ETS submissions open

IrishBill notes at The Standard that submissions are open on the review of the ETS, and close 13 February.

He says it is of particular concern that the TOR include:

identify the central/benchmark projections which are being used as the motivation for international agreements to combat climate change; and consider the uncertainties and risks surrounding these projections

I disagree. Anyone who actually has read the IPCC reports knows there are significant uncertainties and risks. In fact almost every page of their reports detail these uncertainties. They even detail in their fourth report what specific terms mean:

  1. virtually certain >99%
  2. extremely likely >95%
  3. very likely >90%
  4. likely >66%
  5. more likely than not > 50%
  6. about as likely as not 33% to 66%
  7. unlikely <33%
  8. very unlikely <10%
  9. extremely unlikely <5%
  10. exceptionally unlikely <1%.

So when you read:

It is very likely that cold days, cold nights and frosts have become less frequent over most land areas, while hot days and
hot nights have become more frequent. {WGI 3.8, SPM}

It is likely that heat waves have become more frequent over
most land areas. {WGI 3.8, SPM}It is likely that the incidence of extreme high sea level3 has increased at a broad range of sites worldwide since 1975. {WGI 5.5, SPM}

This means there is a higher degree of confidence in the assertion there are more frequent hot days than in the assertion that extreme high sea levels have increased.

Effects of temperature increases have been documented with
medium confidence in the following managed and human systems: agricultural and forestry management at Northern Hemisphere higher latitudes, such as earlier spring planting of crops, and alterations in disturbances of forests due to fires and pests {WGII 1.3, SPM}

Now medium confidence is also defined as about 5 out of 10, so far less certain.

It is very likely that the observed increase in CH4 concentration is predominantly due to agriculture and fossil fuel use.

And much higher confidence here for the source of CH4, but still only 90%, not 95% or 99%.

So when you hear people rail against the considering the uncertainties and risks of projections, they are actually railing against people understanding the science, and reading the IPCC reports.

We see this with IrishBill who goes on to say:

Which is the opening to question the basic science of climate change. We’re about to become the nation state equivalent of the flat earth society.

Nope the flat earth society is those who think you can’t question or consider risk and uncertainty.

My position on climate change is I accept the IPCC reports. I know there are legitimate criticisms of them, but I think overall they do a good job of documenting what they beleive to be happening, and why.

The problem is the nutters who then preach doomsday, if nothing is done in the next couple of years. You hear scare mongering about ten metre increases in the sea level. In fact the IPCC has six different scenarios for sea level rises and even the worst one is an increase by 2100 of only 26 to 59 cms. The best scenario is 18 to 38 cms.

Now that is still undesirable, and why I support putting a price on carbon (either through an ETS or a tax). But when you hear people talking about sea level increases of metres and metres, or who scoff at any suggestion of uncertainity – well they probably have not even read the IPCC reports themselves. They are going off the hype.

There is uncertainty. Not enough to warrant doing nothing. A price on carbon is needed. But we have to be aware of how much we don’t know, as well as how much we do know.

Comments (42)

Login to comment or vote

Add a Comment