by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Hazy, with a 100 percent chance of nothing. That’s the confident forecast we can make concerning exactly how much effect Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s newly re-established climate commission will have on climate change.
Let’s start with the temperature. The governor tells us that “Virginia has the opportunity” to be a leader in “finding creative ways to mitigate climate change in the future”
If Virginia’s carbon dioxide emissions went to zero today, the amount of global warming that would be prevented by the year 2100 would be somewhere around 3 one-thousandths of a degree Celsius. That’s using the EPA’s own model for calculating the effects of various global warming policies. Specifically, that would be the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-Gas Induced Climate Change and, yes, Virginia, the acronym for it is MAGICC.
Unfortunately, the amount that Virginia can “mitigate” climate change is none.
MAGICC further shows that even if the entire United States cut its emissions to zero, the warming saved is 0.14ºC, an amount that is also too small to measure reliably.
But the assumptions used in MAGICC are already invalid. It assumes that the “sensitivity,” which is the total warming that eventuates from a doubling of the atmospheric concentration of this trace gas, is 3ºC.
Not to throw cold water on Mr. McAuliffe’s parade, but the observed warming of the planet has been so far off from that forecast, that the entire 107-member ensemble of climate models used by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has flopped.
That’s in part due to the well-known (and not very well-understood) “pause” in surface temperature warming, which is now in its 18th year, using annual temperatures from the global temperature history from the University of East Anglia. That’s the one scientists feel is most reliable. Using annual satellite data, we are now in our 22nd year without a warming trend, but the satellites are actually measuring temperature above the surface.