Do the math: climate policies cannot change century-end temperature more than 0.5ºC

Guest essay by Alberto Zaragoza Comendador

Read any article on the Paris agreement and you’ll find lots of degrees. If we follow this pathway we can still keep under two degrees, if we follow the Paris agreement the warming by the end of the century will be three degrees, if we do nothing it will rise ‘by 4-6ºC or more’.

It’s nonsense. Warming depends on emissions, which depend on:

  • GDP
  • The CO2 efficiency of GDP

So how much we warm depends greatly (or mostly) on how much GDP grows. Which nobody knows, of course; world GDP might grow by only 1% a year or jump 4% every year.

The thing is, whatever the GDP growth rate happens to be, it is not controlled by climate policies*

It is therefore a fallacy to assume that climate policies can let us choose between high-warming and low-warming scenarios. If the climate policies don’t aim to make emissions smaller by making GDP smaller, then they can only work by making GDP more CO2-efficient.

Thus the questions are:

a) Have climate policies had any success so far in decarbonizing the global economy?

b) If they have some success in the future, how much influence can this have on temperatures?

Before addressing the first question, may I link to my recent article showing that a rising carbon efficiency is the rule, not the exception. Most countries, most of the time, increase their GDP faster than their CO2 emissions. This increase is what I call the decarbonization rate. Have the 22 COP meetings had any success in increasing it?

Epic fail of climate policies – in one chart

We get GDP data from the World Bank and emissions data from BP; I put it all together here. And, surprise surprise:


The climate-crazy period after Kyoto is by far the worst in terms of decarbonization. Whereas the global economy had been decarbonizing at a rate of 1.4% over 1966-1999, in 2000-2015 this slumped to 0.6%. #fail

Now, I don’t believe the decline in the decarbonization rate was a result of these policies; the period just happened to coincide with the construction of a lot of new coal plants, mostly in China. Still, global agreements have to be judged by global results. What we can say is that there is no evidence policies have had any effect raising the decarbonization rate, which is what matters.

How big an effect can climate policies have on global temperatures?

This is admittedly a clunky, simplistic calculation – but it’s still 1,000 times better than the junk pushed by climate bureaucrats and ‘policy experts’.

The rate of growth of global GDP since 2010 has been 2.7% a year. It has been declining, in large part because population growth is also slowing down (and some believe a population peak will happen later this century). Nevertheless, to be ‘pessimistic’ (emissions-wise) I assume this growth rate will continue indefinitely.

We take the average decarbonization rate over 1966-2015, which is 1.1%. We assume this is the ‘normal’ rate, so emissions should grow 1.6% a year from 2015 on. (That year, emissions from fossil fuel combustion were 33.5 gigatons, i.e. 33.5 billion tonnes)

If this 1.6% growth rate in emissions continued until the end of the century, then we would release 6,073 gigatonnes. Applying a division by 7.81, that’s 778 parts per million of CO2. With a 45% airborne fraction, the amount added to the atmosphere would be 350 ppm. On top of 2015’s 404 ppm, that gives us an end-of-the-century concentration of 754 ppm.

What if climate policies manage to increase the decarbonization rate by 1%? This would essentially double the decarbonization rate. It’s not clear if such a thing is even possible, but still, what if? Well in that case we would emit 3,723 gigatonnes. That’s 477 ppm, or 215 airborne ppm, which brings us to a 619 ppm concentration by the end of the century. So we have 754 / 619 = 1.22

In other words: if we do nothing, CO2 levels might be 22% higher than if we follow a successful decarbonization program.

How many degrees is that?

Since the warming effect of CO2 is logarithmic, a 22% increase is actually more than a ‘proportional’ or linear increase; it’s equivalent to 28.5% of a doubling, because 1.22^3.5 = 2 and 1 / 3.5 = 1.285

As it happens the transient climate response seems to be about 1.35ºC, so an additional 28.5% of warming effect will mean the world is 0.38ºC warmer by the end of the century than if we had forgotten about the whole climate thing.

PS: so why does the headline say 0.5ºC, instead of 0.38ºC? Well, there are non-CO2 GHGs and climate policy might have an effect on those. But it must be mentioned: CO2 makes up about 80% of the warming effect seen in recent years, and the other gases are far less actionable, as their emissions cannot be tied to something as easy to count as fossil fuel burning.

*Unless your notion of climate policy is a planned recession.

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December 30, 2016 9:05 am

“Warming depends on emissions”. Sorry, stopped reading at that point.

Lance Wallace
Reply to  Philip
December 30, 2016 9:15 am

Agreed that it’s unclear whether warming depends on emissions. Jamaal Munshi has some statistical arguments that the two are not correlated once they’ve been “detrended”.
However, the point is that we can ASSUME warming depends on emissions, and even accept the inflated IPCC sensitivity of 3 degrees C per doubling of CO2 and STILL show that the effect on global temperature will be unmeasurably small in 2100. Lomborg has the best article on it somewhere recently.

Reply to  Lance Wallace
December 30, 2016 2:02 pm

I agree It’s nonsense that ‘Warming depends on emissions’,
Please feel free to show any actual scientific evidence & explain the actual mechanism that produces that unique effect.
BUT…Do not include any –
Computer model predictions:
Theory’s that ignore the basic laws of physics & chemistry:
News paper & TV claims:
Quotations by politicians:
Any thing that contains words like – Could, May, Might, Possibly etc.

Reply to  1saveenergy
December 30, 2016 2:20 pm

Concerned to show that man made warming (AGW ) is correct and indeed happening, I thought that here [in Pretoria, South Africa} I could easily prove that. Namely the logic following from AGW theory is that more CO2 would trap heat on earth, hence we should find minimum temperature (T) rising pushing up the mean T. Here, in the winter months, we hardly have any rain but we have many people burning fossil fuels to keep warm at night. On any particular cold winter’s day that results in the town area being covered with a greyish layer of air, viewable on a high hill outside town in the early morning.
I figured that as the population increased over the past 40 years, the results of my analysis of the data [of a Pretoria weather station] must show minimum T rising, particularly in the winter months. Much to my surprise I found that the opposite was happening: minimum T here was falling, any month….I first thought that somebody must have made a mistake: the extra CO2 was cooling the atmosphere, ‘not warming it. As a chemist, that made sense to me as I knew that whilst there were absorptions of CO2 in the area of the spectrum where earth emits, there are also the areas of absorption in the 1-2 um and the 4-5 um range where the sun emits. Not convinced either way by my deliberations and discussions as on a number of websites, I first looked at a number of weather stations around me, to give me an indication of what was happening:comment image
The results puzzled me even more. Somebody [God/Nature] was throwing a ball at me…..The speed of cooling followed a certain pattern, best described by a quadratic function.
I carefully looked at my earth globe and decided on a particular sampling procedure to find out what, if any, the global result would be. Here is my final result on that:comment image
Hence, looking at my final Rsquare on that, I figured out that there is no AGW, at least not measurable.
Arguing with me that 99% of all scientists disagree with me is useless. You cannot have an “election” about science.
You only need one man to get it right.

Reply to  Lance Wallace
December 31, 2016 12:01 am

Lance, the IPCC sensivity is about 3K for ECS. This measure is for the very long time after respondig of the oceans. For the behavior up to 2100 is the TCR of greater meaning and there is a value of 1.8 from IPCC models and a value of about 1.35 from observations.

Alan McIntire
Reply to  Lance Wallace
December 31, 2016 6:15 am

Jamal Munshi ‘s methodology would have detected a linear trend, but I doubt that it would have detected a tinytrend where wattage iincreases logarithmically with increases in the gas, and temperature increases as the fourth root of wattage-

Reply to  Philip
December 30, 2016 9:17 am

Phil…..agree; that was my immediate reaction.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Philip
December 30, 2016 9:29 am

Me too.
Warming almost certainly does not, but on something else entirely.

M Courtney
Reply to  Philip
December 30, 2016 9:35 am

But “Warming depends on emissions” is a fundamental assumption behind the policies.
It may well be wrong but that’s irrelevant.
If you are going to question the efficacy of these policies on their own terms you have to use their own fundamental assumptions.
It would be a different discussion if you want to challenge the axioms on which the logic has been built.

Reply to  M Courtney
December 30, 2016 1:29 pm

Agreed, M Courtney.
Slanging — “’tis, ’tisn’t, ’tis, ’tisn’t” — gets you nowhere. If you don’t accept your opponent’s basic premise (at least for the sake of argument) you cannot have a meaningful dialogue. He will just believe you are mistakan and ignore you.
So emissions cause warming, Mr Gore, but you are still wrong and here is why!
Gore won’t listen but there are those who will.

Phillip Bratby
Reply to  Philip
December 30, 2016 9:38 am

Me too.

Reply to  Philip
December 30, 2016 9:52 am


Stephen Richards
Reply to  Philip
December 30, 2016 9:54 am

Me too

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Philip
December 30, 2016 10:46 am

It probably would have been better if he said, “Assuming for the sake of argument that warming depends on emissions…”

Reply to  Philip
December 30, 2016 11:15 am

Actually the global warming depends on other, more important factors, such as solar activity and ocean cycles, but CO2 is not one of them. Temperature sensitivity to CO2 is assumed to be a linear relationship, which is patently wrong. Any absorbance and emission by CO2 depends on Beers Law such that over 90% of CO2’s effects are already realized. Doubling CO2 would likely have undetectably small effects on global temperature.
Also, CO2’s half-life in the atmosphere is about 5 years, similar to that of methane. The IPCC’s assumption of a 200-year half-life for atmospheric CO2 is a lie, plain and simple. And, overlooked consistently, is that CO2 only absorbs in two narrow bands of IR (even partially overlapped with water vapor’s absorption range, causing an interference), with the rest escaping nicely through the transparent atmosphere. To pretend that CO2 can do anything detectable to atmospheric temperatures by “trapping” IR radiation is blatant fraud, like trying to keep mice corralled behind a picket fence with six inches spaces between the verticals.
Furthermore, CO2 and water vapor are not “greenhouse gases” (a name made up from nothing to be scary). These gases are more accurately call “radiative gases.” During the day, CO2 is saturated with IR radiation and both absorbs and emits IR, amounting to a zero effect on the atmosphere and no effect on Earth’s surface as the energy levels occupied in the surface would reflect IR energy, as the levels are already full. The same is true for water vapor, but the ppm of water vapor vary greatly compared to CO2, making water vapor the main radiative atmospheric gas (varies from <100 to 30,000 ppm by weight). The fantasy that atmospheric CO2 at 400 ppm can entrain and enslave water vapor at an average of 15,000 ppm is a huge joke and a lie.
It is during the night that these gases, with no opposing incoming radiation, convert heat energy into IR radiation which is then lost to space. That is why the air chills so quickly after sunset and why little, local breezes kick up so quickly in the shadows of scudding clouds in a sunny day. By the way, the global computer models do not include night time, at all, and completely ignore this not insignificant cooling by these atmospheric gases.

Keith J
Reply to  higley7
December 31, 2016 10:12 am

Actually, dry air allows the greatest night time radiative heat loss. It is indeed humidity which slows surface cooling. Then there are inversion effects and dew point issues which can reflect outbound radiative flux.

Reply to  Keith J
December 31, 2016 10:24 am


Reply to  Philip
December 30, 2016 8:03 pm

Me too!

richard verney
Reply to  Philip
December 30, 2016 10:49 pm

Articles such as these are looking at how effective a particular policy is. In this case, the article is examining whether any particular policy reduces CO2 emissions by a meaningful extent. To assess the quality of the article, it is not necessary to consider whether there is or is not a need to reduce CO2 emissions.
There is only any point in trying to reduce CO2 emissions if one considers that CO2 emissions are harmful. If rising CO2 emissions is not harmful, then it follows that there is no need to have any policy in place to seek to curtail those emissions.
I am one of those who has seen no convincing evidence that in today’s global real world atmosphere conditions and present day climate that suggests that rising CO2 emissions causes a measurable warming of the planet. There is evidence to suggest that the planet is CO2 deficient and that rising CO2 has greened the planet, and to that extent rising CO2 emissions are beneficial. Personally, I consider the planet to be too cold, and it would benefit the biosphere and life in general if the planet were to warm by 3 to 5 degrees; at any rate to return to the Holocene Optimum. Of course, there would be some winners and some losers, but overall it would be a net plus for the planet to be several degrees warmer, so in my opinion if rising levels of CO2 do lead to some warming that is a win win scenario.
That said, one should not dismiss an article such as the present one merely because one personally disagrees with the founding premise. We all know that Climate Change is a political issue, and this is so irrespective of the science.
It is therefore appropriate to consider how effective any policy response enacted is at achieving its primary objective. In this case, does any policy meaningfully reduce CO2 emissions?
When considering this question, one has to take it as read that CO2 emissions need curtailing because of the concern that CO2 emissions lead to harmful warming.
All readers on this site know that as long as the West consumes, the only viable option for reducing CO2 emissions is to go nuclear. That has been known for more than 25 years. There is no practical alternative if one is truly concerned buy CO2 emissions.

Reply to  richard verney
December 31, 2016 1:16 am

no more nuclear please
unless you can show me a good plan for the waste
or, if you can build a thorium reactor

Roger Knights
December 30, 2016 9:07 am

On sale for $2 for a short time is Atomic Awakening, a pro-nuclear e-book, at:
It has 4.7 stars (of 5) on 58 reviews.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Roger Knights
December 30, 2016 9:16 am

PS: it’s also available for the Nook, Kobo, etc.; search for the title on the sites that sell e-books in those formats.

FJ Shepherd
December 30, 2016 9:09 am

Warming depends on Mother Nature, and she is in a foul mood these days. She told me that she hated all this nattering on about CO2 by mankind. It has really, really, irritated her.

Alberto Zaragoza Comendador
December 30, 2016 9:14 am

‘As it happens the transient climate response seems to be about 1.35ºC, so an additional 28.5% of warming effect will mean the world is 0.38ºC warmer by the end of the century than if we had forgotten about the whole climate thing.’
I botched this part – started writing one sentence and ended up writing another. What I meant is that the world would be 0.38ºC *cooler* if we followed a successful decarbonization program than if we did nothing.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Alberto Zaragoza Comendador
December 30, 2016 9:19 am

AZC: Put the word “Ant**ny” (spelled out) in your next comment (which will ensure he reads it) and ask him to make that correction to your text.

Stephen Richards
Reply to  Alberto Zaragoza Comendador
December 30, 2016 9:55 am

Correlation is not causation

Alberto Zaragoza Comendador
December 30, 2016 9:20 am

‘1 / 3.5 = 1.285’
Obviously, the second ‘1’ should read ‘0’

December 30, 2016 9:21 am

Show me the computations of surface temperature of a radiantly heated sphere in our orbit based on the power spectrum of the Sun and our mean spectrum as viewed from the outside and then we can start to talk physics .

Ian W
Reply to  Bob Armstrong
December 30, 2016 11:40 am

If you do want to talk physics then do:
* Use the correct units of measurement for heat, especially atmospheric heat content taking note of enthalpy;
* Demonstrate how a few watts per square meter of infrared can ‘warm’ the >66% of the Earth’s surface that is water when infrared energy only causes increased vaporization and cooling of the surface due to latent heat of evaporation
* Note the difference in behavior between water changing state and carbon dioxide as ‘green house gases’ (sic) and how that may influence the path of energy leaving the Earth
* Quantify and compare the heat carried to the tropopause by convection vs radiation in terms of kilojoules per second
* Quantify the amount of energy sequestered by chemical and biological processes such as photosynthesis
* Quantify the amount of geothermal energy released in terms of kilojoules per second
There are a few more but I think that may be enough for a ‘settled science’.

Reply to  Ian W
December 30, 2016 2:36 pm

From my perspective , you are way past the universally understood and agreed upon physics . It takes a small handful of APL ( or CoSy ) expressions to get from the temperature of the Sun and the portion of the celestial sphere it subtends to the mean temperature of a simple colored ball . Show us you can do that experimentally testable computation first before even elaborating that “model” with translucent layers .
That is the approach of all other , successful , branches of applied physics .
The lack of proven quantitative step by step analysis is what has allowed this nonscience to stagnate for decades .
I have come to be a great fan of Lavoisier who turned alchemy into chemistry by demanding a complete “audit trail” for every input . This field stagnates , , in the alchemy stage despite fancy Navier-Stokes masturbations because it does not demand that quantitative experimentally verified audit trail back to the the inputs from the Sun and outputs to the rest of the celestial sphere .

Reply to  Ian W
December 31, 2016 12:20 pm

I agree with Bob Armstrong below. The science of climate change needs to move dramatically away from model predictions to basic science. They need to prove every step and every assumption. The idea they can throw a whole bunch of unproven physics into models and then using backtesting from this highly modified data they play with and come up with any “proven” anything is laughable. Any scientist must know this which is why all the 97% of scientists stuff is so ludicrous. I’ve never met a scientist yet who could or would argue to me or any real scientist that this science makes any sense at all.
Real scientists will never say they believe in people paid to do research who write up things that depend massively on statistics but on the whole lack any statistics education or who invent new statistics to convince people they have proven something when they haven’t. Real scientists will want real science with repeatable studied experiments. That means new equipment, new ideas, new ways of doing everything. The entire cabal of current “advocates” needs to be fired and replaced with hard core scientists who know how to do real science that design experiments that we can believe and repeat.

December 30, 2016 9:21 am

I must be missing something, when we went from 235 ppm to 400 ppm shouldn’t the observed temperature record show an increase? Since it didn’t are not articles like this ‘Useless’ since CO2 is not a cause but result of increased temperatures? The future is unpredictable (as the climate models all show) but if history has a say the lack of sunspots coupled with increased seismic activity along with long term forecasts of decreased precipitation are indicating a cooling period.

Reply to  smalliot
December 30, 2016 9:41 am

More CO2 is a result of more warming
Not a cause of more warming

Reply to  henryp
January 3, 2017 1:15 am

My take was rather that if you take the warmists conjectures at face value, for arguments sake, you still can’t get to the catastrophe they are trying to predict. Variations in GDP will swamp the attempts at managing CO2 which is also a useful insight, I think.
There is an old saying along the lines of ” the best way to get stupid laws repealed is to apply them vigorously and without common sense”. This article seems to be an attempt along those lines.
We all know that CO2 doesn’t do anything measurable to the climate whether it comes from our burning stuff or not.

Reply to  smalliot
December 30, 2016 12:07 pm

I must be missing something, when we went from 235 ppm to 400 ppm shouldn’t the observed temperature record show an increase? @ smalliot

All things being equal, YES, but all things are never equal. We don’t know what all of the negative feedbacks are, nor what the hysterisis loops look like or even if they are rate-dependent hysteresis or rate-independent.

Alan McIntire
Reply to  smalliot
December 31, 2016 6:27 am

It was supposedly 280 ppm, not 235. The 235 is roughly the average wattage per square meter we get from the sun after reflection from clouds and before greenhouse gases.
Plug in that 400/280 and the log is 0.155. Use the IPCC figure of 5.35 additional watts per square meter times that log figure, and you get an additional 0.829 watts on a surface receiving an average of 390 watts per square meter. That results in a temperature increase of (390.825/390)^0.25 1./00053 times our average temperature of 288K, resulting in a temperature increase of 288*0.00053= 0.15 C,

December 30, 2016 9:41 am

“But it must be mentioned: CO2 makes up about 80% of the warming effect seen in recent years, and the other gases are far less actionable, as their emissions cannot be tied to something as easy to count as fossil fuel burning.”
Then are 80 percent of 0.1 degrees, waiting 0.08 degrees? The warming before the last two El Nino years according to the satellite measurements of the 17 years before? Or maybe the wrong adjusters at GISS at Hadcrut 4 or NOAA? Or does the poster mean the increase in the two El Nino years? Then he is still a bigger AGW believer than already thought.

December 30, 2016 9:42 am

Nobody is going to be very happy with this article.
The warmists will argue that you can’t only consider the transient climate sensitivity, you have to also consider the equilibrium climate sensitivity.
Most of the denizens of WUWT will point out that CO2 levels and temperature are poorly correlated. Therefore a climate sensitivity of 1.35° C is bogus.

December 30, 2016 9:47 am

Unless your notion of climate policy is a planned recession.
If I recall correctly, a certain John Holdren was a co-author of these little gems….
“Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”
“A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.”
Dr. Paul Ehrlich, Anne Ehrlich, and Dr. John Holdren, Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment

Reply to  fretslider
January 1, 2017 10:36 am

Pretty sure Dr. John Holdren did a study and concluded that controlling population through the use of chemicals in the drinking water would be constitutional. Not a conspiracy theory. He felt it was important enough to go so far as make up his mind about the constitutional implications.

December 30, 2016 9:48 am

“CO2 makes up about 80% of the warming effect seen in recent years…”
Except in Antarctic where satellite temperature measurements show no change whatever (UAH) or a slight decrease (RSS); but is should since there is practically no water vapor there.
And except in the US where the Climate Reference Network shows no change in surface temperature since 2002; admittedly a short record but still no change.
But then, 80% of nothing is still nothing.
Its nice to live in an exception.

Reply to  DHR
December 30, 2016 10:57 am

Its nice to live in an exception.

OMG, more American Exceptionalism. 🙂

December 30, 2016 10:08 am

What Comendator seems to be writing is that even if one buys the assumptions of the warmists, their policies will not do anything useful, as emissions seem based on the general economy. Of course, we do not have to accept their models, so anything put towards climate change reduction is pure expensive posturing.

tom s
December 30, 2016 10:40 am

First of all, we cannot measure a global temperature within 1/10th of a degree. So sick of this entire charade. It’s bullsheet…all of it.

Reg Nelson
Reply to  tom s
December 30, 2016 11:24 am

And we certainly couldn’t measure to within 1/10 of a degree in 1850. That should be the end of the debate if the debate was a scientific one and not a political one.

Reply to  Reg Nelson
December 30, 2016 12:42 pm

1/10 of a degree plus or minus in 1850, 1/10 in 2016, OK? but 1° in between, that is measurable.

Reg Nelson
Reply to  Reg Nelson
December 30, 2016 1:30 pm

François December 30, 2016 at 12:42 pm
1/10 of a degree plus or minus in 1850, 1/10 in 2016, OK? but 1° in between, that is measurable.
No it’s not. Measurable by whom? LOL
What was the temperature in Sydney, Australia in 1850 to within 1 degree Celsius? Or Tahiti in the South Pacific? Or Siberia? Or Antarctica? etc.

Reply to  Reg Nelson
January 1, 2017 5:51 am

We know exactly what the weather was in Sydney in 1850 – the BOM has excellent records from South Head station quite a bit further back than 1850 as well.
We know (because I checked) that the rainfall trend since 1850, and since 1950, is precisely zero in Sydney.
As for Antarctica, with the exception of the Peninsula, we know there is no climate change at all happening. So 1850 was identical to today. (The Peninsula may have been experiencing “the epicentre of global warming” or not in 1850, probably depending on whether its volcanoes were erupting that year.)

Reply to  Andrew
January 1, 2017 8:54 am

please elaborate how T was measured back in the 1850’s and then even before the 1950’s and how it is done now, from the 80’s
both in terms of calibration- and recording techniques
I can say that looking from the 80’s there has been no trend in Tmin in Sydney.
hence there is no AGW\
there is no man made ‘global’ warming

Reply to  Henry
January 1, 2017 10:33 am

I forgot to say
Happy New Year!!

Tom in Florida
Reply to  tom s
December 30, 2016 1:45 pm

Second of all, global average temperature is a meaningless number.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
December 30, 2016 2:06 pm

CO2 does not cause any warming
Maybe it causes some cooling
Rather than warming

December 30, 2016 10:46 am

Everything depends on assumptions. Decarbonization of GDP is back to 2% as of 2014, so if it can be doubled to 4%, and warmists defend a transient climate sensitivity of 1.8°C. So with those numbers the answer is quite different.
So many assumptions, so little evidence.

Reply to  Javier
December 30, 2016 11:32 am

Javier, the 1.35C TCR derived here observationally foots to other observational derivations (see Lewis and Curry 2014). The IPCC 1.8C derives from climate models that run too hot; the missing but modeled troposphere hotspot being one way to show that.
There are a lot of ways to disprove assumtions and move closer to objectivity. No warming this century except for the now rapidly cooling 2015-16 blip tends to disprove the CO2 control,knob assumption. No acceleration in SLR tends to disprove one of the main ‘C in CAGW’ assumptions. Greening shows a benefit rather than harm from rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
Examples of simple grounded things that can move the public opinion meter.

Reply to  ristvan
December 30, 2016 1:19 pm

Rud, you don’t need to convince me. I’m already convinced. But you can only convince somebody who hasn’t made his mind up. Otherwise it is nearly impossible to convince somebody who has already taken sides no matter the arguments. They will refute these numbers by saying that TCR is considered to be higher by most experts and that decarbonization of GDP can be taken higher without compromising growth. When most things are based on assumptions, everything is a matter of opinion.

December 30, 2016 11:00 am

First start by elimination of the tax free status of NGOs involved in policy and the environment. Then strip all tax benefits to renewables that are more than 20 percent higher than the market rates for cost, with utility scale solar leading the way on cost standards and natural gas for standards elsewhere. Withhold Federal funds to states that continue to support high cost versions of renewables like rooftop solar and all electric cars. Withhold Federal funds from states that look the other way on mass bird kills at wind farms and solar csp.

December 30, 2016 11:08 am

“The thing is, whatever the GDP growth rate happens to be, it is not controlled by climate policies* …
” *Unless your notion of climate policy is a planned recession.”
If you ask me, this is precisely the notion of most emissions scenarios. Some dance around this idea with falsities like proclaiming the benefits of job growth in green industries, but the result is the same.”

Peta from Cumbria
December 30, 2016 11:26 am

Warming depends on what the farmers do= leaving huge expanses of bare soil lying about and drying out.
Carbon dioxide levels, to the greater extent, also depend on the farmers. Again leaving bare dirt to be oxidised by sunlight and by feeding the bugs in the dirt with nitrogen – in ever increasing amounts. Hence, (surprise surprise) you get ever increasing levels of CO2
Floodings will get more numerous and generally worse, specially financially. Farmers are stripping the dirt of its water-retention properties, making the flood. Most modern-day floods are Flash Floods
The finances of floods will get exponentially worse as folks realise they can always blame someone else and, as they already know, Governmments & insurance companies have shed-loads of money they simply cannot off-load fast enough.
And warming will increase because all the thermometers are in the cities, the airports and the farmer’s fields – the only places where anyone’s really bothered about temperature. Rocket science it ain’t.
And warming will increase because, subconsciously from watching movies of Superman, Men in Black, Star Wars etc etc, everyone can be a hero and Save The World.
Usually by staring into a computer screen, where in the brain-dead life they live through eatings carbs, they indulge in epic adventures of Magical Thinking
What’s not to like, until those nice, upwardly ramping curves of wheat, corn, rice production stall and then collapse. Which they will. They always have done in the past.
But previously they’ve been fairly local affairs and we’ve had diversity and redundancy to save us.
Next time, we won’t we won’t have those things, not in a Global Village we won’t.

December 30, 2016 1:26 pm

“Since the warming effect of CO2 is logarithmic, a 22% increase is actually more than a ‘proportional’ or linear increase; it’s equivalent to 28.5% of a doubling, because 1.22^3.5 = 2 and 1 / 3.5 = 1.285
As it happens the transient climate response seems to be about 1.35ºC, so an additional 28.5% of warming effect will mean the world is 0.38ºC warmer by the end of the century than if we had forgotten about the whole climate thing.
PS: so why does the headline say 0.5ºC, instead of 0.38ºC? Well, there are non-CO2 GHGs and climate policy might have an effect on those. But it must be mentioned: CO2 makes up about 80% of the warming effect seen in recent years, and the other gases are far less actionable, as their emissions cannot be tied to something as easy to count as fossil fuel burning.”

There are a number errors of assumption made through the article.
I will pick on just two:
Yes, the warming of CO2 is logarithmic. Each new molecule of CO2 contributes less to atmospheric warming, not more.
The effect is logarithmic in how much more CO2 required to achieve an increase.
Several economists have already calculated the total effect of a perfect successful response to the Paris agreement. These economists used the proposed rates of CO2 influenced temperature increases to reach their results. e.g. Bjorn Lomborg
All of their “Paris treaty estimates” were substantially less than 1ºC reduction.
CO2 being responsible for 80% of any recent warming is pure assumption. There is not any evidence or proof for that statement.
1) The alleged global carbon budget is a desk estimate based on gross surmises without exploratory research.
1a) e.g. how much carbonate material is subducted into deep magmatic contact each year? This is a major source for volcanic CO2.
1b) How much carbon detritus accumulates in every ocean basis each year? Carbon removed from the system.
1d) The OCO-2 satellite’s graphic imagery clearly demonstrates that the ocean is the largest daily driver of CO2.

December 30, 2016 5:08 pm

But it has been found that the calculations of the Plank effect (no feedbacks) CO2 climate sensivity is too great by more than a factor of 20 because the calculations did not take into consideration that doubling CO2 in the Earth’s will cause a slight decrease in the dry lapse rate in the tropoaphere which is a cooling effect. Then there is the issue of H2O feedback. Adding more H2O to the atmosphere has a cooling effect as evidenced by the fact ahat the wet lapse rate is significantly less than the dry lapse rate in the troposphere. The feed back also has to be negative for the Earth’s climate to have been stable enough for life to have evolved evidenced by the fact that we are here. There is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate.

Alan McIntire
Reply to  willhaas
December 31, 2016 6:35 am

I would think that increasing a greenhouse gas would theoretically INCREASE the lapse rate judging from
Robert G. Brown’s post here.
No greenhouse gas, no lapse rate, the more greenhouse gas, the higher the lapse rate.

Reply to  Alan McIntire
December 31, 2016 7:36 am

perhaps it is necessary again here to point to the theoretical equations from closed box experiments [proved to be largely faulty] by the inventers of the so-called warming by CO2;
namely that CO2 warms by trapping some warmth from earth’s emissions in the 14-16um range [because CO2, like water, has major absorption here]
That some form of GH effect does exist is observable during the winter months here [in South Africa} : minimum T rises sharply if there are some clouds here in winter.
the problem is that these guys who lived a 100 years ago could not see the whole of the picture, exactly because they were restricted to looking at the results from a closed box….
[perhaps they experienced the lingering warmth in a shower cubicle?]
truth is that CO2 also has major absorptions in the sun’s spectrum, meaning that certain radiation that comes in from the sun is deflected
you can see this here in an experiment
note fig. 6 bottom and fig. 7
note with me that incoming radiation 1-2 um of CO2 is deflected off from earth, goes to space {the moon}, is deflected back and we pick it up again on earth….
we also know from the spectrum of CO2 that there is major absorption between 4-5 um
[this is how I was able to measure it in the lab. and determine how much of it was in my N2 and O2 etc.]
so we have some entrapment of the emission from earth 14-16 [24 h/day]
but we also have some deflection of incoming emission from the sun to earth/ [12h/day]
question is: which one is most?
You tell me?
{quote the paper please that shows me the balance sheet of the cooling and warming caused by the CO2}

Reply to  Alan McIntire
December 31, 2016 1:27 pm

The lapse rate in the troposphere, as derived from fitst proncipals, is a function of the heat capacity of the atmosphere and the pressure gradient and has nothing to do with the LWIR absorption properties of so called greenhouse gases. This convective greenhouse effect has been observed on all planets in the solar system with thick atmospheres. On Earth the convective greenhouse effect accounts for all 33 degrees C that the surface of the Earth is warmer than it would be without an atmosphere. There is no room left for an additional radient greenhouse effect. A radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed anywhere in the solar system. In the troposphere, heat transfer by conduction, convection, and phase change, dominates over LWIR absorption band radiation.

Alan McIntire
Reply to  Alan McIntire
January 1, 2017 11:12 am

In reply to Will Haas: Thanks to gravity, there is a maximum lapse rate, but a no greenhouse gas atmosphere would reach a stable temperaturre and have NO lapse rate. Again, read Robert G. Brown’s prior post on this site- I had views similar to yours, but was persuaded that I had been wrong.
Clive Best also addressed the issue here:

“Conclusion: You need greenhouse gasses to generate a lapse rate. You need a lapse rate for greenhouse effect to work because radiation to space from higher altitudes reduces net upwelling IR. Gravity sets the scale of the lapse rate. (thanks tallbloke)”

December 30, 2016 5:19 pm

There arre many temperature graphs on WUWT, “adjusted,” “unajusted,” in comparison with ever-failing models, etc. But I wonder if even the “raw” temperature data is falsified at the source in fevor of the global warmist cause. I wonder if any of these graphs should be taken at their face value.
We live near Pagosa Springs in South Colorado for more than 25 years, and during all these years I observe a curious phenomenon. The closest meteorological station here is located approximately at the same altitude as our house (6500 feet), about 5 miles away, at Chimney Rock. The temperature data from this station is used by weather websites, such as AccuWeather.
Almost every day, the temperature data, as published on these sites, shows substantially higher minimum temperature than the actual temperature measured by our thermometers (one electronic, the other traditional) positioned outside. For example, weather website would tell us that the minimum temperature now (in real time) is -10 or -11 degrees Celcius, whereas the factual temperature outside would be -14 or even -18 degrees Celcius.
It seems that the AGW proponents have enthusiastic local “helpers” who distort the data to feed the doomsayers’ frenzy. I understand that, in the mountains, temperature in one valley could be different from the temperature in the neighboring valley — however, this difference is of such a constant, one-sided (pro-warmist) character that one begins to speculate: What’s up with that?

Reply to  Alexander Feht
December 31, 2016 1:11 am

I had a quick look at Colorado Springs, 38.81 latitude and -104,71 longitude, at height: 1881 meters,
waether station 724660
Tmax went up by ca. 0.02K/annum since 1943
Tmean went up by 0.01K/annum since 1943
Tmin went down by -0.01K/annum since 1943
Hence, in total minimum Temperatures dropped by ca. 0.7K since the 40s
hence there is no AGW [i.e. globally, according to my results, there has been no increase in minimum temperatures]
But is it [the drop] worse than you thought?

Reply to  henryp
December 31, 2016 7:27 am

Colorado Springs is 5 hours of drive from us, on the other side of the Continental Divide.
Is the cooling worse than they are trying to portray it? It may very well be.

Reply to  Alexander Feht
December 31, 2016 8:08 am

remember the -0.7K for Tmin is the average, over the past 70 years or so,
depending on where we are in a specific solar cycle
11/22/87/210 year
it could be quite a bit more or less, for a given year,
enjoy a Happy New Year !!!!
(it is 6 hours away from us here)

Reply to  Alexander Feht
December 31, 2016 2:05 pm

Other observers report the same, consistent discrepancies. My guess is that NOAA thermometer readers are indeed putting their thumbs on the scales in reporting warmer than actual temperatures.

Reply to  Alexander Feht
December 31, 2016 3:09 pm

Alexander Feht on December 30, 2016 at 5:19 pm
Almost every day, the temperature data, as published on these sites, shows substantially higher minimum temperature than the actual temperature measured by our thermometers (one electronic, the other traditional) positioned outside.
Every time I see such an “argument” I wonder about how few experienced some skeptic people can be.
I live in Germany near Berlin, and of course my two home thermometers show every day a temperature somewhat lower than that measured by the nearest weather stations.
Simply because whilst all station thermometers are protected against wind’s cooling influence, ours aren’t. Are yours? I guess no 🙂

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Bindidon
January 1, 2017 7:11 am

Simply because whilst all station thermometers are protected against wind’s cooling influence, ours aren’t. Are yours? I guess no 🙂

Seriously? You think the wind has an effect on the temperature of an object? It will affect how quickly an object will equilabrate with the air mass around it but will have no effect on the final temperature. “Wind chill” is for objects and creatures that generate internal heat.

Reply to  Bindidon
January 2, 2017 12:24 pm

D. J. Hawkins on January 1, 2017 at 7:11 am
… but will have no effect on the final temperature.
It seems by simple deduction that you are right. Found in Wikipedia:
Except for those instruments requiring direct exposure to the elements (anemometer, rain gauge), the instruments should be sheltered in a vented box, usually a Stevenson screen, to keep direct sunlight off the thermometer and wind off the hygrometer.
Thanks for the hint.

Reply to  Alexander Feht
December 31, 2016 3:33 pm

Alexander Feht on December 30, 2016 at 5:19 pm
And to show how far from reality your suppositions are, here is a graph with different plots of CONtiguous US temperatures for the satellite era (GHCN unadjusted, UAH6.0):
– GHCN rural: small population, low nightlight
– GHCN urban: any population level, high nightlight
– GHCN nonrural: rest
– UAH6.0 USA48: land dominated grid cells over CONUS
1. The difference between GHCN unadjusted and GHCN adjusted you hardly could see here.
2. GISS land-only shows lower temperatures than any GHCN record.
3. The 24 month running means all show more similarity than difference.
4. The UHI “problem” is a joke.
If it wasn’t, the difference between GHCN “pure rural” and “urban” would be by far greater.

Reply to  Bindidon
December 31, 2016 5:50 pm

Every time I see such a “graph” I wonder about how some warmists are ready to believe anything that fits their quasi-religious agenda.
You did not understand (or you pretend not to understand) the point of my “suppositions.” If the source data is falsified, what are all these temperature graphs worth? Notning. That’s the point.
All those “GHCN unadjusted” and “GHCN adjusted” and endless blah-blah about these graphs and failed models would make sense only if the source data is real and honest. Where is the proof that this data is more real than anything else climatology hoaxers feed us? Local meteorologists may very well be as corrupt and as brainwashed as British and German professors living off the green hysteria. They’ve been lying to us for so long and so much that now they are guilty until proven innocent.
And yes, at least one of my thermometers (electronic sensor) is protected from the wind.

Reply to  Bindidon
January 1, 2017 3:28 am

Alexander Feht on December 31, 2016 at 5:50 pm
All those “GHCN unadjusted” and “GHCN adjusted” and endless blah-blah about these graphs and failed models would make sense only if the source data is real and honest.
A look on the blue UAH plot above should explain you that if you can’t trust in any surface data, you shouldn’t trust in even any satellite data: both are simply too similar.
But guessies love to doubt, as it is far easier to guess and to pretend things than to analyze and compare data originating from different sources.
Some of them are even stupid enough to pretend that GHCN data has become trustworthy since satellite measurements exist.
Bonne continuation, Mr Feht.

December 30, 2016 9:09 pm

“Do the math: climate policies cannot change century-end temperature more than 0.5ºC”
So we obviously need much more stringent climate policies. We have to remove all CO2, all methane, and all water vapour from the atmosphere. Otherwise, we’re doomed.

richard verney
December 30, 2016 10:15 pm

The question raised by this article is how do we judge the success of climate policies?
When considering such an article, one has to assess matters as if the founding premise is correct. In other words one has, for the purpose of review, to accept that CO2 emissions lead to warming. The question then is are any of the policies effective at reducing CO2 emissions. If they are not, then they are a fail at their primary objective level.
We know from the experience of Germany that the roll out of renewables does not lead to the reduction in CO2 emissions. Germany has gone hell for leather on wind and solar but has not reduced its CO2 emissions these past 15 years. The policy, at least in cloudy mid to high Northern latitudes is therefore a fail.
We know the reason why this policy has failed. It is because presently there is no effective storage of energy produced by wind and/or solar, and because both of these forms of energy production are intermittent and non despatchable. They require 100% back up from CO2 producing fossil fuel generation. The problem is that this generation is not used in its most efficient running scenario. It is either continuously spinning but without energy being drawn off, or it is used in ramp up/ramp down mode which is very inefficient. Thus whilst renewable energy produces on average over the year about 25% nameplate capacity, the backup required produces 1005 of the emissions that it would emit even if there was no infill by wind/solar.
We know from the experience of the US that the policy of switching from coal to gas does reduce CO2 emissions. Despite the US not ratifying Kyoto out of all the major western developed countries, it has reduced its emissions the most. Thus the policy of switching to gas is a success.
We know the reason why it is successful, ie., the calorific value of gas compared to coal. When getting energy from gas, energy is obtained not simply by burning carbon, but also by burning hydrogen. Gas is decarbonisation; it is a more efficient form of energy and produces less CO2 per unit of kWh,
We know that cap and trade/carbon pricing does not result in the reduction of CO2 emissions. It merely relocates where those emissions take place. Therefore this policy is a fail.
We know the reason why Unless consumption is cut, and whilst demand remains the same, all one is doing is offshoring energy intensive industries from the West to India or to the Far East where precisely the same amount of CIO2 emissions are emitted. Globally there is no change. In fact there might even be a slight increase with the CO2 emitted in shipping raw materials to the site of production, and shipping finished products to the place of need. Certainly less desirable pollution is increased by the cap and trade/carbon pricing policies.
We know that burning biomass does not result in the reduction of CO2. We know the reason why. It has a lower calorific efficiency than coal and therefore produces per kWh of energy produced more CO2 emissions than burning coal, and far more than burning gas. This policy is a completely disingenuous as far as using virgin forest as the source of biomass material. Even if one were to replant and use sustainable forest management, it would take at least 40 years before there is even an arguable case for carbon neutral biomass material. This policy is a fail, at least in the short term, ie., within the next 40 to 50 years it will not reduce any CO2 emissions and will only increase CO2 emissions.
This article does not tell us anything new. We already know that as long as consumption in the West continues the only way to reduce CO2 is to go nuclear. In the short term a switch from coal to gas is partial and effective decarbonisation.
Whilst this article does not tell the readers of this site anything new, it is something that politicians should review since it shows their policies to be a fail. The policies so far enacted do not reduce CO2 emissions on a global basis. All they are doing is putting up the price of energy to the disadvantage of all. Hopefully, Trump will see through all of this. He is a businessman and should readily appreciate that the policies do not achieve their primary objective of reducing CO2, and merely put up the price of energy and lead to job losses and reduction in tax revenues and extended welfare payments. Lets get the US working again, and make America great.

Reply to  richard verney
December 31, 2016 1:14 am


Reply to  richard verney
December 31, 2016 5:17 am

Yes, a great Post. Renewable energies have not led to a reduction in CO2 emissions in Germany, nor has the energy starvation been declining. Rather, the opposite is the case. In our cold, cloudy Germany, renewable energies are perfectly suited to the weather. This is not good. At the same time, since the industry and the population need energy around the clock and every weather, backup power plants are necessary, which mostly have to run permanently because of the start-up time. Thus, both types of energy generation use senseless energy, often produce meaningless energy and this energy must be given away in good times for the renewable even abroad. The development of a good storage technology for renewable energy is approximately on the level of the steam engines in the 18th century, compared to the present-day fast cars. It is a dead end. It would be much better to optimize the existing use of fossil fuels, to use the new generations of nuclear fission as a transitional technology and, moreover, to concentrate on the research of nuclear fusion as a continuous source of energy. I do not think we have more chances. If you do not use it is your own fault.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  richard verney
December 31, 2016 5:18 am

Very nice, but those policies are a fail for a much simpler reason: we don’t need to reduce CO₂ emissions.

Reply to  Rainer Bensch
December 31, 2016 5:31 am

Rainer, these are other questions, I was concerned only with meaningless energy production and missing effect. I personally do not think CO2 is completely meaningless for our climate, but natural climatic factors and thermostats are of equal importance. Last but not least, our energy source, the sun, is probably the most important factor. However, keeping this in a post would not match the complexity of the matter.

December 31, 2016 6:27 am

Many here are not going to like the basic premise it starts with, but it has to, to bring out an important point: the inanity of governmental climate policy.
The article makes clear that even assuming all claims of AGW true, climate policies cannot have significant effect. Basically it is the equivalent of telling a cancer patient if they spend the next year in a hospital undergoing multiple phases of surgery, chemo, and radiation therapy they can perhaps extend their life by 10 days.
Policy makers should know this but don’t care; AGW is just a device for promoting a political agenda. What is amusing is if the threat to the planet was as dire as alarmist claims, we would need actions much more extreme than providing subsidies for solar panels. Climate science/policy: the manure is so deep it boggles the mind.

December 31, 2016 2:39 pm

This won’t persuade them to abandon their efforts — it’s just more proof that they need to accelerate the decarbonization timetable. If that means killing a lot of people and destroying civilization as we know it, that’s the price we have to pay.

Alberto Zaragoza Comendador
January 3, 2017 1:53 pm

Some food for thought. In this article I assumed GDP would grow 2.7% indefinitely, thus emissions would grow 1.6% (if we do nothing) or 0.6% (if we implemented decarbonization). The 2.7% growth seen is roughly 1% population growth and 1.7% per capita GDP growth. But constant GDP growth is unrealistic; it’s been declining for a very long time.
I run the numbers again assuming, instead, constant per capita growth; population would grow each year 0.014% more slowly, resulting in zero population growth near the end of this century (and peak emissions in the 2070s). Again I assumed two scenarios: do nothing (emissions grow 1% more slowly than GDP) and decarbonization (2% more slowly). I also increased the airborne fraction 48%, from 45% in this article.
The ‘do nothing’ scenario results in 626 ppm, while the decarbonization one ends up in 550ppm. The 14% difference is equivalent to 18.9% of a doubling, which in turn means 0.25ºC of additional warming. So my estimate in this article was in fact too high!
Those 626ppm, by the way, are 123% more than the ‘preindustrial’ 280 ppm. Again due to CO2’s logarithmic effect, that’s only 115.6% of a doubling, i.e. 4.29w/m2 (taking 3.71w/m2 as the forcing resulting from a doubling in CO2 concentration).
One also has to account for non-CO2 GHGs, which account for over 1w/m2 currently and will probably increase by another 0.5w/m2 by the end of the century. Still you get the point: even if we do absolutely nothing, if we just let the population, growth and decarbonization trends that have persisted several decades continue, then the warming impact will correspond roughly to RCP6.0. Any emission ‘cut’ can only be a cut with respect to that baseline.

January 11, 2017 9:02 am

Sorry but your analysis goes wrong in the first bolded line. Climate policies directly affect the cost of energy. The cost of energy is a direct (though inverse) driver of the GDP growth rate. You tacitly acknowledge that in the footnote but by the same token, you give it far too little weight.
Yes, there are some who see climate change as an intentional policy to cause a recession. Some see that as a good in itself – the starry-eyed, back-to-nature anti-capitalists. Others see a recession as a regrettable but necessary consequence – Obama’s “necessarily skyrocket” comment. In my opinion, however, the majority are simply ignorant of the economic consequences of their preferred climate policies. For them, it will still drive a recession but it won’t be “planned”.

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