by Henry Bodkin
18 September 2017

from TheTelegraph Website




 The world has warmed

less than predicted

Credit: AFP



Climate change poses less of an immediate threat to the planet than previously thought because scientists got their modeling wrong, a new study has found.


New research by British scientists reveals the world is being polluted and warming up less quickly than 10-year-old forecasts predicted, giving countries more time to get a grip on their carbon output.

An unexpected "revolution" in affordable renewable energy has also contributed to the more positive outlook.

Experts now say there is a two-in-three chance of keeping global temperatures within 1.5º above pre-industrial levels, the ultimate goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement.






They also condemned the "overreaction" to the US's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, announced by Donald Trump in June, saying it is unlikely to make a significant difference.


According to the models used to draw up the agreement, the world ought now to be 1.3 degrees above the mid-19th-Century average, whereas the most recent observations suggest it is actually between 0.9 to 1 degree above.


We're in the midst of an energy revolution and it's happening faster than we thought Professor Michael Grubb, University College London


The discrepancy means nations could continue emitting carbon dioxide at the current rate for another 20 years before the target was breached, instead of the three to five predicted by the previous model.

"When you are talking about a budget of 1.5 degrees, then a 0.3 degree difference is a big deal", said Professor Myles Allen, of Oxford University and one of the authors of the new study.

Published in the journal Nature Geoscience, it suggests that if polluting peaks and then declines to below current levels before 2030 and then continue to drop more sharply, there is a 66 per cent chance of global average temperatures staying below 1.5 degrees.


The goal was yesterday described as "very ambitious" but "physically possible".


The story is also covered by the Independent, which quotes Myles Allen, one of the paper's authors:

"We haven't seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven't seen that in the observations."

The original forecasts were based on twelve separate computer models made by universities and government institutes around the world, and were put together ten years ago,

"so it's not that surprising that it's starting to divert a little bit from observations", Professor Allen added.

This is the paper (Emission Budgets and Pathways Consistent with Limiting Warming to 1.5°C) referred to.


I have a number of thoughts about this:

  1. We have known for several years that the climate models have been running far too hot. This rather belated admission is welcome, but a cynic would wonder why it was not made before Paris.


  2. I suspect part of the motivation is to keep Paris on track.


    Most observers, including even James Hansen, have realized that it was not worth the paper it was written on. This new study is designed to restore the belief that the original climate targets can be achieved, via Paris and beyond.


  3. Although they talk of the difference between 0.9ºC and 1.3ºC, the significance is much greater.


    Making the reasonable assumption that a significant part of the warming since the mid 19th century is natural, this means that any AGW (anthropogenic global warming) signal is much less than previously thought.


  4. Given that they now admit they have got it so wrong, why should we be expected to have any faith at all in the models?


  5. Finally, we must remember that temperatures since 2000 have been artificially raised by the recent record El Niño, and the ongoing warm phase of the AMO.

Given the latest admission, there is every likelihood that global temperatures will remain flat for a good time to come...