Written by Gregory Wrightstone | October 9, 2018

This week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new report warning of “unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” if temperature increases were not limited to  1.5ºC over pre-Industrial Revolution temperatures. The report does make clear the consequences of warming above that level: more heat waves, more severe rain and snow events, higher sea levels, damage to agriculture and displacement of millions of people.

How well has the IPPC’s previous sea-level predictions worked out? It turns out that the answer is “not so well.” Since 1990, and every five years hence, the IPCC has issued reports projecting the amount of sea-level increase into the future and each year those projections have decreased significantly. They are still wrong and too high, just not nearly as wrong as their earlier predictions.

Gregory Wrightstone - Response to UN Climate Change Report

(Modified from IPCC 2013, fig. 1.10)

In 2005 the UN asserted that there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010, many of them driven out of their coastal homes by sea-level rise, identifying many islands that were most at risk. A review of census data in 2010 for four of the most at-risk isles showed significant population increases, as people were actually emigrating to these tropical paradises rather than fleeing them. The UN is now predicting the same 50 million climate refugees by the updated timeline of 2020. We won’t have to wait long now to see how that prediction turns out.

The reason for the incorrect predictions? The IPCC continues to use unreliable climate models that over-predict warming by up to three times too much.

Link to the IPCC Report: