Monday, April 14, 2014

BBC Fails Again on Climate Change Report.

Listening to the BBC's Radio 4 news bulletins about the IPCC WGIII report on climate mitigation, one might be forgiven for thinking that all is well, that the climate could be sorted by adding some solar panels and at very little cost to the global economy.  What a relief!  This time the BBC did not roll out crackpot climate deniers - they just made up their own denial story.  The real report from the IPCC paints a very different story.  In the Summary, after a great deal of dire warnings, we reach page 17 where there is a paragraph about the economics, the aspect that the BBC focussed upon.  This is what it says.

Estimates of the aggregate economic costs of mitigation vary widely and are highly sensitive to model design and assumptions as well as the specification of scenarios, including the characterization of technologies and the timing of mitigation (high confidence). Scenarios in which all countries of the world begin mitigation immediately, there is a single global carbon price, and all key technologies are available, have been used as a cost‐effective benchmark for estimating macroeconomic mitigation costs. Under these assumptions, mitigation scenarios that reach atmospheric concentrations of about 450ppm CO2eq by 2100 entail losses in global consumption - not including benefits of reduced climate change as well as co‐benefits and adverse side‐effects of mitigation - of 1% to 4% (median: 1.7%) in 2030, 2% to 6% (median: 3.4%) in 2050, and 3% to 11% (median: 4.8%) in 2100 relative to consumption in baseline scenarios that grows anywhere from 300% to more than 900% over the century. These numbers correspond to an annualized reduction of consumption growth by 0.04 to 0.14 (median: 0.06) percentage points over the century relative to annualized consumption growth in the baseline that is between 1.6% and 3% per year. Estimates at the high end of these cost ranges are from models that are relatively inflexible to achieve the deep emissions reductions required in the long run to meet these goals and/or include assumptions about market imperfections that would raise costs. Under the absence or limited availability of technologies, mitigation costs can increase substantially depending on the technology considered. Delaying additional mitigation further increases mitigation costs in the medium to long term. Many models could not achieve atmospheric concentration levels of about 450 ppm CO2eq by 2100 if additional mitigation is considerably delayed or under limited availability of key technologies, such as bioenergy, CCS, and their combination (BECCS).

Original document here

The BBC has, quite rightly, received much criticism for its climate change reporting recently.  It now seems to have adopted a more subtle approach - selectively cherry-picking tiny fragments, removing them from their context and reporting them as the main story.  BBC fail again.

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