Nickson: On Climate Uncertainty and Risk by Judith Curry

Book Review: On Climate Uncertainty and Risk by Judith Curry
Published on January 8, 2024

I have spent the last two decades studying and writing about the environmental movement. I wrote dozens, if not hundreds of columns, I wrote a book. I did a green subdivision, I built a green house at the LEED Platinum level, geothermal heating. I covenanted in perpetuity my creeks and ravines in order to preserve habitat for two blue-listed species. I have studied and gone to meetings where I am hated and listened to the reasoning. I have been stalked, harassed, threatened, stripped of friendships, slandered in the local papers repeatedly, disinvited, and fired. Every time, I read deeper. Am I wrong? Am I wrong? I look for my errors.

Not one person I know, and I live in a green prison camp, reads deeply about climate change. Reading into it is brutal work and you need training in logic, math, and reason. But, for every complex analysis of the “science” behind climate change and biodiversity collapse, you will gain one point on your IQ. You will be smarter.

This week I started Judith Curry’s  Climate Uncertainty and Risk: Rethinking Our Response (Anthem Environment and Sustainability Initiative). Curry is the former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, and a member of the National Research Council’s Climate Research Committee. She has published over a hundred scientific papers and co-edited major works. She has testified in Congress several times.

She started out a fulsome supporter of Climate Change and has moderated her thinking slowly over twenty years. This is what she thinks:

“The IPCC Assessment Reports do not support the concept of imminent global catastrophe associated with global warming.”

Curry points out that the Climate Nazis are ignoring their own baseline conclusions. And Curry claims, they are tuning the models to produce coherence with past and present temperature records. Therefore, they are tuning future models too. Which is dishonest.

Her latest book is a masterwork of analysis, and it is a very challenging read. I am a committed experienced reader and in three days I managed one-third of the book. Each chapter is divided into four or five shorter aspects and is followed by over one hundred citations per chapter.

Curry sets out her baseline, the ground from which she builds her argument:

“100 years ago, the global population was 2 billion.  Over the past century, the population has increased to 8 billion, life expectancy has more than doubled, a much smaller percent of the global population is living in poverty, global wealth has increased by a factor of 20, agricultural productivity and yields have increased substantially, and a far smaller fraction of the population die from extreme weather and climate events.  Hannah Ritchie’s provides fascinating data on global progress.

And all this has occurred during a period where the global temperatures have increased by about 1oC.  The UN has dropped the extreme emissions scenarios (RCP8.5 and SSP5-8.5) from use in policy making, and the UNFCCC COP27 worked from an estimated 2100 warming of 2.5ºC.[1] The 2023 IEA Roadmap to NetZero Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS) projects a rise in average global temperature of 2.4ºC by 2100.[2] When plausible scenarios of natural climate variability and values of climate sensitivity on the lower end of the IPCC range are accounted for, the expected warming could be significantly lower

She takes every aspect of an extremely complex subject where there are mostly unknown unknowns and tries to parse it for sound and unsound. She accepts that since 1850, the end of the Little Ice Age, the planet has warmed 1 degree C, and might warm as much as 2 degrees C by 2100, but maybe not even that. That is not what the U.N. is saying. Not Mr. Global Boiling. Not COP28. They have chosen the top range of the UN IPCC reports. The catastrophic range. The range which the IPCC authors themselves say has a 5 percent probability. And this is key: they think we won’t notice.

That is not what the U.N. is saying. Not Mr. Global Boiling. Not COP28. They have chosen the top range of the UN IPCC reports. The catastrophic range. The range which the IPCC authors themselves say has a 5 percent probability. And this is key: they think we won’t notice.

As you may or may not know, with each report, the IPCC sets out a series of possible scenarios, depending on a set of impacts, cloud cover, ocean current, amount of CO2, regional impacts like heat islands, and estimates the future rise in temperature. The authors then give it a probability rating.

But, by 2018, the likelihood of RCP8.5 was not even 5%, but 0%, since carbon emissions were dropping.

by 2019, scenario RCP8.5 was no longer realistic. Emissions had dropped, except in China.

That Changed with Biden’s Election. The Catastrophic Scenario RCP8.5 Became Law. And No One Noticed.

Under Biden, the most extreme of the IPCC’s predictions, the off-the-charts estimate that had a maybe 5% chance of occurring, became gospel. Became Global Boiling. Became civilizational death. Become the new method of doing business. It is now factored into everything, into insurance policies, development planning, construction, transportation, everything.

COP28 codifies RCP8.5 into law. Temperatures are expected to rise five degrees centigrade by 2100.

No one was paying attention to this “detail”. On the left it’s all hysteria all the time, sell fear sell fear sell fear, no one is doing enough. The right is evil. Trump is evil. Oil is evil. On the right, they say, it’s bullshit, no one is buying it, fifty-two percent don’t “believe” in climate change anymore. The right doesn’t generally bother to dig deeper. CFACT and Climate Depot and Watts Up With That aggregate the fight masterfully, but nothing moves the needle. Nothing breaks the impasse.

They. Are. Lying. Blatantly. Every policy decision made by every government at COP28 is based on an egregious blatant lie.


“It doesn’t matter if fifty-two percent think climate change isn’t dangerous,” says Senator Chris Coons. “This is unstoppable. Even if Trump is elected, this will go forward.’

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed this fall, dictated that all industries conform and tens, if not hundreds of billions are slated to be poured into industry-crippling climate regulations, based on a lie. All individual enterprise will be harnessed and burdened by this lie: building, food, insurance, engineering charges, clothing, energy, schooling, travel, it will all be re-engineered to adapt to a scenario, which the IPCC scientists themselves believe is only 5% likely.

Do you see the future yet? Here, I’ll help. As an example, where I live is 100% run by global warming fanatics. If you try to open up housing, get people out of tents and trucks, even 35 new affordable units, all the fanatics turn up and whine and submit thousands of papers of terrible research. No one else shows up. No one.

Our economy is pretty much 75% subsidized by government debt, grants and pensions. Our average age is 70. Our house prices average at $1,000,000. People live in their cars, while 95% of our land is left fallow, unused, the forests and fields largely untended. Our cultural and civic life is contentious and divided. Most people have hived off and leave the fanatics to themselves. Or, they pander. There is no innovation, there is no excitement, there is very little happiness. That is the future warmists want.

OK, here’s the point of all this:

“Anyone, including me, who has built their understanding on what level of warming is likely this century on that RCP8.5 scenario should probably revise that understanding in a less alarmist direction.” (David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth)

Curry: “The extreme emissions scenario RCP8.5 has commonly been referred to as the “business as usual” (BAU) scenario.¹⁸ Referring to RCP8.5 as BAU implies that it is probable in the absence of stringent climate mitigation. Positioning the extreme RCP8.5 scenario as the only clearly defined baseline has made this scenario central to assessments of climate change impacts. RCP8.5 paints a dystopian future that is fossil-fuel intensive and excludes any climate mitigation policies. RCP8.5 drives climate model projections of nearly 5°C of warming by the end of the century, relative to pre-industrial temperatures. Via RCP8.5, this outlook of the future was subsequently adopted for thousands of academic studies that project future climate impacts on people and the environment, to evaluate the costs and benefits of adaptation and mitigation policies, and to estimate the cost effectiveness of policies designed to meet mitigation.

How dare they do this? How dare they?

The 8.5 scenarios can only emerge under a very narrow range of circumstances, comprising a severe course change from recent energy use. Both the RCP8.5 and the SSP5–8.5 scenarios have drawn criticism owing to the assumptions around future coal use, requiring up to 6.5 times more coal use in 2100 than today—an amount larger than some estimates of economically-recoverable coal reserves. A recent elicitation of energy experts gives SSP5–8.5 only a 5 percent chance of occurring among all of the possible no-policy baseline scenarios; the likelihood of SSP5–8.5 becomes much lower when recent and future commitments for policy actions are considered.²⁰ The IEA analysis (Table 7.1) indicates that the worst-case scenarios, RCP8.5/SSP5–8.5, are off the table for the next several decades, and will stay there unless we actively choose to follow them. In many ways, the world has moved beyond the no-policy baseline scenarios through a combination of technological innovation, falling costs of clean energy sources and climate policies already enacted. These changes are unlikely to be reversed, even in the absence of new policies and technologies. It is difficult to overstate the importance of the shift in expectations for future emissions that is represented by the difference in the new IEA scenarios versus RCP8.5.

COP28 is a lie and they know it. They are lying to us. Hundreds of thousands of scientists, policy makers and activists, politicians like John Kerry are blatantly lying to us. They will destroy western civilization in order to prosecute this lie. And they will do it without guilt, while revelling in hate and luxury.

If not stopped, Greens will become the most brutal oppressors and genocidal maniacs in human history.


Elizabeth Nickson
 is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Follow her on Substack here.

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