Understanding the Future Emissions Scenarios Understand how future emissions scenarios are constructed
Assess the importance of choosing different emissions scenarios
Research three of the most common arguments of the “climate change denial” effort.
Assess the strengths and weaknesses in these arguments.
Communicate your judgment of each argument’s worth in writing.
QUESTION 1PART I: Emissions Scenarios
In a sentence each, define each of the four terms of the IPAT equation (give its name and what it represents).
QUESTION 2The T term of the IPAT equation has two components. In a sentence each (one per box), what are their names and what do they represent?
If we switch from burning fossil fuels to using wind or solar energy, which component of T changes, and does it increase or decrease?
If we switch from using conventional light bulbs to using energy efficient bulbs, which component of T changes, and does it increase or decrease?
Are the actions in Q3 and Q4 (changing energy source and changing light bulbs) examples of adaptation, mitigation, or geoengineering?
For the following questions, consider Dessler’s Figures 8.2 and 8.5.
Which of these figures has curves calculated from the IPAT equation?
Many experts believe that in order to avoid dangerous amounts of climate change, we need to keep Earth’s temperature anomaly below +2 degrees C. Which emissions scenario(s) would accomplish this goal for the year 2100?
For your answer(s) to Q7, what is the rate at which carbon is being emitted in the year 2100? Include units.
For your answer(s) to Q8, how much less carbon per year is that than the business-as-usual scenario?
For the year 2100, how much hotter would the Earth be in a business-as-usual scenario compared to your answer(s) from Q7?
PART II: Climate Myths
Skeptical Science is a website run by John Cook, a professor of cognitive science at George Mason University in Virginia. Skeptical Science deliberately removes any political aspects of the “climate debate” and instead presents the scientific information behind climate science. You can read about it here: https://www.skepticalscience.com/about.shtml
The information on Skeptical Science is presented in a format of myth debunking.
Understanding the Future Emissions Scenarios List of Myths
You can see their (very thorough) list of myths here: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php. Now that you understand how the climate system works, you should be able to see the arguments to debunk these myths.
For each of the next 3 questions, you will be given a skeptical argument to debunk. You will provide the following three pieces of information for each one (please label them a, b ,c in your answer):
What is the myth? (3 pts)
Most myths embellish false information around a central piece of true information. What is this myth’s kernel of truth? (5 pts)
Why is the myth false? (6 pts)
You can use any credible resource you’d like, as long as the information you use is based on actual science. Skeptical Science is a great resource and the suggested base of your operations. An example of an answer is below.
Topic: The atmospheric CO2 record from the observatory on Mauna Loa is contaminated by CO2 emissions from the Mauna Loa volcano. https://www.skepticalscience.com/mauna-loa-volcano-co2-measurements.htm
Understanding the Future Emissions Scenarios Student response
a) This myth claims that the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations observed at Mauna Loa is due to natural CO2emissions from a nearby volcano.
b) It is true that volcanoes emit CO2,
c) The observing station is located so that most of the time, the winds blow volcanic emissions away from the station. When the winds change, the volcanic CO2 is easily seen in the data and these readings are removed. Furthermore, the Mauna Loa CO2 record agrees with CO2 data from other locations that are not near volcanoes – for example, the South Pole.
Topic #1 for Q11: “Climate’s changed before” https://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-change-little-ice-age-medieval-warm-period.htm
Topic #2 for Q12: “It’s the Sun” https://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm
Topic for Q13: “It’s not bad” https://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-positives-negatives.htm