Emissions vs concentrations

A lot of people seem able to spend a great deal of time on the greenhouse issue and still miss the most basic features of it.

Greg Pollowitz, whom I highlighted earlier as a real gentleman, is every bit as much a scholar:

The Cancun deal commits all countries to keeping temperature rise below 2C (3.6F) by reducing emissions. Rich countries have agreed to consider an extension of the Kyoto Protocol while poor countries will sign up to emission cuts for the first time. There are also a series of key decisions on setting up a green fund to help poor countries cope with climate change and halting deforestation.

Well, this seems doable, at least according to this new NASA model.

Doubled CO2 means just 1.64°C warming

So a country can double its CO2 emissions and satisfy the Cancun accord? Historic!

Um, no. At least not the way you think.


  1. "I think you're going to have to apologize to Judith Curry one again. I think she's jumped two sharks this time."Wow. Just wow.OK, she did devote one day to debunking decades of work by many scientists, so she's only claiming to be Einstein, rather than an idiot savant …

  2. I've only seen coverage citing Lewis Page's article about this, so far, and that one seems to be passed around mainly in "skeptic" circles. Is there any coverage not based on The Register? After all, Lewis Page has done an artful job in hiding the low climate sensitivity of the underlying GCM. He only quotes the 1.64°C number – without ever mentioning either the magnitude of the cooling effect or the comparison value of 1.94°C – but does stress that over land you go a further cooling of 0.3°C. And yes, as others before him Pollowitz misses the point.

  3. Welcome to the "stock vs. flow" problem the peak oil camp has been fighting for a long time.(Briefly: People assume that if you have "a lot" of oil reserves then you're OK. High reserves are necessary but not sufficient for OK-ness, of course, since we have to be able to extract oil from those reserves "fast enough" to prevent high prices — as in much higher than today's price — and the economic chaos that would ensue.)

  4. In case you are wondering where the 1.64°C per doubling of CO2 comes from, here's the NASA press release and the abstract at AGU. Bounoua et.al. found a cooling effect of their plant model of 0.3°C globally (0.6°C over land) in a model, that shows a global warming of 1.94°C for doubled CO2, i.e. the model itself is at the low end of the IPPC range for climate sensitivity.

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