The Dangers of Policy-Based Climate Science

Climate Change: Triumph and Tragedy in Paris

Kevin Anderson (2016)

In this presentation, Professor Kevin Anderson carefully dissects a number of the conclusions reached at the Paris COP21 climate change conference in December 2015. Anderson is particularly critical of what he refers to as “policy based science.” He also makes an urgent case for scientists to ignore “vested interests” if there’s to be any chance of preventing catastrophic climate change.

Despite all the hype about the COP21 agreement limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Centigrade, a close look at the math reveals all the emission reduction pledges add up to 3.5 degrees of warming (which is incompatible with human civilization).

According to Anderson, the major flaws of the Paris agreement are its reliance on carbon sequestration, an extremely expensive technology that doesn’t even exist yet; its failure to monitor carbon emissions produced by aviation and global shipping; and its failure to call for deep cuts in energy demand.

He also dismisses the fantasy of “green growth” as a public relations exercise. It will require decades to ramp up renewable energy production to support the lifestyles of the 10% of the population who produce 50% of the emissions. By this point,  total atmospheric CO2 will be too high to prevent catastrophic global warming.

Anderson maintains it’s too late to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees (Centigrade) and that we only have a 33% chance of limiting it to 2.0 degrees – provided the developed world cuts energy use by 10% per year for the next seven years.

He calls for a total moratorium on fossil fuel mining and airport expansion, government programs to make homes energy efficient, electrification of all public car fleets and progressive metering tariffs on all CO2 emissions, including aviation, shipping and agriculture.



2 thoughts on “The Dangers of Policy-Based Climate Science

  1. Actually Anderson finishes the talk on quite an optimistic note – he feels if all the first world polluters agree to cut demand by 10% in the next five years, there’s still an outside chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees Centigrade.


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