What is salient is not important. What is important is not salient. The media turns us away from the issues that will determine the course of our lives, and towards topics of brain-melting irrelevance.
This, on current trends, will be the hottest year ever measured. The previous record was set in 2015; the one before in 2014. Fifteen of the 16 warmest years have occurred in the 21st century. Each of the past 14 months has beaten the global monthly temperature record. But you can still hear people repeating the old claim, first proposed by fossil fuel lobbyists, that global warming stopped in 1998.
Cue the standard Monbiot piece on Arrrrrgh! We’re All Gonna Boil! And I’m afraid this shit is getting very tedious.
No, sit within the standard IPCC style work on this. Not because it’s right or wrong but because they say they think it’s right. Thus they should be happy to accept the implications of what they say is right.
Roughly speaking, in the current projections, RCP 8.5 is a disaster, RCP 6 isn’t entirely attractive, 4.5 would be an inconvenience and 2.6 we’d not really note. And everyone, but everyone, keeps predicting what will happen if 8.5 does. And yet we know, absolutely, without any shadow of doubt, that 8.5 simply isn’t going to happen. With what we’ve already done to energy generation it is simply not going to turn out that way. Something between 4.5 and 6 looks likely.
As Matt Ridley is fond of pointing out, 8.5 requires that we not only burn more coal than we used to a decade back, but that we get a greater portion of our energy needs from coal. In 2070.
Now, I may not think that solar is going to power everything, nor that the methods of subsidy we’ve used to roll it out are very good nor efficient. But seriously, what sort of cretin looks at renewables today and argues that coal will make a roaring great big comeback in 55 years sodding time?
The truth is we’ve already done the hard work to beat the worst of those projections. And yet we continue to get the screams based on the one outcome that we absolutely know isn’t going to happen.
Grips my shit it does.