RCP 8.5

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

I've been reading an article in Unherd from Tom Chivers on the gloom we saw at COP26.

Chivers says that the predictions we hear about doom and damnation are based on something called RCP 8.5 which is a worst case scenario set out by the IPPC.  He says that this means a large fraction of the public debate on climate change mitigation is driven by an increasingly implausible scenario, which was unlikely even when it was proposed, and is even less so now – even though it is misleadingly labelled as being based on "business as usual".  The result, Chivers says, is that the more we focus on this scenario, the more pessimistic — and hopeless — the situation will seem.

But the message that the public (and young people in schools) gets is almost exclusively based on all this, Chivers also says.  He has a few suggestions to enable us to have a more realistic conversation about public policy – and education practice as well.

I don't know enough to know what to make of this.  The national curriculum (and the DfE) certainly doesn't encourage schools to examine the IPCC's various scenarios that might play out as we cut carbon emissions.  Perhaps it should.  But all this shows some of the difficulties in doing so.   The science of climate and change seems simple compared to this.


Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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