New Scientist: Climate Change will be Even Worse than our Worst Worse Case Scenario

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

How much worse can it get?

Worst-case climate change scenario is even worse than we thought

DAILY NEWS 14 May 2018
By Michael Le Page

The phrase “worse than we thought” is a cliché when it comes to climate change. There are lots of studies suggesting we’re in for more warming and worse consequences than thought, and few saying it won’t be as bad. But guess what: it’s worse than we thought.

The RCP8.5 scenario is the worst for the climate. It assumes rapid, unfettered economic growth and rampant burning of fossil fuels.

It now seems RCP8.5 may have underestimated the emissions that would result if we follow the economic path it describes.

Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2168847-worst-case-climate-change-scenario-is-even-worse-than-we-thought/

Stay tuned for the next New Scientist article on climate change, when they shall reveal that climate change will be worse than the even worse than worst worse case scenario they predicted.

Correction (EW): New Scientist, not Scientific American…

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119 thoughts on “New Scientist: Climate Change will be Even Worse than our Worst Worse Case Scenario

      • I gave up on New Scientist many years ago after it had given up on science and had become a propaganda magazine.. I’m surprised that it still has any readers.

      • I too used to subscribe until the climate articles got to be too much. It used to be a great magazine but no more.

      • Likewise gave up on it many years ago after having a subscription for a long time. I got the subscription as entertainment reading after giving up on Scientific American when they dumbed it down to pop-sci that was lousy sci and not very good pop. Worst of both worlds. I actually had a subscription to Discover magazine years ago as well until Disney took it over and wrecked it.
        Now I find what I want on the net and YouTube.

      • Yes, I found the same with New Seancetist. (sic) The articles were largely fluff with “clickbait” titles. The political slant was absurd. This was about a decade+ ago. I cannot imagine how bad they are today. When you think it can not get worse, New Seancetist gets worse.

      • I gave up on it in the mid 70s.

        Unless you are looking for a job, it’s only fit for toilet paper.

        Liberal left slant trying to politicise science and scientists.

      • I too stopped buying New Scientist years ago, having once been a subscriber. I still occasionally pick it up in stores to look at the job adverts. Not only have these now also shrunk almost to zero, but UK newsagents don’t give the magazine such a prominent placement on the shelves as it once had. It is harder to find. The end-game is in sight. It is sad, but unfortunately no less than the publication deserves.

        The Economist is another once-great publication that used to have good science coverage but has also taken a number of wrong turns and embraced global warming catastrophism as they circle the plughole that probably awaits most of the paper press. I think people really are still willing to pay for quality journalism, but just pandering to the latest SJW-type political memes seems unlikely to save them.

      • Isn’t it strange that the same people who laugh at gypsy fortune tellers (sometimes) take magazines with ‘Science’ in the title rather seriously?

        Auto

    • New Scientist has always had loose standards when it comes to sensationalist articles.
      It now appears that they have dropped all pretenses of having standards.

    • Doomed, doomed I say.

      It now seems RCP8.5 may have underestimated the emissions that would result if we follow the economic path it describes.

      So, assuming science fiction, we’ll end up in science fiction. So what was the news again? You may have been wrong? No hit, Herlock.

      • Read through the article and they say “there is a greater than 35 per cent probability that year 2100 emissions concentrations will exceed those given by RCP8.5”.
        So that probably equates to “there is a greater than 60 per cent probability that year 2100 emissions concentrations will be less than those given by RCP8.5”

      • “Worse than we thought” is NOT phrase based on observation. Notice the word, “thought”.

        What we might THINK is a construct arrived at by means that might NOT be sound reasoning. “Worse than we thought” merely means “worse than computer models model, based on input, which itself is based on built-in assumptions, based on biases that are not extensions of the most sound reasoning”.

        In other words, “worse than we thought” means “worse than computer models have led us to think” or “worse than the limited input into computer models have led us to prematurely (and immaturely) think”.

        I think elves are cute. Now I want you to put great stock in what I think about elves, as you plan for the future.

  1. It is pathetic. Why would we even start to believe that when none of the predictions have come even close.
    When are they going to realize that doubling down on it just makes them look more insane.

    • mikebartnz

      I listened to a labour (democrat) activist on the radio yesterday explaining why he was promoting insulting ‘Gammon’s’ (older, fat, bald, white, middle class) Conservative* (Republican) voters in the UK.

      His reasons given were that “well, they started it”.

      Nothing like taking the moral high ground, is there?

      These people will never understand that doubling down isn’t an option.

      *The Conservative party is barely distinguishable from the labour party any longer. If you are American, consider yourself lucky to have Trump.

      • “*The Conservative party is barely distinguishable from the labour party any longer. If you are American, consider yourself lucky to have Trump.”

        The European political parties all seem to be different versions of socialism. The U.S. was trending that way, mainly because a bunch of Republican politicians were looking like Democrats, but Trump and millions of voters have put a stop to that, at least temporarily.

        Beleve me, we Do consider ourselves lucky to have Trump leading. It’s like Manna from Heaven for conservatives and for people who hate the PC culture/Leftwing Groupthink.

        The people of the world should consider themselves lucky that Trump came to power, too. He has possibly been able to prevent a horrific war in Korea and environs, and he is giving conservatives and small-government people around the world a good example of what should and should not be done.

        Natural-born leaders don’t come along often enough. Trump is a natural-born leader. A natural-born leader knows where he wants to go and goes there. Most politicians stick their fingers in the air to see which way the political wind is blowing before deciding where they want to go. That’s not leadership.

        Trump sees the Big Picture and we get him in Office at just the right time in history. The Liberals/Leftwing are just aghast that Trump is so successful despite all the roadblocks they throw in his way. He rolls over them and keeps right on going.

        Yes, we are lucky. We need to keep this going by electing more Republicans to overcome the stonewalling of the Democrats.

    • Seems AGW technocrats’ first course of action is manipulation with wall to wall propaganda – hearts and minds. Failing that, will they step up the weather modification technology? Much speculation on whether recent natural disasters are truly natural. California’s getting the worst of it, overrun with corrupt globalists.

  2. This is much worser than the worsest worsening worst worse. It’s really really bad. It’s more bad than dead is dead. It’s the worst kind of really really bad! It’s so bad that words haven’t yet been invented to tell how bad it is!. We can’t even think how bad it is! Too bad to believe! It’s that bad!

      • It sells advertising space though.

        However, when something sounds too bad to be true, it probably isn’t.

    • I guess we have to invent some new words to to be able to explain how bad it really will be next time…

      • dunno bout you all, but I am soooo tired of the UNprecedented word being flogged to death.
        maybe we could suggest they run a competition for an alternative word?
        keep their tiny minds occupied for a while;-)

      • I suggest visiting a preschool and getting two toddlers to compare how bad their brocolli tastes. These kids are pros at inventing new words to describe the horrors of cruciferous veggies. Then we can use the new words to describe climate change scenarios.

      • I would, however, point out that (boy) toddlers can be persuaded to eat broccoli – But only after you tell them they are actually eating baby trees.

      • Sommer

        Another minority pressure group a democracy must kneel before.

        “They educated themselves about the science of climate change and formed alliances with other students and business leaders throughout the state.”

        Clearly, they didn’t do a good job of research at all or they would have turned up on WUWT and considered the sceptical side of the subject.

        Then a bunch of adults, who should know better, agreed with them.

      • “John harmsworth
        May 15, 2018 at 7:08 am

        Don’t buy any ripe bananas!”

        Unless you are really, REALLY hungry. . . . .

        Auto

      • Bananas that are ripe to the point of being black are great for making banana bread.

        So, it depends on the intended use of the banana, as to whether it is ripe enough or not.

        I think green bananas would make great projectiles to propel with those big sling shots at alarmist posters.

  3. By enunciating the irrational and unfounded alarms of their biased managements, again and again, these once great science magazines have lost nearly all credibility with most of their potential markets.

  4. Note: what it’s saying is that the “worst case” EMISSIONS may be greater than predicted. Nothing about the climate change that might then ensue. That’s why they call it a climate change “scenario”, not “climate change” per se. Since for a while now emissions have been barrelling along and nothing’s happened significantly global-warming wise (but the planet is happily greening), I imagine they’re reluctant draw attention to that. Very cunning.

    • Hugh

      To put it in perspective, the NASA report on the greening over the last 30 years includes a comment from one of the researchers, and I paraphrase here: “Two continents the size of mainland USA worth of extra vegetation”.

      Put like that, it makes one stop and think.

    • Sunsettommy

      As far as I can gather, it’s bumping along the bottom of the lowest IPCC models. If things continue as they are, they will soon drop below even that.

      How much more wrong could they possibly be?

  5. Poor little New Scientist. Used to be so interesting back in the 1970s with that blue and white cover. Captured by the Left of course.

    • Even back then it was pretty sh!te. Being a UK magazine, they would report on real science being done by prominent US scientists, often Nobel prizewinners, and make out that UK scientists were involved, usually because they wrote a letter to some such scientists, or whatever measly excuse they could come up with that the crappily-funded UK system was so, so “world-leading”. Different era, different lies and BS, but that’s where they honed their skills for the next decades of lying to gullible people.

      I have to thank them for contributing to why I’ve had, and continue to have a great scientific career in the US.

  6. “The RCP8.5 scenario is the worst for the climate. It assumes rapid, unfettered economic growth and rampant burning of fossil fuels.”

    So the computer models are predicting Trump in 2020.

    • Rampant burning of fossil fuels? What does it mean? Why does it conjure up nasty images of Palestinians burning tires on the Garza Strip. Is that the kind of rampant they have in mind? Will our children run amok with large barrels of kerosine and playfully ignite them and roll them down the nearest interstate? Will it be OK to watch the show?

    • So the computer models are predicting Trump in 2020.

      Since the models always seem to get it wrong, I hope not!

  7. “There are lots of studies suggesting we’re in for more warming and worse consequences than thought, and few saying it won’t be as bad.”

    Stupid scientists, studying the wrong things.

  8. Of course real-world measurements show that temperature rise is barely on track for the RCP 2.6 scenario; the fantasy where all the governments of the world cooperatively apply punitive restrictions on CO2 emissions and revert their economies and standard of living to the early 19th century. And sea level rise is below the RCP 2.6 projection, despite none of the governments achieving their CO2 emissions targets and some, like the U.S., ignoring them altogether. In other words, with virtually nothing being done, global warming and its effects are much, MUCH less than the doomsayers had hoped for.

    But why let facts get in the way of a good apocalyptic fable?

    • The article is based on comments by Peter Christensen, Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Ph.D. 2015, Environmental and Resources.

      He hasn’t done anything to back his claim, which must assume fossil fuel resources are higher than assumed in RCP8.5. However, all indications are that resources are not going to be turned into reserves (meaning they can be economically produced) as assumed in RCP8.5. Given that Dr Petersen has no expertise in this field, nor has he mentioned what he did to learn a bit about it, I’d say he’s just hot air.

      I can see some assuming resources are endless and will become economic due to some “new technology” we are gong to invent. But thus far that new technology isn’t showing up. What we see is fine tuning and learning, which reduces the cost to produce very light oil from very poor quality rocks. But we are also seeing terrible exploration results (it has been many years since we discovered new fields to offset oil and gas production).

      I’m also noticing that the light crude being produced in Texas is so light it’s being exported, and medium and heavy crudes are imported to make the required refinery feed. These light crudes are very rich in components used for plastics, but have less gasoline, diesel and kerosene feedstock.

      And these are topics which Dr Peterson is unable to discuss. He seems to be very intelligent, which means I could probably teach him some of what I know in six months to a year, to get him up to speed, something he really needs to avoid sounding so ignorant.

    • To be fair though, the US is actually reducing its emissions more than any other major economy. Don’t forget this when you’re in a mood to whack some pseudo-educated idiot with a bit more TDS.

      • Yeah but… the US is doing it using market forces to get the most bang for the buck. That is simply inconceivable to the green blob since it doesn’t lead to an all-encompassing one-world government.

      • The U.S. has “achieved” this by off-shoring most of its steel and heavy manufacturing to China and living on borrowed money. It has sold off its future prosperity and will pay a heavy price over time.

    • There is a market for semi-plausible scary stories. If one’s backround makes various evangelical doomsday stories unattractive, environmental porn is another genre.

  9. ‘Worst’ should read ‘wurst’. As in ‘sausage’. You don’t know what’s gone into it and, frankly, you really wouldn’t want to.

    New Scientist is know as ‘the stupid’ among real scientists because of its talent for dumbing down.

  10. Just think of the worstest thing you can think of and it will be worserererer even than that!
    So this is science today?
    All I can say is “it’s worse than I thought”
    LOL

    James Bull

    • New Scientist is worse than I thought after reading that ridiculous article. That’s the level science has sunk to at New Scientist: A bunch of unsubstantiated claims. That’s all alarmist climate science is today.

      It arguable that we could double the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from 410ppm to 820ppm if we burned all the fossil fuels available to us. And the latest ECS estimate is 1.2C per doubling of CO2, which is lower than the lowest estimate of the IPCC at 1.5C per doubling, so if we burned all our fossil fuels tomorrow it would supposedly raise the temperature 1.2C which is below the lowest estimate of the mildest RCP at 1.5C and is certainly below the 4.5C of the RCP8.5 scenario.

      New Scientist ought to address this fly in the ointment of their “scientific study”.

      • In April they got a new editor. Her first edition had a whole slew of features in the Science of the Patriarchy.

        Not one of the articles discussed how the Patriarchy influences peoples choices or even whether it exists.

        Hard science it was not.

  11. It rather gives away my age to admit that I read NS almost from the very beginning. It used to be printed on pulp paper, rather like the SF magazines I read back then. When I was in the RAF I used to get it in every Mess I lived in. Then when I retired it made a perfect Christmas present from my children.

    Then came the obsession with AGW and it got so bad that I stopped asking for it — in other words they couldn’t persuade me to read it even for free.

    There is not the least hint of doubt in its coverage, it’s doom and gloom, it’s all CO2, the pseudo-scientists of AGW can do no wrong. If it admitted the least doubt, if it published Spencer, Curry, etc, if it admitted that the ‘projections’ made twenty years ago are simply wrong, if it made the least effort to report the science objectively I might have stuck with it. But no, lost beyond redemption. A propaganda sheet for a political agenda that is anti-science, anti-technology — any and all technology that has a hope of actually working to bring the world out of the poverty that still exists — and pro a political world which it sees as beyond the comprehension of the dim masses who buy it.

    Perhaps it should go back to the pulp paper. At least I could then find a use for it.

    What a waste.

    JF

    • “There is not the least hint of doubt in its coverage, it’s doom and gloom, it’s all CO2, the pseudo-scientists of AGW can do no wrong. If it admitted the least doubt, if it published Spencer, Curry, etc,”

      Speaking of Judith Curry, she was on the Tucker Carlson show on Fox News Channel last night, and I must say that was one of the worst interviews about climate change I have seen. It wasn’t Judith’s fault, it is just that Tucker seems completely clueless about the subject.

      The one thing I got from it was that ECS estimates were 40 percent lower than thought, but they didn’t say “as compared to what” or do any kind of linking of the new estimates to anything relevant. I don’t know if Tucker is as clueless as he seems about CAGW but he certainly doesn’t know how to direct the conversation.

      Mark Steyn appeared on the same program on a different segment. I don’t know why Fox News doesn’t get Mark Steyn to interview people like Curry. An interview by Mark would elevate the explanations so that ordinary, non-scientists could understand the ramifictions of something like reducing the ECS estimate by 40 percent.. Tucker didn’t seem to understand the significance.

      Let Mark Steyn do the Climate Change news and interviews on Fox News if you want a rational, understandable discussion..

  12. New Scientist has long been a parody of science, a bit like the Science Guy. Scientific American is not far behind.

  13. The AGW conjecture depends upon the existence of a radiant greenhouse effect caused by trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere with LWIR absorption bands. Such a radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed in a real greenhouse, in the Earth’s climate system or anywhere else in the solar system for that matter. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction so hence the AGW conjecture is science fiction as well. The climate change they are worried about is nothing more than science fiction so their predictions are nothing more than science fiction. The reality is that the climate change that we have been experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. The climate has been changing for eons and will continue to change whether mankind is here or not. Mankind does not have the power to change it.

    • True and quite scary. It would have been better for humanity if CO2 could actually cause some significant global warming, given that between the end of the holocene and the next interglacial, our descendants are looking at 100,000 years of ice age.

      I do have hope though for man’s (and woman’s) ingenuity and desire. Modulatable technology for diverting the sun’s energy that misses the Earth to a direct hit anyone ??

      • Bingo! If we are still around when the next glaciation begins we might be able to employ space based mirrors made from captured asteroids to supply a little extra heat and stave off what would be an actual catastrophe.

      • If we get a thousand year’s grace, the next ice age will find most of humanity in space somewhere, and impervious the dance of terrestrial climate.

        If they will like, they’ll disallow the ice age by use of the enormous energies then available to them.

        I’m not worried.

  14. Careful with those comments, WUWT denizens !
    They might just be right !
    It could get worse, much, much worse and much worse than we can ever imagine.
    It might get COLD like the Little Ice Age.
    Or even worse, much worse again, get COLD at the rate it got cold with the onset of the the Younger Dryas.

    A quarter to a third of the Northern hemispheres crop production areas gone due to the growing seasons becoming too short for crops to groww and mature.
    Coal mines and gas production and the oil industry shut down as wind turbines and solar [ covered for 5 months of the year with snow and ice ] will provide all the power we need .
    No coal, no gas and no oil and there goes the artificial heating needed for millions to survive in a decades to centuries long COLD era northern hemisphere climate.

    Yeh! It could be much, much, much worse than we think!

    But just right for the greenies and assorted climate change whack jobs to break out the champagne.
    Their campaign against global warming / climate change has succeeded.

    I do hope they get a sip of that Champagne before it freezes solid.

    • Forests completely destroyed by desperate people seeking to stay warm over the long winter without fossil fuels or electricity. The lack of forests will make more room for turbines, however.

  15. “The RCP8.5 scenario is the worst for the climate. It assumes rapid, unfettered economic growth and rampant burning of fossil fuels.”

    This is simple “if” and “then” assumption. The real question is how likely is the RCP8.5 scenario likely to occur?

    • Their adjectives betray their Eco-Socialist hatred for economic advancement that benefits so many.

  16. I suppose this is what may be called New Science. ie: pseudo babble. It is getting quite boring. Mind you with all those ads. amid the babble, someone is making a killing.

    • Yeah, I don’t go to advertising conferences but I bet the word “divisive” is big in such circles.

  17. It’s even worse than what New Scientist reports. As a climate scientist myself, I can report that Global Warming of Doom (GWOD) and Climate Change of Doom (CCOD) are not the only climate threats that we face. Results from my own consensus climate models prove that even if the climate stabilizes, Climate Stability of Doom (CSOD) caused by the CO2 from fossil fuels will result in widespread weather disasters and other environmental catastrophes within 50-100 years unless we act now. The only way to prevent CSOD is to send me lots of money, and to transfer ownership and control of all fossil fuels to me. Any one who disputes my claims is a climate denier.

  18. I find this relentless propaganda deeply alarming, because ‘they’ have access to weather modification technology and have enviro-totalitarian world government as their goal. Crazy but true.

  19. To date our CO2 emissions have been trending well below the RCP8.5 scenario.
    But don’t worry, some time in the future we will not only accelerate back to the standard but we are going to zoom right on past it.

    I’m not sure how many tipping points we will have to break for that to happen, but it will probably be a lot.

  20. I gave up on the New Scientist some years ago
    They ran an issue allocating about 8 to 10 pages to three contributors who argued variously for zero economic growth as a means to cap emissions of CO2 -which they took to be essential.
    I wrote a letter asking how would they go about achieving zero economic growth?
    I made the points that product and process innovation, which resulted in new products or services, would of themselves tend to the creation of new industries and therefore creation of new jobs in design, production, distribution, sales and after- sale services.
    So to maintain zero economic growth it would seem necessary to either suppress innovation and/or close existing industries to balance the growth of new ones
    I then asked who would be given the power to take such decisions to choose and close otherwise useful industries and what selection criteria would they use ?
    My queries ,which I thought reasonable enough, brought forth a tirade of abusive illogical replies in letters from their readers -leading me to conclude that their readership lacked any semblance of ability or willingness to engage in mutually respectful scientific discourse.

    • You are known and recognized by the enemies you make. Congratulations! You have done well, my son!

  21. Hmmm… I don’t recall ever reading this ragazine, but now that I’ve seen a sample of what it produces, I never will.
    I can’t decide if the author of the NS article is simply using hyperbole to scare people and get attention, or if he really believes the crock he’s written.
    However, if he DOES believe that climate change will be worse than ever, he should define the phrase ‘worse than ever’. As we all know, the word ‘change’ does not necessarily mean toward a warmer or maximum warmth level. It can mean the exact opposite.
    As it is, I sincerely hope that he wakes some morning to find at least 4.5 feet of snow blocking all exits from his dwelling, and his cell phone won’t charge because the power is out and he forgot to charge it.

  22. And CAGW freaks wonder why the US public ain’t buying what they are selling. If you continually over hype an issue with the public, especially when it is the government, many in the public become immune to the hyperbole. They begin to believe that something else, something more sinister is going on, that the government is driving some agenda, an agenda not in their, the public’s best interest. Contrary to what CAGW crowd keep preaching most have not seen any real climate change as manifested in weather events that is any different than they or their family have witnessed in their personal history. Can anyone name a single catastrophic weather event that is different than what has been documented in the past several hundred years?

  23. With “research” budgets getting slashed, even in Australia where they cant seem to get enough of this stuff (multiples of clisci practitioners per capita compared to elsewhere), we will be flooded with reruns and information-free clutter like this silly article until the last whimper. This hysterical crescendo only turns the public off more but they dont no what to do in this period of marking-time period before the end. It reminds me of boiling up tea from bog water in the 50s and 60s on geological mapping work and watching the water bugs swimming frantically to the coolest parts of the billy pail water until finally their still bodies were dragged down to the bottom by a handful of tea.

  24. I’m waiting for this cli-sci-fi stuff to turn into gurus scattered here and there on street corners, wearing robes and sandals in all weather, using megaphones to hawk the message ‘Repent! The Change is Nigh! Prepare ye the Way of the Change!’

    That’s about how silly this is becoming.

  25. It is becoming harder and harder to describe the catastrophes some peoble foresee. You have lost the words, because they have all been used so many times for nothing but normal conditions.
    When you call the melting of icecaps, that takes thousends of years for a collapse, what would you then call it when a house falls down in seconds by an earthquake?

  26. Worse than we thought? I’m getting on in age, and I thought we were all supposed to be scrabbling for food on a planet half on fire by now given what they were saying in the 90s.

  27. How horrible it is to think that “rapid, unfettered economic growth” might result in future generations (far richer than ourselves) facing AGW resulting from their *own* economic choices. Surely it is beyond imagination for a far richer world to be able to adapt to a few degrees warming. Obviously it makes sense to impede our own economic growth in the attempt to prevent future generations from living in a world any different than our own. If only the people behind the industrial revolution had realized the terrible climate damage that would result from their “rapid, unfettered economic growth” and left coal in the ground. Instead of suffering from exposure to the internet, we could be living the happy, carefree life of subsistence farmers today. And without the harm caused to the plants we raised by CO2 pollution, we would also happily avoid today’s obesity epidemic.

  28. Like other commentators, I too gave up my subscription to NS when I realised it had become a mouthpiece for the alarmist brigade.

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