Skip to comments.Study: Climate Change Probably Won’t Kill All of Us
Posted on 02/09/2018 11:13:20 AM PST by nickcarraway
Due to a combination of prudence and morbid curiosity, a great deal of scholarly research (and journalism) about climate change has focused on the worst of all possible worlds. For scientists running climate-economic models, that nightmare scenario has a concrete definition: In 2011, such researchers established four baseline scenarios for the future of greenhouse gas emissions (ranging from the benign to the catastrophic) for the sake of facilitating comparable studies.
The most fearsome and widely cited of these baselines, known as RCP8.5, imagined a year 2100 in which an overpopulated, technologically underdeveloped humanity is digging up and burning every last piece of coal it can find. Thus, by the turn of the next century, coal the most carbon-intensive major fuel source would account for 94 percent of the worlds energy supply. In 2015, that figure was 28 percent.
This scenario, and other, less severe hypotheticals that also imagine a resurgence of coal use, have loomed large in both the academic and political debates over climate change. In its most recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cited 210 scenarios that assumed humanity would move toward more carbon-intensive forms of energy in the coming decades.
But a new analysis from researchers at the University of British Columbia suggests that this assumption and the nightmare scenarios that derive from it merits less attention than its been given.
Their reasoning is simple. First and foremost, there probably isnt enough extractable coal on the planet to make RCP8.5 possible, even if future humans tried to use that filthiest of fossil fuels for virtually all of their energy needs. Second, theres little basis for thinking that we will become more reliant on carbon-intensive energy sources in the future. For decades, the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to energy produced (i.e., the carbon intensity of energy) has been going down. And the growing prevalence of natural gas and renewable fuels strongly suggests this trend will continue.
The nightmare scenario looked considerably more plausible just a few years ago, when Chinas consumption of coal was steadily rising. But precisely because that fuel is so dirty, anti-pollution political sentiment has pushed the Chinese government to move aggressively toward renewables, and many experts believe the nations coal consumption has already peaked.
Theres still no guarantee that well be spared the worst of all possible climates. Even without a coal resurgence, there are plenty of other forces that could upend encouraging trends, including feedback from the warming weve already built in like, for example, a surge of methane emissions from melting permafrost. Furthermore, there remains a lot that we dont know about how the climate will evolve. One recent study found that aerosols, tiny atmospheric particles found in air pollution, may be suppressing global temperatures by as much a 1.1 degrees Celsius. If true, this would mean that reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would have a less significant effect on global temperatures than previously thought, as they would produce a concomitant decrease in the atmosphere aerosol content.
Nonetheless, there is some reason to think weve been overestimating the likelihood of total catastrophe. Which isnt to say that humanity doesnt need to radically ramp up its efforts to combat climate change. In fact, this new research suggests that international efforts arent aggressive enough: If the baseline trend points toward a greater degree of passive decarbonization reductions in greenhouse emissions through the evolution of energy markets then governments have been overestimating the economic costs of setting even more stringent caps on carbon emissions.
And make no mistake: Even if near-term planetary extinction looks unlikely, humanity still has a moral and practical obligation to cut emissions as quickly as possible. The worst-case scenario may be less likely than we thought. But very, very bad scenarios remain almost certain. Climate change is already devastating and destabilizing whole regions of the Earth and increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather.
I am guessing it won’t kill anybody.
But if you send us more money now, we will shift you into the segment which is most likely to survive.
Eventually it will kill all of us. But it might take a million years or so.
“probably?” “still no guarantee?” “could upend?” “we don’t know?” “still some reason to think?”
“devastating and destabilizing whole regions?”
The IPCC should be all be sent to prison for this crap.
Now they’re getting careful to make these predictions beyond the lifespan of anyone living today. That’s because none of their previous predictions have happened.
I am quite certain that global warming will save lives (net). Example #1, this year’s flu season. It’s not just coincidence that flu only kills people in the winter.
The article is total BS? So climate change will kill us all?
Women and Children of all colors and White Conservative Christian men, is my guess.
These people are nuts.
Climate change is already devastating and destabilizing whole regions of the Earth and increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather.
Archaeologists are now uncovering human settlements that have been under ice for about 16,000 years.
Think about it, the Earth then, has been much warmer than at present, long ago.
Without the USA’s polluting the Earth to death (sarcasm).
So, the warm up is happening again, OK. Why has this become a political movement that wants to send us a bill while China, with its massive air pollution is left alone?
Also, we fuss about 1 or 2 degrees of average warming..... What is that compared to the 20 to 30 degree night-to-day warming that we have always experienced every day?
These people couldn’t even write a bad science fiction book.
“I am guessing it wont kill anybody.”
These people want their carbon markets and tax payer financed golden castles so badly.
Two examples: 1# The Australian fires of 2013 spewed more CO2 into the atmosphere than humankind will in a hundred years.
2# The twenty-one Chinese Supercargo ships used to deliver goods throughout the world, spew more CO2 into the atmosphere every year than all the cars on Earth.
Only the people that worry about it 24/7 ,LOL
Here’s a whopper:
“Climate change is already devastating and destabilizing whole regions of the Earth and increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather.”
I thought I was dying but it turned out I was just under the weather.
Facts have never stood in the way of this religion.
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