The BBC, Kevin Anderson and missing climate feedbacks


Increased forest fires are missing from climate models.

I have just posted this here on Neven’s Arctic Forum…

I’m pleased that the most outspoken (=willing to tell the truth?) climate scientist in the UK, Kevin Andersen, has had some airtime on the BBC e.g. R4’s Today.

My first thought: Is the BBC changing from being a bunch of climate delayers?

Answer: Not sure: The Best of Today podcasts don’t include the item

— Speaking on the programme is … Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at Manchester University.

but they do include

— Will the US abolish the Confederate flag?
— Gay priest reacts to church ban
— ‘Huge rise’ in newborns taken into care
— Monday’s business with Simon Jack

Anyway says

The Paris Agreement: 10/10 for presentation; 4/10 for content. Shows promise …

The Paris Agreement is a fitting testament to how years of diligent and meticulous science has ultimately weathered relentless and well-funded attempts to undermine its legitimacy. Building on this science base and under the inspiring auspices of the French people, the global community has come together as never before to tackle what is arguably the first truly globalised and self-induced challenge to humanity.

However, whilst the 2°C and 1.5°C aspirations of the Paris Agreement are to be wholeheartedly welcomed, the thirty-one page edifice is premised on future technologies removing huge quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere many decades from today. If such highly speculative ‘negative emission technologies’ prove to be unsuccessful then the 1.5°C target is simply not achievable. Moreover, there is only a slim chance of maintaining the global temperature rise to below 2°C.

Missing work on missing climate feedbacks

The increas in forest fires is a missing feedback

That reminded me. I once had a phone call with Kevin Andersen because I had read a hard hitting articles of his about climate but, as I remember, even these didn’t deal with the “missing feedback” issues.

The memory prompted me to put “remaining carbon budget” and “missing feedbacks” into Google to see the latest state-of-play. I was shocked that all of the 11 results were pieces by me or discussions I had taken part in. (Thanks to contributors here that helped.)

Is my Google search too tied to my terminology? – and there is any proper work on this out there?

“Proper work” means peer reviewed or from official sources? i.e. stuff that is backed up by credentials and has some credibility with policy makers.

Footnote 30th Apr 2016:  A reply from the Department of Energy and Climate Change agrees that the climate models used for IPCC AR5 had several missing feedbacks. See Carbon budgets: A straightforward answer from DECC.


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