Prepare yourself for wailing and gnashing of teeth as the UN International Panel on Climate Change advocates meet in Paris. The Telegraph newspaper article in the UK summed up the Panel’s view:
“The world is on course to experience “severe and pervasive” negative impacts from climate change unless it takes rapid action to slash its greenhouse gas emissions, a major UN report is expected to warn on Sunday.
Flooding, dangerous heatwaves, ill health and violent conflicts are among the likely risks if temperatures exceed 2C above pre-industrial levels, the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will say.”
This is the regular sky is falling message from this group and it is expected to receive the same regular response from the nations assembled—-No, thank you!
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is being criticized for hyperventilating over the issues when data suggests global average temperatures have increased by around 0.05C per decade in the period between 1998 and 2012 compared with a decadal average of 0.12 between 1951 and 2012. Dozens of theories have surfaced to explain the inconvenient truth about why this pause in temperature growth has occurred while emissions of carbon dioxide were at record highs.
The answer in Paris at the latest conference seems to be ignore it since everyone by now knows that the science is settled in the matter. The bigger problem again this year is lack of consensus on action. China, India, the US and now even the EU have joined the chorus signaling they will not to agree with this report and its recommended actions.
That leaves emerging market nations in the same bind they have faced each year. The developed world joined by China and India at least for this matter refuse to reduce their economic growth to reduce emissions AND refuse to pay the emerging countries for the world’s sins of emission so the developing countries can grow their own economies faster so they too can emit.
The timing for the IPCC report is bad for China where economic growth fell to 7.3 per cent in the third quarter to its lowest level since 2008 because of problems in the housing sector drag down domestic demand and slowing exports hurt investment. It is also bad for the EU facing slowing economic growth in Germany which has been the EU engine. It also is unlikely to play well in the US in the midst of the shale revolution which has increased the supplies of oil and natural gas and driven down their prices.
I’m exaggerating here for effect because the UN IPCC has become like a Saturday Night Live skit offering sometimes laughable parody from its reports and press releases. Reruns of Al Gore’s movie must surely be the program following the skit.
Meanwhile back in the real world where the rest of us live carbon emissions in the US have fallen to 2005 levels because of market forces at work from the growth in natural gas supply have reduced natural gas prices to a level that has eroded the economics of coal fire power generation. In China, renewable energy sources from hydroelectric, wind, solar, and biomass grew to 378 gigawatts of new electricity generating capacity in 2013—a world record. The U.S. was second with 172 gigawatts of new renewable installations followed by Germany, India, Spain and Italy.
All of this is not happening from an outpouring of political correctness, but because market economics and competition are aligning to driving down the cost of fuel for power generation and wean the renewable energy industry and politicians from subsidies and mandates. In this competitive global market environment—the real environment is benefiting from more energy efficiency moderating demand, fuel substitution using cleaner natural gas to replace coal, and technology at work creating demand response that subsidies and press releases do not.
The cruel irony for the IPCC is the goal of creating more global environmental awareness and action has been achieved by market forces without the necessity of taking the bitter medicine of economic decline that the IPCC has been preaching for so long.