Survivable IPCC projections








Survivable IPCC projections are based on science fiction - the reality is much worse

Nick Breeze  | 27th February 2015


The IPCC's 'Representative Concentration Pathways' are based on fantasy

technology that must draw massive volumes of CO2 out of the atmosphere

late this century, writes Nick Breeze - an unjustified hope that

conceals a very bleak future for Earth, and humanity.


The IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) published in their

latest report, AR5, a set of 'Representative Concentration Pathways'



These RCP's (see graph, right) consist of four scenarios that project

global temperature rises based on different quantities of greenhouse

gas concentrations.


The scenarios are assumed to all be linked directly to emissions

scenarios. The more carbon we emit then the hotter it gets. Currently

humanity is on the worst case scenario of RCP 8.5 which takes us to 2°C

warming by mid century and 4°C warming by the end of the century.


As Professor Schellnhuber, from Potsdam Institute for Climate Research

(PIK) said, "the difference between two and four degrees is human



In 2009 the International Union of Forest Research Organisations

delivered a report to the UN that stated that the natural carbon sink

of trees could be lost at a 2.5°C temperature increase.


The ranges for RCP 4.5 and RCP 6 both take us over 2.5°C and any idea

that we can survive when the tree sink flips from being a carbon sink

to a carbon source is delusional.


Where does this leave us?


Of the four shown RCP's only one keeps us within the range that climate

scientists regard as survivable. This is RCP 2.6 that has a projected

temperature range of 0.9°C and 2.3°C.


Considering we are currently at 0.85°C above the preindustrial level of

greenhouse gas concentrations, we are already entering the range and as

Professor Martin Rees says: "I honestly would bet, sad though it is,

that the annual CO2 emissions are going to rise year by year for at

least the next 20 years and that will build up accumulative levels

close to 500 parts per million."


The recent US / China agreement supports Rees's contentions. But even

if Rees is wrong and we do manage to curtail our carbon emissions, a

closer look at RCP 2.6 shows something much more disturbing.


In his image (see graph, right), IPCC SMP Expert Reviewer David

Tattershall has inserted vertical red lines to mark the decades between

years 2000 and 2100. Within this 21st Century range he has also

highlighted a steep decline in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse

gases (shown by the steep declining thick red line).


It is interesting that concerted action for emissions reductions is

timed to occur just beyond the date for the implementation of a

supposed legally binding international agreement.


Stopping emissions does not reduce atmospheric carbon. The emissions to

date are colossal and the warming effect is delayed by around 40 years.

Therefore, even if we halt emissions, we know there is much more

warming to come. That will also set off other positive feedbacks along

the way that will amplify the warming further, stretching over



It is quite clear that we have no carbon budget whatsoever. The

account, far from being in surplus, is horrendously overdrawn. To claim

we have a few decades of safely burning coal, oil and gas is an utter



So how does the IPCC achieve these vast reductions in greenhouse gases?


If we look at the vertical red lines, at around 2025 the steep decline

in atmospheric greenhouse gases begins. Accumulated emissions not only

are reduced to zero in 2070 but actually go negative.


This chart shows that carbon is removed from the atmosphere in

quantities of hundreds of billions of tonnes, for as far ahead as 2300

to sustain a temperature beneath 2°C.


What makes this idea of projected large-scale Carbon Dioxide Removal

(CDR) even more perverse is the talk by policymakers of a "carbon

budget". This refers to the amount of fossil fuel that can be burned

before we are at risk of reaching a 2°C rise in global mean



It is quite clear that we have no carbon budget whatsoever. The

account, far from being in surplus, is horrendously overdrawn. To claim

we have a few decades of safely burning coal, oil and gas is an utter



Sequestering billions of tonnes of carbon for centuries


If all of the above has not raised any alarm bells then perhaps it is

time to consider the proposed methods for sucking the billions of

tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere.


In February 2015 the National Research Council in the United States

launched their two reports on "climate interventions". Dr Nutt

concluded with this statement on CDR:


"Carbon Dioxide Removal strategies offer the potential to decrease

carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere but they are limited

right now by their slow response, by their inability to scale up and

their high cost."


Dr Nutt's conclusion points to very important factor that we can

elaborate on with a rare case of certainty. There is no proposed CDR

technology that can be scaled up to suck billions of tonnes out of the

Earth's atmosphere. It simply does not exist in the real world.


This is reiterated by Dr Hugh Hunt in the Department of Engineering, at

the University of Cambridge, who points out:


"10 billion tonnes a year of carbon sequestration? We don't do anything

on this planet on that scale. We don't manufacture food on that scale,

we don't mine iron ore on that scale. We don't even produce coal, oil

or gas on that scale. Iron ore is below a billion tonnes a year! How

are we going to create a technology, from scratch, a highly complicated

technology, to the tune of 10 billion tonnes a year in the next 10



Science fiction


It is not just that there are currently no ideas being researched to

such a degree where they are likely to be able to bring down

atmospheric carbon to a safe level of around 300 parts per million. It

is also that the level of funding available to the scientists doing the

research is woefully inadequate.


These RCP's are used by policymakers to decide what actions are

required to sustain a safe climate for our own and future generations.

The information they are using, presented by the IPCC, is nothing more

than science fiction.


It makes for sober thinking when glossy images of President Obama and

the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, are presented to the world shaking

hands on global emissions reductions by 2030 that we know will commit

us to catastrophe.



Nick Breeze is a film maker and writer on climate change and other

environmental topics. He has been interviewing a range of experts

relating to the field of climate change and science for over five

years. These include interviews with Dr James Hansen, Professor Martin

Rees, Professor James Lovelock, Dr Rowan Williams, Dr Natalia Shakhova,

Dr Michael Mann, Dr Hugh Hunt, among