- Political leaders and climate activists often say that human-caused climate change presents an existential threat to humanity, or could lead to a global catastrophe, but this is rarely defined.
- Driving the news: A group of top climate scientists has come forward to argue that more rigorous research is urgently needed into such worst-case scenarios, which they call a “climate endgame.”
- In a new perspective piece in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 researchers from around the world put forward a research agenda into the consequences of global warming that reaches the higher end of plausible scenarios, amounting to 3°C (5.4°F) or greater, by the end of the century.
- Why it matters: According to the paper, worst-case scenarios have been understudied by organizations such as the U.N. IPCC due to the focus on the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals, as well as the inherent cautiousness of climate scientists whose culture eschews alarmism.
- Zoom in: The piece, which is not a study but rather a detailed research proposal, states: “There are ample reasons to suspect that climate change could result in a global catastrophe.”
- The authors, who include Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a physicist who advised German Chancellor Angela Merkel on climate science, and prominent researcher Johan Rockström, see such research as having the potential to motivate society to act with greater urgency to limit warming to the Paris targets.
- The paper notes that if all countries deliver on their non-binding long-term emissions reduction pledges it could limit warming to 2.1°C (3.78°F) above preindustrial levels by 2100.
- The authors warn that even this optimistic scenario would make the planet warmer than any point seen for more than 2.6 million years.
This article can be summed up in a few words
- The `top’ climate scientists are mad and upset that after thirty years of making climate catastrophe predictions, none of which have come true, people are ignoring them and their predictions.
- Their solution is give us more money to make more definite and terrifying predictions. We will double down on our predictions and the required solutions.
- Providing money for more incorrect reports and predictions is more accurately described as Welfare for Climate Scientists.
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Seth Grossman, Executive Director