Club of Rome Global Assembly 2009, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t ij/Harbour Music Hall, Amsterdam, Netherlands. *Any statements relating to policy are personal opinion.
Global warming IS a time bomb.
There may still be time to defuse it, but that requires policy-makers to take the actions that are needed, not the ineffectual actions they are discussing.
Global Warming StatusDespite the publicity that global warming has received, there is a large gap between what is understood by the relevant scientific community, and what is known by the people who need to know, the public and policymakers.
1. Knowledge Gap Between
• What is Understood (scientists)
• What is Known (public)
2. Planetary Emergency
• Climate Inertia → Warming in Pipeline
• Tipping Points → Could Lose Control
3. Bad News & Good News
• Safe Level of CO2 < 350
• Multiple Benefits of Solution
Global warming is small compared to day-to-day weather fluctuations, so it is hard for people to recognize that we have a crisis – but we do.
The climate system has great inertia, caused, e.g., by the 4-kilometer-deep ocean and the thick ice sheets on Antarctica and Greenland – they have only partly responded to the human-made changes of atmospheric composition. But that inertia is not our friend – it is a Trojan horse – by the time the public notices that change is underway the momentum of the climate system may be sufficient to guarantee much larger changes. The climate system can pass tipping points, such that large change continues out of our control.
The bad news is that we have already passed into a dangerous range of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The good news is that if we act smart and promptly it is still feasible to achieve a safe level of atmospheric gases, and the actions needed to achieve that would have multiple benefits in addition to climate stability. Continued...