Eiffel Tower.

Pre-Judging Paris

The UN Climate Change Conference later this month is being billed as an opportunity to save the planet. In fact, the agreement hammered out in Paris will achieve too little and cost too much.

COPENHAGEN – The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this month is being billed as an opportunity to save the planet. It is no such thing. As I show in a new peer-reviewed paper, even if successful, the agreement reached in Paris would cut temperatures in 2100 by just 0.05° Celsius. The rise in sea level would be reduced by only 1.3 centimeters.

This may seem surprising: we constantly hear how every country has made important commitments to reduce CO2 emissions – the so-called “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions,” or INDCs. According to the UN’s climate chief, Christiana Figueres, “the INDCs have the capability of limiting the forecast temperature rise to around 2.7ºC by 2100, by no means enough but a lot lower than the estimated four, five, or more degrees of warming projected by many prior.”

Figueres suggested that the Paris agreement will cut almost 2°C of warming, from 4.5°C to 2.7°C. Though her wording was crafted to avoid actually saying this, it was, predictably, what most people heard. But the reduction consists almost entirely of made-up numbers and wishful thinking.

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