Flat White

The logic behind net zero

3 November 2021

4:00 AM

3 November 2021

4:00 AM

Tony Abbott once said, ‘climate change is crap’. What he should have said was ‘catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is crap’, but we knew what he meant. And that’s truer today than it was back then. Yet world lemmings, sorry, leaders are falling over themselves to commit to ‘net zero emissions by 2050’. They are doing this at the behest of a group of supranational institutions such as the UN, the European Central Bank and so on. For the sake of simplicity let’s call this group the Climate Cabal. And superbly cast as the eminence grise of the Cabal is the head of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab. If you haven’t seen Schwab, check him out on YouTube. Suffice to say, if Klaus had been an actor in the 1960s, Donald Pleasance wouldn’t have got a look in for the role of Ernst Blofeld. Was Schwab born in Brazil, I wonder? On second thoughts, I might call it just the Kabal. 

We must act now to save mankind from extinction on a sizzling planet, we are told. Recently, the UN issued a video starring a dinosaur telling us exactly that. So, this is serious right? It’s an existential threat. Well, if that were true, the Kabal, which has appointed itself to save us, has a strange way of going about its task. We know that the real aim of the Kabal is to redistribute the world’s wealth. Otmar Edenhofer, an IPCC official, told us that in 2010: 

[O]ne must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy.

But perhaps he means that, in saving the world, we have the opportunity to, at the same time, end world poverty? Isn’t that a laudable aim? If you believe that you’ll believe the Wuhan flu escaped from a bowl of bat soup. Just because I’m wearing a tinfoil hat, doesn’t mean there’s not a conspiracy. Bear with me. 

The Kabal tell us we must ‘act on the science’ and that ‘to limit warming to 1.5C ’we must‘ get to net zero by 2050’. 

But the science doesn’t tell us that. The IPCC does not care about net zero by 2050. What the IPCC does is provide us with some guidance on how to limit warming. Let me say right here that I do not accept the IPCC’s science – I’m just playing a sort of Devil’s Advocate role. CO2 forced warming is governed by a concept called Climate Sensitivity. It’s a complex subject but, basically, it’s a logarithmic function. Every unit increase in temperature requires twice as much CO2 as the previous increase. So, if the atmospheric CO2 concentration rises from 280ppm to 560ppm (an increment of 280ppm) and this causes a 1C rise in temperature, then it will take a further 560ppm to effect a further 1C temperature increase. In theory there is a diminishing warming return on CO2 investment. It’s a bit like heroin, in that respect. But the IPCC has managed to turn it into a linear function – largely by homogenizing the very hot 1930s out of existence – which they use to specify carbon budgets that we must not breach if we are to limit warming to either 2C or 1.5C.  

They don’t know what the value for climate sensitivity is (despite 40 years of ‘settled science’ research) so there are five budgets for both temperature limits, each associated with a probability of not exceeding that temperature:  

Let’s have a look at some of these scenarios and we’ll start with the most extreme. If we want the best chance of keeping to 1.5C, the global budget remaining to us is 300 GtCO2. How does that compare with current emissions? Well, right now global emissions are 50 GtCO2 per annum. It is highly unlikely that, given the positions of China, India, Russia and the rest of the developing world, that figure is going to come down anytime soon. So, in six years’ time (i.e. well before 2050) we will have exhausted that budget. The Rolls Royce option requires not only Australia but the rest of the world to get to net zero by 2027. We can forget that pipedream. Not going to happen. 


Let’s look at a middle ground option, say 67% probability of keeping to 2C. This, of course, implies that we are comfortable accepting a 33% chance of exceeding 2C. The budget is 1150 GtCO2, or roughly half of what the IPCC estimates we have emitted since 1850. At current emission rates, we will exhaust that budget in 24 years, somewhat short of 2050. Is there any mechanism by which countries are allocated a portion of this target? Has Australia been given any guidance as to how much CO2 it may emit as part of this grand global scheme? Not that I can determine. 

The giant panda in the room is China. It currently emits 10 GtCO2 per annum. Since 2017, China’s emissions have been growing at 3%. If that growth were to continue until 2030 — and why shouldn’t it, Xi Jinping having made it quite clear he will do what he wants — and then peak, China will have emitted a total of approximately 128 GTtCO2 by 2030 and 400 GtCO2 by 2050. 

The best information I can find about India is that it emitted 2.5 GtCO2 in 2016 which was up 4.7% from the previous year. So, let’s assume a growth rate of 4% until 2050. By 2030, India would have emitted 34 GtCO2 and by 2050, 148 GtCO2.  

So, between them, India and China would have emitted 548 GtCO2 or almost half our budget of 1150 GtCO2. By my calculations, the rest of the developing world emits 22 GtCO2 per annum. On the basis that most of them are even less likely to cut emissions than either India or China, until 2050 they too would emit another 500 GtCO2. Let’s say they achieve a higher renewables penetration than developed countries. Let’s be optimistic and limit their contribution to say 300 GtCO2 odd. (In fact, if the poorest countries, especially in Africa, deployed widespread solar and wind power, that might make their lives a little easier, but it would not lift them out of poverty.) That does not leave a lot of the budget remaining for the developed world. It is likely my estimate of third world and China emissions is on the low side. This 67% probability scenario might be achievable if all the world started to go nuclear right now, but other than that it looks totally improbable. 

According to my reckoning above, developed countries have a budget of only roughly 300 GtCO2 from which they can draw. Currently, by my calculations, the developed world emits roughly 16 GtCO2 per annum. In a business as usual scenario, they would exhaust that budget by 2040. To attain that level of reductions would require all developed countries to virtually ‘turn off the lights’ starting today. It is totally implausible. 

And what if we opted for the 1.5C target, which the Prince of Wales has described as ‘vital’? You can see from the IPCC budget above, that the only remotely plausible option (from a carbon budget point of view) is the 17% probability one. How will St Greta and her spellbound admirers – Pope Francis, Prince Charles inter alia – receive those glad tidings? 

The point I’m trying to make is that if the Kabal were serious about limiting global warming – rather than redistributing global wealth – they would have developed a plan based on one of the above scenarios and apportioned the associated budget accordingly, rather than leaving it up to individual countries to determine their own targets. The reason they haven’t done this is because they know that if they revealed the fact that the only remotely possible budgets guarantee, at best, only a 67% chance of limiting warming to 2C, their own shock troopers – the mindless acolytes that they themselves have programmed – would go ballistic. Better to just waffle about current commitments not being enough and watch eager rent-seekers and their political lapdogs mindlessly destroy our way of life. There is nothing scientific or rigorous about this process. I call it passing the hat round for Gaia. Chip in what you can and we’ll tell you if it’s enough. 

As I said earlier, according to the IPCC there is nothing magic about getting to ‘net zero by 2050’. All they stipulate is that the carbon budgets they have detailed above should not be breached. Being a realist, I believe that none of the budgets above have snowflake’s chance in hell of not being breached. Don’t look to emissions reductions achieved so far as a guide – they were just the low hanging fruit. The relationship between emissions reductions and cost is also logarithmic.  

I’m sure any climate zealot with half a brain (admittedly that excludes the vast majority) must realize that these budgets are highly speculative. That being the case, it seems (from the global warmist elite’s point of view) highly irresponsible to adopt such a laissez faire attitude to reductions. If they are to save us from extinction, such a mission would require detailed planning and management. Daniel Andrews couldn’t do a worse job than they seem to be doing. 

And if they know, as they must, that they cannot remain within those budgets (or at least that there is a more than distinct possibility they won’t) what is the fall back position? Surely if saving humanity were the aim, there must be provision for adaptation in any responsible plan? What do we hear about demanding commitments for adaptation? Zilch. No, the inescapable conclusion is that the Kabal do not give a fig for limiting warming. It’s all about wealth redistribution and let the climate chips fall where they may. 

And on Sunday Scott Morrison was quoted in The Australian: 

Scott Morrison is urging world leaders to allow nations to forge their own paths on net zeo emissions, with Australia “not in the business of telling other countries what they should be doing”.

Yep, that’s a good plan for saving the planet. I wonder how much more successful the Battle of Hamel could have been had Monash used some of this insight. If, say, he had stayed at HQ and let the brigade commanders work out what to do. 

Put simply Morrison has a ‘plan’ to get to net zero emissions by 2050, but to what aim? He and the other lemmings, sorry, leaders are being played for mugs.  

As to the defence that we are being forced onto this path by international financial pressures and big business, just let me observe that we elect and pay our politicians to protect us from external attack in whatever form it comes, not to just lie back and pretend to think of Gaia. 

Andrew Bolt has repeatedly asked Coalition ministers by how much our efforts will reduce the world’s temperature. The closest he’s got to an honest answer came from Barnaby Joyce, who admitted that it’s zero, but temporized by saying its all part of a global plan. Well, here’s a follow-up question Andrew might like to pose. Which plan is it? 87% probability of staying below 1.5C? Or is it 17% probability of limiting warming to 2C?

The Australian public are being asked to have a flutter but are not being told the odds. We know it’s not ‘London to a brick on’. So, what is it? 

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