Friday, November 16, 2012

Edenhofer, Hulme et al. on the 2 degree target

There is an interesting exchange between various participants about the 2 degrees target. A must read for Klimazwiebel regulars.

Source: O. Edenhofer et al. (eds.), Climate Change, Justice and Sustainability: 121
Linking Climate and Development Policy, DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-4540-7_12

H/T Warren Pearce


Mark B. said...

Interesting that Hulme criticizes the two degree program by saying that it doesn't account for improving female literacy(!) This shows to me that Hulme's motivations for climate change advocacy are less climate and more an ideological rat-bag of leftist causes. This is exactly what turns off so many people, regardless of 'the science' - the sense that the entire effort is a leftist wolf in (scientific) sheep's clothing. Just as when French Socialist voters are told that the solution to their economic problems is more market capitalism. They don't ask 'is it true?' - they reflexively reject it as poisoned advice.

ghost said...

@Mark B

I am sorry, I cannot agree with your interpretation. I must say, it is purely defamatory. Hulme clearly describes his criticisms. One is: one has to consider the welfare directly, IMHO, because a "2 Degree"-target can be reached also by geo-engineering, for example, helping nobody.

I think, the problem of the "2 Degrees" approach is the urgent and continuous need of its explanation. It is created as key word and centerpiece of a discussion. In the same time, one has always to explain what does it mean. It does not mean, we will all die at 2.1 Degrees, it does not mean, we should use geo-engineering, etc. It means we should limit the greenhouse gas emissions, step by step. If it does mean this, we can directly say, we have to limit the CO2 emissions. Well...

Now, this was already done in the past, for example in the Kyoto protocol.

IMHO, such targets must be underlaid with ideas how to reach the targets. In Germany, our plan is to use Renewable Energies and highly efficient conventional power plants, and do not use nuclear power. Other countries try to use nuclear power or water power plant, or do not have any idea or plan and do not care at all (USA).

In contrast to the opinion of Pielke Jr. or Hansen or so, I see Germany on a good track. It sounds like a plan. At least,this is a step further than other countries...

PS. now, I have to read the rest of the paper. Thanks for sharing the link.

Anonymous said...

This seems to be news from a parallel universe, sort of a backslash going on, telling simplified tales on climate change and climate science as you can read also here and elsewhere ... published by the World Bank and written by – guess who? – the PIK ...

Meanwhile over in Great Britain the BBC is embroiled in a scandal over its handling of climate issues. We learn that BBC-listeners have been lied and manipulated for years by an institution which is commonly respected for its independence and its "gold standards" of investigating and reporting.

The scandal now brought up tells a lot about political advocacy and "consensus" in climate science.

It's well worth reading the whole thing here
(3 pages!) ...

V. Lenzer

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with the PIK report. Would you provide some examples, please?

Here's the full report:

I've just glanced about the report, the statements about hurricanes (p.27) seem to be ok.


Anonymous said...

@ Andreas

First of all it is a piece of opinion rather than a scientific report.

The editors: „This work is a product of the staff of The World Bank with external contributions“ and „The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work“ and: „We acknowledge with gratitude „Connect4Climate“ that contributed to the production of this report“.


Along with one of those organizations payed or subsidized by governments to tell the world (and the governments) that they should act, a perfect and selfreferential circle of auto-citations.

Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group: „It is my hope that this report shocks us into action“

So far for Dr. Kim’s hopes and beliefs – but how’s about the scientific basis for his and the report’s claims?

To start with the headline: „Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided“ ... one could possibly add „Why a 12 or 18 or 37°C Warmer World Must be Avoided“ – (we are among bankers here, therefore we should not be afraid from high numbers).

It is not my intention to review the whole report with all details - this will be done by the media in the coming days anyhow - but just to mention a few points ...

„This report spells out what the world would be like if it warmed by 4 degrees Celsius, which is what
scientists are nearly unanimously predicting by the end of the century, without serious policy changes.“

IF – and what scientists? The ones from the World Bank, an institution well known for research and expertise in the fields of climate science?

„The warming of the atmosphere and oceans is leading to an accelerating loss of ice from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets“

Does it? The antarctic shield ice is gaining mass and the sea ice extent is on record high levels.

„In the absence of climate change, extreme heat waves in Europe, Russia, and the United States, for example, would be expected to occur only once every several hundred years“

Do they?

etc. etc.
The report is full of flawed informations, exaggerations and biased opinions.

If somebody agreed with Hans Joachim Schellnhuber that the IPCC should be replaced by another scientific body because it is controlled by political interests, we know now the solution he maybe didn't think about: forget the UN bodies, follow the money instead and go where the real power lies: with the banks and the insurances.

V. Lenzer

Anonymous said...

@ V. Lenzer

"The antarctic shield ice is gaining mass"

Really? I don't know a recent paper supporting your claim. Maybe you can help me?

IMHO the piece is a typical example of PR in advance of the conference in Doha. Yes, there's a bias, yes, it's kind of one-sided, yes, it's politics.

But you've used some strong words (flawed, scandal). So I asked, if you could provide some examples of faults supporting your strong words. If not, you could calm down a little. PR isn't necessarily a "scandal", isn't it?

Or is PR a privilege of skeptic think tanks and foundations?


ghost said...


there was one workshop or conference paper that uses only satellite altimetry. I think Zwally is one of the authors. However, results using GRACE and others do not support this, which was also showed by Zwally et al. and others.

Link to the workshop:

good discussion:,2517302,2520871#msg-2520871


of course, realclimate:

Anonymous said...

@ Andreas

Antarctic ice shield mass gains and increasing sea ice extent measured by NASA’s ICESat laser and ERS radar ...


You mix up my post on the BBC scandal with the one on the PIK/Worldbank report. While the World Bank paper is just another PR attempt to disseminate biased and simplified informations on a complicated issue – the BBC affair constitutes a scandal indeed. When a publicly-funded organisation throws its impartiality guidelines, editorial standards and good practices over board to support what some people believe to be a “good cause”, we get to a tipping point of independent and honest journalism – or how Michael Buerk, a BBC journalist, puts it: to a "post-God religion".

Considering the BBC’s role, reputation and authority as one oft the world wide opinion leaders, this is worse than just another of these BBC scandals we were getting used to the last months.

If you don’t want to read the Register article linked above, try to read this one here maybe ...

V. Lenzer

hvw said...

Someone may want to read up on the difference between antarctic sea ice extent and antarctic ice sheet mass and ponder the implications of the respective changes for sea level changes ...

Werner Krauss said...

Just scrolled through the articles and wondered if this is really about the 2 degree stuff. Instead, I think the heart of the debate is not a scientific one: it is all about religion. Hulme claims with all humility that it will never be possible for humans to control the working of nature and climate; and Leggewie / Messner argue that we should acknowledge a world that is still unknown and despised. And also their argument “Act in such a way that the effects of your actions are compatible with the permanence of real human life on Earth” is not a scientific one; it is an ethical or religious attitude.

What we have here are testaments of men in crisis. Their science is like the ice sheet: it is a cover that easily melts away and lays bare depression and self-doubt. It spontaneously reminded me of Lars von Trier's movie "Melancholia", which expresses this "last days on earth" feeling pretty well:

Or was I just daydreaming? Back to ice sheets and numbers!

Mathis Hampel said...


nice one! Now let me play the religious trope: climate catholics take 2 degrees as metaphor around which they practice their faith, climate protestants want to read it literally as if it was science. They would adjust their faith to new scientific evidence.

Roddy said...

werner, I love your comment

Reiner Grundmann said...


Catholics know they are sinners, but can go to confession. Protestants have no such possibility, they just feel guilty.

No need to mention numbers ;-)

Werner Krauss said...

Mathis & Reiner,

obviously, both of you have a distanced relationship to religion - you talk about protestants and catholics as others. But is "othering" of or joking about religion enough to make the problem disappear? Maybe "ontological" would have been a more appropriate term for the problem, and in my guess, we all share this problem in the face of a changing climate. Even when we talk with cool expertise about the pros and cons of the 2 degree goal - we have to figure out how we relate to those forces which are bigger than we are and too obscure to be fully understood.

By the way, in the middle of the Lars von Trier trailer, there is the guy with the telescope, and he is so convinced that this planet is of scientific interest only and that the planet will never hit earth. Well, we know better, as do the women. Here, the scientific optimism indeed seems just a cover of a deep insecurity or depression, right? And isn't he depressing: He has nothing to say nor is he able to console or care for his son or wife.

Mathis Hampel said...

Werner, I am depressed because climate change stole my virginity. I used to love the idea of climate...and then climate change came along with Gore, Stern, Inhofe ...and I had to grow up. I m trying to reconnect with that lost love but arguing about 2 degrees, Gore, Stern or Inhofe does not help.

My religion is capitalism;)

Werner Krauss said...


interesting concept, losing your climate virginity. Not sure if that bio-medical metaphor fits. In your youth, your perception of climate was not virgin, it was just different. Weather / seasons / climate zones already meant something before climate change. Now it means something different or: older.

The anthropocene means reconnecting with the "old" geo-physical and atmospheric conditions of our existence. In the opening scene of Lars von Trier's "Melancholia", in a dream like sequence, Kirsten Dunst is connected with roots to earth, roots from her arms and feet into the ground. An idea we find in German romantic literature, I guess, as well as in Braudel's history of the Mediterranean. Braudel also sets the stage for history in geo-physics and climate; for example, his descriptions of nomad routes from the desert to the Mediterranean sea: he describes them almost as a kind of climatological journeys. Or in Tim Ingold's descriptions of how we are enmeshed in sky and earth (instead of being distanced observers). Or in Deleuze's conception of the actual, the moment: theoretical materialism and posthumanism. Great intellectual territories to explore...

Anonymous said...

@ V. Lenzer

Just for fun: