The science in the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) report is contained in the report published by Working Group 1 of the IPCC, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I suspect that few people have actually read this ~1500 page tome. Most people read the Summary for Policy Makers, which is written by bureaucrats and does not, in my opinion, faithfully reflect the contents of the actual report. There is too much emphasis on worst-case scenarios, which the report does not say are the most likely ones, in the Summary.
As best I can make out, what the report itself says is this: Global warming isn’t likely to be a big deal. It is unlikely to cause significant harm over the next 100 years or so. In a followup special IPCC report even in the worst-case scenario the prediction is a fall in economic productivity of 10% of what it would otherwise be by 2100. That’s not even noticeable considering the growth in the economy that will have occurred by then.
As for the predictions of drought, flooding, storms, fires, species extinctions, climate refugees, etc., there is no certainty about any of it, and climate scientists have shown no skill in predicting those things so far.
This stands in rather stark contrast to the claims being made by some environmentalists these days, such as that we’re all going to die in 20 years, that global warming will be a catastrophic disaster, and so on.
As best I can tell these guys are just making this stuff up.
As for the changes that we are likely to see, such as a rise in sea level by a few feet in 100 years, I rely on the Adams Law of Slow-Moving Disasters, which says that for any catastrophe that’s coming toward us from a long way in the future mankind will not fail to find some solution for it.
Decades ago we were threatened by a future shortage of food and by 1980 or so we were all supposed be dying in famines. We found a solution to that called the Green Revolution. Nowadays fewer people than ever as a proportion of the world’s population suffer from starvation. For those who do starve the problem is most likely bad governance not a global shortage of food.
We are supposed to have run out of oil by now, a catastrophe called Peak Oil, but we have not done that because of advances in technology and the discovery of more reserves.
For the distant future, the earth has been through climates such as those predicted in the worst-case scenarios of the IPCC report before. Life went on. There was no ice at the poles and temperate weather was closer to the poles, but this is so far off that civilization is sure to adapt.
Notwithstanding the doom-mongering, we are now in an era of unparalleled peace and prosperity that extends to all the peoples of the world, and this is not likely to change in the foreseeable future. It’s a shame more people can’t celebrate this.Published in