back to article Global warming much less serious than thought - new science

Climate scientists funded by the US government have announced new research in which they have established that the various doomsday global warming scenarios are in fact extremely unlikely to occur, and that the scenarios considered likeliest - and used for planning by the world's governments - are overly pessimistic. The new …


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  1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge


    But...but.... I thought it was all settled?

    This was going to be the worst thing to happen since the planet cooled. Billions of people were going to fry, and the human race (and every other creature on the planet) were going to go extinct.

    That was why we were paying these scientists and their associated organisations billions of pounds a year to mitigate the problem.

    Can we have our money back?

    1. A. Lloyd Flanagan


      Billions of pounds? Really? I haven't found a source for England's budget for meteorology, but the entire Department of Health received 98.7 billion pounds in 2008-9.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      billions of pounds?

      Total EPSRC budget for 08/09 was £815 million.

      The EPSRC might not be the only source of UK funding for climate science, but mostly spends its money on other sorts of Engineering and Physical Sciences research (but not enough on me, naturally).

    3. Adam-the-Kiwi

      re: thought it was all settled

      The science is pretty settled - that doesn't mean that new models won't apply that science and be published with new results (often not much different from the old results) on a regular basis. Ultimately, that is what this paper is - a new model run with the model extended at little more than past ones have been.

      I note, though, that Lewis' long-held hatred of models as used in climate science seems to have been suspended for this particular paper. The scientific scepticism, which should be applied to all new results and is a very healthy thing, seems to be a bit selective here at El Reg.

      Ultimately, if this model does further refine the science (and I've not yet read the paper in full nor seen any responses from the authors' peers), it provides excellent news. The caveat, as with all these papers, though, is that this is only one modelling paper among many on this topic.

  2. nemenator

    Glacially slow Peer Review

    Science magazine state they received the paper in January. No Tweets from Richard Black at the BBC yet.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poorly written

    Poorly written and no critical analysis of the present paper with previous findings by the IPCC. This article author requires greater knowledge of subject matter before attempting to discuss such critical finding.

    In addition, using boffinry to describe one of the top 5 international peer-reviewed journals is a complete and utter joke.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: boffinry

      Are you new here?

    2. Steve 151


      I take it you don't read Mr Page's stuff all that often?

      I seem to recall 'Boffinry' is actually rather complimentary in Lewis-speak

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Boffinry

        Indeed, boffinry is a real word, and (like boffin, egghead et al) is used in an endearing manner. Someone must be new here!

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          This is clearly not the result the US Govt was seeking. Sadly for people like yourself, sometimes honest scientists release honest papers.

    3. Goat Jam

      The IPCC?

      Now there's an honest to goodness bastion of integrity, not.

      The IPCC is about as "Independent" as the East German FDR was "Democratic".

      Rather they are packed to the brim full of environmental activists after they ejected the majority of scientists for not getting on board with the groupthink that pervades the place.

      1. Arthur Dent

        @Goat Jam

        "The East German FDR" ?????????

        The FDR was (from 1949 to 1990) the WEST German Federal Republic, and the German Federal Republic is now the whole united Germany.

        If you really think that the FDR was teh East German DDR then your dislike of the IPCC suggests that teh IPCC may not be quite as incompetent as I previously thought.

        1. Goat Jam


          I knew it as the GDR, it was a simple slip of the finger.

  4. Richard Wharram

    It's all probabilities.

    Some otherwise sensible scientist was on Radio 4 last night talking about how to discuss risks with the public so that they can relate to them. On every other topic he sensibly discussed the probability and the impact. On climate change he immediately veered off onto 'the consensus'. Grrrr.

    I do believe that human activities are causing some degree of warming even though I'm not a carbon-cultist. It just infuriates me that most scientists cannot discuss climate change in the way they would any other science. Maybe people wouldn't be so sceptical if everyone agreed that climate change could be discussed just the same as anything else.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Consensus is how science is done.

      Your wife is pregnant - you go to a trained midwife or gynecologist, they have the best knowledge of the subject, based on consensus. You don't use an oncologist.

      You get cancer - you go to an oncologist, he/she will treat you based on the best consensus knowledge of the subject. You don't use a midwife who knows an oncologist.

      You need to go somewhere in an aeroplane, that plane will have been designed based on consensus in engineering science.

      You want to know about the climate - what do you do? Ask about the consensus? Or some guys who have specialist knowledge in another field who reckon they know about climate?

      As caveats: The media don't help here most of what is published is (rightly) simplified because the subject is so incredibly complicated. This can result in the man on the street thinking they know a lot more about a subject than they do.

      1. Richard Wharram

        The point...

        You missed it.

        My point was the he was perfectly willing to discuss the probabilities of various outcomes in relation to other topics but not in relation to climate change. The 'consensus' blurb is used as a wall.

        Actual climate science has all this data in. They calculate the probabilities of different rises at different periods. For some reason though nobody feels that this information can be trusted to the general public. They instead have to bleat about the consensus to stop people from becoming sceptics.

        My contention is that people can see them doing this quite easily and it actually fuels scepticism.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You want the info?

          You want the information?

          It's (pretty much) all on the internet. NASA is a good archive, there are also many others. The trouble is that most people are happy to hide behind "It's not available" "They say we can't be trusted with it", when in actual fact they just want to fuel speculation, rather than bother to do anything about it.

          1. Richard Wharram

            Point again ?

            I specifically said the information WAS available and that I believe at least some man-made global warming is definately occuring. However, that doesn't change the fact the the message we are bombarded with is stripped of this information. We are presented, in the public space, with climate-porn instead of anything that resembles the actual science. This just fuels scepticism.

            1. Adrian Midgley 1

              Public space == www

              I agree much of the media commentary is poorly based but this in no way stops any of us from commenting on the data and the recipes which are in a spacemore public than any

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        @Anon at 12:31

        Funny how you use the medical profession as inspiration as consensus. If I go to the local practitioner then they'll examine me according to medical consensus, then give me a vague description of what might be wrong with me, although without the tests necessary to prove it, and then he'll prescribe some completely useless medicine plied by the pharmaceutical industry and adopted, by consensus, in order to placate my *need* for some action.

        Seems to fit the Scientific Community, Politicians and Public exactly.

        The only way I (the man on the street) is ever likely to come across the truth is if I fry on the street, drown by impending flood, OR nothing happens and I survive. Either way, non of the Politicians, Scientists or Public will ever admit they were wrong.

        Scientists, Politicians, Activists are all making my head hurt. Don't trust any of them.


        Man on the street.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC 1454

          I also used engineering as an example - typical conspiracist - ignore the inconvenient bit!

          Also - I assume you're from the US because in the UK the medicines that are prescribed on the NHS as controlled by consensus of NICE the organisation who evaluate drugs.

          After that you wander off into paranoia - You should really try trusting people, the world isn't a conspiracy against you. Many people do admit they're wrong, especially in science, some don't but that's human nature.

      3. btrower

        Reach for your wallet.

        "Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had." -- Michael Crichton

        It is a false comparison to equate the corrupt world of the barely emerged non-scientific political discipline of 'climate science' with established disciplines. It is true that Biologists almost universally support the Theory of Evolution and that there is a genuine, bona-fide, fact based consensus that Evolution is fundamentally correct. It is generally *NOT* true that they bully non-believers with this 'consensus', even though Evolution, as Ashley Montague has said, is "the most thoroughly authenticated fact in the whole history of science". We present our evidence and logical arguments over and over again ... because we have them to present. See here for an overview:

        The Theory of Evolution is not correct because there is a consensus; there is a consensus because it is (for this discussion) correct. Unlike the religion of 'Climate Science', Biology actually does have overwhelming evidence, a bona-fide consensus about fundamentals (some things upon which even creationists agree), a logical argument you can follow and tidy integration with the rest of the maths and sciences. If you look at established disciplines like Math, Physics, Chemistry and Biology they abound with people eager to explain. They want you to stop and look. By way of contrast, you are always being told by climate alarmists to move along. "Nothing to see here". "Trust us, we're scientists".

        Skeptics keep saying, "wait, let's look". They keep saying "show us". They keep pointing out how the climate religion fails to integrate with both the body of scientific thought (hint 'climate science' is not part of that) and common sense (follow your own common sense on that). Alarmists keep saying they do not want to talk any more about 'settled science'. They keep saying "nothing to see here" and "move along". They will not present evidence and the more you ask for it the more hysterical they become.

        The 'hockey stick' graph (the original, not the new one they switched out at Wikipedia) does not pass the 'smell test' for someone with a real background in science. It nullified the well established MWP and the LIA using arbitrary (and proven incorrect) data manipulation. It looked uncharacteristic and suspicious and it was. When called to task, they quietly swept that under the rug, modified their methods and the MWP and LIA magically re-appeared. Quel surprise. Of course, when a discussion about the fundamental dishonesty of the hockey stick comes up they revel in presenting a different graph and pointing out how they were correct all along. However many layers they put on this onion, whenever you peel those layers back, you always find corruption.

        There is a *TON* of lipstick on 'Climate Science'. It surprisingly gets a lot of dates; but it is still a pig.

        It is highly instructive to look at the old and new batches of 'Climategate' email. You will see the fatal corruption and dishonesty that lies at the heart of the (rather small) 'Climate Science' cabal. They are so bad, that they have difficulty spinning it. In many instances, they honestly cannot see they are doing anything wrong. For them, the ends justify the means; even though the desirability of the ends is uncertain at best.

        Respectable scientists do not have to depend upon your trust and they do not have to pretend that the political and social enterprise of organized establishment science is somehow magical and beyond inspection or reproach. Ask a Biologist, Chemist, Physicist for proof, they will show it to you. When it comes to Mathematicians, the proof itself is what they have to show. Ask a 'Climate Scientist' for proof and what you get is an irritating lesson in sophistry. I wanted to itemize the logical fallacies they indulge in, but there are just too many. The ill-named 'climate science' is an absolute 'tour-de-force' in dishonest argument.

        Here is how 'consensus' works in the topsy-turvy world of 'Climate Science':

        Mr. Mann called upon his colleagues to try and put Climate Research out of business. "Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal," he wrote in one of the emails. "We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board."

        After Messrs. Jones and Mann threatened a boycott of publications and reviews, half the editorial board of Climate Research resigned. People who didn't toe Messrs. Wigley, Mann and Jones's line began to experience increasing difficulty in publishing their results.

        This happened to me and to the University of Alabama's Roy Spencer, who also hypothesized that global warming is likely to be modest. Others surely stopped trying, tiring of summary rejections of good work by editors scared of the mob. Sallie Baliunas, for example, has disappeared from the scientific scene.

        GRL is a very popular refereed journal. Mr. Wigley was concerned that one of the editors was "in the skeptics camp." He emailed Michael Mann to say that "if we can find documentary evidence of this, we could go through official . . . channels to get him ousted."

        Mr. Mann wrote to Mr. Wigley on Nov. 20, 2005 that "It's one thing to lose 'Climate Research.' We can't afford to lose GRL." In this context, "losing" obviously means the publication of anything that they did not approve of on global warming.

        Soon the suspect editor, Yale's James Saiers, was gone. Mr. Mann wrote to the CRU's Phil Jones that "the GRL leak may have been plugged up now w/ new editorial leadership there."

        From: "How to Manufacture a Climate Consensus" by PATRICK J. MICHAELS

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          What a long post.

          You do yourself a disservice by referring to climate science as a religion while regurgitating all of the clinches of a climate change denier.

          This is a short post.

          1. btrower

            How grotesque. You trot out boilerplate alarmist misdirection by way of rebuttal to a reasonably substantive original post. Your post is straight out of the Church of Climatology playbook. Besides having difficulty typing and poor reading comprehension, climateers and their fanboys are seriously irony impaired.

            I am very much enjoying a frisson of delicious schadenfreude watching the alarmists hang themselves with their own words as they are cheered on by their vexatiously illiterate acolytes. I feel all tingly.

            I will stop typing now, before your lips fail you from reading too much.

    2. Ant Evans


      It's not all probabilities, because the climate is a sample of one.

      We get to run the models as often as we like. History runs once.

      That's why the precautionary principle is the right way to deal with climate, and most of ecology.

      To paraphrase: Don't fuck with fucking up what you can't unfuck.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Ant Evans

        If only we had a pre production earth. That way we'd be able to make sure everything worked ok - w2k bug, climate change, sea defences etc. etc.

  5. wheelybird

    People seem to have adopted runaway climate change as a religion - that is they get very worked up about something that they don't understand and have no proof for. Try suggesting to the more vociferous types that, no matter how hard we try, human impact on the Earth's climate is never really going to amount to much. The least that will happen is that they will scoff at you for being ignorant.

    It's annoyed me so many times that all this climate research never seems to have taken into account the distant past - not just hundreds of thousands of years ago, but millions of years ago when the planet did indeed have a fair amount of CO2. The climate has shifted dramatically, but it seems to bear life still the last time I looked.

    I look forward to the believers in runaway human climate change respond to this study with derision. As they surely will.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      "human impact on the Earth's climate is never really going to amount to much."

      Says who? Increasing CO2 by 30% so far since before the industrial revolution seems quite a lot to me.

      "It's annoyed me so many times that all this climate research never seems to have taken into account the distant past "

      Oh please, what do you think all the ice core samples are for?

      "look forward to the believers in runaway human climate change"

      Hardly anyone believes the venus style runaway climate change scenario but its a useful straw man for people like you. What most believe is that only a few degrees of climate change could make a large part of the planet that is already marginal for human habitation completely uninhabitable leading to mass starvation and migration of millions, possibly even billions of people which could ultimately lead to war.

      Get your head out of the sand - you're not a wheelybird, you're just another Ostrich.

      1. Anonymous John

        "Sounds" is the operative word, but it's 30% of a very small percentage. Put another way, the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere has gone up from 0.030% to 0.039%. It doesn't sound so bad now does it? Is it a significant increase? That what the argument is about.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They don't have a choice!

      Climate change has to be "catastrophic", otherwise mitigation just becomes another small sensible budget item, and they lose their power, influence and funding.

      17,000 will be attending Durban - think of the lost Air Miles! -

      "CLIMATE change bureaucrats are among the most travelled public servants in the land - spending an average of $250,000 a month on overseas conferences and study trips.

      As 40 boffins prepare to leave next week for Durban in South Africa for the doomed UN climate change conference, it emerged last year's overseas trips cost taxpayers $3.1 million.

      According to documents supplied by the department, 86 staff travelled overseas - flying business class or first class - last year.

      The bureaucrats, including assistant secretaries, deputy secretaries, senior executive officers and research scientists, had an accommodation and meals bill of more than $750,000.

      The documents claim a total of more than 250 individual trips or cities visited last year."

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Flying first class

        Since the CO2 emissions are shared among all passengers, one could argue that flying first class emits less CO2 per dollar spent, so we should all do it. Must tell the boss...

      2. MrCheese

        The cost they didn't mention

        How much was the carbon cost of all that business is what I want to know?

      3. Paul Shirley

        Climate change has to be portrayed as 'catastrophic' because otherwise there would be NO mitigation effort at all. Hell, look around, 20 years on there's still bugger all real effort being made. At times it seems like there's more money being wasted on lobbying for inaction.

        A bunch of vested interests and plain crackpots declared war on climate change and played dirty to derail any sensible, balanced response. Too late to complain now that the sides are polarised and infested by freeloading bureaucrats - that's what happens during long wars.

        Shit, 20+ years to come up with new tech, to improve efficiencies and find better energy supplies wasted. If mitigation turns out to be necessary we're now screwed, if we'd done the work and it isn't needed we'd all be richer and safer - I'd quite like my energy not to be supplied by terrorist states.

        An opportunity pissed away where only a rich minority could lose, the rest of us win whatever the truth of climate change is.

      4. A. Lloyd Flanagan

        Re: They don't have a choice!

        Wow, that's a lot of words for a completely irrelevant post.

    3. occamskiss

      Aaah Ha Ha Ha! Keep this wonderful wisdom around to show your grandchildren when London is half underwater, the oceans have lost most of their seafood, your islands have tripled in population partly with environmental refugees, etc. etc. etc. By the way, are you still smoking those ciggies because the lung cancer is not yet proven?

      1. Bob. Hitchen

        Why is one of those water based asteroids going to hit us? I keep going to Cornwall and the sea level don't vary much. Oh enlightened one tell me how you measure the sea level? Land is constantly rising or falling the ocean floor has heaps of volcanoes and is also in flux. Your other comments are not worth discussing.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      human impact on the Earth's climate is never really going to amount to much

      so let's try having a large scale nuclear war, and see if that affects the climate.

    5. Stevelane
      Black Helicopters

      The runaway is already beginning!

      The runaway is already beginning! There are more and more extreme climate events occurring across the globe. Each time one occurs like the floods in OZ or the huge wild fires in Texas or the excessive show falls in eastern US or the exceptionally mild autumn weather in UK etc etc and for each event people ask "Is this evidence for climate change" and the answer is "No" but of course the increasing number of extreme events is and there is nothing we are doing that will slow the runaway down. Historically these changes tended to happen relatively slowly but now comparatively they are changing in the blink of an eye and when the inevitable positive feedback effects come in to play like arctic methane release the change will be more rapid still. Unlike religion modern climate science is based on evidence and accumulated data. No amount of Koch brothers financed denialist head burying will change that.

  6. CPU


    21,000 years ago CO2 levels were low and we didn't die: From that the report cannot say 'ergo' high CO2 levels also means we will not die (Neanderthal Man might have a few choice words on that subject if he were alive today). Obviously too little CO2 makes it colder, too much CO2 makes it hotter. What the report could conclude is that if we had the motor car 21,000 years ago we might not have had an ice age. Either way the Wooly Mammoths days were numbered.

    1. Kubla Cant

      I think it's slightly more complicated than that.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "From that the report cannot say 'ergo' high CO2 levels also means we will not die (Neanderthal "

      That is not what they are arguing.

      From the abstract they have re constructed the temperature levels and CO2 levels around at the time of the last Ice Age.

      They have run (at least one) climate model with *those* starting points to see if the models predict behavior.

      They do not.

      When you twiddle the knobs the values you needs to get a model that matches *reality* (rather than the other way around) gives an Earth which (when you dial up the CO2 levels) gives an estimated maximum *probable* rise of 2.3K, not the current 3K with a 66% probability of 4.5K but of 2.3K IE new model *worst* case is still below current model most *probable* outcome.

      Caveats. 66% (odd choice of number as for a standard probability model 1 standard deviation is for models giving the right value within a range 68.3% of the time) suggests there is still a fair bit of "tail" on either end with extreme values, but the distribution of the new model seems much *narrower*,

      It's a moving target but it looks like they have done a lot more *predictive* work (IE running it forward from known levels to see what happens) which does *not* seem to have been done with other models except in the most *dire* of scenearios.

    3. chr0m4t1c

      Current predictions say that doubling of CO2 levels will lead to runaway change that will ultimately destroy life, but levels have already more than doubled in the last 21,000 years without causing that outcome - so it is entirely possible that the prediction is incorrect. There *may* be a level of atmospheric CO2 that will lead to runaway warming, but there may not.

      Unfortunately, it seems we cannot correctly predict what those levels are and so may only find out when (if) it happens, at which point it is too late.

      Last one alive turn out the lights.

      1. Tim Parker


        "Current predictions say that doubling of CO2 levels will lead to runaway change that will ultimately destroy life"

        No, they don't.

  7. Pen-y-gors

    Glug, glug, glug

    2 degrees doesn't sound a lot, BUT - how high does sea level rise as a result? a few feet? more if the Greenland ice shelf starts to go - and who lives on the coast? And locally - could 2 degrees affect the Gulf Stream? Switch that off and the British Isles get seriously nippy.

    All the evidence suggest that an extra 2 degrees does not simply mean warmer summers and winters - it likely means all sorts of things - heat waves, extreme storms, coastal flooding (central London anyone?), extreme winters - impossible to predict the exact details, but it's pretty clear what the trends are.

    1. Alexander 3
      Thumb Up

      All true, and...

      Further, that 2 degree change would have far more of an impact in areas with already harsh climates. Areas susceptible to desertification, for instance, might see the growth of the desert onto arable land sped up, cutting food production in areas where food security is already very poor. Even worse, if the warming meant that rain patterns changed, vast areas of the world - typically where people live - would find themselves drying up. They, and their crops, would die or be forced to relocate. A small change could dramatically impact population support capacity in areas, which is where the deaths and conflict will stem from.

      Some areas, of course, will likely benefit from shifts in environment - perhaps the Canadian North will become warm enough for crops, or the Himalayas might become wetter. But... even if this does happen, it will take a long time for us to take advantage of it - the ground to become fertile, people to move, infrastructure to be built etc... and we have no guarantee that any of this will offset the loss in resources.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "coastal flooding (central London anyone?), extreme winters..."

      1) Woohoo, a solution to the other major problem we have, the bankers!

      2) Brilliant, I love snow, me :-)

  8. thehealer


    "Earth highly unlikely to suffer severe warming - new science"

    Shouldn't that be "... new boffinry"?

    "Climate scientists funded by the US government have announced new research..."

    Shouldn't that be "Climate boffins..."?

    "Andreas Schmittner, professor at the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State uni."

    Shouldn't that be "...Atmospheric Boffinry..."?

    "The new study is published in top-ranking boffinry journal Science. The research was funded by the US National Science Foundation."

    Shouldn't that be " boffinry journal Boffinry. The research was funded by the US National Boffinry Foundation."?

    Just to be consistent with the latest Register styleguide, you understand.

    1. hplasm

      Not all scientists are boffins-

      But all boffins are Good Scientists.

  9. Thought About IT

    Cherry picking again

    You quote Schmittner as saying: "Now these very large changes (predicted for the coming decades) can be ruled out, and we have some room to breathe and time to figure out solutions to the problem.", as reported in the Australian.

    Here's what he also said, as reported by New Scientist:

    "Even if the climate sensitivity really is as low as 2.4 °C, Schmittner says that doesn't mean we are safe from climate change. The Last Glacial Maximum was only 2.2 °C cooler than today, yet there were huge ice sheets, plant life was different, and sea levels were 120 metres lower.

    "Very small changes in temperature cause huge changes in certain regions," Schmittner says. So even if we get a smaller temperature rise than we expected, the knock-on effects would still be severe."

    Funny how you only report stuff on climate change which fits your agenda.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. /\/\j17

        None of the above - the 'you' in the sentence refers to The Australian.

        If Thought About IT was actually called Read The Article Properly they may have noticied the following:

        "THE AUSTRALIAN quotes Schmittner as saying: "Now these very large changes..."

        1. Adam-the-Kiwi

          Re: The Australian.

          So you're accusing Lewis of just lifting his articles from a publication that agrees with his views rather than doing some simple research?

  10. Dirk Vandenheuvel

    >or much more extreme events should have occurred at certain points in the past - and they did not

    Errrr??? I guess it depends on what you would describe as "extreme".

    What about the almost total wipeout of see-life during the Permian–Triassic extinction ?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Permian-Triassic extinction

      How about it? Have you proof that this was caused by a couple of degrees change in global temperature? It was a long time ago. It's hard to be sure.

    2. Gordon 10


      That was because no-one was around to 'see' the life.

      Anywho where's the proof that that extinct was caused by climate change?

  11. Matthew 25

    Computer says no.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Important point about climate sensitivity

    We may already seen half of the warming (1C) that a doubling of CO2 is supposed to produce. Remember that the baseline for the doubling is "pre-industrial" levels.

    So society has to adapt to 1C to 1.5C over a hundred years, yet we've managed to adapt to 2C since the LIA without even noticing.

    Panic over. The only people who are frightened by Climate Change are people who want to be frightened (eg, the bedwetters), and those with a financial stake in exaggerating its impacts, like insurance companies (hello Munich Re) , big finance and NGOs.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @Anonymous Coward

      "So society has to adapt to 1C to 1.5C over a hundred years, yet we've managed to adapt to 2C since the LIA without even noticing."

      Have we? Perhaps you have in your mums basement but perhaps you should ask the inhabitants of the Sahel and central China or half a dozen other places where serious desertificaiton and falling ground water levels are occuring because of reduced rainfall and higher temperatures.

      1. IDoNotThinkSo

        The desertification of the Sahel has mostly been caused by deforestation and overgrazing, not climate change. There have been periodic droughts in that region for a long time.

        Similarly in China, it is deforestation that this the major problem.

        Poor land use is a much bigger problem than a couple of degrees of warming.

  13. Ru

    Well, we'd better hope they're right

    Cos we're going to be a bit stuffed otherwise.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are you Mayan?

      Your politics seems to require that we're all stuffed.

      I'll get my loincloth - it's the one with the eagle wings and sacrificed goat on it.

  14. yoinkster
    Paris Hilton

    you mean the government overstated their case to justify high taxes? No way?!

    Paris because even she knows "climate change" is a political tool to rob us blind and has no basis in real science.

  15. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Probably ...

    When you don't know; is it better to be optimistic or pessimistic ? What's the worse that could happen ?

    The issue, and personal opinion, comes down to -

    1) We don't need to act until we can prove something bad will happen.

    2) We should act unless we can prove nothing bad will happen.

    Everyone seems to flip between the two choices depending upon what the issue at hand is and there's rarely universal agreement. Perhaps we need to apply a little bit of Game Theory; is it better to do nothing and later find we are past a tipping point, or better to take action and find it was not necessary ?

    We're gambling with some pretty huge stakes here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Neither - you do a cost-benefit analysis

      The cost of decarbonising energy alone costs many trillions of pounds.

      The cost of building a wall is much cheaper.


    2. Keep Refrigerated

      To act or not to act...

      So far, I can't prove that lions will migrate from Africa and start to roam English countryside, but I have some lion repellant to sell to you in case that happens. After all, better to have some and find its not necessary than do nothing at all and be mauled later.

  16. BoxedSet

    Would these be the same US funded scientists who completely failed in their calculations to land a probe on Mars?

    1. hplasm


      That's the others; the non-boffins.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      "Would these be the same US funded scientists who completely failed in their calculations to land a probe on Mars?"

      Yeah , thats right. Its all the space probe engineers who do climate science in their spare time.

      Or did you think "scientists" are just a few dozen people who sit in a room and are given a

      different task to do every day? Monday - cure for cancer, tuesday - mars probe, wednesday - climate science , etc

      Fecking idiot.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They most certainly have not "ESTABLISHED [my emphasis] that the various doomsday global warming scenarios are in fact extremely unlikely to occur".

    They have 'merely' [I jest] conducted a scientific analysis and produced a model based on many factors which, **if correct**, show that the likelihood is much less.

    But that is a huge leap away from "establishing" anything at all and use of that word simply shows the author's own bias in this area and lack of understanding of what constitutes a scientific study.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      And how is that any different from what the "other" side has been doing?

    2. /\/\j17

      Hush, before someone hears you!

      "They have 'merely' [I jest] conducted a scientific analysis and produced a model based on many factors which, **if correct**, show that the likelihood is much less."

      That sounds almost! Isn't that blasphemy when it some to a climate change discussion?

  18. Anonymous John

    Look on the bright side.

    If there's a lot of GW hysteria in the Bebo transmission, there will be no invasion from Gliese 581 as they'll believe we are extinct.

  19. Pete 2 Silver badge

    It's still only guesswork

    And now we have another guess.

    From what I've read about CC in general, people take some data, guess what that meant, guess again about what caused it, guess whether the same thing will happen in the future, guess whether mankind did/could/will (or not) have any input into the circumstances and then finally extrapolate those guesses into what should (or not) be done.

    Now, I do believe that the UK is, on the whole, seeing some more extreme weather than we're used to. And I am receptive to the idea that this is caused by more energy in the atmosphere and oceans. However, since nobody seems to have a model of the atmosphere and oceans that can estimate next week's weather to any degree of accuracy better than a coin-toss, I am not willing to believe that they can translate their guesses about what it all means into any solid, actionable and reliable plan - or tell us if one's needed.

    <This is the point where "climate" people pile in and say that their science is not meteorology. Which is a bit like saying biology is not chemistry. They deal with the same basic elements, but at different levels. However to understand the former you *do* need to have a pretty clear understanding of how the latter works and the basic laws it obeys.>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Pete 2 Re-worded it a bit for you

      You should have said "Now, I do believe that the UK is, on the whole, seeing some more extreme weather than ** I'm ** used to"

      My guess is that you're very likely under 40 and certainly under 50 yrs of age to remember the crazy winters that occurred from 1948 to 1964. Whilst I'm not of that age to remember, I've listened to my grandparents and seen the photo's - I've not seen snow like it since (1979 was bad but compared to 48 and 63 - nope).

      Glad the CC people didn't come to you for the date range they should use - bloody hell that'd be a fun graph :)

  20. Martin

    So, now that a scientific paper actually agrees with Lewis, the scientists know what they are talking about after all?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and ...

      lots of posters below the line as well.

      I remember the times when "this stuff is just too complex to model accurately".

      Unless we agree with the conclusions.

      I can understand thinking man-made global warming does/doesn't exist (I'm annoying agnostic) but at least people could be consistent.

  21. Another Ben

    One small step for science, one giant leap for this reporter

    So new research concludes that the range of likely warming (with 66% confidence) is between 1.7 and 2.6 degrees, most likely 2.3, instead of between 2 and 4.5 (most likely 3). It also concludes that warming of over 10 degrees is unlikely. Hurrah! But remember that 2 degrees is a fairly arbitrary limit, a compromise between caution and political achievability, and even if these newly published results are entirely correct there is still a substantial chance of missing even that target.

    So where do you get "much less serious than thought" from?

    Good on you for linking to the paper though. If only more journalists would do that.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just one more

    This study is no more likely to be definitively correct than most of the others. Not having read its report (and judging by the ER account, that writer has a poor understanding of science and the scientific method), nevertheless, a couple of caveats jump out: 1850 is not arbitrary: I imagine it is used as a baseline for just some of the data as the industrial revolution was becoming wide spread and going full belt; by this date, there is probably a sufficiently useful set of written observations across a reasonable spread of the world to use. We know that researchers are also using old tree samples, fossils, coal, ice cores and so forth to go back much further.

    Also, it should be noted that one of the factors judged, today to be rather important is human activity; especially large scale industry, urban settlement, flora and fauna extinctions and modification of land and coast, whether by covering it in concrete, planting or removing trees or blocking and diverting waterways. I suspect this was not a big factor even a thousand years ago, let alone scores of thousands of years ago.

    Anyway, a rapid (relatively) change by even one or two percent is quite enough to disturb atmospheric and marine currents, with astonishingly strong effects on climate, sea levels, weather patterns, seasons and hence on the rest of life. The effects induced in the Northern hemisphere sea currents would shake even the cynics out of their cosy denial. Tell you what, if you are so convinced, I think you may find some attractive seaside houses at a good price on some Pacific islands. Demonstrate your faith that Cnut can reverse the sea level rise - move there, buy one and stay there.

  23. launcap Silver badge


    "but perhaps you should ask the inhabitants of the Sahel and central China or half a dozen other places where serious desertificaiton and falling ground water levels.."

    The Sahel has advanced and contracted repeatedly over the last x thousand years. From Pikiwedia:

    "Around 4000 BCE the climate of the Sahara and the Sahel started to become drier at an exceedingly fast pace".

    So for your assertion to be true AGW would have had to have started in 4000BC.. Serious desertification *is* happening round the world but it's usually exacerbated by:

    a) Overextraction of water for agriculture and industry causing the water table to fall

    b) Overpopulation of the areas concerned - deserts and semi-deserts are *very* vulnerable to population pressure and it doesn't take much to tip them over. Point (a) is usually the consequence of this.

    So your assertion that desertification is tied only to reduced rainfall and increased temperature isn't really borne out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "So for your assertion to be true AGW would have had to have started in 4000BC.."

      You're conveniently omitting the fact that they became drier from a much wetter starting point. There used to be forest where the sahara is now. They're not waxing and waning back and forth between wet and dry. They became dry, levelled out and now are becoming even drier.

      Your points a & b are true , but they're not the whole story. Rainfall patterns have changed in some areas.

    2. Sean Baggaley 1

      Ditto for Italy and many other Mediterranean nations.

      Southern Italy has suffered from desertification for some time. Over 5000 years or so, according to experts in the field.

      Desertification is now known to be primarily caused by deforestation and soil erosion caused by farming's impact on the landscape when techniques unsuitable for the region are applied. It has absolutely f*ck all to do with CO2 or AGW, as neither was an issue until very recently in Homo Sapiens' history. Even the *Romans* were aware of the problem.

      This isn't guesswork. Records exist dating back well into the days of the ancient Greeks and Chinese. Recent activities in the Americas and parts of Africa have also provided a recurrence of the desertification problem, giving scientists plenty of hard, physical, evidence to support the theory.

      The problem here is farming, which often relies on outdated traditions and needs to change to better match our understanding of its effects. Plough-free methods are thought to be a possible solution and its use is spreading, but there are other options also under consideration.

  24. zb

    Climate scientists funded by the US government ....

    I stopped reading after this.

  25. Is it me?

    Thing is

    Regardless, of your belief in Global Warming, or not, however bad, do tou really want to take the risk the doomesday scenario isn't right. The further in advance you take action, the more likely yopu are to avoid disaster. Most of the things we need to do to combat climate change, are things we need to do anyway to meet the demands of a growing earth population, and a reducing supply of natural resources.

    1. Richard Wharram

      Pascal's wager ?


    2. Sean Baggaley 1

      @Is it me?


      By your logic, we should be pushing much harder for space exploration and colonisation of other planets. After all, the Earth WILL be hit by another major asteroid, and a super volcano WILL erupt in the medium term. Neither will be pleasant, and both are far more plausible "doomsday" scenarios than "Oh shit! The sea levels might rise a bit! Quick! Let's, er, relocate a couple of metres higher up!"

      Incidentally, one obvious advantage of pushing for self-sustaining colonisation of space (and, if necessary, other planets too, but space + asteroids should be plenty), is that *all* the "End of The World" doomsday scenarios can have the exact same solution!

      After all, if the world does become uninhabitable—punched in the crust by an asteroid; an explosion of the Yellowstone super volcano; invading aliens demanding the extradition of Simon Cowell to face charges for crimes against the universe, or some other random cosmic joke—at least there'll be somewhere for humans to evacuate *to*.

      Right now, the only reason "End of The World" situations are even referred to as "doomsday" scenarios is because the Earth is, quite literally, all we have. We need to leave the cradle. Doing so will eliminate all those "Peak X" stories at a stroke, while the ecosystem will also gain a breathing space as we can start to shift all that heavy (probably fully automated) manufacturing off-world entirely, supplied by the almost limitless resources out there in our own solar system.

      Even solar energy will make far more sense up there in space than down here: in space, in the right orbits, the sun will shine 24 hours a day. Every day. For billions of years. And it's free.

  26. A. Lloyd Flanagan

    Oh, right. Well, it's all right then.

    Of course, if you're going to look at past warming events you might find this interesting: "There have been three major greenhouse phases in the time period we analyzed and the peaks in temperature of each coincide with mass extinctions,"

    "Global temperature rose five degrees Celsius 56 million years ago in response to a massive injection of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

    That intense gas release was only 10 percent of the rate at which heat-trapping greenhouse gases are building up in the atmosphere today." (sorry, subscription required for full article. I've got the magazine at my house, if you drop by I'll let you read it.)

  27. Bob bob

    Heres how it works,

    Scientists come up with theory.

    Morons like Al Gore take the theory and try to spread the message using fear-mongering, half truths and sometimes outright lies.

    Media likes the morons theories, much more dramatic, sells better to a public that have better things to do than read through climate papers.

    Skeptics get pissed, poke holes in badly written poorly backed media stories and believe this is all that is required to debunk just about every climatologist on earth.

    Some naive climatologists try to correct this but end up stuck in a political mess and tied on to Al Gores bandwagon of bullcrap.

    Meanwhile most scientists continue to refine there theory and debunk the nonsense people are coming up with. This gets largely ignored.

    Very few climatologists believed in a rapid fiery death for us all, these effects where always going to be gradual. Stories about sinking islands and increased hurricanes? These were inventions of the media and debunked by the very same scientists that continue to back climate change.

    However, the problem is you cant just switch the climate off. The trends we set over decades now will have hundreds of years of repercussions. You switch off all carbon production tomorrow and itll still have huge knock on effects. Thats why so many people want to see some change today. Now if these latest results are right then great! weve got ourselves a few more decades to change the industry of the entire world, and there are huge chunks of it that will need all that time to bring about that change. (Heck we dont have the first clue how to deal with the consumption of the entire aviation industry.)

    Weve still got work to do, our efforts have still not been wasted (Although lets face it, theyve been pretty lame.) and personally Im hopeful that things like project ITER or the Z-Machines will have the time to bring our power out of the dark ages, couple it with electric (Or hydrogen Im not biassed) vehicles we could clean up our cities as well. (Apart from anything the pollution provably causes all kinds of health problems and no doubt influences multiple cancers.)

    So its good news, but anyone that thinks this means we should rest on our laurels or mock the scientists are just being petty. The science was never set in stone by any scientist worth a damn and resting when we could be building new industry on clean efficient and frankly incredible technologies would be a terrible thing to do even without any motivation at all.

    1. Keep Refrigerated

      You switch off all carbon production tomorrow and itll still have huge knock on effects.

      Yes, for a start most trees and plant-life will die. Then us.

  28. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Science should explain the *past* as well as predict the future.

    And this study seems to do *exactly* that, except the *dire* consequences that *should* have happened (with the *current* models) don't.

    But note that quote by the study lead author. A 2c *drop* in temperature caused a 120m drop in *ocean* levels.

    Which raises 2 questions.

    Is there enough ice in the *remaining* Earth's ice sheets to raise the worlds oceans by 120m if it goes the other way?

    How much of the world is <120m above current sea levels?

    Because if there is and a lot of land is below that level things can still get pretty bad.

    A *proper* scientific theory seeks to explain *all* the observations in its field of study, and make *measurable* predictions about what future observations *should* be (if your theory has trouble doing one or other of these things, it's *not* science).

    I'd like *all* sides to do more of *this* kind of science.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What he is actually saying is that

    the global heating will never reach a delta Thrimmin-Jordache point.

    Sheesh it's not that difficult.

  30. Stevelane
    Black Helicopters

    Who funded this research?

    The US government is controlled by a right wing congress that for purely commercial reasons is fanatically opposed to any idea that climate change is a consequence of the incredible amount of CO2 that we humans are pumping into the atmosphere. It must therefor not be surprising that any research they fund will give the answer they want to hear. If it gives the "Wrong Answer" it will be buried or edited.

  31. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

    For some reason...

    ...I'm reminded of this quote from JK Galbraith:

    "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know what they say about Assumptions

    As with every model every made... (a point made by the Author ad-nauseum) assumptions can kill you.

    At the end of the Abstract for this study the scientists say:

    "Assuming paleoclimatic constraints apply to the future as predicted by our model, these results imply lower probability of imminent extreme climatic change than previously thought."

    I would feel a whole lot better if

    a) the stuff before the comma wasn't there...

    b) there were a whole bunch more papers than just this one indicating we can relax a little.

    Considering that the Earth has never in its history faced a situation where such gigantic amounts of CO2 was injected into the atmosphere in less than a half a millenium, while going on 8 Billion organisms de-nude and depopulate all other organisms on the planet... well... I'd say there is a good chance "paleoclimatic constraints" may be altered.

    I'm hopeful that there is yet more study on these models and on those constraints. Until then, precaution wins.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a bit more complex than that

    Believe it or not Lewis has cherry picked the study's findings.

    A global sensitivity of 2.4K was indeed found, but the researchers admit that the application of global sensitivities might obscure regional variations. For instance, their best fit puts Antarctica 4K *warmer* than the ice cores tell us whilst saying the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was 7K *cooler* than the evidence in the ice.

    The authors are quite clear that we need more and better measurements of the Last Glacial Measurement.

  34. EWI

    Scientists mis-represented by El Reg - oh my.

    "Q: Does this study overturn the IPCC’s estimate of climate sensitivity?

    No, we haven’t disproven the IPCC or high climate sensitivities. At least, not yet. This comes down to what generalizations can be made from a single, limited study. This is why the IPCC bases its conclusions on a synthesis of many studies, not relying on any particular one.

    While our statistical analysis calculates that high climate sensitivities have very low probabilities, you can see from the caveats in our paper (discussed further below), and my remarks in this interview, that we have not actually claimed to have disproven high climate sensitivities. We do claim that our results imply “lower probability of imminent extreme climatic change than previously thought”, and that “climate sensitivities larger than 6 K are implausible”, which I stand by. I do not claim we have demonstrated that climate sensitivities larger than 3 K are implausible, even though we calculate a low probability for them, because our study has important limitations.

    It is rare that a single paper overturns decades of work, although this is a popular conception of how science works. Many controversial results end up being overturned, because controversial research, almost by definition, contradicts large existing bodies of research. Quite often, it turns out that it’s the controversial paper that is wrong, rather than the research it hopes to overturn. Science is an iterative process. Others have to check our work. We have to continue checking our work, too. Our study comes with a number of important caveats, which highlight simplifying assumptions and possible inconsistencies. These have to be tested further."

  35. AdamWill

    so, erm...

    ...the summary of this article is 'double the CO2 leads to warming of 2.3 degrees rather than 3 degrees'?

    and somehow this blows a hole in global warming?

    I'm not entirely seeing it. 2.3 degrees is still...not good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      2.3 degrees?

      >> I'm not entirely seeing it. 2.3 degrees is still...not good.<<

      We've had 2 degrees in under 200 years and nobody noticed.

      Clean, dry sheets for Adam please nurse.

  36. Stan Wright

    The same study also says that the best-case scenario is worse than previous estimates had indicated. The narrowed range means that the science has become more certain that climate change is happening, and more certain regarding the end result.

  37. SDF1586

    Er what?!

    "Climate scientists funded by the US government have announced new research in which they have established that the various doomsday global warming scenarios are in fact extremely unlikely to occur, and that the scenarios considered likeliest - and used for planning by the world's governments - are overly pessimistic."


  38. Mikel
    Thumb Up

    Dodged a bullet

    Looks like we just missed the onset of an ice age in 1750 or so.

    @EWI - He's not saying it was aliens... but it was aliens.

  39. CousinJim

    HEY, BIG OIL !!

    Has Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and his followup that was posted this year on been ruled to be a well moneyed attempt to defraud the citizens of the world?

    What would he stand to gain by perpetrating such an elaborate fraud?

  40. Mick Russom
    Big Brother

    Cult of the Church of Climatology

    The Cult of the Church of Climatology has yet again failed. Their lies. The academics pursuit of monies from corrupt globalist politicians trying to prove that AGW exists (when it doesn't) to collect taxes from all the world under suppressive police state rule for SIMPLY BREATHING. We have time and time again proven the fraud that is AGW, but the cult of the Church of Climatology is well funded by Soros and other globalist wackos. They are the enemy within and are the enemies of Family, Truth, Freedom, Liberty. These enemies are working tirelessly to bring about a new world order of the globalist police state where individual liberty is dead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Get a new tinfoil hat, your current one is obviously worn out.

      You mentioned:

      Big brother.

      Cult of ...

      Church of ...

      Academics persuit of money

      Police state


      Enemies of Family, truth, freedom, liberty

      Individual liberty is dead

      Used by government to raise taxes

      All in one post, congratulation.

  41. Bob 18

    Let's Put This in Perspective

    See here for an intelligent, quantitative analysis of the issues by some leading climate scientists:

This topic is closed for new posts.