Guest essay by Eric Worrall
According to The Guardian, tipping points leading to irreversible climate harm and an existential threat to our civilisation may have already been crossed, though there is still time to try to undo some of the damage.
Climate emergency: world ‘may have crossed tipping points’
Warning of ‘existential threat to civilisation’ as impacts lead to cascade of unstoppable events
The world may already have crossed a series of climate tipping points, according to a stark warning from scientists. This risk is “an existential threat to civilisation”, they say, meaning “we are in a state of planetary emergency”.
The planet has already heated by 1C and the temperature is certain to rise further, due to past emissions and because greenhouse gas levels are still rising. The scientists further warn that one tipping point, such as the release of methane from thawing permafrost, may fuel others, leading to a cascade.
The researchers, writing in a commentary article in the journal Nature, acknowledge that the complex science of tipping points means great uncertainty remains. But they say the potential damage from the tipping points is so big and the time to act so short, that “to err on the side of danger is not a responsible option”. They call for urgent international action.
“A saving grace is that the rate at which damage accumulates from tipping could still be under our control to some extent,” they write. “The stability and resilience of our planet is in peril. International action – not just words – must reflect this.”
The quoted Nature article is like the Guardian article, except not as well written – basically a flat demand we do what we are told.
Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against
The growing threat of abrupt and irreversible climate changes must compel political and economic action on emissions.
Here we summarize evidence on the threat of exceeding tipping points, identify knowledge gaps and suggest how these should be plugged. We explore the effects of such large-scale changes, how quickly they might unfold and whether we still have any control over them.
In our view, the consideration of tipping points helps to define that we are in a climate emergency and strengthens this year’s chorus of calls for urgent climate action — from schoolchildren to scientists, cities and countries.
In our view, the evidence from tipping points alone suggests that we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and urgency of the situation are acute (see ‘Emergency: do the maths’).
EMERGENCY: DO THE MATHS
We define emergency (E) as the product of risk and urgency. Risk (R) is defined by insurers as probability (p) multiplied by damage (D). Urgency (U) is defined in emergency situations as reaction time to an alert (τ) divided by the intervention time left to avoid a bad outcome (T). Thus:
E = R × U = p × D × τ / T
The situation is an emergency if both risk and urgency are high. If reaction time is longer than the intervention time left (τ / T > 1), we have lost control.
We argue that the intervention time left to prevent tipping could already have shrunk towards zero, whereas the reaction time to achieve net zero emissions is 30 years at best. Hence we might already have lost control of whether tipping happens. A saving grace is that the rate at which damage accumulates from tipping — and hence the risk posed — could still be under our control to some extent.
The stability and resilience of our planet is in peril. International action — not just words — must reflect this.
Their unphysical climate models contain hidden errors at least an order of magnitude greater than the alleged CO2 signal, they can’t actually tell you how much influence CO2 has on global temperature, none of the disasters they claim are imminent have actually happened, yet they claim they can put meaningful values into the terms of their insurance risk equation.
via Watts Up With That?
November 27, 2019 at 08:32PM