What will the AR5 look like?

17 Aug

Occasionally I’ll look at the IPCC’s website to see if there is any news worth reading. There nearly always isn’t, but today I noticed quite a bit of material pertaining to the coming AR5. I decided to look into their presentations section to see what they were saying about the new report themselves. Several of these were given at Copenhagen, and I will highlight two of them, only for one slide apiece.

The first was given by Dr. Youba Sokona, Co-Chair of WGIII, on the 8’th of December 2009 in Copenhagen. It’s a fairly standard presentation with slides showing how CO2 mitigation will hardly affect GDP and how great renewable energy will be. It also has an interesting slide labeled “A multitude of policy instruments are available to Governments” pictured below:

I think it is informative that one line is “Voluntary agreements”, which implies that all others are involuntary. I suppose it is not surprising to see the endorsement of government action by an inter-governmental panel, but these recommended actions are far from innocuous and need to be seen as such.

The other presentation was given by Chris Field and Vicente Barros, Co-chairs, IPCC WG2 on 8 December 2009. It summarizes the WGII findings of the AR4 and shows some expectations of the WGII for the AR5. This presentation is noteworthy because of the closing slide, pictured below:

The debate is over folks. They are moving from “It’s real” to “here is the information you need to make good decisions for your stakeholders”. Apparently, in the past, they felt the need to convince people of the urgency of climate change with “facts”, but no longer. It has now been established that “it’s real”, so the focus now shifts to “what you can do about it”.

It isn’t coincidental that I’ve shown these two slides, because here is my prediction: Because of what we now know of climate change (it’s real), we need information to make good decisions for our shareholders. These good decisions involve government using a multitude of policy instruments, the majority of which require involuntary actions (taxation, regulation, trading schemes, etc). In other words, it’s real, so we need government to save us.

At present it appears the AR5 will be even more policy-laden than the previous reports, and even more dismissive of alternative views. Fortunately it doesn’t come out for some time, let’s hope this will change. Or, perhaps more likely, let’s hope the IPCC’s credibility will be so damaged that no one takes them seriously anyways.


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Posted by on August 17, 2010 in Uncategorized



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