2012-03-15 11:41:21Mitigation, climate change and global warming potentials
John Cook


We've operated under the guideline that mitigation papers need to link GHGs to climate change/global warming in order to rate as an endorsement. So if I see a paper that uses the term 'global warming potential' but doesn't refer to global warming or climate change, then I've assigned it as neutral. But is this playing it too safe? Doesn't the assumption that a greenhouse gas has a certain "global warming potential" imply that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming?

2012-03-15 11:47:04
Dana Nuccitelli

Yeah that's a tough call.  If they just talk about a molecule's GWP, I rate as neutral.  But if they also mention global warming, I rate as implicit.

2012-03-15 12:04:48
John Cook


Well, that's what I'm currently doing.

I guess I'll stay the course for now. The proof in the pudding will be when we get the scientists' self-ratings. Will be interesting not just to see the overall averages, but break down scientists' ratings by category or even by keyword. Eg - do a keyword search for all papers with the phrase 'global warming potential' in the abstract and see how scientists rate their own papers. Look forward to seeing what we find (and am hoping dearly for a high response rate from scientists so we have at least a few thousand papers with self-ratings).

BTW, the Dutch study I'm collaborating on that is emailing a survey to scientists is sending out the emails on Monday. So there'll probably be a gap of at least a few weeks between that mail-out and our mail-out - the bigger the gap, the better for a higher response rate, methinks.

2012-03-15 17:34:32
Mark Richardson

I agree with just putting it as neutral if it's not linked to climate change.

This could potentially bias us towards neutral, and if enough mitigation scientists respond saying 'actually it's implicit', it could artificially inflate our 'neutralness' relative to scientists. We have to bear that in mind...


But it's a standard LCA accounting that would probably be included in papers regardless, so I don't think it should be 'implicit' unless directly linked.

Basically, what we're doing...

2012-03-15 19:45:57
Ari Jokimäki


It's global warming potential, not realized global warming. You would also need to show that the gas in question actually causes warming in atmosphere. Like I have explained several times in different threads here, global warming potential is just a standard parameter that scientists studying issues relating to GHG's use without really taking a stand on AGW.

2012-03-16 14:51:43
Sarah Green

I've been following these guidelines, too. Unsually the LCA abstracts either mention mitigating global warming or something about climate in the first or last two sentences (therefore 'implicit'), or they just include GWP in a list of other parameters they are trying to qualtify (--> 'neutral').

I've likely mis-classified a few of these, though, especially early on.