The IPCC and “Carbon Unicorns”

Caution urged over use of ‘carbon unicorns’ to limit warming

Climate scientists meeting in Korea are being urged to avoid relying on untested technologies as a way of keeping global temperature rise under 1.5C.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will shortly publish a report on how the world might stay below this limit.

Early drafts said it would require machines to suck carbon out of the air.

The ideas are unrealistic, said one expert, calling them “carbon unicorns”.

The IPCC special report, to be released on Monday, is expected to point towards the use of technology as a critical part of efforts to keep below the guardrail figure.

The pathways to keeping below 1.5C required rapid reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions with net-zero reached by the middle of this century.

If emissions continue at the present rate, the world would “overshoot” 1.5C by 2040.

If this happens, researchers believe that carbon dioxide removal technologies, in some form, would be needed to help bring the Earth’s temperature back down.

The IPCC report is expected to mention a number of approaches that range from planting more trees, to direct air capture of CO2, to bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

Full story at The BBC

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Joel O'Bryan
October 5, 2018 9:25 am

Alarmists: “We must do something to lower atmospheric CO2.”

Nature: “Really? OK… hold my beer.”

October 5, 2018 9:31 am

We have well tested technology to remove CO2. It’s called photosynthesis. We also we have lots equatorial dessert . All you need is water via desalinization. Cheaper is seed ocean area’s that are deficient in iron.

October 5, 2018 9:44 am

Spot on.

Bill Treuren
Reply to  Leo Smith
October 5, 2018 11:48 am

Problem is they the CAGW’s don’t want a solution to the problem.

The Fe story is very compelling and should it be incorrect you can stop it and change the location or whatever.
The removal of the Fe through fishing is the cause of the depletion and the result of a program of seeding will be massive food resources that are healthy.

Reply to  Bill Treuren
October 5, 2018 6:49 pm

Bill Treuren
October 5, 2018 at 11:48 am
Problem is they the CAGW’s don’t want a solution to the problem.

There’s a problem? Clearly CO2 is not a problem.

Perhaps it’s the parasitic IPCC infesting of international media narrative and derailing science?

Reply to  Leo Smith
October 5, 2018 1:14 pm

spot on to stupidity.

shoveling shit up hill or pissing in the ocean will not change global temperatures one iota.

To suggest oceans not full of algal weed are “iron deficient” or that areas which incapable of retaining water need watering is to accept the premise that such stupid action is in some way beneficial.

Naively friggin around with nature will have far more unintended consequences than we have make believe problems from “carbon”. Anyone whose discourse thinks that “carbon” is the problem has zero understanding of the science and should be excluded from the discussion forthwith.

Arctic sea ice has been essentially unchanged in over a decade now, which is totally inconsistent with claims of “polar amplification” and that this is the canary in the coal mine of global warming.

“We have well tested technology to remove CO2. It’s called photosynthesis. ”

Yes, and it is working very nicely without any help from us other than restoring a more balanced level of this essential atmospheric gas.

The biosphere will cope with more CO2 quite nicely whether we suck it blow or jerk it off.

Reply to  Leo Smith
October 5, 2018 1:18 pm

BTW, I love the gender inclusive LGBYTXYZQ++ diarrhea coming out of the unicorn’s butt. Just about sums up the current political agenda.

Malcolm Carter
October 5, 2018 11:49 am

Happened twice in the North Pacific, once by volcanic ash and once by a research vessel. Apparently both episodes resulted in high rates of salmon returns in the Pacific Northwest. Sounds like an inexpensive win-win to me.

October 5, 2018 12:29 pm

” Cheaper is seed ocean area’s that are deficient in iron.”

Saharan dust already does that…in magnitudes more than man ever could
…and south Florida and Texas are suffering from red tides because of it

Reply to  Latitude
October 5, 2018 1:05 pm


The meaning of “deficient” is not “already too much”!

October 5, 2018 1:53 pm

It is cooling. The sun has already fixed this non-problem for us. Personally |I would rather that it kept warming but I knew it was too good to be true.

October 5, 2018 6:41 pm

One lift pipe per million square miles circulating up from the ocean floor should do it.

Reply to  prjindigo
October 5, 2018 9:14 pm


One lift pipe per million square miles circulating up from the ocean floor should do it.

Now, that “only” leaves you the minor problem of getting the generated electricity from the center of those 1,000,000 sq miles where it is generated back to the land areas (rarely at the closest coastline!) where it is actually needed.

October 6, 2018 2:57 am

So lets say you want to cool down the planet by planting some sort of grass in desert areas (or do you want to plant trees?). You build a desalination plant by the sea. Lets assume you use a nuclear reactor, put in large pumps, and lay pipelines inland to water the desert. Then you plant whatever. Thing is, the albedo of green folliage is lower than yellow desert albedo, so the net effect isn’t exactly what you think.

Years ago I looked into this and concluded it’s more efficient to plant miscanthus grass in areas where it rains, cut it and make large bales, put the bales in large plastic bags, weigh them down with rock and drop them in deep water in front of a river delta so they get covered with sediment. Crazy? Sure is. But its less crazy than trying to turn a desert into a forest.

Reply to  Fernando L
October 6, 2018 2:12 pm

North Africa wasn’t arid during much of the holocene. Plant respiration and evaporation are cooling processes

October 5, 2018 9:33 am

So, let’s compare what the IPCC report is recommending to what has been occuring in nature for millennia.
1. Trees sprout (Plant more trees)
2. Trees capture CO2 from the atmosphere and grow (direct CO2 capture from the atmosphere)
3. Trees burn (bio-energy from carbon) producing CO2 that cycles to help younger trees grow (with carbon capture).
So – trees (bio-machines that suck CO2 out of the atmosphere) are natures Carbon Unicorns: greening the planet one plant at a time!

Steven Fraser
Reply to  Neal_in_Texas
October 5, 2018 12:43 pm

Don’t forget soil development.

Krishna Gans
October 5, 2018 9:33 am

If this happens, researchers believe that carbon dioxide removal technologies, in some form, would be needed to help bring the Earth’s temperature back down.

Cut off the sun, or, at least, hope for further low sun activity – will be the best way, for sure 😀

Ralph Knapp
October 5, 2018 9:34 am

When you see the BBC and IPCC in bed together, you have to know you’re on the receiving end of a full frontal BS attack.

Brent Hargreaves
Reply to  Ralph Knapp
October 5, 2018 11:00 am

BBC: Bolshevik Brainwashing Company. Watching live TV from any source including satellite TV from overseas obliges Brits to buy a TV licence which goes directly to the Beeb and not a penny to its competitors.

R Taylor
Reply to  Brent Hargreaves
October 5, 2018 11:34 am

I see potential to adapt the title of the CBC, the Canadian Broadcorping Castration, to the BBC.

October 5, 2018 9:38 am

In this same category of ‘unicorns’ we should include migrating or installing wind and solar generation. Lots of money has been spent doing this, but is there any evidence that doing it has lowered emissions for any jurisdiction other than Denmark perhaps?

I have seen very emotional and abusive discussions on some forums, but the case for the prosecution is always that the things are spinning or receiving sun, so they are generating, so they must be lowering fossil fuel consumption.

But when the question is raised, and what’s the evidence, there is never any hard quantified answer. It would be nice to see some jurisdiction in which emissions from power generation have fallen, holding consumption constant, in line with the installation of wind and solar, but I have never seen such a properly documented case history.

Preferably in a peer reviewed journal. Because we know how important peer-review is.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  michel
October 5, 2018 10:34 am

“but the case for the prosecution is always that the things are spinning or receiving sun,”

Except at night and when the winds die down.

Reply to  michel
October 5, 2018 1:00 pm

I’m always curious about how much energy people think they make and the energy density that’s available, so I like to ask them if they think they could do some of the tasks in this video :


Generally people watch for a bit and their brow furrows.. they know their phone can be charged with a solar cell if it’s big enough, they kinda think some things in their house can be run from rooftop, but when confronted with the energy consumed in some of these tasks they see a little less certain about windmills and PVs.

October 5, 2018 9:40 am

Most of the solutions that the AGW crowd propose to meet their bizarre model driven goals are carbon unicorns. Maybe their friends in the People’s Republic of China will invent and create some great CO2 sucking machine. Though I doubt it since there is not a world market for such a machine nor a market for the CO2 the extract from the air.

Joe Banks
October 5, 2018 9:43 am

I have heard of this new technology to sequester carbon. It is untested but they are called trees. They live for hundreds, and some live even thousands of years. I have 200 of them on 2.5 acres, most are 200-300 years old. What drives me nuts about warmers is they assume everything is linear. Some technology will come along that is totally disruptive. Like thorium reactors, or the ever elusive fusion reactor. Room or near room temp super conductors. Coal and gasoline will die eventually, the same as riding a horse or wagon to work did when cars came along.

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  Joe Banks
October 5, 2018 10:55 am

Bloom Energy ( BE ),, which is now a public company has fuel cell technology converting Nat Gas/Propane on site modular electrical generation employed at numerous Fortune 500 Companies. Bought the stock at $18.75 trading at $27 today a pullback from $34—- a good time to buy.

old engineer
Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
October 5, 2018 11:44 am

Carbon Bigfoot-

Bloom Energy’s internet address is of course “bloomenergy”, not just “bloom”. It took some searching, but the Bloom fuel cell does exhaust about 0.8 pounds per KwHr of CO2 compared to about 1.3 pounds per KwHr for grid scale electric generation from traditional natural gas fueled power plants. So it does exhaust CO2. Still looks like interesting technology though.

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  old engineer
October 6, 2018 7:48 am

Sorry for the bad link that use to be their website—didn’t dounble check my bad.

richard Patton
Reply to  Carbon Bigfoot
October 6, 2018 7:34 pm

I think you mean Your link leads to a beauty products company.

Mike macray
Reply to  Joe Banks
October 6, 2018 4:26 am

…”.Early drafts said it would require machines to suck carbon out of the air…”.
I suppose vegetation doen’t qualify as machines..
Thank you Joe Banks

October 5, 2018 9:44 am

1.5 C — I still laugh, shaking my head, at the sight of that figure.

If I threaten to raise my body temperature by 1.5 C, then can I convince lots of people to start sending me money to stop it ?

I’m gonna do it. Here I go — I’m running in place, … I’ve got a hot shower going, … I feel the heat, … it’s happening, man, … I’m gonna keep going, … seriously, …. hell, I’m going for 1.75 C, … start writing those checks, … it’s gonna get really bad, if you don’t, … I’m tellin’ ya now get off your apathetic asses and send me some green, and I’ll stop this madness, … sweat droplets are really startin’ to flow now, … I’m almost melting, … I’m getting so hot that I’m thinking of changing my name to “Hothouse Bob”, … feelin’ the burn, … I need your support, … send me a check, … do it, … do it now, … I’m overheating catastrophically, … I might die, … wake up!, … don’t you READ what I’m writing here?, … are you a denier?, …. this is serious shit, … come on, write me a check, damn it, I need to prevent a 1.75 C rise, … what do I have to say to get you to see how serious this is !!!

Bryan A
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
October 5, 2018 10:06 am

You need to move the Goal Posts out a little more

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
October 5, 2018 10:20 am

1.5C doesn’t even get the Earth up the temperature it enjoyed during the Medieval Warm Period. It is cooler than the Earth has been for 80 to 90% of the last 10,000 years.

If nothing bad happened then, then nothing bad will happen now.

A few years ago the same shills were saying that we had to keep the Earth from warming by more than 2.0C. Then when it bacame obvious that there was no way the Earth was going to warm up by that much, the lowered the threshold so that they could keep the same level of panic.

Reply to  MarkW
October 5, 2018 1:58 pm

If the average brain dead citizen could just remember what B.S. they’ve been told in the last 30 years this whole thing would die out in gales of laughter.

October 5, 2018 9:55 am

The best course to stay below the 1.5C ‘limit’ is to do nothing but wait and eventually we will be worrying about how to keep the planet warm and the deception driving the obsession with CO2 will become apparent.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
October 5, 2018 10:12 am

Thats the whole point… if CO2 was capable of warming the planet we should be saying job well done ice age is abated!! Sadly…

Joel O'Bryan
October 5, 2018 10:04 am

(As sort of a physics-geeky comment…. with a political rant)

Rainbows have the longer wavelengths on the outside of the curve. Red is on top.
So shorter wavelength violet and blue wavelengths are on the inner part of the curve.
But hey, it’s a unicorn flatulence… so anything is possible when TheMagicMolecule is invoked.

With all the pseudoscientists involved in making climate doom prophecies, today we have entered a strange world.

A strange world where alarmist climate science prophecies are “incontrovertible”, but where physicists are encouraged to openly debate theories like General Relativity and the Standard Model; things that have passed every imaginable test applied, to the limits of measurement errors and uncertainty. But CAGW, that’s off limits.

A world where apparently a mere uncorroborated, evidence-less, 36 yr old memory is enough of an accusation to destroy someone with an impeccable history of character and integrity. Simply because the accuser is a woman, the accused is a man and thus is automatically guilty and must be harshly punished.

We enter that Orwellian world the Left wants to drag us into only if we do nothing and sit silent.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 5, 2018 10:14 am

Joel O’Bryan The unicorn has a high angle diffraction grating across its butt: n lambda = 2 d sin theta.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  4KX3
October 5, 2018 10:45 am

That sounds very polarizing.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 5, 2018 10:22 am

That’s only true when the woman is a liberal, and the man isn’t.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 5, 2018 12:51 pm

Joel O’Bryan

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
October 5, 2018 2:17 pm

You don’t understand that Unicorns only exist on a special imaginary plane defined as SQRT( -sfa), where sfa is Simple Feelgood Analaysis.
On this plane reality is, of course, inverted, so red is on the inside of the curve.
Do try to keep up!

October 5, 2018 10:10 am

If emissions continue at the present rate, the world would “overshoot” 1.5C by 2040.



The measly 0.5 C of warming since 1975 took us from That’s 70’s Climate Science Show, where we were on the verge of the next “ice age” to being 0.5 C shy of Earth becoming Venus…

That 70s

If this happens, researchers believe that carbon dioxide removal technologies, in some form, would be needed to help bring the Earth’s temperature back down.

Go for it!


The initiation of CO2 capture from the W.A. Parrish power plant and injection of into the West Ranch oil field very quickly boosted oil production from about 100 BOPD to 3-4,000 BOPD.

Reply to  David Middleton
October 5, 2018 12:31 pm

” boosted oil production from about 100 BOPD to 3-4,000 BOPD.

That’s amazing….

October 5, 2018 10:13 am

Its a good Sitcom.; but Mannering needs to take control and march them off to Love Island.

October 5, 2018 10:20 am

Send in the Trump to this China shop.

October 5, 2018 10:22 am

You knew CAGW was a complete hoax when Leftist political hacks chose to replace “evil” fossil fuels with the most expensive, inefficient, unreliable, intermittent and diffuse form of energy ever conceived—wind and solar…

If CAGW was a real threat, the only viable alternative energy swould be zero-CO2 emitting nuclear power; especially Thorium MSRs…

Leftists are slowly riding their carbon unicorns into the sunset.. Bu-bye…Have a nice life….

CAGW has become such a joke.

Reply to  SAMURAI
October 5, 2018 6:48 pm

Thorium MSR emit CO2. Additionally they’re the single most unclean form of reproducable nuclear energy since Castle Bravo. Thorium MSR don’t magically generate power, it creates two forms of Plutonium, three Uranium and several other fun things as well as irradiating not only the equipment around it but also the salt it resides within over time. There is no known mechanism for removing the waste fissile ash from the process and all the “safety” systems for it make no damned difference to its primary form of failure: over-fertilization irradiation. The main way the system can go wrong is by blowing up its own stockpile of fertile material in the feed system.

Its about as safe as using fluorine gas as an oxidizer to make coal fired plants smaller.

Michael Cox
Reply to  prjindigo
October 5, 2018 9:20 pm

Lol! I had a boss who wanted us to store large volumes of F2 gas, and I explained to him the dangers involved (including arguing with the fire department about not putting a sprinkler over the molten salt bed F reactor and tank. Can you say Bhopal? They insisted.). He said, “ if what you’re saying is true, the whole world would have burned up in a big fluorine fire!” And I said, “It did! That’s where the rocks come from!”

We kept several thousand liters of F2 gas in the middle of the heavily populated Silicon Valley for nearly a year. Fortunately, no significant accidents… I shudder. When it was brought up again a few years later, I threatened to quit.

Bruce Cobb
October 5, 2018 10:39 am

Fairy tale solutions to a fairy tale problem. That’s all they’ve got.

Matthew R Epp
October 5, 2018 10:51 am

Machines the sick CO2 out of the air.

Didn’t God/ Gaia/ nature already design such a machine? I believe it’s even solar powered, just add water.

Comes in a multitude of sizes and styles and can be/ is customized for all types of temperature and moisture extremes.

October 5, 2018 11:45 am

Oh no, the simple question is:

Who is going a pay for all this new silliness?

But whatever these guys can get is still considered as better than nothing, worth a try, I guess!
Don’t think any body, within this groups really care about the value or any actual value there, only about how much they can still get, by keep going with their scare tactics….regardless.


October 5, 2018 11:48 am

Climate Unicorns, or more precisely Climate fantasies by the climate delusional:

“Early drafts said it would require machines to suck carbon out of the air.”

Suck CO₂ from the atmosphere.
Starting with Earth’s troposphere, that is an astounding amount of atmosphere to process, even minimally.

Consider vacuum cleaners, vacuum cleaners as larger or larger than the largest wind turbines.
If they can’t make them large enough, them must make an immense amount of these machines.

Machines that use immense amounts of energy producing, liquid or frozen CO₂; machines that also emit tremendous noise, and doubtlessly increase the heat content of the air.

This could become a turing test for aspirants to government positions.
If they love this idea, they get sent instead to physical trade tech schools to learn useful trades like hairdressing or sewage plant worker.

Larry Hamlin
October 5, 2018 11:57 am

The climate models that are used to fabricate the 1.5 or 2.0 degrees C claims are total crap. These models are acknowledged by the UN IPCC as flawed and failed and using the models garbage output for establishing global energy and climate policy is absurd.

October 5, 2018 12:01 pm

Perhaps someone should frame the question just a little differently. Since 97% of carbon emissions are natural and nature absorbs all of this plus about half of the emissions from fossil fuel combustion, all that needs to be done is to increase natural carbon sequestration from 98.5 to 100%. Since the earth is 70% water and much of the tropics are covered with water, look at sequestering in the ocean to form carbonate rocks. I suspect this would not really be all that hard. The better question to ask though, is it really necessary?

Reply to  Sean
October 5, 2018 6:50 pm

Maybe if we un-destroy 50% of the natural environment the problem will go away.

Harry Passfield
October 5, 2018 12:06 pm

How the hell are the alarmists going to explain SC24 over the next 30 years (which they say equals climate) when the temp is going to dive?

michael hart
October 5, 2018 12:25 pm

The cartoon got it absolutely right in terms of the bodily orifice of the BBC unicorn from which the rainbow was being ejaculated.

But Matt McGrath is still a BBC global-warming apprentice beside the now-departed Richard Black and incumbents Harrabin and Shukman. They have some other minions like Emily whatsherface and even a few others who seem like they might occasionally want to reportreal science instead of “environment”. I think Shukman and Harrabin are ultimately most responsible for the dirty work of reporting global warming at the BBC. Of course they wouldn’t have a job there at all if the corruption didn’t go much higher at the BBC, but the bigger name presenters always wheel these people on when they want cover for telling another outrageous tale from the crypt.

Richard M
October 5, 2018 12:45 pm

Countries with large farm economies might consider this kind of process an attack on their economies. Russia, China, the US, etc. could consider such actions and act of war.

China especially has a lot of people to feed. They might get a bit upset.

Steven Fraser
October 5, 2018 12:47 pm

Isn’t ‘Immobile’ oil part of Exxon now?

October 5, 2018 1:03 pm

Unicorn farts cause global warming. 97% of climate scientists agree. The science is settled.

Zig Zag Wanderer
October 5, 2018 1:33 pm

Early drafts said it would require machines to suck carbon out of the air.

What? You mean like plants? That’s what they do! And they typically provide a resource we can use at the same time.

Why reinvent something even much more fundamental than the wheel?

October 5, 2018 2:02 pm

Love the unicorn. Can you get it on a tea Shirt?

October 5, 2018 2:02 pm

I have this idea for carbon sequestration.
Seed the oceans with millions of minute particles of some inert substance that floats close to the surface. These will act as nuclei for the growth of algae, which absorb CO2.
Of course plankton will ingest some particles to digest the algae, but the particles are inert so are excreted without harm to the plancton. The inert particles will now have a layer of fertiliser to promote more algae growth.
Of course the extra plankton will lead to an increase of productive fisheries, but I am sure mankind can survive all the extra food available.

Reply to  seeker
October 5, 2018 5:31 pm

Seed the oceans with millions of minute particles of some inert substance that floats close to the surface. These will act as nuclei for the growth of algae, which absorb CO2.

Millions of minute particles of some inert substance like, say, disintegrating plastic?

October 5, 2018 4:59 pm

Its very simple. They should just reduce the temperature sensitivity figures they use in their models to more realistic values, ie less than 1.0 and Voila, the problem disappears.

Tom Abbott
October 5, 2018 5:50 pm

I bet none of the solutions to lowering CO2 offered in the new IPCC report have anything to do with telling China and India to limit their CO2 production.

How does the IPCC square its doomsday rhetoric about how CO2 is pushing the Earth over a tipping point in the near future, while it allows China and India unlimited increases to their CO2 production until the year 2030?

The IPCC’s rhetoric says “crisis”, but it’s actions say “no problem”.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
October 5, 2018 6:59 pm

There’s no money in telling the Chinese Communist party what to do, they’re authoritarian, they don’t tolerate dishonest greenie ngo upstarts pushing daft lies to gain political influence and power, to steal state of money via false-pretenses.

Dry hole.

So it’s up to you to pay for saving the planet.

Thank you for your sacrifice on the alter of stupidity.

October 6, 2018 12:30 am

It’s very naughty the way the IPCC and its cronies have all started touting the new 1.5 degree ‘limit’ instead of the old 2. It is probably because they have realised that ECS is a lot lower than they thought and the ‘global temperature’ isn’t rising anywhere near as fast as they had hoped it would.

However, they’re skating on thin ice of their own making because according to the (fraudulently adjusted) temperature data we’ve already had 1 degree. Does anyone SERIOUSLY think another half a degree (or even a full degree, for that matter) would be anything but net beneficial?! More global greening, anyone..?

These climate cranks are busy painting themselves into a corner, and it will be a happy day when they are finally hoist by their own petard…

Scouser in AZ
Reply to  Dreadnought
October 6, 2018 12:14 pm

They also seemed to have recently coined the new phrase “guard rail” at 1.5C

Must be in the talking points memo I don’t get…:^)

Peta of Newark
October 6, 2018 5:07 am

I take issue with this, from the BBC article:

Previous research calculated an area twice the size of India would be needed to help the world stay under 2C of warming this century.

Presently, The World uses 21,000TWh of electricity per year
I make that= 21 Billion MegaWatt hours

By example, Drax admitted that, when burning wood and for every megawatt hour they produce, they release 900kg of CO2
So I get 19 Billion tonnes of CO2 coming from wood burning to provide all the world’s electricity.

As we’ve learned before, one acre of fast growing Spruce consumes 5 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Hence the world will need (19/5) = 3.8 billion acres of Spruce. Per year.

As the wiki tells us, the are of India is 0.8 billion acres
Hence it will need 4.6 Indias ANNUALLY
To supply the present demand for *just* electricity

Do we put those trees on a 30 year rotation?
= a place 140 times the size of India
These people have completely lost their minds.
And I know why.
Carbohydrate food

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