One climate change model that is 100% certain

After listening to a friend who works in environmental policy and communications it seems clear there is at least one climate change model which is completely proven.

However that’s not to say that other elements of the climate change picture aren’t probable.

For example it could well be the case that:-Some effects of climate change are already certain

  • By 2050 we will probably see significant climate changes in certain parts of the world and more extreme weather events
  • International cooperation to cut carbon emissions as envisaged at Kyoto has been a dismal failure
  • What originally looked like the necessity to reform our fossil fuel carbon economy due to peak oil has been increasingly undermined by the availability of cheap natural gas undercutting solar and wind
  • Government unwillingness to seriously tackle climate change is a reflection of an electorate which doesn’t appreciate the seriousness of the situation or the value of a precautionary approach when outcomes are unpredictable
  • Obscure feedback loops could accelerate some of the changes so that we are at the boundaries of the worst warming estimates rather than the mid range estimates
  • Climate change will spill over into geo-political conflict, significant economic damage, and even create new disease vectors
  • Geo-engineering with methods like ocean or atmospheric seeding is highly risky and unproven when it comes to a last ditch attempt to make up for the failure of multilaterial action

All in all some very bleak scenarios – but at this stage not a certain outcome.

However there are three incontrovertible facts that those working in climate change policy know, and don’t often discuss, which are just as bleak and completely certain:Depression

  1. If you fail to convince the public of the seriousness of climate change (so nothing is done) and the worst estimates prove true then your life’s work will have been a failure.
  2. If you do convince the public of the seriousness of climate change (and something is done to fix it) then everyone will say you over-dramatized the problem.
  3. If you fail to convince the public of the seriousness of climate change (so nothing is done) and the negative consequences turn out to be more trivial than expected (we are after all talking about predicting the future 38+ years hence) like the population growth alarmists of the 70s or the nuclear winter predictors of the Reagan era you will be consigned to the dustbin of history.

With these global and personal implications who would want to work in climate change?

The next time you meet someone who works in this area remember that they live each day with a sense of impending doom and even worse that as per 1, 2, and 3 this sense of doom is entirely justified. They probably should have taken the red pill.

And that’s one climate change model which is always going to be rock solid.

This article filed under the following 'Interest' categories (click category for more) Unanswerable questions

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Article posted by @Drivelry on August 8, 2012

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