Earth on Course to See 11 Degree Temperature Increase by 2100

by Duane Nichols on December 3, 2011

This year is very unusual for natural disasters, with economic losses of $265 billion, by the end of June, which exceeds that for 2005. Given that the Earth has already warmed 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees F) so far, a goal to keep the temperature rise within 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F) has been advocated.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), heat-trapping emissions from the world’s energy sector will lead to a 2-degree Celsius increase in the Earth’s temperature that, as growth continues, will increase to 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 degrees F) by 2100.

“Everybody, even the schoolchildren, knows this is a catastrophe for all of us,” said Fatih Birol the Chief Economist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.  Birol spoke in unusually blunt terms about the climate implications of the global energy mix, implications that are disputed by many conservatives in the United States who don’t believe in the connection between human activity and climate change.

David Burwell, who directs the energy and climate program at the Carnegie Endowment, said Birol’s comments have “big implications for capital investment in energy,” though he noted that it will be oil executives and others in the private sector who will drive many of the key decisions.

“We can try to regulate, we can try to incentivize, but ultimately, they’ve got to make the decisions, they’ve got to make the investments,” Birol said, adding that government officials should engage with the energy industry on this topic. “Now’s the time to have the conversation about investments.”  Birol said he believes his agency’s analysis is having an impact in places such as China, which he said would outpace the European Union in per capita carbon emissions by 2015. He added that by 2035, China would outrank the industrialized world as the single biggest overall emitter of greenhouse gases in history.

According to this report, “The U.N. talks, meanwhile, suffered a setback as Canada announced  that it would not agree to sign up to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 climate pact that set emissions targets for all major industrialized nations. Canada had pledged to cut its overall greenhouse gas emissions 6 percent by 2012 compared with 1990 levels; as of 2009, its carbon output was 29.8 percent above 1990 levels.”

The continued usage of fossil fuels, including the Marcellus shale gas now being developed, adds significantly to the total burden of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  If some coal is replaced, that could slow the increase somewhat but that will not be enough in and of itself.  See the earlier report for some of the details, including the research and comments of Dr. James Hansen, the U.S. expert on global climate change.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Blakeslee December 5, 2011 at 7:30 am

What if climate changes are occurring today, as they have in the past, substantially independently of the activities of mankind? The history of the earth’s temperature changes over eaons has been one of continuous change. The historical evidence for this is at least as strong as currently “politically correct” models.

Furthermore, not all current models are politically correct, e.g., they explian “global warming” in terms of naturally occurring (and recurring) change.

It may be that the relatively slow change since the last “little ice age” about 200 years ago has conditioned us to believe recent acceleration in temperature is caused by accelerating human activity, rather than merely coincident with it.


Duane Nichols December 5, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Well, the climate is always variable, but the issue is the long term accumulation of greenhouse gases, and the continued increase in the generation of them. This is unprecedented in the history of life on earth. We know where these gases are coming from, mostly carbon dioxide. And, the effect on the overall average temperature of the atmosphere is as one would expect due to the greenhouse effect. The correlation is tight.


Blakeslee December 5, 2011 at 8:03 am

The article above: “..Dr. James Hansen, the U.S. expert on global climate change.”

Dr. Hanson has become a prisoner of his reputation, as did the Catholic theologians who in the seventeenth century ever more stridently attacked Gallileo’s contrary understanding of our universe.

For example: he has publicly asserted that last summer’s heat wave in Texas was “an outlier” of global warming.

Scientists (and anybody else, for that matter) are on shaky ground when they rely on episodic evedence to support broad conclusions. Furthermore, Dr. Hanson’s defensive bias is revealed by his neglect of contrary episodic evidence; namely, the brtally cold winters across much of Europe in the same year.


Duane Nichols December 5, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Dr. Hansen has simply been open and honest about the facts, not every weather change is due to global warming. Further, he has never relied on episodic evidence to prove that we are now in a long term crisis situation. That is, unless you want to call the current long term global warming crisis an ‘episode’.


Blakeslee December 6, 2011 at 11:54 am

” …you want to call the current long term global warming crisis an ‘episode’.”

Actually, I don’t want to call it anything except what it is: global warming since the last “little ice age”, 200 years ago.
Before that, the earth was relatively warmer and entered a cooling period. And “the issue” is NOT “the long term accumulation of greenhouse gasses”, but whether the theory that these gasses are causing “greenhouse” global warming is correct.

I’m not a “believer” or a “non-believer”. I do believe the “tight correlation” you point out is not necessarily one of cause-and effect but MAY be coincidental.

Fact is there are credible theories explaining global warming and cooling that account for the current warming cycle having nothing to do with “greenhouse gasses”.


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