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Net Zero: Three graphs that might make you skeptical
2024/01/04 00:00

This article appears to have been cross-posted to CO2 Coalition, a climate-science denial web site (see Wikipedia: CO2 Coalition).

GPT4 Analysis


  • The author, John Staddon, is a critic of the net zero emissions goal and the scientific basis for it.
  • He claims that net zero emissions means eliminating fossil fuel usage and replacing it with sustainable energy sources, which he thinks is unrealistic and costly.
  • He presents three graphs that he says show that carbon dioxide levels have little or no effect on global temperature, and that the earth has experienced higher CO2 and warmer climates in the past without any harm to life.
  • He argues that the current climate change commitments are based on flawed models and general agreement, rather than hard data and evidence.
  • He concludes that net zero emissions is a misguided and unnecessary target that will harm the economy and society.


  • The author's definition of net zero emissions is misleading. Net zero emissions does not mean eliminating all fossil fuel usage, but rather balancing the emissions from human activities with the removals of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This can be achieved by various means, such as carbon capture and storage, afforestation, and negative emissions technologies.[1][2]
  • The author's use of the three graphs is questionable. The first graph, which shows the global temperature and CO2 concentration over the past 600 million years, is based on indirect and uncertain estimates from proxies, and does not account for other factors that influence the climate, such as solar activity, orbital cycles, and volcanic eruptions.[3] The second graph, which shows the global temperature and CO2 concentration over the past 800,000 years, is based on ice core data, which is more reliable, but also shows a clear correlation between CO2 and temperature, contrary to the author's claim. The third graph, which shows the global temperature and CO2 concentration over the past 140 years, is based on direct measurements, which are more accurate, but also shows a rapid and unprecedented rise in both CO2 and temperature, especially in the last 50 years, indicating a strong causal link.[4]
  • The author's dismissal of the current climate change commitments is unfounded. The net zero emissions goal is based on the best available science, as summarized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. The IPCC's reports are based on thousands of peer-reviewed studies and involve hundreds of experts from around the world. The IPCC's latest report, released in 2021, states that human influence is the main driver of the observed warming since the mid-20th century, and that limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels requires reaching net zero CO2 emissions by around 2050, and net zero greenhouse gas emissions shortly after.[5]
  • The author's conclusion that net zero emissions will harm the economy and society is unsupported. On the contrary, there is evidence that pursuing net zero emissions will bring multiple benefits, such as improved air quality, health, biodiversity, and energy security, as well as creating new jobs, markets, and opportunities for innovation. Moreover, the costs of inaction on climate change are likely to outweigh the costs of action, as the impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather, sea level rise, food insecurity, and displacement, will pose serious risks to the economy and society.


    Human Editorial Comments

    • I've removed GPT4's references back to the same article (possibly intended as evidence that the author actually said what GPT4 says it said, but that's not very useful without specific quotes.)
    • It's not clear how the "dubious linking" article relates to its usage here.
    • The ussanews.com link redirects to an article which seems to be unrelated. The cited URL may be an AI hallucination.