Boris, here’s why net-zero emissions by 2050 just aren’t worth it

By Christopher Monckton  of Brenchley

At the forthcoming Glasgow global-warming chunderama, Boris Johnson – under the baneful, Lucrezia-Borgia influence of his crazed, extremist wife – will try to persuade other Western nations to follow him in committing economic hara-kiri by promising to galumph towards net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions over the three decades between now and 2050.

Here is why our friends and allies in Europe, America and the Commonwealth should resist the blubbering, bombastic blandishments of Boris the blond, Borgia-battered blunderbuss.

Net-zero just isn’t worth it. Let us do the math that no government seems to have done. It is not very difficult – but the results are astonishing.

For 30 years the annual growth in net anthropogenic greenhouse-gas forcing has been near-perfectly linear at 0.033 Watts per square meter per year, or 1 W m–2 over the 30 years:

Therefore, on business as usual, with no abatement of greenhouse-gas emissions, one might expect another 1 W m–2 of global warming over the 30 years 2021-2050, la Johnson’s target date for the economic extinction of the West. A straight-line reduction to zero over the next 30 years would abate half of the 1 W m–2 emissions growth that would otherwise have occurred on business as usual.

IPCC (2021) predicts 3 K final warming in response to 3.93 W m–2 doubled-CO2 forcing. Its implicit midrange equilibrium-sensitivity parameter is then 3 / 3.93, or 0.76 K W–1 m2.

However, in 1850 equilibrium global temperature was 287.5 K, comprising 255 K emission temperature and 24.2 K feedback response thereto, and 7.6 K direct warming by preindustrial noncondensing greenhouse gases and 0.7 K feedback response thereto.

On that basis, and assuming – as climatology implicitly does [see footnote] – that system response is near-invariant with temperature, one would expect just 0.1 K feedback response to the 1.05 K direct warming by doubled CO2.

That 1.05 K direct doubled-CO2 warming is the product of the 0.3 K W–1 m2 Planck reference-sensitivity parameter and the 3.52 W m–2 CMIP6 models’ mean doubled-CO2 radiative forcing given in Zelinka et al. (2020, supplementary matter).

Therefore, final doubled-CO2 warming, roughly equivalent to all anthropogenic warming this century, will not be 3 K but little more than 1.1 K. Sure enough, the rate of warming since the end of the Second World War has been equivalent to little more than 1.1 K century–1:

If radiative forcing continues at the previously-established rate, there is no particular reason to assume a substantially greater centennial-equivalent warming rate than that. Indeed, there has been no global warming at all for 7 years 4 months (cue screeching) –

If one should indeed only expect 1.1 K final warming in response to 3.52 W m–2 doubled-CO2 forcing, the equilibrium-sensitivity parameter will be only 0.31 rather than IPCC’s 0.76.

Therefore, if IPCC is right about forcing and warming, even if the whole world went net-zero by 2050 the global warming forestalled by then would be only 0.5 x 0.76 = two-fifths of a degree. Correcting IPCC’s overblown estimates, make that 0.5 x 0.31 = one-sixth of a degree.

In reality, the warming forestalled will be a lot less than that. For 80% of all new emissions are in developing nations, such as China and India, which both have space programs but are nonetheless exempt from the restrictions laid down in the Paris climate accords.

The Western nations account for only 20% of new emissions. Therefore, even in the highly unlikely event that all the nations of the West actually achieved net-zero by 2050 (dream on: it won’t happen), the warming mitigated by 2050 would be only 1/13  degree (or 1/32 degree if IPCC is wrong).

And how much global warming will be mitigated by 2050 by shutting down the British economy alone? The answer is 1/220 degree if IPCC is right; 1/540 degree if not.

The direct cost just of British net-zero – even if it were attainable, which it is not – would be $4.2 trillion by 2050, according to the national electricity-grid authority. For various reasons, that is a howling underestimate, but let us ride with it for now.

In that event, the direct cost of achieving the 1/32 to 1/13 degree mitigation if all the nations of the West were to shut themselves down by 2050 would be $70 trillion. If the whole world were to shut down, make that $350 trillion.

On the same basis, the cost of abating the 4 K global warming that the usual suspects predict on business as usual this century would be $3.7 to 9 quadrillion.

These calculations are not particularly difficult. They are summarized in the table. The fact that IPCC, UNFCCC and governments have not done these calculations speaks volumes about the savage, irrational, nihilistic, purely partisan and nastily totalitarian attack on the West that the climate-change narrative represents.

But that is before taking indirect costs into account. Already, heavy manufacturing is being driven out of the West by mad climate-change policies and ending up in China or India, where electrical power costs one-sixth of what it does here. Worse, China, chiefly through its illegal occupation, enslavement and ruthless racial suppression of Tibet, already controls 70% of the world’s known reserves of lithium, cobalt and other rare metals necessary to the batteries in Tesla’s electric buggies.

It is also quietly buying placeholder stakes in the 30% of lithium reserves that it does not already control. It is now doing a deal with the Taliban to take control of the large lithium reserves recently found in Afghanistan. And it is buying placeholder stakes in lithium mines from Cornwall to south-western Greenland, where – for instance – it holds a 9% stake in Greenland Minerals’ recently-discovered lithium reserves.

In short, China is bidding fair to corner the global market in rare-earth metals. And if the West follows Slobberchops in his daft net-zero ambition, it will make itself utterly dependent on China for the strategic rare-earth metals without which its electric buggies won’t work.

And all this is before one counts the cost of doing away with real autos and replacing them with golf-carts. The problem with batteries is that they are heavy. Very heavy. Batteries add 25-30% to the weight of a buggy, reducing its fuel efficiency to something like what it was in an auto of the 1950s. Not exactly a ground-breaking advance, then. Energy is scarce enough as it is, without wasting as much as a quarter of it on shifting batteries around.

And don’t get me started on electric trucks. If you download the specs for the Tesla milk-float, you will find a curious, highly significant omission. Nowhere is the load capacity given:

And that’s a problem. For the maximum all-up weight of a truck on U.S. roads is 80,000 lb, or 36 tons. Of that, by the time one takes the massive weight of the batteries into account, the tare weight of a Tesla milk-float will be around 33 tons, leaving less than 3 tons for cargo.

Contrast these milk-float figures with those for a real semi. The tare weight is 35,000 lb, so that the semi can carry 45,000 lb of cargo, almost seven times the 6000 lb carrying capacity of the Tesla milk-float. Now, a pint of milk weighs 1 lb, and the weight of the bottle and a share of the crate weighs another 1 lb. So the Tesla milk-float will be able to carry about 3000 bottles of milk, about twice the capacity of the milk-float below – and nothing else:

Does no one in the climate establishment ever do even the most elementary sums? Net-zero is simply not worth the hassle, the prodigious expense or the strategic exposure to China.

Footnote: How climatology’s system response is near-invariant with temperature

Method 1: Lacis et al. (2010: above) say feedback response is 3 times direct warming by greenhouse gases, implying 4 degrees’ final warming after feedback response for each 1 degree of direct warming before feedback response.

Method 2: In 1850 the three components in the 287.5 K equilibrium surface temperature were the 255 K emission temperature, the 7.6 K direct warming by preindustrial noncondensing greenhouse gases and 24.9 K total feedback response. Since 24.9 K is about 3 times the 7.6 K direct warming by greenhouse gases, climatologists imagine final warming is about 4 K for each 1 K direct warming.

Method 3: Zelinka et al. (2020) show 3.52 W m–2 midrange doubled-CO2 radiative forcing as the mean of 15 CMIP6 models, implying 0.3 x 3.52 = 1.05 K direct warming by doubled CO2. Zelinka et al. also show 3.9 K midrange final warming by doubled CO2 in the same models, again implying close to 4 K final warming for each 1 K direct warming.

So if you don’t think climatologists should make predictions on the basis that system response is near-invariant with temperature in the industrial era, don’t whine at me about it. Write to IPCC. It is official climatology that makes the implicit assumption of near-invariance.

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August 27, 2021 at 12:40AM

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