One more climate chart—We’re on track for up to 7°C (12½°F) temperature rise by 2100

UPDATE: A complete list of climate series pieces is available here:
The Climate series: a reference post.
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This is a quick follow-up to this post about that 2°C global temperature increase most of us are hoping to avoid.

In that post, I showed you the chart below, a reprint of Figure 21 from the Copenhagen Diagnosis (pdf), a very readable “where we are” science paper presented in advance of the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference. (Thanks to Dr. Michael Mann for pointing me in this direction.)

Note the projected IPPC scenarios in this chart, especially the top one — the red band — labeled A1F1. I’m calling that the Koch Bros Scenario — McKibben calls it the “do nothing” or “business as usual” scenario.

This is what will happen, in other words, if we keep making the Oil Barons rich. Following that scenario, we get to a monstrous 7°C, or close to it, by 2100.

Figure 21. Reconstructed global-average temperature relative to 1800-1900 (blue) and projected global-average temperature out to 2100 (the latter from IPCC AR4). The envelopes B1, A2, A1FI refer to the IPCC AR4 projections using those scenarios. The reconstruction record is taken from Mann et al. (2008).

Now look at Figure 1 from the same document (page 11 of the pdf). It drills down, showing both projected and observed CO2 emissions for an overlapping period. The projections start in 2001 and include the previously noted IPPC scenarios, including A1F1. The observed CO2 emissions data goes through 2009.

The chart therefore serves to compare 2000-generated projections against eight subsequent years of observation and gives us a nice “what track are we on” look through 2009.

Here the IPPC A1F1 scenario is the red line. The information is startling. Take a look:

Figure 1. Observed global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement production compared with IPCC emissions scenarios (Le Quéré et al. 2009). Observations are from the US Department of Energy Carbon Dioxide Information Center (CDIAC) up to 2006. 2007 and 2008 are based on BP economic data. The emission scenarios are averaged over families of scenarios presented in Nakicenovic et al (2000). The shaded area covers all scenarios used to project climate change by the IPCC.

As of 2009, we’re solidly on that A1F1 track, headed for 7°C. (Update: I should remind you that 7°C is more than 12°F. That’s a ton.)

This means that Charles & David Koch (those nice people who finance Nova, for example, on that wonderful left-seeming PBS) are winning. And everyone on the planet is losing.

The Koch Bros Scenario — 7°C in your grandchildren’s lifetime. A lights-out scenario for our species and so many more. Count on 7°C unless the Oil Barons are stopped.

“Triumph of the will” — what I’ve been calling “Trumpism” after the win-at-all-costs aspect of Trump’s first book — is a hell of a disease for our New Barons to have caught, just when history placed the tools of species destruction right in their hands.

People took seriously the “nuclear destruction” possibility. This one is just as deadly.

More on the Koch Bros and the Koch Bros Scenario in the next climate post. Conscienceless.

GP

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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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