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The U.N.'s Doomsday Climate Clock
By: The Editorial Board
Maybe predicting the apocalypse isn't the best political strategy.
A press conference of the 48th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is held in South Korea’s western port city of Incheon, Oct. 8.PHOTO: WANG JINGQIANG/ZUMA PRESS
Have we reached peak alarmism on climate change? The question occurs after the muted reaction last week to the latest forecast from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In case you hadn’t heard we’re all doomed, yet the world mostly yawned. This is less complacency than creeping scientific and political realism.
The U.N. panel says the apocalypse is nigh—literally. According to its calculations, global carbon emissions must fall 45% by 2030—twice as much as its earlier forecasts—and the world must wean itself entirely off fossil fuels over three decades to prevent a climate catastrophe that will include underwater coastlines and widespread drought and disease.
These reductions are “possible within the laws of chemistry and physics,” said the report’s co-author Jim Skea, and that’s a relief. But he added: “Doing so would require unprecedented changes,” and the report said some methods “are at different stages of development and some are more conceptual than others, as they have not been tested at scale.”
Also not tested over time are the panel’s climate models, which are sensitive to forecasts of population growth, ocean currents and radiative forcing, among myriad scientific variables that are not well understood. The IPCC’s forecasts keep changing because climate models are still in an early stage of development.
Amid the Paris climate conclave of 2015 the IPCC predicted that two degrees of warming over pre-industrial levels would prevent Armageddon. Now after further study the IPCC has lowered its safety line to 1.5 degrees.
According to the IPCC, two degrees of warming would destroy all coral reefs while a 1.5 degree temperature increase would wipe out around 90%. About 80 million people could be affected by rising sea levels if temperatures rise by two degrees versus 70 million with 1.5 degrees of warming. Some 350 million city dwellers could experience a water shortage if temperatures increase by 1.5 degrees and 411 million if they rise by two.
In other words, humanity is doomed under the IPCC’s models no matter what we do. Nonetheless, the IPCC is urging immediate, drastic and large-scale economic changes that would affect everything from the kinds of cars people drive to foods they eat. Millions of acres of farmland would have to be converted into forests or plastered over with solar panels.
Some $2.4 trillion in annual investment in climate mitigation and adaptation—about 2.5% of world GDP—would also be needed over the next two decades. Yet as economist Bjorn Lomborg noted in these pages last week, the IPCC estimated a few years ago that unmitigated global warming in 60 years would cost between 0.2% and 2% annually of world GDP. So we’re supposed to spend more as a share of GDP now than the problem will cost in 60 years when the world would have far more resources to cope with it?
Perhaps the sheer implausibility of these remedies helps to explain why the reaction to the U.N. report was so muted. Why turn the entire global economic system upside down if we’re all doomed anyway?
The IPCC also recommends a carbon tax to spur more investment in renewables and embryonic and expensive technologies to capture carbon from the atmosphere. On cue, Exxon Mobil last week pledged $1 million as political penance to promote a carbon tax, which the company knows would be passed onto consumers.
A carbon tax is in theory the best way to combat the climate externalities of fossil fuels. And we might support a carbon levy if it were offset by the elimination of other taxes—such as the income tax. But the left wants a carbon tax in addition to all current taxes to control more of the private economy.
This explains the frequent political backlash to carbon taxes where they’ve been tried. After Australia’s Labor Party implemented a $23 per ton carbon tax in 2012, conservatives rode to power on a campaign of repeal as electricity and gasoline prices soared. Canadian provincial governments including Alberta’s New Democratic Party Premier Rachel Notley are protesting Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax proposal.
Not that these carbon taxes would make an iota of a difference according to the IPCC’s models. Most carbon taxes are around $20 per ton. Yet the panel estimates a global carbon price of between $135 to $5,500 per ton—which would increase the cost of gas by between $1.20 to $49 per gallon—would be required to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Europe is also proving the limits of its carbon sacrifices, as renewables fail to meet expectations and even the green believers in Germany increase their use of coal.
President Trump has been chastised far and wide for withdrawing from the Paris climate pact. But U.S. carbon emissions have declined by 14% since 2005 thanks to the boom in shale fracking as cheap natural gas has replaced coal as the top fuel source for electricity generation. This is the result of market forces and private innovation, not the political control of global investment and consumption that the U.N. says is necessary.
If the U.N.’s catastrophists are right, then the only real salvation will come from technological breakthroughs such as better batteries or carbon capture or nuclear power. Meantime, governments should focus on growing their economies and bolstering living standards so we can better afford to cope with whatever challenge the world brings.
By: Carter Haydu Article was originally published on Nov 24, 2015 by the Daily Oil Bulletin and can be found here: http://www.dailyoilbulletin.com/article/2015/11/24/lengthy-seismic-acquisition-downturn-reduces-numbe/ The number of seismic acquisition crews working in Western Canada for the 2015-16 season will be drastically reduced from even a couple of years ago, as the smaller companies are essentially gone and those medium-to-large companies remaining are grappling with the impact of a multi-year downturn for the sector. “In general, we predict a softer winter than last year, and last year was bad,” Mike Doyle , president of the Canadian Association of Geophysical Contractors (CAGC), told the Bulletin . He said the season prior to Alberta’s single regulator implementation in November 2013, there were about 30 to 35 seismic crews in Western Canada. Due to timing of regulation, there were around 22 to 25 crews in Q1 2014. With the drop in oil prices and market unc
Written By: Doug Iverson P. Geoph, Consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org Published: The CSEG Recorder - June Edition (online) CAGC represents the business interests of the seismic industry within Canada – cagc.ca. This column represents the authors’ perspectives on the seismic business. There have been important updates to the Alberta Exploration Regulation and the associated Exploration Directive that will allow better subsurface imaging on most new seismic acquisition programs and repeat 4D projects. The major change is described ‘briefly’ in the fourth last paragraph of this article. This Exploration Directive update is significant because it is the first time since 2009 that any of the 26 Directives have been reviewed, stakeholders engaged, and the Section rewritten and ultimately approved. The industry had been working since 2010 on numerous Directive improvements and finally, in April 2022, changes to 13 of the 26 Directives finally came into effect. So why did it take twelve
Written By: Henry Lyatsky “Though we called your friend from his bed this night, he could not speak for you, For the race is run by one and one and never by two and two.” Rudyard Kipling (“Tomlinson”) Want to live? Hustle! No downer is more enervating than being ignored, left out, discarded. You need clients; your start-up needs investors. Your bills need paying; your girlfriend has run off with your employed former buddy. Your college degree, supposedly a ticket to a shining life, is worthless. You are surrounded everywhere by people, all hustle and bustle, not one of whom even seems to notice that you happen to inhabit this world with them. You are isolated, confused, dispirited, caught in an Auden poem. The world has no need of yet another geophysicist, engineer, geologist, technician. You’ve barely started, you fancy yourself something special, and you’re dead-end surplus. The mid-life crisis