The dread 1.5 degree target is dead

The dread 1.5 degree target is dead


By David Wojick


A foolish end to a foolish target– limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C. That is the warming from 150 years ago, just 0.5 degrees or less from today forward. Of course this is all according to the worthless computer models, but let’s go with the flow.


The massive new IPCC report makes it clear. You can’t get there from here (not that we wanted to). Not by any even reasonably possible means, so the target will be missed (according to the models). What will the alarmists do without their beloved target?


It is all about something called the “carbon budget”. Unlike the climate, and the climate models for that matter, the carbon budget is very simple. It is how much CO2 the human race is allowed to emit in order to stay below the target warming.


Not how much this year, or this decade, or even this century. This is the limit forever. So enjoy it while you can because time is very short, or so says the IPCC report. In fact time is up, over and past.


First, here is the budget: The IPCC says “…the current central estimate of the remaining carbon budget from 2020 onwards for limiting warming to 1.5°C with a probability of 50% has been assessed as 500 Gt CO2…”


500 Gigatons is a suspiciously round number but never mind. Just how big is it? The IPCC explains it nicely: “….cumulative net CO2 emissions between 2010-2019 compare to about four fifths of the size of the remaining carbon budget from 2020 onwards for a 50% probability of limiting global warming to 1.5°C…”


So our forever budget, starting in 2020, is just a bit bigger than our emissions in the last decade! That is it, for all eternity. Note that even then we are just buying a 50% chance of staying under the dread 1.5 degree target. Not a good way to bet the global economy.


But our emissions are not going down, in fact they are still going up. Nor can they possibly come down enough to make any difference. We do not have time to open all the mines and build all the factories (after getting all the permits!) then make, install and operate all the stuff we would need to meet that budget (after getting all the permits). In fact building all this stuff might well double our emissions for the next ten years. Oh wait, we have less than 8 years.


The conclusion is obvious. We are going to burn the carbon budget and keep on emitting many hundreds of gigatons of CO2 after that. There is no feasible way not to.


So how are the alarmists going to handle this failure? They have foolishly hyped their way into a corner.


The standard way the 1.5 degree target is explained in the green media is “to avoid the worst effects of climate change” but that has always been nonsense. The worst effects would occur at 6 degrees or more, not as we pass 1.5 degrees.


There is nothing in the science about a 1.5 degree threshold. No tipping point, no catastrophe, no emergency. Nothing at all, so it is a made up number. The models get a little bit worse with every temperature increase, but just a tiny bit and passing 1.5 degrees is no different than passing any other level. When it comes to being the threshold to catastrophe, there is no there there.


In this very real sense the reported 1.5 degree threshold to catastrophe is a hoax. Except the people pushing it do not know that, so it is more of a colossal blunder. Except the IPCC does know it and has never corrected the activists and governments that are calling the meeting of this harmless target an emergency. This makes it a hoax by omission.


I have no idea what the alarmists will do as they finally admit that the 1.5 degree target cannot be met. But it should be fun to watch.

David Wojick
David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see Available for confidential research and consulting.