Backus cover

George Backus’ new report, Climate Risk and Response: Too Much and Too Little is an important addition to the climate change mitigation literature, suggesting as it does that 3.5o C of average global temperature change is the best the world is likely to be able to accomplish.

As noted in the screen shot below, Backus is not suggesting that he’s built a completely new model for thinking about climate change outcomes. But what he has done is integrate the findings of many other studies into a simulation model that explicitly accounts for the reality that our response to climate change will not be “optimal.” It also explicitly accounts for the uncertainties associated with the sensitivity of the climate system to anthropogenic forcings, the uncertainties associated with the socioeconomic impacts of climate change, and the uncertainties surrounding how actively the world will “mobilize” to mitigate climate change. Taken together, these variables have BIG implications for the most likely climate change outcomes, and ultimately climate risk.

The study looks at a number of scenarios, and includes hundreds of graphics generated by the simulation model for variables and impacts including energy supply and demand, GDP, global population, population displacement, and global temperature. Simulation results distinguish between “Advantaged” and “Disadvantaged” countries to better understand the economic dynamics associated with mitigating climate change.

This Climate Site organizes a number of key graphics from the study to make it easier to survey its results. They’re organized to the top right of your screen.

  • The Surface Temperatures page collects the surface temperature projections for all the relevant scenarios in one place for easy reference.

  • Referent Case Graphics - This case duplicates “business as usual” outcomes from other models.

  • Base Case Graphics - Adds the impacts of climate change to the Referent Case.

  • Mobilization Cases - Adds different Mobilization levels to the Base Case.

  • Core Analysis Case - Adds Own-Use Energy Demand and 50% Burden Sharing to the 100% Mobilization Case.

    • Own-Use energy demand is the renewable energy required to produce new renewable energy capacity while simultaneously rapidly growing the sector (it’s a big challenge).
    • Burden sharing represents the option of Advantaged countries to pick up 50% of the mitigation costs that would otherwise fall on Disadvantaged countries, given their inability to absorb those costs in addition to the direct costs of climate change.
  • Note that “UQ” in a graphic title reflects that it includes 5% - 95% confidence interval uncertainty ranges for the variable in question.

If you wish you can access these graphics and more, as well as extensive explanatory materials we’ve extracted from the study, as well as the study itself (read it or download it), here in the Climate Web.

Note: Everything you see here is part of the Climate Web, the closest thing today to a collective climate intelligence. You can learn much more about the Climate Web through the links organizes at right below the list of graphics.