Time to Cool It: The U.N.’s Moribund High-End Global Warming Emissions Scenario

The amount of future warming is predicated on the amount of emitted greenhouse gases and the sensitivity of earth’s surface temperature to changes in their concentrations. Here we take a look at the emissions component.


The U.N. currently entertains four emissions scenarios, all expressed as the change in downwelling radiation (in watts/meter-sq, nominal year 2100) towards the surface that results from an increase in the atmospheric concentration of certain greenhouse gases. They are called “representative concentration pathways,” or RCPs.

As can be seen in Figure 1, there are four, given as 2.6, 4.5, 6(.0) and 8.5. The ranges of associated warming for over 1000 total scenarios are given on the right axis.

Figure 1.  Approximately 1000 scenario runs for four RCPs. From Fuss et al., 2014.

Figure 1. Approximately 1000 scenario runs for four RCPs. From Fuss et al., 2014.

It’s not surprising that those making the case for climate action most frequently reference the highest (RCP8.5), embedding it in most climate scenarios, assessments, and international agreements (the Paris Agreement being a prime example). Here is a summary of Google Scholar citations for the different RCPs, published on February 9 by Eric Roston in Bloomberg:

Figure 2. Although increasingly untenable, RCP8.5 draws the most attention.

Figure 2. Although increasingly untenable, RCP8.5 draws the most attention.

RCP8.5 is obsolete. It was obsolete when it was first published in the journal Climate Change by Riahi et al. in 2011. By then the shale gas revolution was underway, as can be seen from the plot below of shale gas production. By 2011, abundant shale gas had begun a wholesale displacement of coal for electrical generation, increasing natural gas’s portion of our energy portfolio and decreasing that of coal.

Figure 3. U.S. shale gas production, 2007-2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Figure 3. U.S. shale gas production, 2007–2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The Riahi et al. RCP 8.5 continues to be the favorite for analysts. It completely dominates the draft of the upcoming fourth “National Assessment” of climate change, created by our U.S. Global Change Research Program. Here is the fanciful “wedge chart” for various energy sources in RCP8.5:

Figure 4. Energy contributions (in Joules X 1018, or EJoules) in RCP 8.5.

Figure 4. Energy contributions (in Joules X 1018, or EJoules) in RCP 8.5.

There are at least two notable errors in RCP8.5, which both serve to exaggerate its radiative forcing. The first is an incorrectly modest growth in natural gas use, and the second is the massive growth in coal combustion. According to the International Energy Agency (2017):

The global natural gas market is undergoing a major transformation driven by new supplies coming from the United States to meet growing demand in developing countries and industry surpasses the power sector as the largest source of gas demand growth…[emphasis added]

The evolution of the role of natural gas in the global energy mix has far-reaching consequences on energy trade, air quality and carbon emissions…

Global gas demand is expected to grow by 1.6% a year…China will account for 40% of this growth.

British Petroleum (BP) recently estimated the global fuel mix through 2040 in its 2018 Energy Outlook. Under their “Evolving Transition” assumption, natural gas usage passes coal worldwide around 2030, and oil use levels off at the same time. A comparison to RCP 8.5 (above) shows how wrong it is, even in the near future.

Figure 5. British Petroleum’s fuel outlook from its most recent (2018) Energy Outlook. Note the color scheme is somewhat different than in Figure 4, with natural gas now red, instead of blue.

Figure 5. British Petroleum’s fuel outlook from its most recent (2018) Energy Outlook. Note the color scheme is somewhat different than in Figure 4, with natural gas now red, instead of blue.

The substitution of shale gas for coal continues to drive down the “carbon (dioxide) intensity” of developing and developed economies. This is the amount of carbon (dioxide) emitted per unit of GDP, usually normalized to 2010 dollars adjusted for their purchasing power in a given economy. In the United States, in the quarter-century beginning in 1990, the drop was a remarkable: from 0.9kg of carbon dioxide/dollar to 0.35, or over 60%.

The imminent dethroning of King Coal is obvious in the BP data, which leads to another problem: Justin Ritchie and Hadi Dowlatabadi from University of British Columbia recently found there simply isn’t enough coal to support RCP8.5. Nor were they conservatively looking at so-called “recoverable” reserves; instead, they toted up all geologically identified coal around the planet.

They then adjusted RCP8.5 for the twin errors of increasing carbon (dioxide) intensity by a huge growth in coal use over natural gas (recall that IEA indicates large scale industrial as well as electrical switchover), and the fact that there isn’t enough coal, and modified RCP8.5 to look like this:

By comparing the contribution of oil, coal, and natural gas (the greenhouse gas sources) between RCP8.5 and what is likely to happen, we can estimate the total downwelling radiation change: it drops from 8.5 watts to roughly 5.1. (Recognizing there is a lot of fine print—this is certainly a ball-park number.)

It is the nature of climate models to scale global warming with percentage changes in emissions; i.e. a quadrupling of emissions has almost exactly the effect of doubling prospective warming over that forecast from an initial doubling of the concentration. Reducing emissions by 40%, which is the difference between Rihai’s RCP8.5 and Ritchie’s modification, similarly reduces total warming.

There’s the further problem of model overprediction of warming that we recently documented in our public comments on the upcoming Fourth National Assessment of Climate Change. Generally speaking, we find the data-based sensitivity of temperature to be about 56% of the average of the 105 climate models in the UN’s most (2013) science summary.

Multiplying everything through, we take the mean 20th and 21st century RCP8.5 warming of 4.3⁰C, adjust by 60% to get the difference with the modified RCP, and then adjust for the 56% sensitivity and we find a 21st century warming a teense under 1.5⁰C—very, very close to the sensitivity just calculated by University of Alabama-Huntsville’s Roy Spencer.


British Petroleum 2018 Energy Outlook at https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/en/corporate/pdf/energy-economics/energy-outlook/bp-energy-outlook-2018.pdf

Fuss, S., et al, 2014.  Betting on Negative Emissions.  Nature Climate Change 4, 850-853

IEA, 2017. IEA Sees Global Gas Demand Rising to 2022 as US Drives Market Transformation. https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2017/july/iea-sees-global-gas-demand-rising-to-2022-as-us-drives-markettransformation.html

Riahi, K., Rao, S., Krey, V. et al. Climatic Change (2011) 109: 33. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-011-0149-y

Ritchie J and Dowlatabadi H 2017.  The 1000 GtC coal question: are cases of vastly expanded future coal combustion still plausible? Energy Econ. 65 16–31.

Roston, E., 2017, at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-24/misleading-coal-estimates-may-have-skewed-climate-projections

Ryan Maue of Cato’s Center for the Study of Science provided important background material for this post.

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March 3, 2018 3:22 am

There is no mention of the logerithmic properties of co2. If as the amount in the atmosphere increases, then the temppory storage & re-radiation of heat energy should decrease

Thomas Homer
Reply to  m.j.elliott.
March 3, 2018 3:52 am

If the ‘temporary storage and re-radiation of heat energy’ property of CO2 is logarithmic, if we were to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, this property per CO2 molecule increases. Does it increase all the way to the last two molecules with the second to last CO2 molecule manifesting this property in maximum. A single CO2 molecule? More likely there is some lower bound of CO2 concentration for this property to manifest itself. Can you describe why this property wouldn’t manifest itself below that lower bound?

Steve Case
Reply to  Thomas Homer
March 3, 2018 4:37 am

       Thomas Homer … at 3:52 am
       Does it increase all the way to the last two molecules with the second
       to last CO2 molecule manifesting this property in maximum

Bingo! Certainly there has to be a lower limit to the “Climate Sensitivity” of a greenhouse gas which says the temperature goes up “X” degrees per doubling in concentration. Methane a favorite whipping boy of mine is in the air at something less than 2000 ppb (parts per billion). Does methane have a climate sensitivity value? About the only thing you will find on the internet is the silly Global Warming Potential. Did I digress? Sue me.
Yes, a lower limit should exist. My SWAG is that when the path length to extinction is greater than the thickness of the atmosphere or some derivative of it, all the usual calculations don’t apply.

Reply to  Thomas Homer
March 3, 2018 8:42 am

The ability of individual molecules to absorb IR energy increases, but at the same time the number of molecules decrease.

Reply to  Thomas Homer
March 3, 2018 8:43 am

Let me rephrase this. Each individual molecule always has the same ability to absorb an IR photon that strikes it. What happens is that when there are lots of CO2 molecules, individual molecules get harder to hit as the available photons are absorbed by other molecules first.
You could think of them as shading each other.

Reply to  Thomas Homer
March 3, 2018 10:39 am

According to Modtran, the diminishing effect is neither base 10 nor “natural” logarithmic.comment image
This is Modtran tropical full bore varying only CO2 from zero to 800ppm. In Modtran the response is stepped, with increasingly larger increments between radiative steps as concentration increases.

Reply to  Thomas Homer
March 4, 2018 8:41 am

Thomas Homer March 3, 2018 at 3:52 am
More likely there is some lower bound of CO2 concentration for this property to manifest itself. Can you describe why this property wouldn’t manifest itself below that lower bound?

The logarithmic dependence does indeed have a lower bound. At low concentration where none of the band is saturated you get a linear response, once you get to a concentration where the center of the band becomes saturated the logarithmic region is entered, at still higher concentrations the dependence becomes square root. Astronomers refer to this as the ‘Curve of Growth’.

Reply to  m.j.elliott.
March 3, 2018 5:18 am

The logarithmic property of CO2 induced warming is included in the term climate sensitivity. It is expressed in degrees per doubling of CO2. Example: If the present concentration of CO2 is 400 ppm and it increases to 800 ppm then the temperature will increase by 1.54 degrees (the climate sensitivity calculated by Roy Spencer). If the CO2 concentration doubled again to 1600 ppm, the temperature would go up by another 1.54 deg., for a total of 3.08 degrees. As with all such things, the relationship exists within certain bounds. If there were only one molecule of CO2 in the atmosphere, adding another one wouldn’t cause a temperature increase. Similarly, if the atmosphere were half CO2, then the bulk properties of CO2 would predominate.
Dr. Spencer’s estimate isn’t at all radical. Over time, climate sensitivity estimates have trended downward. At this point in time his estimate appears to be pretty mainstream.

Reply to  commieBob
March 3, 2018 6:02 am

Good morning Bob,
A few nits – no major disagreements on the big picture – that there is no real global warming (aka climate change) crisis.
The hypothesis of “catastrophic manmade global warming” is already disproved by actual earth-scale data since ~1940, where atmospheric CO2 has increased while global temperature has gone down, up and sideways.
The upper-bound estimate of Transient Climate Sensitivity of ~1C/(2xCO2) by Christy and McNider (2017) is highly credible for the satellite era from ~1979 to mid-2017. This upper bound was calculated assuming (conservatively, for the sake of simplicity and clarity) that ALL the observed warming in the satellite era was due to increasing atmospheric CO2. This maximum climate sensitivity is so low that there is NO credible global warming crisis.
Furthermore, this maximum sensitivity of ~1C/(2xCO2) is probably about 5x to 10x too high, because we know that natural warming pre-1940 (before the rapid acceleration of fossil fuel combustion) was the same magnitude as the so-called “man-made global warming” from ~1977 to ~1997. Therefore NOT ALL the warming in the satellite era is due to increasing atmospheric CO2, and probably most or all of the observed warming was due to natural causes, just like it was pre-1940.
Within the bounds of accuracy, I suggest that the true sensitivity of Earth’s temperature to increasing atmospheric CO2 is near-zero.
The hypothesis of “catastrophic man-made climate change” is so vague it is unscientific – it is the hypo that increasing atmospheric CO2 causes everything – warmer, colder, wetter, drier, windier, etc., etc. It falsely alleges that CO2 is the “miracle molecule” that can cause everything that frightens the chronically fearful. In summary, it is utter drivel.
Regards, Allan

Reply to  m.j.elliott.
March 3, 2018 5:45 am

For all the main “greenhouses gases”, the IPCC have calculated climate sensitivity values for an increase (I guess dT/mol) according to current levels according to the ipcc. There is a table (from memory the dielectrics including SF6 is highest at 22,000+ times CO2 )

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  m.j.elliott.
March 3, 2018 9:34 am

There isnt even mention of the exact formula by which he calculates sensitivity. No one in the history of mankind has been able to demonstrate any formula that makes sense except in the fanciful world of computer models. Theer are no real world test experiments to arrive at sensitivity. There is no science in place for sensitivity. THERE IS NO SCIENCE BEHIND SENSITIVITY. All AGW bull[snip].

Thomas Homer
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
March 3, 2018 9:44 am

“THERE IS NO SCIENCE BEHIND SENSITIVITY” – Alan Tomalty, you’re absolutely correct! Anyone who believes there is some science behind sensitivity s someone who has never attempted to apply that science.
We can’t even set up an equation to answer very simple questions.

Reply to  m.j.elliott.
March 3, 2018 6:22 pm

The IPCC denies the existence of Beers’ Law but, instead, they pretend that CO2 enthralls water vapor and thus amplifies the effects and ignoring completely the water cycle and the convection that carries about 85% of the planet’s energy budget away from the surface. The water cycle acts as a huge global heat engine that ramps up with warming and serves to bring temperature back down. This is why our climate is so surprisingly stable, despite those who want to pretend that a couple of degrees means the end of life on Earth. Jeez.

March 3, 2018 4:10 am

Very good analysis: This information is another nail in the coffin of the CAGW scare.

March 3, 2018 4:19 am

But the reality is that there is no real evidence that CO2 affects climate and plenty of scientific rational to support the idea that the climate sensivity of CO2 is zero. In terms of the radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with LWIR absorption bands, the effect is dominated by H2O which molecule per molecule is a stronger IR absorber than CO2. Reducing Mankind’s contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere will do very to reduce the total amount of greenhouse gases that are added to the atmosphere eacy year.
The AGW conjecture depends upon the existance of a radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with LWIR absorption bands. Since the radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed anywhere in the solar system including the Earth, the radaint greenhouse effect is science fiction, Hence the AGW conjecture in science fiction. The idea that Mankind can lower global temperatures by reducing the amount of CO2 they exhause into the air, is science fiction.

R. Shearer
Reply to  willhaas
March 3, 2018 7:32 am

Your succinct analysis is very good and helps explain why there is a fallback position for the alarmists to demonize CO2 through the ocean acidification meme.
In any case, renewables are incapable of significantly displacing fossil fuel usage even if there were a need to do so. This is just more fiction.

Reply to  willhaas
March 3, 2018 8:32 am

Well, it is all derived from the insinuated GHE, and the climate modulating role of CO2 is a logical consequence of it. I would not doubt the effect of CO2, as long as I believed in the GHE. I think this is a very common mistake made by “scepticists”. They embrace the GHE and then deny AGW, which is non sense.
However the GH-theory is very wrong. It is all about wrongly accounting the radial balance of clouds, next to falsely insisting on a surface emissivity of 1, which happens to be ~0.92 for real.
I have summarized the one big main issue that there is here:
All the rest of the discussion is, I am afraid, useless.
Just to name one specific point: clouds are told to have a negative radiative forcing, that is they would be cooling Earth. This negative forcing should be stronger with low clouds, and it would be the strongest in tropical regions. So what I have done is to look at the data and check the relation between low clouds and temperature in the tropics. And that is what it looks like..
You should keep in mind, that this still includes the chilling effects of rain and thunderstorms, which heavily associated with cloudiness.
Obviously clouds are HEATING Earth, not the other way round.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Leitwolf
March 3, 2018 10:53 am

Which is it? The last sentence says clouds are heating the earth and your 2nd sentence in your link says clouds lower the temperature. If they do both you have to specify exactly the mechanisms that have the opposite effect especially since in your 9th sentence of your link you say that there is no fundamental difference between reflecting radiation coming from the sun or from earth. So if it only depends on whether the radiation hits the clouds from the bottom or the top then you will have to prove which is predominant.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 3, 2018 12:02 pm

I was only quoting the consensus position, according to which clouds had a negative forcing. And I am naming real data, which I was so bold to analyze on my own, which indicate the opposite.
Btw.. there was a valueable ressource of these raw data, which has just been pulled from the NOAA site a couple of days ago.
“QCLCD ASCII Files are no longer available. Please use the Global-Hourly File Access link above”

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 3, 2018 1:19 pm

A real greenhouse effect does not stay warm because of the action of trace gases with LWIR absorption bands. A real greenhouse stays warm because the glass limits cooling by convection. It is a convective greenhouse effect that keeps a greenhouse warm. There is no radaint greenhouse effect that keeps a greenhouse warm.
So too on Earth. The Earth’s convective greenhouse effect provided for by gravity and the heat capacity of the atmosphere keeps the surface of the Earth on average 33 degrees C warmer than it would be otherwise. 33 degrees C is the amount derived from first principals and 33 degrees C is the amount that has been measured. Additional warming due to a radiant greenhouse effect caused by the LWIR absorption properties of some trace gases in the Earth’s atosphere has not been observed. In fact, a radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed on any planet in the solar system with a thick atmosphere. The GHE that you speak of is science fiction.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 3, 2018 1:21 pm

Scientists have never registered and voted on the AGW conjecture. There is no consensus.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 3, 2018 2:49 pm

You are thinking way to complicated. Essentially clouds give what they take. The NOAA says clouds take 110W/m2 (23% + 9 % of 342W/m2)..comment image
The only question is the their net forcing. Is it negative, as the consensus (!!!!) position suggests, or positive, as the data show? Anyway clouds are responsible for 110W/m2 of a total GHE of 155W/m2, plus/minus their net forcing. Another ~30W/m2 of the GHE of course get consumed by the fact that emissivity != 1, but rather 0.92.
Either way the GHE hardly exists.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 3, 2018 3:23 pm

If gravity is the only thing that matters, then humid areas should have the exact same temperature profile that dry areas have.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 9:25 am

@ Leitwolf
And there comes the homogenous, non-rotating, flat Earth drawing again. You can do nothing with this BS.
Masking the obvious, that is,
1) clouds have albedo and sunlight absorbtion only by day. And then they obviously cools the warm day
2) clouds and moist air are fairly well correlated, so the data cannot easily distinguish the effects of moist air and clouds. And they obviously warm the cool nights.
3) while sun heat is required to turn liquid water into moisture in air, cold is required to turn this moisture into clouds, and this process realese heat. In this sense, clouds obviously warm the atmosphere, again.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 9:31 am

lapse rate is gravity controled, but moisture dependent. Dry and humid condition doesn’t allow for same temperature profile, even in the same area

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 12:25 pm

1) Argument missing
2) That may be something I could have mentioned, as I researched this question before. Night time cooling is strongly correlated to clouds, with overcast skies dropping cooling rates by about 80-85% vs clear skies. However there is no correlation between night time cooling and humidity, which of course falsifies the claim vapor could serve as a GHG.
3) BS. The atmosphere can not heat itself. Also vapor and clouds are a part of the atmosphere.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 5:32 pm

1) Argument missing????
seriously, you need me to bar this T?
In day time, no clouds means full sun heat on Earth, while cloudy mean part of sun light is send back to space, or not reaching the ground. Cooling effect.
Doesn’t work at night, as there is no sunlight. no cooling effect.
You get it, now?
2) “Night time cooling is strongly correlated to clouds, with overcast skies dropping cooling rates by about 80-85% vs clear skies”.
Well, few would discuss the effect, I take your word for the number.
“However there is no correlation between night time cooling and humidity”
Combined with your just above claim, this means there is no correlation between humidity and clouds. uh? What about rain, then?
3) So latent heat of condensation is BS for you. interesting. I guess foehn wind, being some sort of atmosphere heating itself, doesn’t exist, either.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 5, 2018 6:33 am

It has been a while I ran this analysis. Fig 1 is the night time cooling relative to average cloudiness during night (guess it was taken from Parkersburg, WV)
With 1 representing clear skies, 5 all overcast, and so on. Note these are averaged throughout the night, and the lines represent ranges as indicated.
Doing the same based of relative humidity, things look a way different..
The only deviation we have are very high levels of humidity, which are again associated with rain fall and thus clouds. That is to be expected due to could shutting the “atmospheric window”. Apart from this, there is virtually no correlation between night time cooling and humidity at all.

Bruce Cobb
March 3, 2018 4:24 am

The biggest problem with the RCPs, of course, isn’t which “scenario” they choose, which is just a red herring. No, it’s that they assume facts not in evidence: that they know what climate’s sensitivity to CO2 actually is, and therefore what effect man’s “greenhouse emissions” are having on climate.

old construction worker
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
March 3, 2018 7:51 am

“climate’s sensitivity to CO2 actually is,” I’m still waiting for those heat trapping clouds to dominate the atmosphere.

Old England
March 3, 2018 4:54 am

1850 was at the tail end of the Little Ice Age with its worst final fling in the 1870s. Temperatures were extremely low and arguably around 1.5 – 2 deg C below “Normal” – whatever “Normal” might be considered to be.
Taking the starting point for “Normal”, as the IPCC did, as being the average temperature from1850 – 1900 meant that this carefully selected “Normal” would have to include those super-low temperatures of the LIA. And of course as earth’s temperature recovered to a more normal level from the LIA the temperature records of the 20th century could do nothing other than show Warming. Warming that the IPCC chose to attribute to mankind and CO2; an essential part of the narrative towards achieving an unelected global government and for de-industrialising the developed world. (Both admitted to by the UN)
Remove that selected bias and I suspect that there is absolutely no temperature increase that can be attributed to CO2.
The fact that the temperature record ‘gate-keepers’ have repeatedly reduced temperatures from the 1890s and the earlier part of the 20th century, both of which had some record highs that have yet to be exceeded, itself casts fatal doubt on what level of warming has actually occurred.
As was pointed out and shown the other day, NOAA have adjusted the record low temperatures of recent weeks by Raising them to the extent that they are not record-breaking. That avoids trying to explain how despite claims of global warming we are currently experiencing record cold across the Northern hemisphere and which has extended down into North Africa with heavy snowfalls in the Sahara and down into southern Morocco.
The model projections are simply garbage and no intelligent person should place any credence in any of their output – those who do seem to fully signed up proponents of an unelected global government and the de-industrialisation of the developed world.
Climate change has nothing to do with the environment as Christina Figueres and Edenhofer have both openly stated. No, it seems it is all about taking money and jobs from poor people in rich countries and giving them to rich people in poor countries whilst global business and the elite cream off the top.

Reply to  Old England
March 3, 2018 6:03 am

This entire hypothesis holds no water, so to speak. There is no downwelling when the sun is not present, to start with. Try to heat your stove with your flashlight. Try it with 100 flashlights. Those photons cannot compete with a solid in terms of radiation. Or try facing a thermometer at the sky at night, with another one under cover of a tarp but with open sides. No difference. None.
But most importantly, IF and that’s a big IF, any warming was to be attributed to any, and that is ANY, so called greenhouse gas, the earth’s IMMEDIATE response would be to increase its RATE of radiation, until such heating was radiated away. There are billions of surface molecules capable of radiating for every CO2 molecule in the atmosphere. The surface response to increased heat is at the 4th power…meaning it is virtually imperceptible. You can see this EVERY DAY when the sun comes around.
Folks are just going to have to learn that climate cycles up and down, and quit trying to take credit for it. An ice age is in the future, a full-on glacial – we just don’t know when. It is best to enjoy what we have, for it will most certainly change.

John V. Wright
Reply to  Old England
March 3, 2018 8:29 am

With you all the way Old England 👍🏻. And while we are looking back to CO2 levels in earlier times, let us not forget that CO2 level in the atmosphere during the Triassic Period – about 250 million years ago – were at least 1000ppm. Was there a tipping point and was the earth fried to a crisp? (Pauses to pinch arm and look out of the window across the frozen wastes of the Staffordshire countryside). Oh no, apparently not.

Old England
Reply to  John V. Wright
March 3, 2018 9:36 am

John, absolutely so. The claim that CO2 will lead to a ‘tipping point’, after which ‘runaway global warming’ will ‘fry the earth’, as claimed by the likes of Al Gore, has been proven to be completely false.
Real world Facts, from the real-time effect on earth of CO2 levels at 10,000 ppm – 20+ times higher than today demonstrated that didn’t cause any ‘global warming’ let alone ‘runaway’ global warming. And as it didn’t then, it can’t do it now.
Any so-called scientist who promotes a claim that we are close to a ‘tipping point’ for ‘runaway global warming’ is demonstrating scientific illiteracy or a profound and deliberate disregard for facts and in either case no longer deserves to be considered a ‘scientist’.

Reply to  Old England
March 6, 2018 10:12 pm

Especially “funny” when they don’t even claim significant human influence before 1950.

March 3, 2018 5:01 am

Mr Michaels
The estimate sees to be somewhat too conservative.
You take down the load of the RCP8.5 by changed energy mix and arrive at 5.1W , “RCP5.1”, then you use the estimated difference, at sea-level it appears, between RCP4.5, not the “RCP5.1” to predict the difference.
This appears to be conservative in two aspects; using sea level, and by using RCP4.5, not estimating an “RCP5.1”.
I addition to this, the logic may be taken to implicitly accept the RCP8.5 with it’s extreme and unlikely population increase, and excessive per capita energy consumption. RCP8.5 is after all intended to be an extreme scenario, even if it is being pushed in the press and otherwise as the normal scenario.

March 3, 2018 5:19 am

Thank you Pat,
Great article.
Check this out – it is IMPORTANT!
Best, Allan
Hi Anthony
I just read this article from GWPF – now it all makes sense. This stunning report by the House of Representatives is just “the tip of the iceberg”, imo.
Anti-pipeline, anti-fracking, anti-oilsands – it’s the new Cold War.
Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, wrote this article in 1994. It still rings true today. Read “The Rise of Eco-Extremism”.
Regards, Allan

March 3, 2018 5:29 am

The spurious correlation problem
And the uncertainty problem

Reply to  chaamjamal
March 3, 2018 11:21 am

Thanks, useful. Have these been published in a journal?

Reply to  chaamjamal
March 3, 2018 3:11 pm

The incertainty paper has great statistics but I did not see the final ECS weighted to account for 70% earth being sea…the tables just averaged land and sea. Furthermore NH has more land than SH. The gold nugget is anyone can pick whatever ECS that fits their narrative.

Tom Halla
March 3, 2018 6:02 am

But RCP 8.5 is so useful in generating disaster scenarios the green blob will not abandon it, no matter how unlikely to impossible.

March 3, 2018 6:18 am

From the UAH graph just put up a couple of WUWT postings ago, I eyeballed the trend from 2016 to now and it is about -3C per decade. I mean this can be CATASTROPHIC! Doesn’t anyone realize if this continues, we will be in the grips in another ice age in mere decades.
Where are the press reports on this? We need to get the word out now!!

March 3, 2018 6:44 am

The energy mix assumptions of RCP 8.5 are unrealistic if you consider the energy use trends that we see today. Natural gas use will accelerate, and coal use will decrease, so long as today’s price trends continue for the next 80 years. But lots can change in 80 years.
Of course, the relative price of coal and gas are not the only considerations. Today coal is out of favor for some obvious reasons, and gas is in favor. In the RCP scenarios, solar/wind/hydro are seen as growing very modestly. We shouldn’t be surprised, however, if rapid technological improvements cause these energy sources to expand much more rapidly. Same thing with nuclear.
I’ve always found the RCP scenarios to be a very understandable presentation of the conventional wisdom as perceived by the climate establishment. You have to be something of a lukewarmer to buy the assumptions embedded in the scenarios. But it behooves skeptics to understand them.

R. Shearer
Reply to  scraft1
March 3, 2018 8:15 am

Available data shows global coal consumption flattening or peaking, although at higher levels than usage from a decade ago. The skeptic in me says that there are incentives for cheating on reporting, so it remains to be seen whether this is true.
That said, there are no technological advances that prevent the fundamental problems of intermittency. These can be addressed of course but at greater costs and use of other resources. But in general the lowest cost energy source will win out.

March 3, 2018 7:52 am

PV/nR=T is one relationship which is ignored by most climatologists when they use Venus as an example of what can happen to Earth if co2 gets out of hand. I see the Venus scenario quoted all the time and it is never mentioned that P there is 90+ times what it is on Earth. More than enough to account for the temperature difference even if the atmosphere on Venus were 90% nitrogen or most any other gas rather than co2. A great propaganda item! And used frequently.

March 3, 2018 8:08 am

It seems to me they completely skipped the effects of CO2 sinks. Fig.1 has a very odd relation between emissions and final(?) CO2 concentrations. Assuming these figures refer to the year 2100, nothing of that can work out.
CO2 sinks do and will consume 2% p.a. of anthropogenic elevated CO2 concentrations. Also that means a half-way time of 35 years for anthropogenic CO2.
The difference between accumulated emissions and actual attained CO2 concentrations after allowing for CO2 sinks is the bigger, the lower emissions are estimated.
It is possible to reach 1000ppm by emitting >100Gt per year in the long run. Also there is an increasing likelihood, that CO2 sinks become weaker relative to elevated CO2 concentrations, and eventually consume less than 2% p.a..
However the error is huge with all other scenarios. RCP2.6 would only result in 340ppm by 2100, RCP4.5 in 460ppm. In there is very little margin of error on my calculation, as we already know how CO2 sinks are performing at these CO2 levels.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 3, 2018 11:50 am

In actual fact, our emissions are a drop in the bucket of global flows, and it is not possible to shift the equilibrium point of a passively balanced system proportionately by a greater amount than one’s proportionate input to the flows which establish the balance.
The data are quite clear: the rate of change of atmospheric CO2 concentration is proportional to appropriately baselined temperature anomaly:
Integrating the relationship produces an excellent match with absolute concentration:
Anthropogenic contributions are not needed to accurately project CO2 changes in concentration. All that is needed it the temperature record. This shows that anthropogenic contributions are at most a bit player in establishing concentration levels.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 3, 2018 12:15 pm

Sorry is see no point in that. CO2 levels are rising due to anthropogenic emissions, period. Otherwise you would need to explain where these emissions would be going alternatively..

Reply to  Bartemis
March 3, 2018 12:25 pm

Rob Bradley @ March 3, 2018 at 12:00 pm
” It’s a shame it does not help in showing causation.”
It does. It would be absurd to posit that temperature responds to the rate of change of CO2.
“Oh, and by the way, dCO2/dt removes the trend in the data.”
Doesn’t remove the trend in the rate of change. The yearly emissions also have a trend, but as the trend is already explained by the temperature relationship, they are not needed, and clearly have negligible impact.
“Also can’t wait for Englebeen to show up and destroy your arguments.”
Ferdinand is a dilettante who does not understand the requirements for continuity in the CO2 response. He pushes a narrative he has constructed, but it is basically an exercise in confirmation bias.
Leitwolf @ March 3, 2018 at 12:15 pm
“Otherwise you would need to explain where these emissions would be going alternatively..”
Same places the much larger natural emission flows go.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 3, 2018 1:05 pm

Sorry Rob, but you are wrong. The implications of the plot are clear.
The only reason people hold to the notion that we are driving CO2 levels is that it has been assumed for a very long time. It has no other compelling basis in fact.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 3, 2018 6:23 pm

Apparently, you don’t know what a derivative is.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 3, 2018 6:38 pm

By the end of next week, Rob will be claiming to have earned a Nobel Prize.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 12:10 am

”Please tell me where the difference of 11 gigatonnes go?”
Almost all of the 26 GT goes into the same sinks that absorb the much larger natural flows. Our emissions are a small fraction of natural emissions. Nature takes them in stride.
Try an experiment. Go to your lavatory sink and partially close the drain. Turn on the water and wait for the level in the basin to rise to some steady state level. Now, tweak the faucet to increase the flow by, say, 3%. How high with the water level rise?
Answer: 3%, because the outflow is proportional to the pressure above the drain, which is proportional to the height of the water column above the drain.
It’s the same deal here. We add maybe 3% to the inflow, the response is a rise of about 3%. It is a dynamic response, not some static accounting ledger. The rest of the rise is necessarily natural.
Now, knock off the bluster. Deal with this in a sober fashion, or go play with the other children somewhere else.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 12:22 am

”There is a reason why Salby can’t find a job.”
Wegener was ostracized, too. People are stupid, and scientists are not immune. They keep on making the same mistakes over, and over, and over, and science advances one funeral at a time.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 10:34 am

“Try an experiment. Go to your lavatory sink and partially close the drain. Turn on the water and wait for the level in the basin to rise to some steady state level. Now, tweak the faucet to increase the flow by, say, 3%. How high with the water level rise?
Answer: 3%, because the outflow is proportional to the pressure above the drain, which is proportional to the height of the water column above the drain.”
LOL. Wrong answer. outflow is NOT proportional to height of the water column above the drain. more like its square root, in a kept simple case (*)
AND you obviously didn’t the experiment you talk about.
So don’t be surprise if we cannot take your words very seriously.
Most people just give up understanding fluid mechanics. Maybe you should. If you don’t get this old, well established, usually linear, science, seems clear to me that chaotic climate is out of your reach.
The energy of a mass m of water is mgh at the surface, this energy will turn into kinetic energy of the same mass outflowing, which is 1/2mv², while the flow is area x speed. To increase the flow 3% you need a 3% speedier flow, with 9% more energy, 9% more falling height.
For more accurate calculations, leading to different results in different, less simple, conditions,
I recommend the very simple trick of turning the water on, and look at the formation of the hydraulic jump, depending on the flow and height

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 10:53 am

Meh, I’m not a plumber.
So, for a sink, the answer is a 3% increase in inflow will produce a 6% rise in height. And, there it stops. It doesn’t continue rising so that the height is some multiple of the total accumulated input.
Think on it. That is what is being claimed, that the human contribution to CO2 is roughly 1/2 of the sum total accumulated anthropogenic emissions throughout history. It’s ridiculous.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 10:58 am

Rob Bradley @ March 4, 2018 at 10:52 am
“Therefore the rise in atmospheric CO2 is from human emissions, not from non-human sources.”
Non sequitur. That is the very dumb pseudo-mass balance argument, beloved of shallow thinkers.
The flaw in the argument is that the sinks are dynamic, and respond to total input from all sources. Therefore, a portion of sink activity is induced by the anthropogenic input, and can properly be labeled as anthropogenic sinks. I discuss this flaw in a comment here.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 11:06 am

No, they can’t fix it. It’s not the math error that is the problem – I knew quite well what you were trying to say. The problem is your static reasoning. Obviously, you do not understand dynamic systems and the laws which govern their evolution.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 11:18 am

No, it is not moot. It is fundamental. And, you do not understand it. Read the link I posted and study it.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 11:24 am

“Meh, I’m not a plumber.”
Obviously. Neither are you Bernouilli, Navier, Stokes, or just familiar with basic fluid mechanics. And you think you can tackle climate?
“So, for a sink, the answer is a 3% increase in inflow will produce a 6% rise in height.”
NO. Can’t you JUST read? 9%, in a simple case. More, if something impede the flow and energy is lost. You need something to pump the fluid out to have less.
“And, there it stops. It doesn’t continue rising so that the height is some multiple of the total accumulated input.”
Actually YES, the height is some multiple of the total accumulated input. You just need to divide the height by the total accumulated input, and you will find some number. Nobody claims that this number will stay the same for different accumulated input…
The fact is, the CURRENT human contribution to atmospheric CO2 is roughly 1/2 of the sum total accumulated anthropogenic emissions throughout history (or, said otherwise, more or less half of emissions were eaten up by some sinks: you don’t say differently!). What’s ridiculous, is to claim this is some sort of constant. Nobody serious claim that. Careless people may be fooled
So you double-down on ridiculaes.
You better quit.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 11:27 am

paqyfelyc @ March 4, 2018 at 11:24 am
“You just need to divide the height by the total accumulated input, and you will find some number.”
That’s just dumb. The total accumulated input is increasing linearly with time. The water level is not increasing after its 6% rise.
You really need to cease with the hectoring bravado. You are making a fool of yourself.
Rob Bradley @ March 4, 2018 at 11:11 am
“Even with “dynamics” the simple fact is that the natural sinks are not absorbing the extra 26GT, they are only absorbing 11 GT.”
No, natural input flux is on the order of at least 30x this, so total input is perhaps 806 GT. Natural sinks are absorbing approximately 795 GT of this, leaving net 11 GT.
The sinks act proportionately, with a factor of 795/806. So, of that 11, about (1-795/806)*26 = 0.35 GT are anthropogenic, and 10.65 GT are natural.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 12:13 pm

Rob, so much for your claim that you never make typos.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 12:27 pm

paqyfelyc @ March 4, 2018 at 11:24 am
“NO. Can’t you JUST read? 9%, in a simple case.”
Incorrect. Let F be the input flow, and h be the height. We have F is proportional to sqrt(h)
F ~ sqrt(h)
dF/F = 0.5*dh/h
dF/F = 0.03 implies dh/h = 0.06.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 12:33 pm

Please get the numbers right, at least! We are emitting like 40-42Gt of CO2, atmospheric CO2 levels increase by about 2.5ppm or 20Gt a year, and Co2 sinks take away about 20-22Gt.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 12:44 pm

The actual numbers do not really matter, because the principles remain the same. The sinks react proportionately to all inputs, and the pseudo-mass balance argument is thereby a circular argument.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 12:46 pm

I leave it to readers to determine who is making a fool of himself in some hectoring bravado. Not only that, but you show yourself incapable of coping with your mistakes.
AFAIC your case is settled.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 12:57 pm

Well, paqyfelyc, you were wrong about the 9%, and you were wrong about the proportionality with total accumulation. So, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Reply to  Bartemis
March 4, 2018 1:00 pm

Leitwolf @ March 4, 2018 at 12:33 pm
“…and Co2 sinks take away about 20-22Gt.”
They take away much more than that. They proportionately take away both natural and anthro inputs.
That is really the nub of the problem. Those who espouse human attribution arbitrarily decouple the processing of natural and anthro inputs. The former is just assumed to exist in balance for no particular reason, and whatever dynamics are needed to be consistent with the anthropogenic attribution hypothesis are piled on top.
But, the two flows cannot be separated this way. The dynamics which establish any background natural equilibrium must also apply to the processing of anthropogenic inputs. It is not plausible for the anthro inputs to impact the output so far out of proportion to the natural inputs.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 11:35 am

You are very confused. Nature is emitting on the order of 30x or possibly more of what humans are releasing.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 11:42 am

Try this recipe, Rob:
1) Natural inputs are on the order of 30x anthro inputs
2) take the 26 GT anthro, and multiply by 31 to get total inputs
3) subtract 11 GT from that number to get total sink activity
4) divide number in step 3 by that in step 2 to get sink fraction
5) subtract number in step 4 from 1 to get residual fraction
6) multiply number in step 5 by 26 GT to get net anthro contribution to residual of about 0.35 GT

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 11:58 am

” Sinks absorb 11 GT per year of the 26, and 15 remain in the atmosphere.”
I switched your numbers, so the recipe should be:
1) Natural inputs are on the order of 30x anthro inputs
2) take the 26 GT anthro, and multiply by 31 to get total inputs
3) subtract 15 GT from that number to get total sink activity
4) divide number in step 3 by that in step 2 to get sink fraction
5) subtract number in step 4 from 1 to get residual fraction
6) multiply number in step 5 by 26 GT to get net anthro contribution to residual of about 0.48 GT
You must deal in total numbers like this, because otherwise you are treating natural and anthro inputs on an uneven playing field.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 12:04 pm

“Occam’s razor defeats you Bartemis…”
Actually, no. It is much more complex to consider the rise to be anthropogenic because it requires:
A) that natural and anthropogenic inputs are processed differently by nature, despite the fact that nature has no means of telling the two species apart
B) that there is complex high pass filtering of some sort being performed on the temperature dependent input in order for the trend in the response to be removed, and replaced by the trend in anthropogenic inputs.
The ability of being understood by anyone who can balance a checkbook is not a scientific precept. It is much easier to understand that the weather is ruled by gods from their Olympian perch than it is to understand fluid dynamics in an accelerated reference frame. But, we’ve pretty much ruled the former out by now.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 12:08 pm

Note: in the above recipe, I transposed your 15 GT and 11 GT. I put a revision in, but it got swallowed by the moderation queue, and who knows when or if it may appear. Basically, replace the 11 by 15, and the 0.35 by 0.48 to get the amended version.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 12:14 pm

Final note:
“Mass balance wins because it is simpler…”
The pseudo-mass balance argument is wrong because it is not a real mass balance argument. It assumes a static response in which sink activity is what it is for no apparent reason, and it stays constant without responding to the overall level.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 12:42 pm

“Humans add 26 GT, nature takes out 11 GT, and the 15 GT remaining explains the 2 ppm yearly increase.”
You highlight the problem with this interpretation in your followup comment:
“The sinks responded by absorbing 11 GT more than their response would be without human input.”
Then, they have to respond to the natural inputs the same way, and the atmosphere would quickly become overwhelmed with CO2.
“Your “high pass filter” is an effect that has no reasonable physical explanation. “
Exactly. It has no reasonable physical explanation. But, it is required to take out the temperature dependent trend, and replace it with the anthropogenic trend. Since, as you say, there is no reasonable physical explanation for such action, the hypothesis of anthropogenic attribution fails.
“Actually, it goes to the heart of Occam’s razor.”
Occam’s Razor holds that, given competing explanations, the simplest one that satisfies requirements is generally correct. The pseudo-mass balance argument does not satisfy requirements, because it does not consider the dynamic nature of the system.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 1:07 pm

“The sinks handled natural inputs adequately, and then responded to the addition of human input.”
You have thus arbitrarily decoupled the dynamics of natural and anthro inputs. That is not physically valid.
“You seem to forget that prior to the industrial revolution, the sinks and sources were pretty much in balance.”
Maybe they were, and maybe they weren’t. There could have been a regime change. More likely, however, is that the sole proxy measurement we use to tell us this, the ice cores, which cannot be validated in comparison with other measurements or end-to-end testing, are being improperly interpreted.
“Making up unreasonable requirements is not helping your case.”
The unreasonable requirements apply to your favored hypothesis, not mine. That was the point, you know.
The pseudo-mass balance argument is shallow thinking for muddled brains.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 2:39 pm

There really is no point in repeating myself. You don’t understand the argument, so what’s the point?
Occam’s Razor comes firmly down on the side that what you see here
is exactly what it appears to be.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 3:35 pm

(Sigh) One more time… My explanation does not require a high pass filtering operation. Yours does.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 4:10 pm

“It does not.”
Yes, it does. You can’t fit the anthropogenic emissions in unless you first filter the long term temperature contribution out.
“1) Humans emit 40 GT CO2 per year
2) Atmospheric CO2 is rising @ 20 GT per year (2.5 ppm)
3) 20 GT per year is being absorbed by sinks.”

That is not an theory of causation, it is merely descriptive. And, the third one is incomplete. Far more than 20 GT per year is being absorbed by the sinks. 20 GT is merely what is left over. And, it can’t all be anthropogenic because the anthro contribution must be in proportion to the overall flow.
The graph says what it says: CO2 concentration is proportional to integrated temperature anomaly. You can flail your hands however you like, but there is no way around it.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 5:08 pm

“There is no long term temperature contribution to human emissions.”
The plot says otherwise. Sorry, data beat your assertion.
” It perfectly describes the source of the rise of atmospheric CO2.”
Where? At best you have post hoc ergo propter hoc, which is not a compelling argument.
“There’s a big difference between the concentration of CO2, and the rate of change of CO2.”
No, there isn’t. The one is just the integral of the other. Modulo an integration constant, they are the identical information.
“Your graphic does not imply what the value of this constant is.”
Sure it does. It is the value needed to make the curves match.
You’d have an argument if the rate of change had no trend. Then, you could argue that the integration constant was arbitrary, and the anthropogenic attribution hypothesis would not be invalidated.
But, it does have a trend, and the trend matches when you match the scale factor for the variation. One scale factor, two different frequency ranges, both matched. The odds of that by happenstance are vanishingly small, and the only way you can get rid of it, to make room for anthro contributions, would be to high pass filter it away.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 5:10 pm

“Your precious “derivative” removes all of the trend information, so your graphic is lacking important information about the trend in the CO2 data.”
Well, duh. But, it doesn’t remove the trend in the rate of change. Yearly emissions also have a trend. There is little to no room for them.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 5:14 pm

“All our dCO2/dt shows is how much the CO2 data “wiggles” above and below the trend line.”
It also shows the CO2 level and integrated temperature level have the same curvature. That is the crucial and conclusive bit of information.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 5:17 pm

“You just blew any argument you have about causation.”
Nonsense. There’s just the one scale factor that matches both the variation and the trend in rate. That’s as parsimonious as you can get. There’s no trunk wiggling going on (see “Von Neumann’s Elephant” if you don’t get the reference).

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 5:29 pm

“There is no trend in the rate of change”
Yes, there is:
There has to be a scale factor. Otherwise, the units don’t even match. You are grasping at straws.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 5:52 pm

“Taking the mean of 12 samples is incorrect, you are applying a transformation to the data without a valid reason.”
A fatuous critique, but I foresaw you might make it, so you’ll notice I didn’t apply the filter to the trend calculation.
“Scaling factors are unit less.”
Oh, my, my, my… This is getting ridiculous.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 6:24 pm

Look, kid, you gotta’ smooth out the yearly variation. That means your average has got to stretch across an integer number of 12 monthly measurements. The temperature anomaly is an anomaly. It already has the 12 month variation stripped out. So, to compare apples to apples, you have to remove the yearly variation in the CO2 measurements, too.
Why are you trying so frantically to deny what your eyes clearly tell you? The CO2 rate of change is proportional to appropriately baselined temperature anomaly. It is true for both the short term and the long.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 4, 2018 10:20 pm

The temperature sets don’t even agree with each other. Why would you expect a model that matches one to match another better than the temperature sets themselves match? The model coefficients don’t just magically self-adapt to match anything you throw at it. This isn’t Hogwarts.
But, the temperature sets are generally affinely related to one another, and with an appropriate choice of affine parameters, you can get a very good fit of the CO2 rate of change with any of them. The surface sets are noisier, so you generally have to apply greater filtering, but you can get a very good fit using any of them.
Look Junior, you’re just grasping at straws here, and making stupid remarks. We’re pretty much done. Watch and see what happens as more data comes in.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 5, 2018 6:24 am

Bart, Rob is right about Occam’s razor. You really need to find a fixed set of parameters to fit the data from multiple sources. Having unique parameters for each time series is insane.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 5, 2018 8:13 am

David, think that through. What you are proposing is impossible for any model. The temperature sets themselves do not match each other. If you match one, you are not going to match the other.
The best you can hope for is a model that can be adjusted to match all the data sets.

Reply to  Leitwolf
March 5, 2018 11:20 am

It’s not clear to me why you’re so opposed to the theory that the natural sinks are dynamic, which as I understand it, is the heart of what Bartemis is trying to demonstrate. Without getting into any argument regarding the information Bartemis has proposed through his WFT charts, I think that fundamentally we have to accept that the static balance picture of CO2 sinks is untenable. Why else would we see such a variation over the millennia and eras in CO2 levels? See here for example:
I honestly don’t have a problem with attributing the increase in atmospheric CO2 to human emissions (I’m more focused on “it doesn’t matter much anyway, so why should we care”), but I do think it’s not serious science to pretend the earth was at some stable balanced level (at least for any length of time) prior to man’s modest contributions. The CO2 budget idea seems more likely to be merely another erroneous piece in the flawed CAGW framework than any sort reality we actually experience.

Patrick Hrushowy
March 3, 2018 8:21 am

Maybe slightly off topic here, but I’m wondering if the substantially more scientifically literate on this thread could help me with this. I read something in a December 2015 Scientific American issue about heat shed from mantle plumes. The article claimed 44 trillion joules per second. That number seems big to my unschooled mind. Is this number significant?

Curious George
Reply to  Patrick Hrushowy
March 3, 2018 8:44 am

If you get close to an erupting volcano, you may get burned. Fortunately, you can get really, really far away. Estimates – not very reliable ones – of the average geothermal heat flow are 0.09 W/m2 (twenty years ago, the estimate was 0.07 W/m2). The average heat from the Sun is 340.5 W/m2, but some part of it is reflected (there is a lot of uncertainty as to what part).

Reply to  Patrick Hrushowy
March 3, 2018 8:46 am

That may well be true. Every figure given in Joule will be huge. 44 trillion Joules per second would be 1.4e21 joules a year. By comparison the sun shines 6.3e20 joules onto Earth within an hour, or 5.5e24 joules a year.

Reply to  Patrick Hrushowy
March 4, 2018 10:45 am

I once was very fond of Scientific American. Crappy, nowadays.
Joule par second = 1 watt. Ordinary people understand watts more than joules, why using such unit?
Earth surface is ~ 510 million km² ~ 510 trillion m².
Indeed, the Earth is huge, for us, so that’s easy to find huge numbers.
Is that significant? No

March 3, 2018 8:37 am

Pat, thanks for a most interesting analysis.
One issue that isn’t highlighted enough is that we don’t physically have enough fossil fuels to play out the RCP8.5 scenario. I detailed the numbers in this regard in my post “Apocalypse Cancelled, Sorry, No Ticket Refunds“. TL;DR version is that we simply don’t have enough fossil fuel to get us over 1°C even with the most pessimistic assumptions …

Curious George
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 3, 2018 8:59 am

Willis, you can’t have it both ways. Alarmists can.

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
March 3, 2018 12:17 pm

I agree with Willis on the 1-degree C number. If you could put all the world’s carbon in the atmosphere and leave it there it would heat the atmosphere by slightly less than 2.5 degrees C. However, the atmosphere gets rid of far more CO2 than it keeps of what is inserted there. When this is accounted for the maximum temperature rise is, indeed, 1 degree C. And then carbon sensitivity, CS, is only 0.7 degees C. All this is derived in:

March 3, 2018 8:47 am

I stopped taking these modeling guesses to year 2100 seriously on the grounds that it is untestable, unverifiable thus clearly belongs in the trash bucket labelled Pseudoscience.

Bruce Cobb
March 3, 2018 9:33 am

Funny, innit, how those who denigrate coal, saying coal is dying, etc. love to talk about the gas fracking revolution, never mentioning the War on Coal. I guess the War on Coal, if it ever happened at all, “doesn’t matter”.

Alan Tomalty
March 3, 2018 11:15 am

As of 2017 Active construction and preconstruction of new coal plants represents 842000 MW for the world. Doesnt sound like coal is leaving us any time soon.

Jim Heath
March 3, 2018 11:31 am

Well “whadayano” the Russians did it.

JRF in Pensacola
March 3, 2018 12:51 pm

I like this analysis because it seems “practical” and certainly, the early predictions about AGW and CO2 have failed in terms of degree. Is it possible that CO2 can influence global temperatures? Maybe, although I’m very skeptical and even more skeptical that CO2 can be a major driver of “climate change.” Logically, the clues to the major drivers are in diurnal and seasonal effects which are then modified by a host of other variables over extended time periods but based on current knowledge, CO2 seems a minor player in this game.
But, I’m just a biologist.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
March 3, 2018 4:10 pm

As long as we don’t have the correct picture of greenhouse gases [& its change with the time] and climate sensitivity factor, writing this type of reports have little or no use except wasting of time.
Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

Gary Pearse
March 3, 2018 5:25 pm

I suspected when the threshold for disaster for our grandchildren was reduced from 2.0C to 1.5C by 2100, that climateers had come to realize that with the drafts wide open and the coal stoked and banked up for the night, we would never reach 2C.
This likelihood dawned on them when hit with three punches to the jaw.
1) when the Dreaded Pause marched on for two decades ~ the amount of time that the warming scare that caused all the fuss lasted, a pause during which atmospheric carbon dioxide increased 35% with no temperature increase. They had no choice but to adjust this in-your-face pause out of existence.
2) when it became clear that projections were proving to be 200% warmer than observations (millions of weather balloons that matched satellite temperatures), based on climate sensitivities that were too high. Independent methods for calculating climate sensitivities were converging on ~1.0 -1.5C instead of 3 -4.5.
3) Natural variations were proving to have too convincing a major role in global temperature variations (Enso,PDO, AMO, solar) and well known connections to droughts, floods, Atlantic vs Pacific hurricanes (Enso- see NOAA). Indeed, the Pause was a measure of the significance of Nat variations.

March 3, 2018 5:26 pm

The RCP 8.5 scenario has another fatal flaw: it assumes population increases will drive energy use increases through 2100. In fact, the world’s population will start to go down soon after 2050. More than that, the population will be much older than now, leading to lower per capita energy use, and thus lower worldwide total energy use.
The largest user of energy, China, already has more people in their 30s than in their teens today. By 2030, the demand for housing, cars, etc., in China will decrease substantially, leading to less energy use to build and use them. Look at the official UN population report for 2010 for China:
At that time there were 75 million age 0-4, 70M age 5-9, and 75 M age 10-14. Today these people are all 8 years older, and the then 10-14 group is about to become the main source of demand for cars, housing, etc.
Now look at the older groups: 100 million age 15-19, 127 M age 25-29, 97 M aged 30-34, and 118 M age 35-39.
The average for the youngest three 5-year groups is 74 million (15 million per year), while for the older groups it is 110 million (22 million per year). This one-third drop in population in the key age range of 15 to 30 will lead to a substantial reduction in energy use in China.
Most other countries are seeing reductions in birth rates that are slower but will also inevitably lead to their reduction in energy use during the latter half of the 21st century.
This is a real problem with most climate projections: they do not use actual population data, and thus do not reflect the inevitable aging and reduction of population, and the corresponding substantial energy use worldwide.

March 4, 2018 1:05 am

It looks like Antarctica sea ice has made the turn upwards early this year. I noticed that Antarctica started cooling around 3 weeks ago. Is that early for the region? …http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

Dr. Strangelove
March 4, 2018 3:19 am

Pat Michaels,
The IPCC climate modelers have solved the Navier-Stokes equation? They should go to the Clay Mathematics Institute and collect the $1 million prize! It’s one the greatest unsolved mathematical problems in history. Or they just made up some fake physics and math?

March 4, 2018 4:12 am

When uncertainty is taken into account, not much remains of the ECS (climate sensitivity) parameter in the Hadley Center temperature reconstructions. Thus no evidence of the Lacis Control Knob that determines surface temperature according to atmospheric CO2.

March 4, 2018 2:15 pm

What is the science behind climate sensitivity?
The many wild guesses do not seem like
real science to me.
Just one assumption after another,
and haphazard, inaccurate average temperature
And after the assumption that CO2 is a greenhouse
gas that should cause warming, how would one
distinguish between greenhouse warming from
CO2 versus water vapor, methane, CFCs, etc>
If you start with the measured warming, and
work backwards, by assuming CO2 is the cause,
or the primary cause of the warming,
which are only unproven assumptions,
then how about the HUGE potential errors
in the surface average temperature
compilation, where a majority of grids
are wild guesses,
with no thermometer data,
and the actual thermometers
on land have been warmed
by nearby economic growth (UHI) ?
So, with the haphazard temperature measurements,
that must be at least +/- one degree C., and I’m being kind
with that proposed margin of error, how can anyone claim
to know, or calculate, the climate sensitivity to CO2?
There is NOTHING in the measured climate of the second half
of the 20th century that even suggests natural climate
change has stopped — not much different than the
first half of the 20th century, in fact — perhaps the
climate sensitivity to CO2 is zero?
If you want to be a “CO2 is evil believer”,
then you have to believe
4.5 billion years of natural climate change
suddenly stopped in 1940,
then “aerosols” took over as the
climate controller until 1975,
then all the aerosols
suddenly fell out of the air in 1975
and CO2 took over
as the climate controller
from 1975 to 2000,
then CO2 suddenly lost
it’s mojo from 2000 to 2015,
and nothing controlled the climate,
(the flat trend)
and then a late 2015 / early 2016
El Nino became
the climate controller
for those two years,
and in 2017 — your guess is as
good as mine, for who got the
job as “climate controller” in
2017 and 2018.
Only an imbecile,
or a leftist,
(I repeat myself)
would believe that tale tale of
so many different “climate
controllers” since 1940 …
but that is exactly what the
warmists believe in
… and now are
we are supposed to believe
ANY estimate of climate
sensitivity to CO2, when so little
is known about climate change ?
Climate blog for people with common sense:

March 4, 2018 7:27 pm

The U.N. Green Climate Fund is failing.
The U.N. and its minions the World Meteorological Organization (WTO), the UN Framework Convention on Change Change (UN FCCC) and their darling of darlings the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) must ratchet up the rhetoric. Else, all is fail and the lifestyles of 100,000 bureaucrats is in jeopardy.
Through Toil, Sweat, Blood And Tears the lifestyles of the blessed 100,000 bureaucrats will be supreme … supreme … SUPREME.
Ha ha

March 6, 2018 4:02 am

Really great post. Thank you. I would like to add that the much hyped correlation between cumulative emissions and cumulative warming is spurious.
Here is the proof of that.

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