“Four minutes to save the world?” Formidable but not inconceivable: The Climate Minute Podcast

We take a deep dive on a recent controversial article in Nature Geoscience. It suggests that we have more time and thus a more realistic chance of keeping global temperatures in check. While climate deniers are holding the article up as proof that environmentalists exaggerate the concern over climate science, it turns out—the concern and urgency is still very real.

This article, however, gives us significantly more hope. The basic difference is that prior estimates gave us only a decade to limit global warming temperatures to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels; the new analysis in the article indicates that we have forty years. The authors say that forty years makes the transition formidable, but not inconceivable. Prior to this research, the climate community thought we needed to get to zero in just a few years.  That seemed impossible, especially given the current administration’s lack of climate initiative. If this new analysis is correct, there is a chance, though we still need to work like mad to get it done in time. The uncertainty in the science is inevitable. There is a three-fold uncertainty range in the true sensitivity of global temperatures to the greenhouse gases that cause warming. This article uses a better account of past emissions and human-induced warming to predict a forty-year window. Let’s hope this is good news for our work! Tune in for more.

The reading list:

Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist that the United States put a price on carbon.

Thanks for listening.

…Ted McIntyre

 

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