28 September 2022

Not on the same page: When science and politics collide in climate communication

by David Spratt 

Not on the same page?
Click image to enlarge.

Updated 29 September 2022

A significant paper on climate tipping points was published on 9 September, Exceeding 1.5°C global warming could trigger multiple climate tipping points. Having co-written a non-specialist’s overview on tipping points earlier this year, entitled Climate Dominoes, I looked forward to the new paper’s conclusions. 

But on the very first page, there was a sense of science and politics on a collision course: the conclusions about appropriate climate goals did not seem to match the evidence, as I will explain below.

Now this is not a new story, but it points to the need to disentangle political conclusions from physical evidence. Often scientific reports and papers pull their punches, especially when it comes to IPCC, as we documented in our Breakthrough report, What Lies Beneath: The understatement of existential climate risks.   But such reticence is not restricted to the IPCC.

The reasons for scientific reticence in the climate field are many, and may include:

02 September 2022

Pakistan is a hotspot for climate-driven human security crises

by David Spratt

A nation’s capacity to respond to climate risks by adaptation  is significantly dependent on its capacity, reflected in the nation’s economic capacity, and poor countries are more vulnerable.

In Pakistan’s case, that vulnerability is magnified by the extent of climate-driven change in the Himalayas and to the south Asian monsoons, as well as ever-more-extreme events: heat waves beyond human tolerance and flooding that has just submerged one-third of the country, killed up to 80% of livestock according to some reports, destroyed a million homes and 2200 miles of roads, and displaced more than 33 million people. “We are witnessing the worst flooding in the history of the country,” said Dr Fahad Saeed, a climate scientist with the Climate Analytics group, who is based in Islamabad.