28 June 2023

What scientists say...

Scientists in their own words provide a compelling way to communicate often-complex ideas. So we have put together a small collection of useful quotes, with more to come.

You can find them at the Links & Info tab on the navigation bar. Here is a selection.

Societal collapse

"Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences.”
      Foreword to What Lies Beneath

"It’s extraordinary to realise that we are witnessing the great unravelling; the beginning of the end of things. I honestly never thought I’d live to see the start of what sometimes feels like the apocalypse. The Earth is really struggling to maintain its equilibrium. It’s possible that we are now seeing a cascade of tipping points lurching into action as the momentum of instability takes hold and things start to come apart.”
      Living with extremity as the new normal     

21 June 2023

Three climate interventions: Reduce, remove, repair

Courtesy Climate Crisis Advisory Group

In September 2022, Stockholm University’s David Armstrong McKay and his colleagues concluded that even global warming of 1-degree Celsius risks triggering some tipping points, just one data point in an alarming mountain of research on tipping points presented in the last year and a half. Clearly, even the current level of warming of around 1.2°C is unacceptably dangerous.

To protect small-island states, the Great Barrier Reef, Antarctica, Greenland, the Amazon — indeed to provide protection for the many places and people we care about — requires returning to a climate similar to the relatively stable Holocene conditions of the last 9000 years and fixed human settlement, during which time carbon dioxide (CO2) levels did not exceed 280 parts per million (ppm) CO2. it also requires preventing a cascade of tipping points in the meanwhile.

12 June 2023

Dramatic Arctic sea-ice news should not be a shock: We were warned.

by David Spratt

It's almost unthinkable. The Arctic Ocean blue all over in summer, with none of the eight million square kilometres of sea-ice — a thin frozen white crust floating on the ocean surface — that covered it in summer just 40 years ago.

No wonder it made headlines this month when researchers found, as reported by The Washington Post, that "a summer in which the Arctic Ocean features almost entirely open water could be coming even sooner than expected and may become a regular event within most of our lifetimes".

The research is "Observationally-constrained projections of an ice-free Arctic even under a low emission scenario", and was published in Nature on 6 June 2023.   It projected "an ice-free Arctic in September under all [emission] scenarios considered", including low greenhouse gas emission scenarios. In other words, even if  emissions are sharply reduced, the Arctic will be ice-free at the end of the northern summer in September in coming decades.

05 June 2023

James Hansen’s new climate bomb: Are today’s greenhouse gas levels enough to raise sea levels by 60+ metres?

By David Spratt

Prof. James Hansen is sometimes affectionately referred to as the ”godfather” of modern climate science, so when he drops a bomb, there is bound to be shock and awe.  

And that’s what has happened with the recent release by Hansen and his colleagues of a draft of a new paper which finds that the climate is much more sensitive to increases in greenhouse gas that generally thought. This new analysis means that the current level of greenhouse gases, if maintained, would be enough in the longer term to melt all ice sheets and push up sea-levels by more than 60 metres.