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Alarmist Gary Yohe Twists Data To Save Paris Agreement

June 4, 2017

By Paul Homewood



Senator Rand Paul has backed up Trump’s decision to exit Paris by reiterating that the Paris Agreement would do little to reduce global temperatures. His interview however has attracted the expected kickbacks from the alarmist fraternity.

Gary Yohe, Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, has written this piece for Climate Feedback blog, (which no doubt is highly reliable in these matters!):

Senator Paul’s opinion piece includes several sentences to which I take strong exception. The first four appear together in his third paragraph:

So what did Obama sign us up for in exchange for maybe reducing global temperature by 0.2°C by 2100? Experts predict that by 2040, the agreement could cost us 6.5 million lost jobs—a number significantly larger than the entire population of Kentucky. It will cost us $3 trillion in lost GDP. For each household, the average annual lost income could be as high as $4,900.“

Let us take the first sentence by itself; it reads:

So what did Obama sign us up for in exchange for maybe reducing global temperature by 0.2°C by 2100?”


This statement is incorrectFigure 1 appropriated from Fawcett, et al (2015)* displays the nuances of correctly projecting the impact of the Paris Accord through 2100.  Business as usual creates an emission trajectory that rapidly passes by 80 gigatons of CO2 per year by 2070; the likelihood of seeing warming less than 3 °C through 2100 along this path is 10% with a median of more than 4 °C.  Abiding by the Paris Accord through 2030 and continuing its momentum through 2100 would increase that likelihood to nearly 60% with a median somewhere around 2.5 °C – a reduction of approximately 1.5 °C and not 0.2 °C.


Figure 1 — Ranges of emissions scenarios with and without the Paris Accord through 2030 and beyond. The bars on the right indicate distributions of warming through 2100, and the trajectories show a no policy case as well as a modest policy, the Paris Accord extended, and an accelerated policy case. Source: Fawcett (2015)

Fawcett et al (2015) Can Paris pledges avert severe climate change? Science 

Unfortunately the Yohe is himself wrong in his interpretation.

This is what the Fawcett paper actually says:


In other words, the INDC line on the graph (also labelled Paris-Continued Ambition) relies upon every country continuing to decarbonise their economies beyond 2030, and presumably all the way till 2100. Although this may be the outcome, in no way can this claimed as the result of Paris, as Yohe dishonestly claims.

In any event, the baseline scenarios are themselves extremely contentious and unrealistic.

Climate Interactive, for instance, have produced this graph, which seems to have been widely circulated.


You will note that the Reference Scenario essentially just assumes that emissions carry on rising at the rate since 2000.

But the actual figures show that, following a sharp rise up to around 2011, the rate of growth has subsided, and there has barely been any increase at all since 2013.


There are many reasons for this slowdown, but little of it has anything to do with climate policies or Paris in particular. The biggest factor is likely to be the dropoff in Chinese economic growth, which up to 2011 was regularly well over 10% pa. This has since dropped back to 7%.

As with all maturing economies, energy intensity has also fallen away, as the economy transitions away from heavy industry, and towards low energy intensive sectors.

There is no way of knowing whether emissions and economic growth will pick up again to previous levels. But IMF projections strongly suggest not.

I am certainly not an economic guru, and neither, I suspect, is our friend Gary Yohe. But I suspect that the assumption that, without Paris, annual emissions would more double by 2100 is  deliberately meant to deceive.

Even James Hansen admitted that the Paris Agreement was a fraud, because it achieved so little.

I know all of this, and I am a simple retired accountant. Why is it that “Professors of Economics and Environmental Studies” either don’t know this, or aren’t prepared to admit it?

  1. Robert Jones permalink
    June 4, 2017 8:38 pm

    Another piece of timely, apposite and international rebuttal by you! President Trump has done what he said he would do and the expected faux outrage will continue as the Federal revenue starts to drain away (I hope). But I sense that there are so many pseudo-experts and academic leeches in the game that it will still be a drawn-out process before reality finally dawns. Let CCexit begin!

  2. Broadlands permalink
    June 4, 2017 9:23 pm

    Would it be wrong to ask if all these numbers for emission reductions include the subsequent requirement to lower the level of CO2 already in the atmosphere… the capture and store scenarios. These will make huge additional financial burdens on all parties. In the trillions.

  3. Dung permalink
    June 4, 2017 10:48 pm

    Many representatives of national governments (including those from the UK) advocated the removal of all CO2 from the atmosphere at the Paris conference; insanity is the only appropriate description of those suggestions.

  4. Graeme No.3 permalink
    June 4, 2017 11:09 pm

    Global emissions have gone up approx. 40% in the last 16 years so by simple calculation they should be near 72000Mt around 2100AD, not approx. double that shown on the Climate Interactive chart. Nor is any connection shown between CO2 and temperature.

    If the Green Laputians (H/T Clive James) were serious about cutting emissions they would be clamouring FOR nuclear.

  5. AndyG55 permalink
    June 5, 2017 1:51 am

    Paris agreement allowed two of the world’s biggest emitters of CO2, India and China to continue to increase their emissions until at least 2030, paid for by the US.

    The US is one of the few countries to even get close to any CO2 reduction targets.

    They did that through RELIABLE gas technology, NOT through unreliable wind and solar.

    The Paris agreement would have had absolutely ZERO effect on climate, because minor changes in the trace level of atmospheric CO2 have nothing to do with climate.

  6. duker permalink
    June 5, 2017 3:25 am

    George W Bush pulled out of the Kyoto Accord as well. Usual howls of outrage but so what as fracking achieved the numbers anyway.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      June 5, 2017 5:10 am

      It was Al Gore who refused to put the Kyoto Accord to the vote because it faced certain defeat – see the 97 to 0 Senate vote, so even the Democrats were against it (then).
      I have seen an (unconfirmed) claim that one of the reasons GW Bush decided not to enter was that he was shown a table of temperatures from over 600 rural sites in the USA which showed no warming after 1945.

      • Broadlands permalink
        June 5, 2017 12:13 pm

        Ironically, Al Gore’s home state of Tennessee has not had a record high year since 1921. It’s doubtful that he even knows that…as he travels the world emitting CO2.

  7. June 5, 2017 5:33 am

    Professor of “Economics and Environmental Studies”. Economics and environmental studies are an unusual mix of two totally unrelated fields. Professor Yoyo must have found a couple of gravy trains to which to hitch his wagon.

    • mikewaite permalink
      June 5, 2017 7:38 am

      I notice from the links in the post that he is the “Huffington Foundation” professor”, which I think explains all, like being a Grantham Funded professor in a UK university . Don’t expect objectivity

  8. Jack Broughton permalink
    June 5, 2017 12:23 pm

    Fine clothes do not make a fine man;
    Nobel peace prizes do not mean a person of peace – (Obama, q.v.);
    Scientific qualification do not make a scientist, just give him an educational qualification, a-la Wizard of Oz certificates.
    Historically scientists were people who studied and gained knowledge (often, in the case of the privileged rich, through hobbies). Many had no educational qualifications in sciences.
    In my opinion 5m followers and citations in newspapers and the CIA prove that you are more of a scientist than most of the so-called “climate” scientists and climate experts.

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