More noise on the climate front this morning.
Somehow Mark Lynas has been roped into a fuss about IPCC by Steve McIntyre. Let me let everyone in on the Rule of McIntyre: no matter what he says, there is vastly less to it than he makes out.
It is true that Pachauri wrote a half-hearted introduction to a Greenpeace position paper in 2008:
and it’s true that the Greenpeace scenario, claiming a possibility of nearly 80% renewables by 2050, was included among the scenarios in a recent IPCC report. From the Summary for PolicyMakers:
“More than half of the scenarios show a contribution from RE [renewable energy sources] in excess of a 17% share of primary energy supply in 2030 rising to more than 27% in 2050. The scenarios with the highest RE shares reach approximately 43% in 2030 and 77% in 2050. [10.2, 10.3]”
There also appears to have been an over-optimistic press release somewhere, which I haven’t seen. McIntyre concludes not just with the arguable:
The public and policy-makers are starving for independent and authoritative analysis of precisely how much weight can be placed on renewables in the energy future. It expects more from IPCC WG3 than a karaoke version of Greenpeace scenario.
It is totally unacceptable that IPCC should have had a Greenpeace employee as a Lead Author of the critical Chapter 10, that the Greenpeace employee, as an IPCC Lead Author, should (like Michael Mann and Keith Briffa in comparable situations) have been responsible for assessing his own work and that, with such inadequate and non-independent ‘due diligence’, IPCC should have featured the Greenpeace scenario in its press release on renewables.
but no less than
Everyone in IPCC WG3 should be terminated and, if the institution is to continue, it should be re-structured from scratch.
Now, I agree with Lynas that WG 2 and WG 3 are problematic and inauspicious company for the remarkable effort that the WG 1 provides. And press releases for scientific output just really ought to stop altogether. On the other hand, whether Greenpeace itself is in some sense a disreputable outfit as a purveyor of research seems a matter of innuendo rather than established fact to me.
But there is really no sign in any of this that the report or the SPM are tainted or in any way inappropriate.
I’ll admit, WUWT-guy Charles-the-Moderator makes an interesting and amusing point:
Contest, I’ll get the ball rolling.
1. We could have a self-sufficient Lunar colony by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.
2. Fusion power could generate all the energy the world needs by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.
3. AIDS, All Cancers, all infectious disease, and aging could be cured by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.
4. Proof of the existence of God could be established by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.
5. Proof of the nonexistence of God could be established by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.
Yes, of course. The first two are, most likely, literally true. And the point is, we could get to 100% renewables by 2050 if we decided to. The “cost” is what confuses matters. It seems to me that we don’t know how to think on these time scales.
I share Lynas’ dismay at the Fukushima disaster’s political implications for our future. But to respond by parroting McIntyre is no help.
An even more ludicrous teapot-tempest is the recent publication of speculation that the sun is going into a new Maunder-like minimum. The prospect is being met with nothing short of glee, as if the sun going dim refutes the greenhouse effect somehow.
Of course, the forcing from a dim sun on historical scales is pretty small beer compared to the anthropogenic greenhouse forcing; it’s unlikely that this will have any bearing on our climate trajectory. But even if nature decides to complicate our lives with a solar dimming far more severe than anything for which evidence exists, it will only make matters messier.
There is no cancelling out anthropogenic forcing. There is only avoiding it or removing it. Geoengineering by the sun will no more save us than other global-scale geoengineering. There is nothing to celebrate in this news except the opportunity for shallow sarcasm.
All of this is just distraction and posturing. Anything to avoid grappling with the problem, I suppose. Mark Lynas, everybody, please keep your eye on the ball. Distraction is the name of their game.
Image: logo of the Red Herring coffeehouse, Urbana IL