Annals of Global Warming: IPCC Special Report of Global Warming of 1.5°C

October 8, 2018

Are we doomed? This report is not optimistic — instead it quite starkly spells out the challenge that faces humans, as a total planetary population, if we are to have our species survive for another 100 years.

Cover of IPCC-CH report, Special Report of Global Warming of 1.5°C

Cover of IPCC-CH report, Special Report of Global Warming of 1.5°C

The language of the report is quite dry, as we expect from scientists. But the report, from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is really quite urgent. If the planet — meaning you and me — does not make dramatic progress in controlling carbon air pollution now, any child born now will face dramatic problems from climate warming.

From the executive summary of the report:

A. Understanding Global Warming of 1.5°C

A1. Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely
range of 0.8° C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. (high confidence) {1.2, Figure SPM.1}

Reflecting the long-term warming trend since pre-industrial times, observed global meansurface temperature (GMST) for the decade 2006–2015 was 0.87°C (likely between 0.75°C and 0.99°C) higher than the average over the 1850–1900 period (very high confidence). Estimated anthropogenic global warming matches the level of observed warming to within ±20% (likely range). Estimated anthropogenic global warming is currently increasing at 0.2°C (likely between 0.1°C and 0.3°C) per decade due to past and ongoing emissions (high confidence). {1.2.1, Table 1.1, 1.2.4}

Warming greater than the global annual average is being experienced in many land regions and seasons, including two to three times higher in the Arctic. Warming is generally higher over land than over the ocean. (high confidence) {1.2.1, 1.2.2, Figure 1.1, Figure 1.3, 3.3.1, 3.3.2}

Trends in intensity and frequency of some climate and weather extremes have been detected over time spans during which about 0.5° C of global warming occurred (medium confidence). This assessment is based on several lines of evidence, including attribution studies for changes in extremes since 1950. {3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.3}

Who will respond to the call to arms? Who will read this report?

I’m providing links to the report here, and the complete press release. Read it here (or at the UN site linked) to get the facts, and to see just how much distortion gets introduced by anti-Earth, anti-science propagandists.

Here is the unedited press release from IPCC on this report:

8 October 2018
Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C approved by governments

Incheon, Republic of Korea, October 8– Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

“With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The report’s full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2°C.

“Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5°C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

Limiting global warming would also give people and ecosystems more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds, added Pörtner. The report also examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5°C, what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be. “The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

“Limiting warming to 1.5°C is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or ‘overshoot’ 1.5°C would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5°C by 2100. The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared with 2°C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Priyardarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future, said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

“This report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change while considering local context and people’s needs. The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” she said.

The IPCC is the leading world body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options.

The report was prepared under the scientific leadership of all three IPCC working groups. Working Group I assesses the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II addresses impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III deals with the mitigation of climate change.

The Paris Agreement adopted by 195 nations at the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

As part of the decision to adopt the Paris Agreement, the IPCC was invited to produce, in 2018, a Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways. The IPCC accepted the invitation, adding that the Special Report would look at these issues in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Global Warming of 1.5°C is the first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Cycle. Next year the IPCC will release the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and Climate Change and Land, which looks at how climate change affects land use.

The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) presents the key findings of the Special Report, based on the assessment of the available scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to global warming of 1.5°C.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15) is available at or

Key statistics of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C

91 authors from 44 citizenships and 40 countries of residence
– 14 Coordinating Lead Authors (CLAs)
– 60 Lead authors (LAs)
– 17 Review Editors (REs)

133 Contributing authors (CAs)
Over 6,000 cited references
A total of 42,001 expert and government review comments
(First Order Draft 12,895; Second Order Draft 25,476; Final Government Draft: 3,630)

For more information, contact:
IPCC Press Office, Email:
Werani Zabula +41 79 108 3157 or Nina Peeva +41 79 516 7068

Notes for editors The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, known as SR15, is being prepared in response to an invitation from the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015, when they reached the Paris Agreement, and will inform the Talanoa Dialogue at the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24). The Talanoa Dialogue will take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement, and to inform the preparation of nationally determined contributions. Details of the report, including the approved outline, can be found on the report page. The report was prepared under the joint scientific leadership of all three IPCC Working Groups, with support from the Working Group I Technical Support Unit.

What is the IPCC?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies. It has 195 member states.

IPCC assessments provide governments, at all levels, with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC assessments are a key input into the international negotiations to tackle climate change. IPCC reports are drafted and reviewed in several stages, thus guaranteeing objectivity and transparency.

The IPCC assesses the thousands of scientific papers published each year to tell policymakers what we know and don’t know about the risks related to climate change. The IPCC identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community, where there are differences of opinion, and where further research is needed. It does not conduct its own research.

To produce its reports, the IPCC mobilizes hundreds of scientists. These scientists and officials are drawn from diverse backgrounds. Only a dozen permanent staff work in the IPCC’s Secretariat.

The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for measuring emissions and removals.

IPCC Assessment Reports consist of contributions from each of the three working groups and a Synthesis Report. Special Reports undertake an assessment of cross-disciplinary issues that span more than one working group and are shorter and more focused than the main assessments.

Sixth Assessment Cycle
At its 41st Session in February 2015, the IPCC decided to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). At its 42nd Session in October 2015 it elected a new Bureau that would oversee the work on this report and Special Reports to be produced in the assessment cycle. At its 43rd Session in April 2016, it decided to produce three Special Reports, a Methodology Report and AR6.

The Methodology Report to refine the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories will be delivered in 2019. Besides Global Warming of 1.5°C, the IPCC will finalize two further special reports in 2019: the Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Chan Climate and Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. The AR6 Synthesis Report will be finalized in the first half of 2022, following the three working group contributions to AR6 in 2021.

For more information, including links to the IPCC reports, go to:

Discuss away, comments are open.


  • See the Tweet from IPCC, below


SkepticGate II: Fizzled assault on science

December 19, 2011

Skepticgate cartoon from the Houston Chronicle, 2009

This Anderson cartoon from the Houston Chronicle in 2009 gets the facts right, but sadly, is still accurate

Remember the pathetic, disgusting attempt to derail the climate talks in Durban, just a few days ago?  The “climate skeptics”™ dumped a bunch more private e-mails from the scientists who work on climate. (Stolen e-mails, here; be prepared to be bored, with no smoking guns, no cold guns, no guns at all.)

Unless one thinks the self-proclaimed skeptics are James Bond nemesis enough to actually hope for the end of the world (as opposed to just being monumentally, stupidly misled), their train still can’t get back on the tracks.  Revealing that someone among them has stolen more e-mails than previously known, didn’t help.  Here is a list of just how bad the derailment has been for the denialists:

  1. No great world-changing agreement, but the climate talks in Durban, South Africa, produced a consensus that a massive treaty is not coming soon, and that action to save the planet can’t wait for guys in suits who defer by people like Ralph Hall to do the right thing.  Generally, the comity at Durban is bad for the denialists — Christopher Monckton went into full panic mode, suggesting the language of the agreement available isn’t the whole story and something else — something sinister — is really going on.  (One wonders how Monckton can stand to turn out the lights at night.)  They can’t tell the difference between their burro and a burrow, and with Ralph Hall leading them they’re likely to find the edge of the cliff and leave it before they realize just how far up they are and how far they have to fall.  (Skeptic/denialist Judith Curry carried a rundown of headlines from Durban, with links — remember her bias.)
  2. British authorities raided the digs of a skeptic blogger, seizing his computer upon which he got the first round of stolen e-mails.  It’s unlikely the raidee is guilty of much beyond making the stolen stuff public (is that a crime in Britain?), but one hopes Britain’s crime fighters have access to cyber trackers who may be able to learn more from the signatures on the posts.  Searches have been noticed for other bloggers, including Jeff Id at the Air Vent, but warrants and actual searches haven’t taken place yet.
  3. One paper in climate science was officially retracted — alas for the denialists, it was one of theirs.  Plagiarism and rank error in the so-called Wegman Report to a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives prompted the call-back.  John Mashey’s gumshoe work in the libraries of academe lent a new shine to the word “scholarship.”  Republicans have yet to admit the paper’s errors.  (
  4. Texas Congressman Ralph Hall granted a rare interview, and spoke out about climate change.  He revealed that he doesn’t know much about one of the hottest issues facing the committee he chairs, and what little he knows, is wrong.  Cue the Kin Hubbard/Mick Jagger duet.
  5. Skeptics actually completed a research project and prepared it for publication.  A group at Berkeley, with funding from conservative warming denialists like the Koch brothers, and featuring the work and cooperation of leading anti-science people like Anthony Watts, took on the challenge of looking at temperatures reported from weather stations, especially in the U.S., and especially those Anthony Watts had targeted as providing unduly warm and inaccurate readings that skewed all of the science of global warming.  The not-loudly-mentioned target, of course, was the “hockey stick” graph.  Alas for the skeptics, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study produced results that verify the accuracy of measurements that show warming, and which suggest the IPCC-published hockey stick is accurate enough that it deserves credence.  Anthony Watts promptly disavowed all his own work on the project.
  6. Meanwhile, warming continued unabated by almost every measure.  Galileo could say:  Eppure, lei si scalda!

One question we need to be asking is why the incidents around the stolen e-mails are known as “Climategate” in the circles of warming denialists.  The thieves in this case came from the ranks of the so-called skeptics, and the release of the e-mails was done on the blogs of those who deny warming, or human causation, or human ability to mitigate at all.  (Fox News got it bass ackwards, of course — wondering whether the government is somehow complicit in hiding information, while all the information is public and almost all of the private communication is public.  At Fox, they don’t even get Homer Simpson doh! moments of understanding — that’s how bad it is in Denialville.)

Not climategate, but skepticgate -- follow the money cartoon

So far no one's listening to the bear on this one -- follow the money, and bring the criminals to justice.

It’s really SkepticGate, with a more-than two-year coverup and continuing, and the recent release is SkepticGate II.

Denialists, and even those who question global warming on legitimate grounds, must be frustrated.  Nothing they do stops the world from warming.  As the massive wave of evidence demonstrating the Earth warms and humans share the blame turns to a tsunami, even policy makers (Ralph Hall excepted) look for solutions to warming problems.  It’s so bad for the skeptics that even the old trick of stealing e-mails from the scientists, the trick that helped fog up the Copenhagen proceedings, did almost nothing to the Durban talks.  While no treaty came out, none was expected — but the sudden action in the last couple of days of the conference to get action despite the continued interference by climate skeptics  and their political allies, must have caught them off guard.

Now the cops are after them, too.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Cool KWAANZA, Ebullient Edwin Hubble Looking Up Day, Happy New Year!

Progress from Durban?

December 11, 2011

Meeting in Durban, South Africa, government officials from many nations worked to find solutions to human causation of destructive climate change, in the framework of proposed treaties under United Nations aegis.

Negotiations at Durban, South Africa, December 10, 2011 - UK DECC photo

Negotiators at the COP17 Climate Conference in Durban work late into the night to reach agreement on a roadmap to a legally binding deal, 10 December 2011. UKDECC photo and caption

Did anyone expect good reports out of these meetings?

From the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, we get this press release, dated Sunday, December 11, 2011:

Road open to new global legal climate treaty

  • Global agreement achieved on a roadmap to a legally binding deal
  • Second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol to be agreed next year
  • Green Climate Fund to be set up

The UN climate talks in South Africa have been heralded a success after a climate change deal was struck in the early hours of Sunday morning.194 parties have spent the past two weeks in Durban discussing how to cut emissions to limit global temperature rise to below two degrees to avoid dangerous climate change.

In a major realignment of support, well over 120 countries formed a coalition behind the EU’s high ambition proposal of a roadmap to a global legally binding deal to curb emissions. African states together with the least developed countries such as Bangladesh and Gambia, and small island states vulnerable to rising sea levels, like the Maldives, joined with the EU to put forward a timetable which would see the world negotiate a new agreement by 2015 at the latest.

The talks resulted in a decision to adopt the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol next year in return for a roadmap to a global legal agreement covering all parties for the first time. Negotiations will begin on the agreement early next year.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said:

“This is a significant step forward in curbing emissions to tackle global climate change. For the first time we’ve seen major economies, normally cautious, commit to take the action demanded by the science.

“The EU’s proposal for the roadmap was at the core of the negotiations and the UK played a central role in galvanising support. This outcome shows the UNFCCC system really works and can produce results. It also shows how a united EU can achieve results on the world stage and deliver in the UK’s best interests.

“There are still many details to be hammered out, but we now need to start negotiating the new legal agreement as soon as possible and there are still many details to be hammered out.”

Also the conference agreed to get the Green Climate Fund up and running, this will help deliver financial support to developing countries to reduce emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Notes to editors:

Further details on the Durban climate talks can be found at:

Visit the Durban COP 17 pages of the DECC website

Call me skeptical that this report is completely accurate, but as I refuse to be “skeptical” of the reality that the Earth warms, call me hopeful, too.  It’s an agreement to keep talking.


A carrot for a nose: Healing newtism among climate contrarians

March 18, 2010

Peter Sinclair takes some claims from climate denialists too seriously.  I hope.

On the other hand, he thoroughly shreds some of the more hoary claims of the denialists.  Plus he includes clips of everybody’s favorite movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Give it a watch, “Flogging the Scientists”:

Gee.  Here in Texas we could use a Peter Sinclair film on history, economics and other social studies.  Quick!

Tip of the old scrub brush to Tim Lambert at Deltoid.

Just in case you thought any climate contrarian remains sane . . .

February 2, 2010

Which of these would be accurate in showing the insanity, but not so sharp as to raise the hackles of the climate contrarians?

  • “Contrarians think Antarctic unworthy of protection”
  • “Denialists criticize efforts to keep Antarctic clean”
  • “Climate change critics’ brains have left the building”

Read these stories, and tell me.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted the delicate condition of the Antarctic with regard to its two main industries, fishing and tourism.  IPCC AR4 noted that the tourism industry takes steps to protect Antarctic environments made more vulnerable by melting.  (Footnote here; actual flyer here, assessment document here in Microsoft Word .doc format)

Contrarians come unglued, here at, and here at Air Vent.

It’s clear that the contrarians don’t have much experience in heavy documentation.  If you follow the links they provide, you quickly get to the paper provided by the tourist industry noting their precautions to prevent contamination, provided to meet a request by scientists from the Australian team, and based on information well vetted to the point that it includes substantial excerpts from what appears to be a peer-reviewed journal on the types of solutions suitable for decontaminating foreign boots in the Antarctic (Polar Record, vol. 41, no. 216, Jan. 2005, p. 39-45; it is actually the official journal of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge, UK).  There is astounding and commendable attention to detail, much more than the contrarians can grok, it appears.

More troubling to the Boy Scout in me is the contrarians’ contempt for what is, really, Leave No Trace Camping carried to an Antarctic tourist stop.  This is part of the environment protection credo of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and it is sound policy that everyone should be teaching their children.

What is wrong with that?  Why do the contrarians mock wise policies?  Why do they make false claims against what amounts to good Scouting?

Leave No Trace logo

Contratians disapprove of the ethics of environmental stewardship?

One implicit complaint is that the footnote does not provide evidence of damage from climate change, in the Antarctic.  It’s clear that the critics have not followed the footnote path to see why the boot cleaning poster and directive were issued, nor to see what is the research or official government action that prompted the tourist companies to implement the procedure.

It appears in a section of the IPCC reports on effects of warming on industries in affected areas.  Only two industries are noted in the Antarctic, fishing and tourism.  After establishing the increased chance of problem organisms, including micro-organisms, showing up in Arctic and Antarctic areas as the areas warm, and after noting two plagues that killed penguins recently, from micro-organisms, the IPCC paper notes that concern to prevent such tragedies have so far required only boot decontamination, and it offers a link to the flyer provided by an Antarctic tour operators group.

Got that?  To show that the tour operators are affected, IPCC cited the flyer put out by the tour operators showing how and why they were changing their operations.  It’s a minor, almost trivial point.

At no point did IPCC’s report claim this procedure as evidence of warming, or the effects of warming.  So the claims of the contrarians and denialists are completely off base, as they’d recognize except for their own shouting for the lynching of science to proceed.

Criticism of IPCC for noting the good stewardship techniques used in the Antarctic comprises more political smear than scientific enlightenment, by a huge factor.  Voodoo science from the contrarians begets voodoo criticism.

Contrarians lack wisdom in posing this complaint of theirs.  This is one more point IPCC got right, factually and ethically.  IPCC should be commended for that.

Wall of Shame (update added on February 7)

Outlets that cite the boot reference, falsely or stupidly, as some sort of flaw in the IPCC report, and thereby demonstrate malevolent intentions, and not scientific (“malice” for you Times v. Sullivan fans):

%d bloggers like this: