Alarming Climate Projections Stem from RCP8.5 – NOT a BAU Scenario

Friends of Science Society
Location: Calgary, AB

Alarming Climate Projections Stem from RCP8.5 – NOT a BAU Scenario

(Calgary, Alberta) A new report entitled “Facts vs Fortune Telling” deconstructs ‘alarming’ claims of the “Alberta’s Climate Future” report which was written by noted climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe and colleague Anne Stoner.

Many municipal planners are grappling with the potential of future climate change and how to prepare for a changing climate, but some of the forecasting methods being used wildly exaggerate results, as Friends of Science Society’s analysis reveals.

Hayhoe & Stoner use a method called ‘downscaling’ where they attempt to apply the projections of global climate models to a specific region like Alberta, Canada.  Global climate models (complex computer simulations) are known to ‘run hot’ – predicting much higher temperatures than those observed – consequently similar false ‘hot’ results were obtained for Alberta. 

Friends of Science Society’s report explains that Hayhoe & Stoner’s report refers to two modelled scenarios known as Representative Concentration Pathways – RCP 8.5 and RCP 4.5 – as if these are ‘choices’ of how to achieve emissions reductions.  The RCP 8.5 is known to be an extremely unlikely scenario and has been rejected by most mainstream climate scientists, and neither scenario was meant to be used for comparative purposes for setting public policy.  In fact, as reported in Forbes by climate policy analyst Roger Pielke, Jr., the RCP 8.5 scenario has been embedded in the scientific, business and public conversation by a strategic promotional campaign of two ‘green’ billionaires, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg in the form of the “Risky Business” report.  “Climate catastrophe” clearly feeds the commercial objectives of the carbon trading and renewables industries.

The Friends of Science team reviewed the longest-term temperature records in the province of Alberta and found there is little evidence to support any of the claims in the Hayhoe & Stoner report.  Hayhoe & Stoner only used data from 1950 to 2013 which gives a falsely exaggerated rising temperature trend. 

Hayhoe & Stoner refer to two ‘Black Swan’ events as if caused by human-caused climate change; the 2013 Calgary flood and the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire. The long-term records reveal that eight of the worst floods in Calgary’s history occurred before 1933 and two were more extreme in peak flow than that of 2013. The 2013 Calgary flood was due to a rare but known set of meteorological conditions.  The largest wildfire is that of the 1950 Chinchaga Fire Storm, which released a smoke pall seen around the world.  The 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire was sparked by human negligence, not human-caused climate change.  The fire went rogue due to a sudden shift in high fire risk conditions and strong winds – and also due to lack of preparedness on the part of the province. The Flat Top Complex Wildfire Review of 2013 (in response to the Slave Lake wildfires of 2011, started by arsonists) had advised the province to have firefighting crews at the ready by April 15th.

A recent report on the State of the Global Climate in 2019, by Emeritus Prof. Ole Humlum of Norway, notes that 2019 saw the continuation of many climate trends, most of them unalarming. “This report focuses on empirical observations and not on climate modelling speculations,” says Professor Humlum. “We should therefore be greatly reassured by what these data are telling us.”  

Video:  Alberta's Climate Future; A Scary Report Based on an Unlikely Scenario - RCP8.5


About Friends of Science Society

Friends of Science Society is an independent group of earth, atmospheric and solar scientists, engineers, and citizens that is celebrating its 18th year of offering climate science insights. After a thorough review of a broad spectrum of literature on climate change, Friends of Science Society has concluded that the sun is the main driver of climate change, not carbon dioxide (CO2).

Posted September 17, 2020

Planetizen Courses logo

Planetizen Courses: Online Training in Urban Planning

Access more than 250 urban planning courses on your computer, phone, or tablet. Learn today, plan for tomorrow.

View Courses

Edmonton, Canada

Planetizen AICP Exam Prep Class logo

Planetizen AICP* Exam Prep Class

90% of students who took our class passed the exam and became AICP* certified.

View Class

image of laptop and class instructor Jeff Levine