The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Can Anyone Stop It?"

Bill McKibben in the New York Review reviews four new and important books on climate change.

From the article:
Working Group III of the IPCC, which reported at the beginning of May, said at great length that in fact it was technically feasible to reduce emissions to the point where temperature rise could be held below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius—the point where many climate scientists now believe global warming may turn from a miserable problem into a catastrophe.
Do they? I think 2 C is not a tipping point, it's the best we can conceivably manage. Which side of 2 C the problem gets severe enough to push us over the edge and into decline is something I believe is completely unknown. I will point out that a 100 C warming actually would be catastrophic. I am not suggesting that this will happen. I am saying that there is some amount of warming that would be catastrophic, and it's surely less than 100 C.

It may be prudent to act as if the number were less than 2 C. I don't see where 2 C is some magic number as far as climate science is concerned, though.

Thanks to 3 Quarks Daily for the link.

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