WOW. Nature article suggests ‘Ditch the 2 °C warming goal’


This image is not part of the Nature article – illustration only – from Adam Smith

Ditch the 2 °C warming goal

Average global temperature is not a good indicator of planetary health. Track a range of vital signs instead, urge David G. Victor and Charles F. Kennel.

For nearly a decade, international diplomacy has focused on stopping global warming at 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. This goal — bold and easy to grasp — has been accepted uncritically and has proved influential.
The emissions-mitigation report of the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is framed to address this aim, as is nearly every policy plan to reduce carbon emissions — from California’s to that of the European Union (EU). This month, diplomatic talks will resume to prepare an agreement ahead of a major climate summit in Paris in 2015; again, a 2 °C warming limit is the focus.
Bold simplicity must now face reality. Politically and scientifically, the 2 °C goal is wrong-headed. Politically, it has allowed some governments to pretend that they are taking serious action to mitigate global warming, when in reality they have achieved almost nothing. Scientifically, there are better ways to measure the stress that humans are placing on the climate system than the growth of average global surface temperature — which has stalled since 1998 and is poorly coupled to entities that governments and companies can control directly.
Failure to set scientifically meaningful goals makes it hard for scientists and politicians to explain how big investments in climate protection will deliver tangible results. Some of the backlash from ‘denialists’ is partly rooted in policy-makers’ obsession with global temperatures that do not actually move in lockstep with the real dangers of climate change. New goals are needed. It is time to track an array of planetary vital signs — such as changes in the ocean heat content — that are better rooted in the scientific understanding of climate drivers and risks. Targets must also be set in terms of the many individual gases emitted by human activities and policies to mitigate those emissions.

Actionable goals have proved difficult to articulate from the beginning of climate-policy efforts. The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) expressed the aim as preventing “dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system”. Efforts to clarify the meaning of ‘dangerous’ here have proved fruitless because science offers many different answers depending on which part of the climate system is under scrutiny, and each country has a different perspective.
The 2009 and 2010 UNFCCC Conference of the Parties meetings, in Copenhagen and Cancun respectively, reframed the policy goal in more concrete terms: average global temperature. There was little scientific basis for the 2 °C figure that was adopted, but it offered a simple focal point and was familiar from earlier discussions, including those by the IPCC, EU and Group of 8 (G8) industrial countries. At the time, the 2 °C goal sounded bold and perhaps feasible.

Because it sounds firm and concerns future warming, the 2 °C target has allowed politicians to pretend that they are organizing for action when, in fact, most have done little. Pretending that they are chasing this
unattainable goal has also allowed governments to ignore the need for massive adaptation to climate change.

Second, the 2 °C goal is impractical. It is related only probabilistically to emissions and policies, so it does not tell particular governments and people what to do. In other areas of international politics, goals
have had a big effect when they have been translated into concrete, achievable actions.

Full article here (PDF) sent with press release: 2degreesC_Comment_Victor

UPDATE: Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. writes in comments:

Finally some sense is making it into these journals on the 2C threshold issue. I discussed this on my weblog several years ago also in my post

where I concluded with

“The use of the global annual-averaged surface temperature trends [should be] relegated to where it deserves to be – an historical relic.”

209 thoughts on “WOW. Nature article suggests ‘Ditch the 2 °C warming goal’

    • I agree whole heartedly. This is the first salvo in repositioning the goal posts yet again. Wait and see what they want to regulate next. This is not a climb down, this is just moving to a different tree.

      • How about no deal is a success?

        Guardian – Monday 29 September 2014
        Fred Pearce
        Beyond climate change treaties: ‘a deal in Paris is not essential’
        Ahead of the climate conference in Paris, there is increasing discussion of a new way forward that does not depend on international agreements, reports Yale Environment 360
        …….But behind the scenes, some are asking what happens if there isn’t a deal in Paris. Or even how much it matters whether there is such a deal. Failure is possible, after all. The political winds are even less propitious today than they were five years ago. …….

      • I really underestimated them.
        Big mistake on my part.
        I thought they would slide right from temperature into a world wide water crisis.
        Either too much or too little and they would take control of all water on earth.
        Even that was not enough.
        They want to regulate literally Everything on earth.
        So, who’s in charge of this new world order?

      • On another level, it could be viewed as the “Bargaining” phase of loss and final acceptance.

    • So “NATURE” as a magazine and a publishing dictatorship with an enthralled base of eager parasites (er, writers and subscribers paid by the governments) IS a propaganda machine deliberately releasing press reports and press packages to deliberately spread its goal FOR GOVERNMENTS to be “led” into taking action by the people and editors writing for NATURE.

      And here were, thinking “scientific journals” printing “peer-reviewed” propaganda (er, government press reports) ARE THE ONLY “allowed” unbiased source of scientific information! .

    • You don’t really know politicians. Now that the 2ºC until 2100 is safe they will stick to it… Unless it will cost them votes, which I doubt.

  1. Considering the new Lewis and Curry paper pegs a doubling of CO2 at ~1.6C increase, we’ve got A LOOOONG way to go to get to 2C.

    • “Considering the new Lewis and Curry paper pegs a doubling of CO2 at ~1.6C increase, we’ve got A LOOOONG way to go to get to 2C.”

      It doesnt PEG. 1.6C is the central estimate

      • It does mean is has to be LOOOONG way to go, but probably means [if correct] after 2100 AD.
        Maybe the focus should on CO2 levels, So instead of 2 C a shorter time period would be 600 ppm of CO2. So what focus of 2 C is an effort not to get above 2 C, likewise effort could focused on getting above 600 ppm.
        Or it’s ok to live in world of 2 C warmer- it’s an accept bench mark. Same with 600 ppm- it’s acceptable level but concerned about higher levels. Or range we are comfortable with is 300 to 600 ppm [though there has been some very good benefits of having CO2 levels near 400 ppm- and could be preferred to 300 ppm].

        If there is any wisdom in idea of 2 C cap, it’s that it should be a .5 C cap or +3 C. And/or in the future were to increase another .5 C that would a measure of direction towards the 2 C cap.
        Likewise with 600 ppm goal, there little wisdom if say 450 ppm cap, but if when 450 ppm levels
        are reached it also serve as measure toward the goal of having 600 ppm be highest levels desirable.
        Since the focus of CO2 emission is preoccupied with fossil fuel emissions, part having 600 ppm limit would be to ensure there is a standard and reliable and timely report of yearly fossil fuel emissions. This is something governments should be able to accomplish, if government can accomplish anything. Or the quality of record keeping in this matter should be a point of failure as far as measure of governmental action is concerned.
        So 450 ppm level is not a stop sign but it a sign, and since China is has world’s highest CO2 emission [and btw, the worse air quality] the time in the future upon reaching 450 ppm will probably be issue largely related to China’s CO2 emission. And and amount time involved to reach 450 ppm is probably in time frame of around 2030+.
        So an assessment by 2025 concerning how close we gotten to 450 ppm, how well government have cooperated in terms accurate accounting of countries CO2 emissions, whether China by the time of 2025 has done anything to reduce it’s growth of CO2 and what future plans it has to limit it’s CO2 emission, plus assessment other countries CO2 emission [are there other countries which growing in the CO2 emission like China is currently doing and will accumulation of these countries emssion anywhere as significant as China’s pre 2025 emissions.
        And finally at the time of 2025, what are best estimate of when 500 ppm will be reached, and assessemnent of practices which have worked best at limiting CO2 from reaching 450 ppm level and would be effective at limiting CO2 emission from reaching 500 ppm in the future.

      • If we actually saw the warming that was predicted, or if the warming that was predicted actually starts to show up, then the world will quickly react and reduce fossil fuel usage, and we will never get to the doubling or the 2C increase. But the world isn’t warming as predicted, and it looks like burning fossil fuels is actually greening the planet and making it a better world.

      • No Mosh it’s 33% up from the lower end of the range if you believe the dartboard conjecture of
        “CO2 sensitivity”

    • Maybe this, and the failure of IPCC to give a best estimate for the climate sensitivity, is part of the reason they are now abandoning the +2C goal, and move on to a no doubt deliberately vague range of signs of “climate crises; “It is time to track an array of planetary vital signs”.

      • …especially when average temperatures are declining slightly.

        They can’t arbitrate control in the face of that embarrassing reality.

  2. “For nearly a decade, international diplomacy has focused on stopping global warming at 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.”

    Forget that, I want international diplomacy to focus on stopping rain on week-ends.

    • How about something simpler and withing human scope: “International diplomacy to focus on stopping terrorism” or “International diplomacy to stop Ebola”. Controlling the global weather is an exercise in hubris.

  3. I love it: “Some of the backlash from ‘denialists’ is partly rooted in policy-makers’ obsession with global temperatures that do not actually move in lockstep with the real dangers of climate change.”

    So the “dangers of climate change” are no longer a function of temperature. This is brilliant! Anything climate-related that is not currently happening could happen therefore we must act now! The tiresome cause-and-effect / burdern of proof / scientific method crap is no longer needed. Any speculation that achieves a political consensus means we must act now!

    The emperor’s wardrobe has never looked more resplendant.

    • Key word: “..lockstep…” How dare one not follow them over a cliff. Of course there is never any reality of “real dangers”, just fabrication and imaginary doom. Maybe the CAGW’s are watching too many fictional doomsday movies.

    • Haven’t they discovered that pesky Deniers are caused by Global Warming?

      It has very little to do with the actual science or applicable data–or so they claim.

  4. This is just a setup to morph the “save the planet” green/closet red authoritarianism and despotism in another direction now that the pause is showing that temperature rise is hideously overstated. Instead, they will substitute a variety of other metrics, none of which have anything to do with CO2 output, same as global temperatures, to use as a stick to beat governments and the public into submission with. This is just another game of follow the pea.

    • I agree. They will simply create another phantom menace that is even more frightening and ephemeral than the supposed 2C terror.

    • I don’t think this is just moving the goal posts. I think they are trying to move the entire playing field.

      • Agreed. They are changing the game.
        But this recommendation amounts to
        “Take 23 years of IPCC meetings and AR# reports and chuck them in the dust bin and start over.”.

        Paris 2015 (which will still happen) is reduced from signing an impotent agreement to make a pledge to state a future goal on CO2 emissions to an agreement on “What shall we measure next?”

      • No, they are trying to move the stadium, its car park and surrounding city. Or rather, they did that some time ago!

        “Some of the backlash from ‘d******ts’ is partly rooted in policy-makers’ obsession with global temperatures that do not actually move in lockstep with the real dangers of climate change.”

      • Yup! It’s a case of the temperatures are not going up as we promised they would and they still demand action on turning the earth back to the stone age…. So sod the inconvenient temperatures and pick something else to scare the bejeesis out of politicians with. So global warming has nothing to do with temperatures now?

        Do they have any clue just how utterly ridiculous they are now? They have not only abandoned all tenets of science, they are now abandoning their psuedo science too and leaping right over into bone casting divination!

      • @Robert B – Oct 1 at 6:32 pm
        I think that they are trying to claim both sets of goal posts.
        That was the purpose of switching from “Global Warming” to “Climate Change”

    • Ocean heat content–that’s what it said.

      But it can’t really be measured with the Argo network. What’s needed is a denser network of anchored sensors that measure more things (including “acidity,” if possible). It’ll cost over $1 billion. They should have got started on this ten years ago.

      • I noticed the article uses the Balmaseda et al 2013 ocean heat uptake. I understand that reanalysis doesn’t take into account geothermal flow? In that case what the article does is move the debate from the surface temperature to the ocean heat uptake…which evidently will use Balmaseda 2013 and will lead to another debate over the heat uptake measurements. As you say, we do need tethered arrays, including arrays located under sea ice.

      • No, Mark, perhaps they should have spent the money on something else. Third-world power supplies, anyone?

      • Well, that’s probably wyh they have chosen ocean heat content; it can not be measured accurately now, and therefore is wide open to all kinds of alarmist claims.

    • So what hand-waving metric will take the place of global average temperature?

      There are several waiting in the wings:

      • Ocean “acidification”

      • A giant global methane burp

      • Arctic ice gonna be gone!

      And others. There has never been a shortage of nonsense.

  5. I don’t know how I feel about this.

    To be flip and a little silly, I was getting comfortable with the 2C thing. It was such an impossible carbon target to meet, it was fun to be able to say oh well, the last opportunity to act now to save the planet has passed, we missed the boat, let’s go home and adapt every time an alarmist set a last chance deadline. It’s sad to lose that low hanging fruit.

    Ah well, I guess I mustn’t be lazy. It does make a little more sense to pay attention to things other than 2C. Guess it’s progress. Maybe someday folks will wake up and realize there are actual real solvable environmental problems other than AGW due to CO2 in this world!

    lol. like that’d ever happen…

    • Mark Bofill, it’s never too late to act now!

      Moscow-Pullman Daily News – 5 July 1989
      governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.”
      [Noel Brown – New York office of the United Nations Environment Program]

      New York Times – November 18, 2007
      …..The IPCC chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, an engineer and economist from India, acknowledged the new trajectory. “If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late,” Pachauri said. “What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”…..

      Guardian – 18 January 2009
      We have only four years left to act on climate change – America has to lead’
      Jim Hansen is the ‘grandfather of climate change’ and one of the world’s leading climatologists…..

      “We cannot now afford to put off change any longer. We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.”

      [Links to sources]

      A failure in Paris will not mean the end. It will mean we only have 4 more years to act before it’s too late. How many bloody times have I heard this king of trickery.

      • Jimbo, I hope you’re pleased to hear I’ve used that very list you’ve assembled before in discussion to good effect. I credit you (course, neither me nor probably most anyone else really knows who ‘Jimbo’ is) every time I do. Thanks!

    • Yes Mark, I had exactly the same feeling, and I believe the alarmists are perfectly aware of the sticky smelly corner they have painted themselves into. They are now striking out boldly for a new horizon of man-made disasters, but their footprints are traceable back to their cornered 2-degree position. And who knows? If global warming should resume, they might want to retrace their steps.

      • ConTrari on October 1,
        2014 at 1:13 pm
        Yes Mark, I had exactly the
        same feeling, and I believe
        the alarmists are perfectly
        aware of the sticky smelly
        corner they have painted
        themselves into. They are
        now striking out boldly for
        a new horizon of man-
        made disasters, but their
        footprints are traceable
        back to their cornered 2-
        degree position. And who
        knows? If global warming
        should resume, they might
        want to retrace their steps.


        and too –

        they always may repaint their footprints back to the entrance; thats why you’ll never find a starved painter indoors, in any corner.

        but sure thats prolonging the procedure + raising the costs.

        brg Hans

  6. Of course they are going to ditch this goal. That’s because current estimates of TCS are coming in under 2 C independent of what we do about CO_2.

    So hooray — by doing nothing and continuing to do nothing, we have accomplished the goal!

    Of course this means several things. One is that the money tree can no longer be shaken. Another is that those who claimed that we have to do all sorts of expensive things (which all strangely enough benefit the proposers financially) can now be called to task. A third — and this is a serious issue — is that there might well be non-thermal consequences of increasing CO_2 that we should worry about or take seriously. Up to now those have piggybacked on top of global warming, because they won’t affect everybody or be too expensive, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t potentially serious. In particular, the ocean will definitely become less basic as atmospheric CO_2 rises. How much is perhaps debatable, what the effect of a tenth or two of a point in pH is going to be is even more debatable, but this could well be catastrophic to at least some species and quite possibly to some economic interests. But there could be other things as well. All things being equal, it is still a good idea not to pump atmospheric CO_2 to 600+ ppm.

    However, IMO we are unlikely to ever reach that point because long before we do technologies already in the pipe are going to start reducing the rate that we make energy from burning irreplaceable natural resources that are far more valuable unburned. This transition won’t be fuelled, so to speak, by a desire to save the world, but to save money. It will help save the world as an accident, because increased economic efficiency equals more wealth equals a shot at world peace, the end of poverty, ignorance, starvation, and other things that really matter.

    No matter, with the threat of global catastrophe removed, shot away by cruel time and hard numbers, expect more clamouring from the more focussed and localized “climate catastrophes” that might attend even a 1 C or 2 C rise by 2100.



    • burning irreplaceable natural resources that are far more valuable unburned…..

      Far more valuable to who?…….China? India? the “undeveloped” world that doesn’t give a rats rear….that is going to keep on burning it like no tomorrow

      • I think what rgb was driving at is that hydrocarbons are needed in synthetic organic and polymer chemistry. That need is increasing also, and it may drive up prices to a point where it becomes necessary for everyone to switch to other sources of energy. Of course, it is hard to see at present what other source of energy might fuel air travel for example.

      • “burning irreplaceable natural resources that are far more valuable unburned…..”

        In monetary terms, surely if fuels were more valuable unburnt we wouldn’t be burning them – we’d be using them for the purpose for which they were more valuable.
        If they mean aesthetically, well it’s the alarmists who pushed for land use intensive biofuels, and countrysides full of bird slicers and solar panels and skeptics who prefer discreet fracking sites.

      • A man working hard for 10 hours does 1 kilowatt of work.

        A kilowatt of electricity in many places costs 10 cents.

        When put in those terms, it should embarrass the snot out of people who would withhold electricity from developing nations, but it doesn’t.

        They have no compunction whatsoever.

      • Why indeed? Paleo-proxies and actual greenhouses suggest that an atmosphere with a few parts-per-thou CO2 was great for plant growth, the basis of all food. Marine life flourished too in those less-basic oceans.

        And as for hydrocarbon scarcity, the USA under Bafrack Obama is regaining its title as the world’s leading producer of crude. There’s so much of it, no one feels compelled to develop similar production in the larger sedimentary basins of Eurasia.

      • Thank you. No one has demonstrated that levels less than 2000PPM are harmful to either humans or other wildlife. If anyone has information to the contrary I’d love to see it.

      • Why me too? We have the greening biosphere in recent decades. The Sahel is shrinking too.

        Systematics and Biodiversity – Volume 8, Issue 1, 2010
        Kathy J. Willis et al
        4 °C and beyond: what did this mean for biodiversity in the past?
        How do the predicted climatic changes (IPCC, 2007) for the next century compare in magnitude and rate to those that Earth has previously encountered? Are there comparable intervals of rapid rates of temperature change, sea-level rise and levels of atmospheric CO2 that can be used as analogues to assess possible biotic responses to future change? Or are we stepping into the great unknown? This perspective article focuses on intervals in time in the fossil record when atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased up to 1200 ppmv, temperatures in mid- to high-latitudes increased by greater than 4 °C within 60 years, and sea levels rose by up to 3 m higher than present. For these intervals in time, case studies of past biotic responses are presented to demonstrate the scale and impact of the magnitude and rate of such climate changes on biodiversity. We argue that although the underlying mechanisms responsible for these past changes in climate were very different (i.e. natural processes rather than anthropogenic), the rates and magnitude of climate change are similar to those predicted for the future and therefore potentially relevant to understanding future biotic response. What emerges from these past records is evidence for rapid community turnover, migrations, development of novel ecosystems and thresholds from one stable ecosystem state to another, but there is very little evidence for broad-scale extinctions due to a warming world. Based on this evidence from the fossil record, we make four recommendations for future climate-change integrated conservation strategies.

      • Indeed Eric. And why is it assumed that it’s all due to human CO2 emissions , it’s not of course and a large proportion of the increase could be due to increased temps as well ( see Salby’s lecture)

      • This is the real reason they want to get rid of the 2 degree barrier. Up until plus two degrees, even within the IPCC reports, it is likely that the benefits outweigh the predicted harms of warming. Since it is looking like we may never reach that plus two degrees it has to go. I am surprised Roger Pielke Sr does not realize what a little political game this is to so called scientist.

    • RGB says: “…technologies already in the pipe are going to start reducing the rate that we make energy from burning irreplaceable natural resources that are far more valuable unburned.”
      If we have a technology to provide energy that does not require the burning of natural resources then the resources in the ground become useless and will have no value. They have value now because we can make medicines, etc that enhance life.

    • OK so the 2°C limit was a number pulled completely out of the hat (or some other dark space having the appearance of a hole), but on what basis do you pick 600+ ppm as a danger threshold?

      Also, some new technologies “in the pipe” simply will not be deployed without government action regardless of how much money they save — nuclear being the biggest and most obvious example. The explosion in natural gas supply due to fracking is going to level out at some point unless it is allowed on federal land. Ditto horizontal drilling and other “unconventional” oil recovery technologies.

      So other than substituting natural gas for coal, which is eventually going to require federal approval in the form of exploration leases, and nuclear, which already requires federal approval, what new technologies will make a difference that can be adopted just because somebody decides they will save money?

    • RGB…. bubble CO2 into a water solution containing 1 mole of powdered CaCO3. What is the pH when you have added 0.1 mole CO2? Ans: ~8.3.

      What is the pH when you have bubbled in 0.5 mole of CO2? Ans: ~8.3.

      So NO… more CO2 does NOT necessariy mean lower pH. Only after you have consumed all of the CaCO3 does the pH change appreciably.

    • “…burning irreplaceable natural resources that are far more valuable unburned….” Valuable to whom?

    • I don’t see a problem with 600 ppm, back to the Pliocene or possibly Miocene. Don’t know what marine species, genera or families might be threatened by that level of atmospheric CO2.

      But I agree we’re unlikely to get there, let alone to 1200 ppm, as in real greenhouses, a level potentially problematic, but still well below most of the Phanerozoic Eon.

    • Well, I can see a lot of you didn’t like that post. To answer a few of the comments:

      More valuable to organic chemists and people who view oil and coal as raw materials for organic synthesis. I’m thinking of the long term, not the short run. One day our descendants might well curse us for using oil to burn instead of as a cheap organic base stock. Or not, but I’ve heard this before, from organic chemists. And yes, we might well be able to find solutions in the future, but they probably will never be as cheap as just pumping it out of the ground. Plastic is basically heavily reworked oil, but its a lot less reworked than starting with CO_2 would be.

      600 ppm just because the Earth is a highly nonlinear chaotic dynamical system and we don’t know what will happen as we give it a kick of any sort at this or any other time. I take it as purely given that 600 ppm will increase the straight up greenhouse forcing from CO_2 because that is pure physics and I understand it and would be pleased to direct you to comparatively simple papers written by skeptical physicists that nevertheless estimate direct CO_2 driven, no feedback at all warming to be somewhere in the ballpark of 1 to 2 C. Note the large range — that’s because the physics even of this isn’t that simple, it involves things like the alterations in aggregate line shape with height and the lapse rate. We have to make some good-guess approximations in places because a detailed computation is basically impossible.

      In desktop (or stovetop!) experiments you can watch what happens in closed systems as you adjust the heat differentials. In some regimes the answer is “nothing interesting”. Until you cross various thresholds and things suddenly happen that are very violent indeed — convective rolls appear (and radically reorganize heat flow in the system), then they start to develop unpredictable ripples, then more rolls appear and ripple further, then — water boils. The point being that we have no idea where catastrophes in the sense of “catastrophe theory” — mathematical catastrophes — lurk in the dominant dissipative modes of the planet. To put it bluntly, increasing CO_2 could trigger the next glaciation, it could trigger the catastrophic warming we are being warned of, it could do nothing interesting or stabilize the system so it becomes less chaotic/erratic. And yes, I’m serious about the glaciation and would be happy to give examples from chaos theory where small changes in drivers trigger the birth of an attractor and quasi-periodic transitions of the system from the neighborhood/orbit of one attractor to another. Warming the Earth up could trigger the next glacial period prematurely almost as easily as it could just — warm up the Earth.

      As for adding CO_2 to calcium carbonate solutions, sure, sure, but — what are the numbers? The ocean is large and deep. Calcium carbonate is basically shell material. Shellfish tend to live in comparatively shallow water. I’ve looked into the chemistry and numbers on several occasions now and find it difficult to convince myself that there is no risk here. Again, if I had my druthers, I would avoid pushing the atmosphere or ocean to where we have to find out the hard way that there is more than risk, there is a certainty. Would I invent carbon trading or condemn the Earth’s poor to poverty, starvation and disease by forcing a premature transition away from carbon based fuels, perhaps not, but even if evolution can fix this sort of problem, evolution takes time — the short run solution if change happens too fast is mass extinction (where ecosystem collapse can occur mathematically “catastrophically” rapidly because ecology is another enormously nonlinear, chaotic coupled multivariate system with all sorts of fractal dimensions.

      I personally find the arguments that increased CO_2 is a blessing with no down side just
      as naive and foolish as I find arguments that it is a curse with no up side. Either one could be right, but I rather expect that while it may be just great for some things, it will be rather terrible for others. A conservative path would at the very least be one where any change was gradual enough that we might solve some of the problems we have now with theory well enough to have some reliable idea which is which. IMO we might have that in 20 to 40 years of hard work and continued improvements in computational power and technology. Words no scientist really wants to hear, not in a world where grant proposals are typically for 3 year periods and where granting agencies grow fickle after a decade or so of no big breakthrough, but there they are. Talk to me in 2040. You might need to bring your favorite medium to facilitate the conversation at that point…;-)

      Finally, to reply to the person who asked about technologies, it is again just my opinion but PV solar is here to stay and is a growth enterprise for the indefinite future, with or without government subsidy, with or without the threat of global warming. I’ve had extended conversations on this subject on WUWT with those that disagree, but I have not been convinced by their arguments, especially not with rooftop solar being a very nearly break-even-to-win-a-bit solution for me personally in the state in which I live. For power companies (who have better economy of scale) it is already a win. With the help of just a few enabling technologies that are being very heavily researched and developed, it could — and in my opinion will — become a no-brainer within a decade (really, I suspect, before 2020). And don’t think that oil, coal, gas don’t have massive government subsidy as well. They’re just traditional ones, like paying farmers not to farm or paying Boeing hundreds of dollars for “special” hammers and toilet seats or giving out “special” tax breaks, ones that were established by powerful congressmen so far back into the past that no one really remembers that they are there (unless they are on the receiving end of them).

      You can read about this sort of thing here:

      and — because this is all about money, and political pull as much as it is ever about the public weal — I find the numbers given there entirely believable.

      I’d be happy enough to see the government end all subsidy of anything but mediated energy research — wipe out all tax breaks, loopholes, direct payouts, free leases, and so on for all energy resources, or alternatively — if you correctly point out that this would be disastrous for most of us who rely on those resources — rebalance its subsidy of the various alternative energy sources including solar PV but not limited to only that. Just don’t pretend that the one is free market and the other is communism or socialism. They are both communism, socialism, nepotism, commercialism etc all rolled together — people politicking for public money in exchange for some perceived social “value”. Our world literally runs on it, and doing anything at all precipitous is dangerous to an overfragile, overheated, tightly coupled world market.

      But then, IMO the global warming scare is funded by and promoted by the big energy companies, not by any sort of grassroots science movement or social group. They are just exploiting the heck out of those that find it all too easy to believe in some sort of human caused catastrophe to the point where they dump billions more into precisely the same pockets that are supposedly funding “skepticism”. I’m at least one stage more paranoid in my conspiracy theory than you are in yours (whatever that level is). Heck, I’ll admit to believing in the Illuminati, after talking with a Dragonslayer who thought that he was one.


      • “I take it as purely given that 600 ppm will increase the straight up greenhouse forcing from CO_2 because that is pure physics and I understand it and would be pleased to direct you to comparatively simple papers written by skeptical physicists that nevertheless estimate direct CO_2 driven, no feedback at all warming to be somewhere in the ballpark of 1 to 2 C. Note the large range — that’s because the physics even of this isn’t that simple, it involves things like the alterations in aggregate line shape with height and the lapse rate.”

        Professor Brown,

        Would this estimate be 1.5 C +- O.5 C, or is it not possible to put an error estimate on this “ballpark?” Lindzen has it around 0.7 C, and others even lower. Many of us here would love to hear from you on this point. If the atmosphere becomes opaque to 15-micron IR at a higher altitude because of increased CO2, the atmosphere now radiates to space at a lower temperature, increasing the “back-radiation.” How much if any of this back-radiation from the tropopause can actually reach the surface without being thermalized mid-troposphere? Purely a physics question…

      • “But then, IMO the global warming scare is funded by and promoted by the big energy companies, not by any sort of grassroots science movement or social group.”

        BINGO!!! Follow the money.

      • RGB can I suggest you take courses in geology. The thousands of meters of limestone that are terrestrial and marine are formed from calcium carbonate. Rocks in the marine environment buffers CO2 into calcium carbonate. In a nutshell it’s the reverse of what your alarmist blogs are telling you e.g. how do you imagine the ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ in the UK were deposited in the past on an ancient sea floor? Cheers.

      • I have a feeling Big Oil couldn’t care less about the global warming scare. You can put European-scale taxes on their product and the roads will still be jammed with internal combustion machines. They have thrown some coins to the clowns of AGW, but can you suggest a cheaper and easier way to get the crowd to cheer? Sure is easier than dealing with the autocrats who control access to so much crude.

      • Dear Sir RGB

        I must disagree with your assertion that the random chaotic attractor potential you mention, with regard to high CO2 potentially causing great harm, is as likely as the benefits being only mostly good. Please take the time to actually study the NIPCC compilation of extensive peer reviewed studies with regard to all the know observables and experiments with regard to CO2 and the KNOWN benefits, and the well documented evidence of the failed to materialize extensive predicted harms, as well as the theoretical basis for why that harm has not and will not happen. So we have a great deal of KNOWN benefits. Also we have a long historical record of this planet having had long extensive periods of very high CO2 that has not initiated the theoretical chaotic response your described. So, while there is much we do not know, there is much we have evidence about. In my view the balance of evidence is in strong favor of the benefits outweighing the harms.
        With regard to this post, the real reason they want to get rid of the 2 degree barrier is that up until about plus two degrees, even within the IPCC reports, it is likely that the benefits outweigh the predicted harms of warming. Since it is looking like we may never reach that plus two degrees it has to go as a the politically used tipping point. I am surprised Roger Pielke Sr does not realize what a little political game this is to some so called scientists.

        Thanks for listening

        PS I have not yet decided about solar myself; so some thought on why I have not yet purchased. Yes, I may personally benefit, but only because the state energy policies have driven up tier two and three pricing to the point that solar is competitive. That is one hidden subsidy The second, working in harmony with the one just mentioned, is that the energy provider has to accept (purchase) the energy you panels produce, weather it can use that energy or not. Also you must know that you, or your solar company received a federal subsidy for the initial cost of the panels. If you had to pay full price, and you had to personally use all the energy your system produced, but had to let it go to waste if you did not use it, and if conventional power was say ten to thirty percent cheaper, then maybe solar would not make it.

      • Dear RGB, the wiki article on “energy subsidies” is very shallow in my view. As understand it, the so called oil subsidies are simply tax breaks, meaning they PAY less in taxes, the primary break is in the tax on foreign profits, and is not unique to energy producers, and likely generates revenue by keep multinationals based in the US.

        The “subsidies” to wind and solar are just that, tax payer funds paid out to them, along with a host of rules that traditional energy producers do not benefit from (such as no minimal production requirements to stabilize the grid; thus in affect the traditional energy producer subsidies the wind producer;
        guaranteed use of all energy they do produce, lack of strict environmental clean up laws, exemption from penalties for killing of wildlife, including birds of prey like the American Bald Eagle, etc)

        The wiki articles lumps them all into the same category, and incorrectly adds them up. (IE give then equal value when one is a payment made to the energy producer, the other a reduced payment to the government, and the legal benefits given to “green” energy are not included).) The truth is that traditional energy producers pay immense taxes, (far beyond their tax exemptions, not subsidies) and much of their production, like gasoline, is further taxed by the government, for example, the government makes more from gasoline then the producers and suppliers of gasoline. In addition traditional energy companies have provide immense dividends in the retirement accounts of millions of investors, whereas untold billions of government funds were paid to alternative energy companies, who then went under, with billion lost, very little accountability, and many private investors lost all their money, while much of the taxpayer money is yet to be accounted for but a certain political party got immense contributions.

        The wiki article is, IMV, very shallow.

      • yes yes –

        happy to give examples
        from chaos theory where
        small changes in drivers
        trigger the birth of an
        attractor and quasi-
        periodic transitions of the

        so the planet went through WWI, WWII, followed by div. ‘local conflicts.’
        massively burning of fuels and ammunition fired ON THE SURFACE of that sphere.
        That burned mass, compare to the burning going on INTERIOUR, compare the CAPACITIES!

        And whats left from that above: a burning, afterglowing chunk of coal?

        The fallacity of ‘Achill and the turtle’:

        SUM UP QUALITIES instead of quantities!

        small drivers trigger attractors, CAGW and chaos theorie – the world should have undergone a 100.000 dooms.

        For me, I’ve had enough of that stuff, come back to reason and senses! brg hans

      • I agree that future generations might curse us for burning such rich compounds, which take so long to form. A grad school classmate of mine, now a Shell VP, said the same thing to me over 30 years ago.

        But I beg to differ on the potential harm of 600 ppm CO2 in dry air. I just don’t see it, while also agreeing it’s unlikely to be reached by AD 2100, as imagined by the IPCC. Marine life evolved under conditions of atmospheric CO2 much higher than that. There have only been two extended intervals during the Phanerozoic with levels lower than that, ie the Late Carboniferous-Early Permian Ice Age and the Pleistocene-Holocene.

        But I’d be glad to read your take on what you consider might be the risks. Citing catastrophe theory is fine, but please be specific about what biochemical processes you view as threatened by 600 ppm.

    • Their proposal seems to be to replace the 2 degrees C figure with a figure that´s a bit more difficult to pin down, and which has a much poorer historical record. This allows the crafting of plots which show a constant heat uptake curve as per the graphic they show in that article.

      My conclusion is that heat uptake historical records will be a hot topic over the next couple of years. There´s going to be a lot of reanalysis and kriging of old data, which means a lot of fur is going to fly.

    • “In particular, the ocean will definitely become less basic as atmospheric CO_2 rises.”

      This may be the new direction for the ‘harmful’ argument as the atmosphere refuses to rise in temperature.

  7. From the article:

    “A good start would be to track the
    total area during the year in which conditions
    stray by three standard deviations from the
    local and seasonal mean.”

    And if that doesn’t work, we could keep searching around until we find some metric that suits our narrative. Surely something will come our way. If not we will just keep looking. That’s the way cargo cult science rolls.

    • three standard deviations applies to the normal distribution. dynamic systems like climate are typically power series distributions, such as a fractal distribution.

      assuming that a power series distribution is normal makes climate extremes appear to be increasing, which is why climate science continues to make such a bone-head mistake. confirmation bias.

      the normal distribution assumes there is an average temperature for the earth, and that the variability in temperature never changes. this is an obvious nonsense when one considers that 20 thousand years ago much of the now industrialized world was burried under a mile of ice.

      as soon as you do away with a constant average and deviation, all sort of statistical properties such as the Central Limit Theorem and Law of Large Numbers fly out the window, and your nice little predictions about future temperatures and climate along with them.

      As a result, your climate models run off the rails, and climate turns out to be a whole lots less predictable than first assumed. Climate extremes suddenly become a whole lot more likely than a simple throw of the dice, because dice follow the normal distribution, while climate does not.

      As a result climate is more extreme than a throw of the dice would lead you to believe. Climate is a pair of dice where box cars and snake eyes turn up all the time.

      • As always, remarkably well said, Fred!

        I wouldn’t have said that the CLT or benefits of large numbers entirely disappear, myself, only that the CLT is derived for a specific class of distributions and pertains only to the distribution of means of iid quantities drawn randomly from those distributions. Even though we might model climate using e.g. Monte Carlo in a Markov approximation, it is even then at best a Langevin system with both semideterministic physics plus “noise”, typically averaged over an absurdly mismatched spatiotemporal scale. But in the end yes, by assuming that it is linearizable, “normal” (in the distribution sense) etc. when the merest glance at historical data indicates beyond any doubt that it is not and then doing a spectacularly poor job on even the easy parts of the linear regressions and so on, models do indeed “jump the rails”.

        Or perhaps it would be better put the other way around. The climate models assume that there are rails to jump, and that the model-predicted rails are a good representation of the rails. The inverted picture would have the climate running for a while on perfectly good rails and then suddenly deciding to jump the rails over to a completely new track, run there for a while and maybe jump back, maybe jump to yet another set.

        Or, maybe the actual climate is more like a unicycle being driven by a mildly intoxicated clown. For a while it goes nice and straight and you think you know where it is going and when it will get there and then whoops! It spins around three times and takes off in an entirely new direction. The real “explanation” of the Little Ice Age and subsequent warming might be something as completely nonlinear as the precise amount of booze that the clown imbibed divided by the tire pressure of his unicycle…


      • Ferd,
        I just posted a lengthy rebuttal to the Victor-Kennel Commentary under the Nature Commentary on Nature’s website. I included in it your astute observation on power series versus normally dist. assumption. I would have given you credit for it in the post, but citing “Ferd Berple” as a source seemed to me it would have lessened the impact.


    • “And if that doesn’t work, we could keep searching around until we find some metric that suits our narrative. ”

      Walrus haul-outs, maybe.

  8. So just as soon as they can show how climate can be changed by increased CO₂, without having changed temperatures first, get back to me.

  9. The oceans ate my warming. This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of sending a man to the bottom of the ocean to find it.

      • This may well be the cheap solution for creating all the alarmist papers one could dream of; a slight case of “bends”; with a bit more nitrogen, all kinds of revelations can come to our planet saving heroes. Don’t even need to go so far down either.

      • Just sit right back and you’re hear a tale,
        A tale of a fateful trip,
        That started at the crazy farm,
        From from guys who were hip…
        From from guys who were hip…

  10. Unlike the usual doom and gloom responses I see the glass half full……at least there seems to be dialogue taking place. We can’t be so steeped in doubt to not recognize progress not matter how small.

    • Seriously? The only progress acheived is they acknowledge that CAGW isn’t a real threat. Whatever they come up with next will be less observable and/or unverifiable, but it will be super-duper-urgent, and we must end industrialized nations!

      • Eric, it will also be something that the average person can’t related to directly but be really really scary. Like ocean “acidification” or something equally bull excrementish.

  11. Maybe they should just acknowledge the truth.

    CO2 is a beneficial gas that is massively contributing to a booming biosphere, vegetative health, and crop yields/world food production. It makes plants grow faster and allows them to become more drought tolerant…………now can we stop the nonsense please?

    Making coal even cleaner is a good idea but don’t stop using this vital, abundant fossil fuel and don’t reduce the beneficial CO2 emissions with expensive, counter productive schemes.

    If they want to go after real problems, let’s change the way we use water/manage it much better.
    And stop wasting our time, money and resources, and cut back on the pollution that growing corn for ethanol causes.

  12. …”this unattainable goal (the 2 °C target)”…
    First of all, the target has been attained, so good job everyone. 8D

    …”it does not tell particular governments and people what to do.”
    This is the crux of the issue. Make no mistake, the goal is Agenda 21.

  13. At least we will have a new thing that will take 30yrs to develop. I think methane is off the drawing board, too at 1.7ppm. Definitely there will be a few hundred billion spent on models discovering that the earth’s crust will spall off if we keep fracking. Nuclear will always be a rallying point. Perhaps there is a legal mechanism for revisiting the courts on endangerment findings on CO2. The ozone hole won’t close. This should be winner. Probably causing Antarctic ice to expand to the point that Tasmania and NZ will need assistance because of attacking emperor penguins. Polar bear repellent will be provided by FEMA for US citizens north of Chicago…..

  14. “The window of opportunity for improving goal-setting is open.”

    In other words, “we need to come up with some other way to keep the grant money flowing”.

    • True, but it’s worse than that. See Agenda 21. I believe it is more far reaching and insidious than it’s benign sounding title reveals. In other words I think it is often mentioned but seldom seriously considered as a major “forcing” of local and regional politics.

  15. According to the article, the best indicator of “climate change risk” is the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

    It seems that the lack of global warming has required that the emphasis on a 2C rise has to be dropped since it can’t be sold as a reason to cut CO2 if there’s no warming.

    The new strategy appears to be a claim that the oceans are absorbing the heat, which will be released sometime in the future like a mythological Kraken. Now we must limit the CO2 Kraken, which apparently dwells in the polar seas. CO2 emissions must be cut now because the missing heat is really just hiding and it is really truely there (trust us), we just can’t find it.

    • But which way will they move the posts when temperatures decline significantly and world-wide foodstuff production drops significantly?

      I’d like to see that pretzel gyration.

  16. Track a range of vital signs instead, which by ‘lucky chance ‘ will be so badly or broadly defined as to make it always possible to find them. After all this climate ‘science’ whose methodology could be sum up as ‘heads I win , tails you lose ‘

  17. If they are searching for another metric to measure “climate change”, it seems that increasing tornados and hurricanes are now out as metrics, unless decreasing occurrences of such events is a reflection of increasing global warming aka climate change. What a bizarre box the climate alarmists are putting themselves into. I am beginning to feel very sorry for the bunch.

    • Until the CAGW ringleaders renounce all variants of the word ‘denier’ that get thrown around and admit that they endorsed policy based on blind supposition, I refuse to feel the slightest bit of sympathy for any of them.

    • Apparently global cooling also is caused by co2-emissions. Will the IPCC send their thanks to China? Will the Nobel Peace Prize committee give their next award to climate-saving Beijing? They are in a fine pickle for giving a prize to a Chinese dissident, so this could be a great face-saving device.

  18. At mid latitudes I wake up to 8 C, by late afternoon it is 25 C. Now add 2 C. I wake up to 10 C, by late afternoon it is 27 C. And the problem is? If I don’t like it, move north (in northern hemisphere). If the opposite happens, move south.

  19. The concept was that anthropogenic CO2 emissions would cause “global warming”. While a warming climate is a “changing” climate, the extra CO2 is supposedly causing warming. There actually is some scientific basis for this claim, although the exact amount of the warming is not known.

    It has not been warming for about 18 years which makes the supposed additional warming of human CO2 emissions even harder to determine.

    Any “climate change” not associated with the warming, which hasn’t been happening, can not be attributed to human CO2 emissions.

    Just a reminder.

  20. That it has taken them so long to recognize something so utterly obvious is not really encouraging.

  21. They’ve realized the obvious – temperature is a poor indicator of global warming, climate change, climate disruption, etc. and further discussion of it is a distraction from the real problem which is carbon, itself. This offensive atom in all its various forms has jackbooted the world’s neck far too long. The problem of carbon is so pervasive and so widely recognized that further discussion puts off the solution unnecessarily. The sooner we are rid of carbon the better off will be the world and there is no time to waste. Tomorrow’s weather depends upon today’s action.

    And so begins Operation Carbon Choke Point, the newest product of weaponized ignorance.

  22. This is actually pretty funny. Like swapping words and music in the hymnals. By the next get-together on climate, the parishoners won’t know what to sing!

    But shouldn’t they ask permission from Schellnhuber first – after all, he IS the Father of the “Two Degrees” – n’est-ce pas?

    Kurt in Switzerland

    • Indeed he is. No doubt you have all read this long ago, but here’s a reminder:

      “For this reason a group of German scientists, yielding to political pressure, invented an easily digestible message in the mid-1990s: the two-degree target. To avoid even greater damage to human beings and nature, the scientists warned, the temperature on Earth could not be more than two degrees Celsius higher than it was before the beginning of industrialization. It was a pretty audacious estimate. Nevertheless, the powers-that-be finally had a tangible number to work with. An amazing success story was about to begin.”

      “But this is scientific nonsense. “Two degrees is not a magical limit — it’s clearly a political goal,” says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “The world will not come to an end right away in the event of stronger warming, nor are we definitely saved if warming is not as significant. The reality, of course, is much more complicated.”

      Schellnhuber ought to know. He is the father of the two-degree target. “Yes, I plead guilty,” he says, smiling. The idea didn’t hurt his career. In fact, it made him Germany’s most influential climatologist. Schellnhuber, a theoretical physicist, became Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief scientific adviser — a position any researcher would envy.”

      Yes, he said it: A political target. But ever since, we have been told that there is a sound scientific basis for this target, that if we don’t stop global warming right on the doorstep on the fearsome second degree, climate disaster will follow.

      But now, rejoice. The two degrees have served their purpose, and can be omitted from the accepted texts of the “CAGW-minus-2-degrees” bible. In the old days, emperors decided what should be thrown out of the Bible. No doubt the climate prophets in Paris next year, in the glorious shadow of Louis 14th and Napoleon, can achive as much.

      • By the way, this is from a comprehensive 8-part article in Spiegel, already four years old. Well worth reading the whole collection; it is surprisingly open minded, although paying the obligatory lip-service to climate crises.

  23. Hang on, if CO2 is not raising temperature, what is causing all these tornadoes, floods, droughts, ice storms, sea level rise, shrinking arctic sea ice, expanding antarctic sea ice, drowning polar bears, billions of climate refugees, and the partridge in the pear tree ?

    Or is that all going in the bin too ?

    • That will be re-purposed as evidence of human-caused global environmental discomfiture and it will be worse than we thought.

    • This is so obviously important and true that it needs to shouted back at these alarmists. They can’t change the “goal” because all the effects are supposedly consequential to an increase in temperature. The simple physics relates exactly to more heat in the atmosphere. And all the horrifying consequences forecast come from that. Poking around the universe to find other anomalous results when the original impact never occurred is like saying your car stopped because it ran out of gas when there is still plenty of gas in the tank. If your car stopped it wasn’t because it ran out of gas if it didn’t run out of gas!

      We often remind ourselves that correlation does not mean causation. But now is the time to be reminded that when there is no correlation there is never causation. Simply put, if there is no significant rise in temperature there can be no significant effect caused by the rise in temperature – because it never happened. It hurts my head to consider why it is even necessary to point this out. Why can’t the guy who wrote this stupid article see that he has busted the whole myth with his admission that temperature doesn’t matter.

  24. Second, the 2 °C goal is impractical. It is related only probabilistically to emissions and policies, so it does not tell particular governments and people what to do.

    That statement belies the whole “global warming” bullshit machine, in a nutshell.

    It has never been about science.

    It has always been about telling people what to do.

    • Well yes, the word “IMPRACTICAL” really gives the game away. What a blunder they all have made, not to tell us quite exactly what to do.

      But I believe we can be highly specific about telling THEM what to do.

  25. So what happens if/when global temps fall? Erasing the simple idea from the public memory that temps are supposed to rise in response to more magic gas wont be easy.

    Further, “Moving the goalposts”, is a poor analogy IMO of what we may now see coming from the vested interests. A better analogy is they are attempting to completely re-write the rules of the game, sort of like turning a 3 hour baseball game into a multiday cricket test match in the 5th inning, simply because the rule re-writing team is getting its butt handed to it (slang for “we’re losing big tme”).

    And now like cricket, the rules they now want as metrics of climate change are many, the scoring is difficult to fathom, and only the true afficiado can even tell whats going on.

  26. Show many ANY metric that points to climate getting “worse” (and make sure you define “worse” in measurable parameters).

    I’ll be waiting right here.

    • Regional; drought, flooding, increase rain, decrease rain, habitat change, increase snow, decrease snow, increase ice, decrease ice, decrease fish, decrease birds, increase prostitution, increase sea level, decrease sea level, and locust are all indicators of stress on the planet.(If they say so)
      Plus don’t forget, from the paper, “The best indicator has been there all along: the concentrations of CO2 and the other greenhouse gasses…”
      They’re bound to find 20 or 30 vital signs governments and companies can control directly.

      • Of course. :) But now show me that none of this would have happened if not for human activity.

        Oh, never mind. It doesn’t matter to them, does it?

  27. More nonsense from Nature.

    “Some of the backlash from ‘denialists’ is partly rooted in policy-makers’ obsession with global temperatures that do not actually move in lockstep with the real dangers of climate change. New goals are needed.”


    Is “denialists” a new word? What happened to “deniers”? :-)

    “New goals are needed.” Perhaps – but not goals to be set by fraudsters who have failed in every prediction they have made to date, and have caused society to squander over a trillion dollars of scarce global resources on a non-issue. These scam artists have no successful predictive track record and thus no scientific credibility. Every scary scenario they have predicted has failed to materialize. That is why they say “new goals are needed” – because they have been proven wrong to date – because they have failed.

    • “IST” is so much more sophisticated, see? “Denier” is just too gross, too much like the ditty “Nier, nier, pants on fire”. (“Warning, warning, globe is warming”) A denial-IST is clearly a far more sinister character. And then he will develop his denial-ISM. From the basic deni-ER, it is necessary to move on to the -IST in order to achieve the -ISM, then we can call it a conspiratorial ideology created by the Koch brothers.

  28. This is simply a way for the warmists to ignore the fact that the earth is not warming and only point to those obtuse “signals” of warming instead. It also neatly avoids them dealing with the fact that in-spite of world governments doing almost absolutely nothing to tackle climate change, that we will meet that 2 degrees target anyway, …. because the earth is NOT warming as the models predicted it would.

    So now we know, it is ALL about the extra taxes and controls being imposed upon the populations of the world, and not about global temperature at all, Hence why these statists are adamant on those controls being imposed in spite of the earth failing to keep on warming up.

  29. “There was little scientific basis for the 2 °C figure that was adopted,”

    Ive been called a denier for trying to make this case.

    “than the growth of average global surface temperature — which has stalled since 1998 ”

    Ive been called a denier for trying to make this case.

    “Some of the backlash from ‘denialists’ ”

    Sorry buddy on many of the places Ive debated this issue you have two major strikes on you. You are a climate denier.

  30. Hear that? That’s the unmistakeable sound of goalposts being moved. Radically! Pretty soon, AGW will be transformed into a whole ‘nother gravy train!

  31. Is “denialists” a new word?

    It’s part of the process of babble, I think, where words and expressions transmogrify and degenerate as they pass from ear to mouth, eye to fingers. Already we’re seeing that the idiotic term climate change denier has devolved into the simpler, and even more idiotic climate denier.

    • For a supposedly professional journal to use the comically emo-word “denialists” shows that they are emitting propaganda, not supporting science.

      It is astonishing that the editors allowed that word to appear in their journal. It seriously detracts from Nature’s credibility, and they surely have little of that to spare.

      When Nature’s writers start labeling people who simply have a different point of view with the “denialist” pejorative, it exposes itself as nothing more than an alarmist propaganda organ.

      The mighty have fallen a long way. It is tempting to subscribe to Nature just so I could cancel my subscription over their use of that ridiculous label.

      • Nature has no creditability, not since “Mike’s Nature trick”.
        Nobody trusts science from Nature.

      • Nature and its sibling credibility? Surely you jest.
        My soon forthcoming next book puts forth multiple examples in addition to this one. Some already guest posted over at Judiths.

    • Neither denialist nor denialism appears in my 3rd edition (1993) of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Similarly, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary bundled with my Britannica 2001 does not recognize either word.

  32. Surface temperatures are not co-operating so it’s time to shift the modus operandi to using “deep ocean heat content” instead which they can monitor on our behalf and let us know the terrible things that are happening which require more & more taxes. “Squaaawwkk! The seas are rising!! The seas are rising!!” Meet the new Chicken Little, same as the old Chicken Little.

  33. They are beginning to realize that the earth is not warming fast enough to achieve Agenda 21 based on 2C.
    A new crisis is needed.

  34. …. partly rooted in policy-makers’ obsession with global temperatures that do not actually move in lockstep with the real dangers of [global warming] climate change.

    Remind me again…. Which of the 100-some global climate models have global temperatures that are not locked into CO2 forcings?

    • Which of the GCM’s [computer climate models] accurately predicted the current twenty year long stasis in global temperatures?

      Answer: None of them got it right. They were all wrong.

      I would like to hear anyone of the warmist persuasion try to explain to us why anyone should pay any attention to them now. They have been wrong about everything. Now they admit that their preposterous 2ºC scare was wrong, too. Their string of anti-science blunders remains unbroken.

      • Don’t you remember? If they had known what the satellite temerature record would look like for the next ten years ten years ago, they could have perfectly predicted the next ten years!

        I swear you couldn’t make this stuff up if the CAGW crowd didn’t say it themselves…

  35. So….

    CO2 is bad because it makes things warmer.
    Ooops, it isn’t getting warmer.
    OK then….
    CO2 is bad because it makes…. uhm…. something else…. uhm…. different.
    We have to find out what the something else is.
    But while we’re looking for it, just remember that we already know CO2 is bad.

  36. Hi Anthony – Finally some sense is making it into these journals on the 2C threshold issue. I discussed this on my weblog several years ago also in my post

    where I concluded with

    “The use of the global annual-averaged surface temperature trends [should be] relegated to where it deserves to be – an historical relic.”

    Roger Sr

    • So, if I’m reading you correctly, you state that ‘global warming’ would strictly manifest itself as a transient imbalance in radiative flux? If that’s the case, then what mechanism would exist that would translate this imbalance to a measurable surface effect?

    • IMO ditch global climate altogether. It’s an oxymoron. The world has many diverse climates. Too hot in Sahara desert, too cold in Antarctica. Climate is local. Study climate change in different parts of the world. Ditch the strange notion that earth has one climate. Even in ice ages the tropics was warm.

      Climate is on earth’s surface. OHC and gas emissions are relevant because of their effect on climate. The focus should be on climate because these causes may have small and/or delayed effect.

  37. “New goals are needed. It is time to track an array of planetary vital signs — such as changes in the ocean heat content — that are better rooted in the scientific understanding of climate drivers and risks”

    Right, because me driving my car and turning on the heat in my house are really making a huge impact on heat in the Pacific Ocean. Man these Alarmists are just off the deep end.

    • Roger A. Pielke Sr, so is there any evidence of additional ocean heat to account for the pause along with an explanation as to how it avoided the surface layers? (assuming that they’re sticking to their deep ocean layer heat theory)

      If the mechanism is El Nino/La Nina based, what mechanism created such overpowering radiative transfer in these natural cycles?


      • sabretruthtiger- There is the claim that the heat has been sequestered deeper into the ocean (below 700m). Even if this is true [which I doubt as we would have seen it being transferred through the upper ocean] the heat would be dispersed at the deeper depths and it is unlikely it could reemerge quickly back into the atmosphere. Roger Sr.

  38. I always had the feeling it did not have anything to do with temperatures rising, CO2, extreme weather, or anything else, except to stop the exploration, extraction and burning of fossil fuels, because that is business of companies the Left Wing has regarded as evil-incarnate at heart of a capitalist empire, even back in the 1970’s before CAGW ever existing in their mindset.

    (Despite the endless “green advertising: of the fossil fuel companies for the last 10 years.)

    Any plan for the world that does not give them this result, (and complete control of all natural resources and all industrial activity) will not be acceptable.

  39. The climate con-artists are so bold that their victims are gullible, hyponotized, stupid and pliable that they admit that the 2.0oC goal was not scientific. And they know that the climate obsessed media and politicians are so on board that they will not ask any tough questions.
    This report demonstrates that once again skeptics were correct all along: 2.0oC was a scam of climate hypesters.

  40. Typical Ponzi scheme.
    Moving the goal posts to maintain the scheme going.

    Like moving from Global Warming to Climate Change – something not falsifiable since Climate Change always happens.

    So what we should expect from this is that they will be replacing something falsifiable (2ºC) with another non falsifiable measurement.

    Expect next item to be something that can only be “measured” by Models.

  41. The Nature link to this open article is here:

    After reading through it completely, it is clear the authors simply want make pCO2 the goal, rather than any changes, real or imagined, that result from CO2 increases.

    More observations on the false claims they assert:
    Where they write, ” The oceans are taking up 93% of the extra energy being added to the climate system, which is stoking sea-level rise and other climate impacts.”

    It is obvious that if they could name the “and other climate impacts” they would have, i.e. it’s a straw man argument. Even their “stoking sea-level rise” claim is an obtuse wording to avoid saying a demonstrable falsehood such as “sea-level rise accelerationalse” which would be the observable prediction if OHC were indeed growing.

  42. Authors of this article are a way behind times: “in reality they [governments] have achieved almost nothing”. Definitely untrue: global temperatures have not been rising for 18 years. Paradoxically, hot air is the best way to stop global warming.

  43. The good: The 2 degrees global warming threat is ignored (at least, I’ll bet) until we get some 21st century warming).

    The bad: According to the article, the best indicator of “climate change risk” is the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

    The absurd: the important metric is CO2 ppm regardless of warming, cooling or anything else.

  44. This is an opinion piece that proposes to abandon testable, observable predictions from physical science and replace them arbitrary CO2 goals is absolute rubbish. It was written by a *professor of international relations.

    Obviously, editorial staff at Nature have abandoned any pretense of supporting science, and replaced it with political correctness.

    *The corresponding author and first author is David G. Victor, professor of international relations at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.

    • In this area Nature long ago give up supporting science has it should be done and went full tilt for ‘science’ as it is done by those whose faith in AGW is never reduced by the facts seen in reality .
      Resulting in the type of general damage to science ‘the cause’ has created in the manner public sees it, that we all may up regretting.

  45. Did any of you read the article in the link?…..

    They are essentially saying that since temps have not changed…there needs to be a different metric for measuring the damages done by CO2….to the climate!

    Again…CO2 changes the climate without changing the temp

  46. Just reading between the lines, I just cannot fathom the stupidity of supposably intelligent human beings that honestly believe that us mere mortals can control global temperature and or climate.

  47. There are five new data gathering attachments which NASA has added, one of which is called…wait for it…


    “We are excited to expand the use of the International Space Station to make critical Earth observations that will help scientists understand the diversity of forests and vegetation and their response to a changing climate,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “These innovative Earth Venture Instruments will join a growing suite of NASA Earth-observing sensors to be deployed to the station starting this year.”

    I have been listening to this stuff for over 30 years from the previous generation. And apparently I am the only one who lays awake at night wondering why the UN Sustainability/Agenda 21 goals look like the Hippy movement. How can this be a coincidence? Which came first?

  48. We need to control you lives and since it’s become clear worldwide temperature change won’t justify it, we’ll come up with some vague impossible to easily disprove standards to justify our control.

    Facists at work.

  49. It is time to track an array of planetary vital signs

    Yup. And calculate a planetary sickness index using an undisclosed, ever changing algorithm, to be disseminated widely and re-calculated frequently in a retrospective manner. It would be best to set up a separate UN agency which could be charged with this task, but before that a binding international treaty is needed, based on said index.

    Not that the planet is a living being, in spite of the lovely metaphor invented by Lovelock, so it does not have a single “vital sign”, not to mention a whole array of them, but that should not deter policy going ahead, should it?

    • We could name it “The Pandora’s Box Index”. And you can bet that carbon dioxide was the key.

      Alternatively, it could be “The Prometheus Index” because CO2 is a product of fire, and the gods never intended us to use fire.

    • Here’s the graphic Nature designed to go with this Opinion piece.

      Judge for yourself what they think.

  50. Still, I’m gonna miss those two degrees, if they fall by the wayside. It was such a clear cut issue and image, the message was simple and stark:

    “Abide by the two degrees, or we’ll give you the third degree.”

  51. Simple Question: If we are not worried about Global Warming anymore, then what dangerous Climate Change are we worrying about? Why is rising Ocean Heat Content dangerous if it does not lead to even 2 degrees of Global Temperature change?

    They are getting silly. It is time to just start laughing at them.

  52. Isn’t this just the wimpy mensheviks taking over briefly from the loopy bolsheviks?

    Just disband the klimatariat. Nobody can forecast the weather or the climate more than a few days out, and even that knowledge is scrappy. Climate indicators have value, and people like Walker and Mantua have not worked in vain. But the kids have been running the climate science kitchen for decades and there won’t be much improvement till they are chased out by adults.

    But good luck with finding adults.

  53. Since we’ve now had eighteen (18) years of no significant warming, extreme weather events are now attributable to global warming (that we haven’t had).

    Got that?

    It’s a new and very special branch of logic.

  54. Brilliant strategy!

    With the whole “model temperature prediction” thing going in the dumper it makes sense to go insurgent and break this thing down into tiny parts so that if one is being argued against you have ten or fifty other things to point to.

    I was wondering what these guys were going to do.

  55. I love that graphic: “2 degrees. That’s the amount the planet will be allowed to warm.” The sheer hubris of that statement is breathtaking.

  56. Mr. mosomo, on the subject of finding adults. You guys are like dogs, You chewed up one bone pretty well. So the masters are throwing you a new bone to chew on. And oh boy are you chewing.

  57. This egg is sooo unboiled, it still raw. 2 degrees C and they’ve been trying for 30 years to hatch this thing. Its enough to drive some deniers to want to surrender to the Chinese Communists to get away from these crazy fruitcakes with their co2 fetish. The ocean is big and it drives the so go ahead and figure out how to control the ocean, may I suggest they start with the tide and later work on controlling the subsurface currents when they sufficiently manup. For my part I will continue to burn wood to defeat cold.

    • Bill, according to the link that you provided , the temperature anomaly for the northern hemisphere is approx. 6 x that for the southern hemisphere . Do NOAA provide an explanation ? Is it due to the excess heat content being contained in deep currents that are more constricted in the NH.?

  58. 2 Oct: Australian: Graham Lloyd: Scientists scotch ‘tenuous’ 2C climate goal
    THE 16-year pause in global average surface temperature rise made the scientific case to limit climate change to 2C “tenuous”, a widely promoted article in Nature says.
    As a result, a new set of indi­cators or “vital signs” was needed to gauge the stresses that humans were placing on the climate system, joint authors David Victor and Charles Kennel from University of California said.
    The suggested new measures include the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, ocean heat content and high latitude temperatures.
    The Nature article confronts head-on the dilemma of the pause in global surface temperatures that climate scientists have long argued did not exist…

    2 Oct: Guardian: Adam Vaughan: Could the 2C climate target be completely wrong?
    The global warming goal that nearly 200 governments have agreed on should be ditched, say scientists writing in Nature
    In a nondescript conference centre five years ago, as temperatures fell to freezing outside in the streets of Copenhagen and protesters gathered, world leaders did something remarkable: they put a limit on how high temperatures should be allowed to rise as man-made global warming takes hold…
    Under the headline, “Ditch the 2C warming goal”, they argue the 2C limit is “politically and scientifically … wrong-headed”, it is “effectively unachievable” and it has let politicians off the hook, allowing them to “pretend that they are organising for action when, in fact, most have done little.”
    David G Victor, the University of California professor who co-wrote the comment along with former Nasa associate administrator Charles F Kennel, said he felt compelled to speak out after watching climate diplomacy efforts and working on the latest blockbuster report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…
    Michael Jacobs, a special adviser to Gordon Brown when he attended Copenhagen and now an adviser to the recent New Climate Economy report, says the timing of the intervention is far from helpful…
    “15 months out from the Paris conference and a week after a successful summit put climate change back on the international agenda is completely the wrong time to consider abandoning that commitment.”
    Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Angela Merkel’s climate adviser: “This will create a little storm I guess. Many lobbyists will celebrate tonight because this provocation will of course try to stop the momentum which was building up last week in New York. For the first time since Copenhagen, people feel a new movement emerging towards a meaningful agreement in Paris and such a piece can serve as an excuse for inaction again. It somehow conveys the message the science is unclear. All in all, it’s a provocation at a critical point in time,” he said…

  59. The first symptom of a failed theory is the unwavering denial that it’s failing in defiance of the data. The second is moving the goalposts in the hope that a compromise will somehow keep the theory alive and gravy train running.

  60. Quoting from above: “Some of the backlash from ‘denialists’ is partly rooted in policy-makers’ obsession with global temperatures that do not actually move in lockstep with the real dangers of climate change. New goals are needed. It is time to track an array of planetary vital signs — such as changes in the ocean heat content — that are better rooted in the scientific understanding of climate drivers and risks.” ???

    As a former long standing local politician used to reading into the thinking behind what people say, does this not mean that given the increasing disconnect between CO2 emissions and the 17+ year global temperature hiatus, failed warmist policy-makers must now look away from “global temperatures” and devise some other CO2 related research initiatives to alarm us?

  61. have to marvel at the (liberals, left winger, big government types — take your pick) they never give up. If 2C does not work, then come up with something else that will takes decades to figure out it does not work. In the mean time you can get several useful idiots — the non-denialists — to hum the new mantra.

  62. I think there is only one measure of how well the planet is doing and that is Agriculture.

    In the supposed hottest year ever , bumper crops worldwide.

    And do farmers believe in AGW- NO!

  63. FrankKarr on October 1,
    2014 at 6:12 pm

    RGB can I suggest you
    take courses in geology.
    The thousands of meters
    of limestone that are
    terrestrial and marine are
    formed from calcium
    carbonate. Rocks in the
    marine environment
    buffers CO2 into calcium
    carbonate. In a nutshell
    it’s the reverse of what
    your alarmist blogs are
    telling you e.g. how do
    you imagine the ‘White
    Cliffs of Dover’ in the UK
    were deposited in the
    past on an ancient sea
    floor? Cheers.


    telling the obviously: one has just to see it!


  64. & the 2 C degree limit to temp rise was just an arbitrary marker to mobilize naïve crowds for fearful action. It was not derived from first principles of processes scientific . . . . like pretty much everything at the foundation of the pre-science mythology of the climate change cause to save the earth from fossil fuel created CO2.

    & with the 2 C degree arbitrary marker shown as meaningless, the climate change caused shifts to something else to buy time with. The oceans are a weak alternative for their focus. But . . . .

    & . . . but, I speculate that the climate change cause’s leadership could really surprise skeptics within the coming decade by moving to support a significantly negative CO2 climate sensitivity. It may sound absurd, it does sound inanely absurd, but then they get to say that CO2 is still the dangerous control knob as a climate driver but this time the high danger from it is cooler climate; which still gives them a rationale to put evil fossil fuels under the control of severely collectivist central governments.


  65. All this assumes people “control” the weather. Back to the ignorance & superstition of the dark ages.

  66. My reading of the Nature article goes as follows:

    1 – CO2 emissions are predicted to cause an enhanced greenhouse effect (“primary effect”).
    2 – The primary effect is predicted to cause numerous “secondary effects”.
    3 – As there is no evidence of the primary effect, agree secondary effects and go look for them.
    10 – Observation of secondary effects may justify calls for government action to address the primary effect.

    The logic is broken. Taking out warming leaves no physical link from CO2 emissions to the consequential “secondary effects” this article proposes to look for.

    It is a solution in search of a problem.

    (Note, the incorrect numbering in the above list is intentional)


    You ever seen the movie A Few Good Men with Jack Nicholson as Col. Jessup, the arrogant, ignorant son of a bitch who utters the line above?

    I was reminded of that line when I read a piece in the guardian about the Nature article by Victor/Kennel which questions the usefulness of the 2C target/obligation.

    The article, pulling its punches somewhat, describes Hans Joachim Schellinhuber, Angela Merkel’s climate advisor, as someone ‘credited’ with inventing the notion of a 2C limit in the 1990s. (Sorry for no link but if you google guardian nature 2C you’ll find it easily)

    The article has some choice qoutes from Schellinhuber. I like this one in particular:

    “I am communicating to heads of state and you have to keep it neat and simple. It was difficult enough to commuicate a 2C target … but it seems to have sunk in. How should I communicate to policy makers who have an attention span of 10 minutes a set of volatility signals … this is politically so naive,” he says.

    Why do people who spent a small number of years of their lives acquiring a science degree think that as a result of this that they are so much smarter than every else? That the world is composed of geniuses with science degrees and imbeciles without science degrees?

    Schellinhuber says he is communicating with heads of state. This is at least partially true. He does have at least one head of state on his CV, namely Angela Merkel. He then goes on to say that he is dealing with ‘policy makers’ (read Angela Merkel) who have ‘attention spans of 10 minutes’.

    Goodness me. The man is either a fool or is so assured of his positon that he fears no consequnces of stating publicly, albeit somewhat obliquely, that his boss, the German chancellor, has an attention span of 10 minutes.

    The man wants to keep the science ‘neat and simple’ when any fool knows that the science is complex and difficult. It’s Schellinhuber that can’t handle the truth. If he could he’d be overcome with modesty, rather than the ludicrous arrogance he so clearly suffers from.

  68. You guys understand that when I go to China the people there live under a perpetual smog layer that prevents them from seeing the sky 99% of the time. They live with pollution counts of 400 many days or higher that are literally 40-100 times what we see anywhere in the US. If the officials are willing to put their people through that for growth do you think for one second they would ever consider spending ONE PENNY on reducing carbon emissions to cut global temperatures by 0.1C? or even 1.0C? This debate has zero impact there and other third world countries. At most they are giving lip service to this but most of the time they are not even bothering to show up to give lip service.

    The CO2 level will be what it is and it’s apparent that the effect of CO2 is way less than almost anybody thought 30 years ago even myself. It’s quite clear that some at NATURE realize the temp change from a 2x CO2 is likely to be closer to 1C not 2C. Meaning we will NEVER reach 2C. Obviously then they have to change goals if they plan to keep disrupting western society with their hatred of human beings so they can somehow keep their agenda in the limelight which is all this is about is stroking the egos of some people who are paranoid that we are evil and always must be villainized as corrupting the environment to keep their relevance.

    • While the purely physical effect in a controlled lab setting from doubling CO2 from 280 to 560 ppm is around 1.2 degrees C, in the complex, virtually incalculable atmosphere it might well be less. In any case, the next doubling would produce even less of a heating effect, since the response even in the lab is logarithmic.

      This uncertainty is quite apart from other unresolved issues such as CO2 sinks, still unknown to a large extent.

  69. A goal? Fine. Compared to what?

    The goal, if we need one, should be to stay near the average temperature since the last ice age – in the last 12,000 years. We are still below the average temperature of the last 12,000 years. We have only recovered a bit from the little ice age.

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