Potential For Climate Disaster Ignored, Scientists Say – Kuri007
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Experts are ignoring the worst-case scenarios of the most dangerous climate change, including societal collapse or possible human extinction, however unlikely, a group of top scientists say.
Eleven scientists from around the world are calling on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an authoritative body for climate science, to issue a special scientific report on “catastrophic climate change” to “visualize how much is at stake.” we are in a very bad situation.” In their opinion piece on Monday Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences they present the idea of human extinction and global societal collapse in the third sentence, calling it a “dangerously understated topic.”
Scientists say they are not predicting the worst will happen. The problem, they say, is that no one knows how likely or unlikely the “end of the climate game” is and that the world needs those statistics to fight global warming.
“I think it’s very unlikely that in the next century you’ll see anything disappear simply because people are incredibly resilient,” said lead researcher Luke Kemp of the Center for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge in England. . “Even if we have a 1% chance of a global catastrophe ending in the next century, that 1% is too high.”
Catastrophic weather events “seem to be worthy of attention” and can lead to prevention and warning programs, Kemp said.
A good risk analysis considers both the most likely and the worst possible, the study authors said. But to the comfort of non-scientists who deny climate change, mainstream climate science has focused on the most likely and inconsistently observed low-level temperatures approaching international targets, says one author. Tim Lenton, director of the Global Systems Institute at the University of Exeter in England.
There is, says Lenton, “not enough emphasis on how things, the risks, the big risks, can go wrong.”
It’s like an airplane, Lenton said. It is more likely that it will arrive safely, but that is because a lot of effort has been put into calculating the worst case scenario and figuring out how to avoid the accident. It only works if you investigate what’s going wrong and that’s not being done enough with climate change, he said.
“There may be more at stake than we thought,” said Jonathan Overpeck, environmental director at the University of Michigan, who was not part of the study. He is worried that the world could ‘stumble’ over climate risks that he is not aware of.
When international scientific organizations look at climate change, they tend to look only at what is happening on Earth: extreme weather, higher temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas and the extinction of plants and animals. But they don’t think enough about how these can feed back into human societies and deal with existing problems – such as war, famine and disease – the researchers say.
“If we don’t look at the cumulative risk, we’re going to be very surprised,” said Kristie Ebi, a professor of public health and climate at the University of Washington, a co-author who, like Lenton, was part of the organization. United Nations global climate assessment.
It was a mistake made by health professionals before COVID-19 when assessing a potential pandemic, Ebi said. They talked about the spread of disease, but not about the closures, supply chain problems and growing economies.
The study’s authors say they are concerned about societal breakdowns — wars, famines, economic crises — that are more closely linked to climate change than environmental change on Earth itself.
Outside climate scientists and risk experts have been receptive and wary of focusing on the worst, as many dismiss talk of climate doom.
“I don’t believe civilization as we know it will survive this century,” University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver, a former British Columbia legislator for the Green Party, said in an email. “Strong people will survive, but our urban and rural agriculture-based communities will not.”
Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather of the tech company Stripe and Berkeley Earth has in the past criticized climate scientists for using future scenarios of rising air pollution when the world is no longer on those fast-warming paths. Still, he said it makes sense to look at catastrophic scenarios “as long as we make sure we’re not confusing the worst case scenario with the most likely outcome.”
Talking about human extinction is not “a very effective form of communication,” says Brown University climate scientist Kim Cobb. “People tend to be quick to say that, that’s just, you know, arm-waving or predicting.”
What happens without extinction is bad enough, he said.
Co-author Tim Lenton said that assessing worst-case scenarios is not something to worry about: “Maybe you can rule out some of these worst-case scenarios altogether. However, that is definitely worth your time. Then we should all have a little fun.”
Climate change: Anthropogenic potential ‘dangerously exposed’, experts say
Luke Kemp et al, The End of the Climate Game: Assessing Catastrophic Climate Change Scenarios, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2022). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2108146119
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