sooner the better. I have read the Post and comments from that perspective and offer the following:
    – The peak level of climate impact is the issue, not the level of impact by 2100 if more impact will follow. Negative impacts happening later are just as bad from the perspective of the people facing the consequences.
    – Things only appear to be better by 2100 than RCP8.5 because some, not all, of the more fortunate people on the planet chose to behave better.
    – The warming of 1.0C to date has already pushed climate consequences into the realm of warmer is worse, less warming is better. Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion are raising awareness of Stretch Targets that would limit total global impacts to 1.5C warming (not just a 50-50 chance). People like business leaders and elite athletes set Stretch Targets to best achieve important goals. If it appears that they will not meet the stretch target they take aggressive corrective actions.
    – Anyone declaring to be less concerned about how things are going because they ‘believe’ that climate sensitivity for doubled CO2 is less than 3.0C is either allowing themselves to be fooled or is being disingenuous. Making that ‘optimistic’ claim without evidence to justify it is the sort of thing done by someone who does not care because they do not expect to face the negative consequences of the warming, no matter what the sensitivity is. A related point is the fallacy of discussing how ‘We’ will feel about the future consequences. ‘We’ won’t experience the future consequences created by ‘Our Current Living Collective’ failure to limit the total harm done by ways of living that have incorrectly become popular and profitable. The correction resisting people will need to be facing negative consequences that make ‘them’ regret not behaving better. And penalties for the correction resistant laggards are the types of more aggressive corrective actions that will ‘Get Their Attention’. And that is likely part of the reason they try to be dismissive of the likes of GT and XR.
    Everybody’s actions add up to become the future. The caring people being the only ones behaving better is not a solution. The future of humanity requires the Sustainable Development Goals to be met, the sooner the better. The future of humanity will not, and should not, care about the any loss of opportunity and enjoyment by people who did not care to help reduce the harm being done to the future generations.
    People should browse the following, and other global collective pursuits of expanded awareness and improved understanding that are the basis for the Sustainable Development Goals):
    1972 Stockholm Conference
    https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/milestones/humanenvironment
    1987 Our Common Future

    http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf


    2012 Back to Our Common Future

    https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/UN-DESA_Back_Common_Future_En.pdf


    The following quote from paragraph 25 in the Overview of the 1987 UN Report Our Common Future is still particularly relevant considerations 32 years later.
    “25. Many present efforts to guard and maintain human progress, to meet human needs, and to realize human ambitions are simply unsustainable – in both the rich and poor nations. … They may show profit on the balance sheets of our generation, but our children will inherit the losses. We borrow environmental capital from future generations with no intention or prospect of repaying. They may damn us …, but they can never collect on our debt to them. We act as we do because we can get away with it: future generations do not vote; they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge our decisions.
    26. But the results of the present profligacy are rapidly closing the options for future generations. Most of today’s decision makers will be dead before the planet feels; …. In the Commission’s hearings it was the young, those who have the most to lose, who were the harshest critics of the planet’s present management.”

  94. Just a reminder, your honours, on the context of (subjectively) extreme tactics versus “demands”…

    Every country in the world is signed onto the Paris Agreement.To wit, in part:

    Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels…

    … and, at those nations’ request, the IPCC investigated what that political agreement and goals implied, including in terms of carbon budgets and mitigation pathways. To wit, in part:

    In model pathways with no or limited overshoot of 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 (40–60% interquartile range), reaching net zero around 2050 (2045–2055 interquartile range). For limiting global warming to below 2°C11 CO2 emissions are projected to decline by about 25% by 2030 in most pathways (10–30% interquartile range) and reach net zero around 2070 (2065–2080 interquartile range).

    “Demands” like these by various publics are not “extreme”, insofar as every nation in the world is signed up to achieve them, at least implicitly, rhetorically, unwittingly at the time, notionally, etc.

    Achieving these goals will be extreme, unprecedented and radical, relative to business as usual (to a degree that even most protesters haven’t really personally incorporated*).

    Calls for action drastically more ambitious than the above are likely characterized as “extreme”. Tactics? Who knows? But if you look at some historical tactics in movements opposed to war, WTO, prejudice against minorities, old growth clear-cutting, whaling, on and on, thus far the climate activists seem pretty not-extreme.

  95. “I am curious, do you think these protesters are extremist?”

    The range of thought about what should be done about climate change exists along a spectrum that would likely graph as the well-known bell curve.

    At one far end (extreme) end of that spectrum you would have folks who continue to believe that climate change is a hoax and that nothing should be done about climate change. That’s a pretty extreme view, which is shown by the small number of adherents represented by the small number on the x axis. I would describe those persons as extremists because their opinions fall in the +2 range of standard deviations from the mean. In addition to describing these folks as extremists, I would likely describe them as delusional because their position is so far removed from what the science/facts suggest is true. So, that end is populated by extremists, delusional extremists, if I wanted to throw in an adjective.

    At the other end (extreme) end of that spectrum you would have folks who believe that we sclimate change is a potent and immediate threat to a wide variety of living things on the planet and these folks would believe that we should get to net zero by 2025 or 2030 or sooner. The most extreme folks on this end of the spectrum might favor turning off all the CO2 producing machines and activities today, regardless of the consequences.

    Again, we are talking about folks whose opinions graph out at 2+ standard deviations and more away from the median, thus extremists. In addition to describing these folks as extremists, I might throw in the adjective reasonable or accurate extremists. I generally fall in this category if/when I am graphed. (I think the folks who think we can turn off the machines today to be a little nutty, but not as nutty as the extremists on the other end of the spectrum who believe climate change is a hoax).

    Does that answer your question?

    Cheers

    Mike

  96. what juan wurold said! Kudos

  97. Kudos as well to Dave the Geologist, who has posted several times in this thread in a good faith and clear, analytical style. Well done, sir.

    Izen and others also engaged and sensible. Thanks to all who engage in good faith and bring reason and thought to the comments.

    Climate ball bores me, good faith and back and forth with smart people is the other end of that spectrum.

  98. John Hartz says:

    The big picture context of ATTP’s OP and this discussion thread is encapsulated in the following…

    But keep in mind that scientists are reluctant, for professional reasons, to go far beyond the immediate data in formal publication. Moreover, organizations like the United Nations, including even its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are so dominated by economists’ concerns and bent by political considerations that extraneous noise obscures the scientific signal.

    Prominent climate scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director emeritus of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, argues that, in these circumstances “a trend towards ‘erring on the side of least drama’ has emerged” and “when the issue is the survival of civilization is at stake, conventional means of analysis may become useless.”

    Exploring this argument, policy analysts David Spratt and Ian Dunlop conclude, “Climate policymaking for years has been cognitively dissonant, ‘a flagrant violation of reality.’ So it is unsurprising that there is a lack of understanding amongst the public and elites of the full measure of the climate challenge.”

    Yes, the Climate Crisis May Wipe out Six Billion People by William E Reese* ,The Tyee, Sep 18, 2019

    *William E. Rees is professor emeritus of human ecology and ecological economics at the University of British Columbia.

    Note: Reese’s article is a long read, but well worth it.

  99. 🤔…Hmmm…

  100. Nathan says:

    “Again, we are talking about folks whose opinions graph out at 2+ standard deviations and more away from the median, thus extremists. ”

    There is no graph…

    “Does that answer your question?”
    Yes, it’s simply your opinion.

  101. Mal Adapted says:

    smallbluemike:

    The range of thought about what should be done about climate change exists along a spectrum that would likely graph as the well-known bell curve.

    Excellent comment. I also think of people’s individual opinions as being on a multivariate normal probability distribution. IMHO it’s much closer to “true” than the binary choice model that underpins strawman rhetorical tactics. In the USA, “moderate” politicians try to capture the maximum number mof votes “left ” or “right” of the modal position. Demagogues, OTOH, go for maximum polarization. Sigh.

  102. Mal Adapted says:

    “Of”, not “mof”. Sigh.

  103. Mal Adapted says:

    Rustneversleeps, thanks. Marketwatch.com:

    A new survey released by the Washington, D.C., nonprofit Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation [finds] 36% of millennials polled say that they approve of communism…

    Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, says he’s troubled by the findings of the poll.

    Hmmm, indeed. I think there’s some serious strawmanning going on. I’d like a closer look at that poll. The actual report isn’t linked in the marketwatch article, for some reason.

  104. David B. Benson says:

    Mal Adjusted — Amusing. MOF stands for Metal Organic Framework. These chemical compounds are used to capture for later controlled release any of various molecules to be separated from the source and the rest of the molecules.

  105. David B. Benson says:

    To Whom It May Concern — My perfectly harmless comment, although I suppose off-topic, went to moderation.

  106. David B. Benson says:

    MOF — Metal Organic Framework

  107. Nathan says:

    “Excellent comment. I also think of people’s individual opinions as being on a multivariate normal probability distribution.”

    So how would you demonstrate this, and how would you show that the opinion of those engaging in mass protest lies at the ‘extreme’ end?

  108. Nathan has convinced me that he is here primarily to play climate ball and win debating points. I know that’s fun, but that’s not why I watch this website, so I am using the killfile option to reduce the background noise.
    Cheers,
    Mike

  109. Mal Adapted says:

    Nathan:

    “Excellent comment. I also think of people’s individual opinions as being on a multivariate normal probability distribution.”

    So how would you demonstrate this, and how would you show that the opinion of those engaging in mass protest lies at the ‘extreme’ end?

    What makes you think I said that? On second thought, never mind. I’m with sbm.

  110. David B. Benson says:

    smallbluemike, what is the killfile option?

  111. Nathan says:

    Mal Adapted..
    “What makes you think I said that? On second thought, never mind. I’m with sbm.”

    “December 30, 2019 at 1:05 am”

    were you sleep posting?

  112. David B. Benson says:

    smallbluemike, thank you for the prompt reply.

  113. izen says:

    @-Nathan
    “So how would you demonstrate this, and how would you show that the opinion of those engaging in mass protest lies at the ‘extreme’ end?”

    The label extreme and extremist do not refer to a measurable objective parameter.
    It is a social construct, most commonly applied by the dominant groups with power or influence on the mainstream social system to those on the periphery with less direct influence, who take action to change that setup.

    It is highly context dependent. Just as ‘terrorist’ and ‘freedom fighter’ have been in the UK as it has faced the fallout from its colonial history. The IRA have gone from extremist bombers to an integral part of the government of one UK region.

    When a group or individual is labelled an ‘extremist’ it tell you less about their position, but a good deal about the status within society of those making such an accusation.
    This is why XR gets the label ‘extremists’ while ALEC does not.
    A failure to understand this may be because you think that extremism CAN be a metric on some absolute scale independent from the context; or you are playing ClimateBall

  114. Nathan says:

    “Nathan has convinced me that he is here primarily to play climate ball and win debating points.”

    Sorry what? You were describing XR and GT as ‘extremists’ – I think this is a poor descriptor and asked why. Eventually you gave a detailed description about normal distribution curves. But there’s no way you can demonstrate that.

    It’s fine that it’s your opinion.

    I just don’t see it very different from any other civil disobedience that has occurred in the past.

    Hope you have a nice day and sorry if I have offended you.

  115. Nathan says:

    Izen

    “A failure to understand this may be because you think that extremism CAN be a metric on some absolute scale independent from the context; or you are playing ClimateBall”

    I didn’t bring up the metric idea. I don’t think it’s useful. That was smallbluemike; I claimed it was not possible to measure.

    “The label extreme and extremist do not refer to a measurable objective parameter.
    It is a social construct, most commonly applied by the dominant groups with power or influence on the mainstream social system to those on the periphery with less direct influence, who take action to change that setup.”

    Yes I agree that the label is used by powerful groups to diminish less powerful.

    “When a group or individual is labelled an ‘extremist’ it tell you less about their position, but a good deal about the status within society of those making such an accusation.”
    Yes… Which makes me wonder why you are calling the extremist.

    “This is why XR gets the label ‘extremists’”
    But this is about the people labelling them as Extremist. So why are people here labelling them extremist? Simply because powerful people have? My original question was why do YOU label them extremist. You brought up that they operated outside normal channels. If that’s what you think extremist is, fine.

    “The IRA have gone from extremist bombers”
    It’s ridiculous to label GT and XR with the same term as the IRA.

    I appear to be annoying people

    Apologies

  116. Willard says:

    > Nathan has convinced me that he is here primarily to play climate ball and win debating points.

    How many comments like this one need I delete until you get that you should stop making them, mike?

  117. David B. Benson says:

    John Hartz posted a link to an essay by William E. Rees. After reading, once again I opine that a crash is “soon” to arrive. We don’t appear to have the collective wisdom and restraint to avoid such.

  118. izen says:

    @-Nathan
    “My original question was why do YOU label them extremist.”

    Two reasons, first, acknowledging that is how the mainstream characterises such groups. As we both recognise that is largely a matter of political rhetoric, the label is used by powerful groups to diminish less powerful.
    Second it is the etymology, in the sense of at the boundary or outside the normal/median range. In this case of normal political activity.

  119. “As we both recognise that is largely a matter of political rhetoric, the label is used by powerful groups to diminish less powerful.”

    Not quite. Ridiculous ideas really exist and can be the reason for this lack of power. Neo-nazis are not labeled “extremists” out of some trick of the powerful to keep the less powerful in their place, they got the label because their ideas are repellant and they have less power because everyone knows it.

    Greta and XR try to get around the extremist label (which applies for good reason to people who want to be fossil free in 5-10 years) via a rhetorical dodge- thanks to RCP8.5 (which they seem to consider conservative) they believe the planet is in immediate peril. They absolutely do not demand that we be fossil free in 5-10 years, they simply demand that the planet be saved by action now that is in accordance with their belief that the planet can only be saved by being fossil free in 5-10 years.

  120. Mal Adapted says:

    Nathan:

    were you sleep posting?

    Possibly. It did occur to me I may have misinterpreted you. At face value, your question was actually an interesting one, but perhaps beyond the scope of this thread. Within it, have you figured out that izen and his defenders are using “extremist” ironically? We’re pretending to look at Greta Thunberg and her supporters from a plutocrat’s POV. We’re allowed to do that as a thought experiment, without systematizing it further.

  121. Willard says:

    > Neo-nazis are not labeled “extremists” out of some trick of the powerful to keep the less powerful in their place, they got the label because their ideas are repellant and they have less power because everyone knows it. Greta and XR try to get around the extremist label

    I see what you did there, JeffN.

  122. Mal Adapted says:

    jeffnsails850:

    Not quite. Ridiculous ideas really exist and can be the reason for this lack of power. Neo-nazis are not labeled “extremists” out of some trick of the powerful to keep the less powerful in their place, they got the label because their ideas are repellant and they have less power because everyone knows it.

    Did you just demonstrate Godwin’s Law?

    Greta and XR try to get around the extremist label (which applies for good reason to people who want to be fossil free in 5-10 years) via a rhetorical dodge- thanks to RCP8.5 (which they seem to consider conservative) they believe the planet is in immediate peril. They absolutely do not demand that we be fossil free in 5-10 years, they simply demand that the planet be saved by action now that is in accordance with their belief that the planet can only be saved by being fossil free in 5-10 years.

    What rhetorical dodge, now? Does Ms. Thunberg actually say “the planet can only be saved by being fossil free in 5-10 years”? Her scientific sources must have assured her that’s not a realistic RCP, whatever UN documents say. Anyway, it’s her own future she’s most concerned with! She simply demands we quit dithering hypocritically and get on with decarbonization by any means necessary, the quicker the better. From D. Wallace-Wells’ NYMag piece last September:

    In dozens of conversations like these in the months leading up to the U.N. summit, not a single climate leader expressed great confidence to me that we would manage to avoid two degrees of warming. That may seem like a rebuke to the clarity of purpose embedded in Greta’s goals — and indeed to the whole U.N.-supported climate apparatus targeting, as she does, a safe landing at 1.5 degrees. And it does probably signal the arrival of a new era for climate politics, the post-two-degree phase, when we may stop so single-mindedly chasing quixotic temperature goals and debating how many angels have to dance on the head of a pin to get there.

    Seriously, jeffn’: what temperature goal seems unquixotic to you? Do you expect an intelligent 16-year-old, who is well-informed scientifically, and AFAICT does not see herself as a fictional character despite her (rather charming IMHO) physical resemblance to one, to be happy with it? She has so much more at stake than I do, considering she could be my granddaughter. Should that exceptional young woman ignore her unique gifts, and not try to secure the best future she can? Somebody has to. Go Greta!

  123. I am not saying Greta is a nazi or anything like a nazi. I’m saying that it’s ridiculous to claim people are only labeled “extremists” as a rhetorical trick. Extremism exists.

    Like it or not Greta is an environmental extremist, she earned the label, and her followers try to get around it with a rhetorical trick that isn’t working very well (see recent British elections). The trick is to say you are not demanding extremist policies, you’re just demanding what naturally flows if you assume Greta is about to be killed by global warming. Greta is not about to be killed by global warming and neither her government nor any other looks to be ready to implement extremist policies. It’s bad science, bad political theater and ineffective advocacy. But have fun with it.

  124. Willard says:

    FWIW:

    > I want you to listen to the scientists.

  125. I haven’t really been following the “extremist” discussion. However, Greta Thunberg is essentially asking governments to do what they agreed to do as part of the Paris agreement. That can’t really be regarded as an extremist position.

  126. Nathan says:

    Mal Adapted

    “Possibly. ”
    I posted exactly what you wrote (unless someone hacked your account), so unclear if you even went back and checked what you wrote.

    “Within it, have you figured out that izen and his defenders are using “extremist” ironically?”

    That’s why I keep asking – I can’t tell.
    If you are, that’s pretty sad. Using the term ‘extremist’ to diminish someone is a common thing. It doesn’t work well ironically even as a thought experiment. A bit like using racism ironically.

    “We’re allowed to do that as a thought experiment, without systematizing it further.”
    It also doesn’t look like irony as an thought experiment… But would be interested to see the results.

  127. Nathan says:

    Izen

    “Second it is the etymology, in the sense of at the boundary or outside the normal/median range. In this case of normal political activity.”

    I guess there are a lot of extremists in your world.

  128. Willard says:

    Concerns about labeling have run its course.

    Thanks everyone.

  129. Joshua says:

    Jeff –

    > It’s bad science, bad political theater and ineffective advocacy. But have fun with it.

    Freakin’ hippies! = same old same old. Will you ever get a new schtick?

  130. Mal Adapted says:

    jeffnsails850:

    Like it or not Greta is an environmental extremist, she earned the label,

    Says you, and probably fossil-fuel capitalists too. I, OTOH, don’t feel her views are extreme.

    if you assume Greta is about to be killed by global warming

    Why would I assume that? AGW doesn’t have to be lethal to be tragic. I’m merely acknowledging that the longer the world waits to decarbonize, the grimmer her future will be. You’re strawmanning again.

    have fun with it

    Way to miss the point.

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