Study rips ‘unrealistic, extreme scenario’ climate models – ‘Distorting the view of our climate future: The misuse and abuse of climate pathways and scenarios’


By: - Climate DepotFebruary 13, 2021 4:38 PM

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2214629620304655?dgcid=author&s=09

Energy Research & Social Science
Volume 72 – February 2021, 101890

RogerPielkeJr.a JustinRitchieb

a
University of Colorado Boulder, United States
b
University of British Columbia, Canada

Abstract

Climate science research and assessments under the umbrella of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have misused scenarios for more than a decade. Symptoms of misuse have included the treatment of an unrealistic, extreme scenario as the world’s most likely future in the absence of climate policy and the illogical comparison of climate projections across inconsistent global development trajectories.

Reasons why such misuse arose include (a) competing demands for scenarios from users in diverse academic disciplines that ultimately conflated exploratory and policy relevant pathways,

(b) the evolving role of the IPCC – which extended its mandate in a way that creates an inter-relationship between literature assessment and literature coordination,

(c) unforeseen consequences of employing a temporary approach to scenario development,

(d) maintaining research practices that normalize careless use of scenarios, and

(e) the inherent complexity and technicality of scenarios in model-based research and in support of policy. Consequently, much of the climate research community is presently off-track from scientific coherence and policy-relevance. Attempts to address scenario misuse within the community have thus far not worked. The result has been the widespread production of myopic or misleading perspectives on future climate change and climate policy.

Until reform is implemented, we can expect the production of such perspectives to continue, threatening the overall credibility of the IPCC and associated climate research. However, because many aspects of climate change discourse are contingent on scenarios, there is considerable momentum that will make such a course correction difficult and contested – even as efforts to improve scenarios have informed research that will be included in the IPCC 6th Assessment.

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‘Ridiculous Climate Prophecy’: How the UN & National Climate Assessment used ‘fairy tail’ extreme climate models to scare the public

Donna Laframboise: “RCP8.5, I think of it as Ridiculous Climate Prophecy” – “Fairy tales to describe how humans might impact the climate by the year 2100.”

It can’t become reality, they point out, unless humanity burns five times more coal than we currently do, “an amount larger than some estimates of recoverable coal reserves.” Whenever RCP8.5 gets mentioned, they say, it should be clearly labelled as an “unlikely worst case.”

Incredibly, that ‘major scientific report’ (National Climate Assessment) takes RCP8.5 seriously. Calling it a “core scenario,” page 6 of the report presents it as a realistic possibility rather than a farfetched hallucination:

“RCP8.5 is generally associated with higher population growth, less technological innovation, and higher carbon intensity of the global energy mix.”

This means the report is junk. No matter how many federal agencies were involved in its creation. But the New York Times didn’t tell readers that.