Report: Climate change 'worst-case scenario' ruled out

The most cataclysmic scenarios for global warming have been ruled out, according to a new report from the University of British Columbia. But the report also warns that the climate will still destabilize, wreaking havoc on the planet.

According to the report, it all comes down to a reduction in the use of coal.


The researchers contend that current goals of reducing coal, oil[,] and gas consumption may be closer than we think, thus allowing us to set the bar even higher in our efforts to reduce pollution.  The bad news is that this is good news in the way a destabilizing climate-shift is preferable to planetary extinction: [w]e are still in a lot of trouble.  Nevertheless, if the study is verified by other scientists and catches a wave into the realm of policy[-]makers, it could help accelerate initiatives to arrest global warming.

The basic issue has to do with coal.  Quite simply, the more we burn, the faster we destroy the atmosphere. 

"Destroy the atmosphere"?  Really?  Climate change will not "destroy" anything.  It is a phenomenon that could change the atmosphere, not destroy it.

The author of this nonsense is Eric Roston, Bloomberg's go-to guy on climate change.  Roston makes it sound as if one day, we'll be gasping for air as our atmosphere is annihilated by global warming.  But this is the quality of "reporting" on climate change, which is why you literally cannot believe anything you read.

The darkest scenario assumes much more coal[-]burning will take place in this century than is likely to happen, according to the study's authors.  Their first paper, published in May, made it seem [as if] the only people who see more coal use than the Trump administration are climate-scenario designers.  For example, the most extreme worst-case storyline assumes that by 2100 coal would grow to 94 percent of the world energy supply.  In 2015, that figure was about 28 percent.

The new work, published this week in Environmental Research Letters, shows just how much all that phantom coal may be distorting our picture of what the future may look like.  It casts "doubt on whether this outlook is still valid," the researchers write.

The worst-case scenario is one of four siblings.  Their names, from bad to worst, are RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0[,] and RCP8.5.  They were introduced in 2011 as a way for researchers running different climate-economic models to do comparable studies regarding how high greenhouse gas concentrations might rise by 2100.

These four storylines range from a 2100 in which aggressive global climate policy leads to low warming[ ]to one in which humanity digs up and burns anything that'll catch fire.

One big problem with the amount of coal[-]burning assumed by RCP8.5 is that there's probably not enough extractable coal to make the scenario possible.  "We don't think it's going to happen," said Justin Ritchie, lead author of the University of British Columbia study and a Ph.D. candidate.  "That's extremely unlikely and also inconsistent with every year since the late 19th century."

Unstated in the article is that most previous work on climate change estimates has been based on these worst-case scenarios and is therefore bogus.  While government policies have contributed to a drop in coal use around the world, the real culprit in the world using less coal than previously estimated is the free market.

There is a glut of natural gas at the moment, the result of the wild success for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  A major byproduct of oil shale drilling is stupendous amounts of natural gas.  Natural gas burns much cleaner than coal at the present time, although the coal industry is making great strides in reducing the amount of CO2 emitted when burning coal.  But with natural gas being dirt cheap, the market for coal has correspondingly shrunk. 

Will we hear that this new report debunks global warming hysterics like Al Gore?  Will the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) adopt the report?  You and I both know that it won't matter.  So many bureaucrats, politicians, NGOs, and activists have a lot invested in the catastrophic global warming scenario.  They won't let go of it without a fight. 

Still, it's nice to know that the Earth will still be around fifty years after I am dust.

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