Betting the Farm on low climate sensitivity

Gambling everything on one number is never a good idea (http://www.colourbox.com)

I know I said it was irrelevant but… Our politicians seem to be in danger of gambling the future habitability of this planet on it (climate sensitivity) turning out to be low… Low enough, that is, for us “to have our cake and eat it” before they make carbon capture and storage a reality. Over on the Skeptical Science website, Dana Nuccitelli has written a good summary of this issue. (Please accept my apologies for all the mixed metaphors)

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About Rick Altman

Possibly just another 'Climate Cassandra' crying 'Wolf' in cyberspace. However, the moral of the old children's story is that the Wolf eventually turned up!
This entry was posted in Carbon Capture and Storage, Climate Science, Environment, Fossil Fuels, Politics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Betting the Farm on low climate sensitivity

  1. weatherdem says:

    I think the “bet the farm” metaphor is apt. Thankfully, I don’t think any big decisions will be predicated on the press releases’ material.

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    • Rick Altman says:

      If you refer to the unpublished Norwegian PhD thesis, I agree with you. However, what worries me is that all our politicians are just sitting around waiting to see if the fossil fuel industry can make CCS work so that they don’t have to make any really tough choices. This is quite literally insane because, with every year that passes without significant action, it will now become harder and more expensive to adapt to a very unpleasant runaway greenhouse effect…

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      • pendantry says:

        it will now become harder and more expensive to adapt to a very unpleasant runaway greenhouse effect… Oh, I disagree entirely. It’s very easy and cheap to adapt to a runaway greenhouse effect*. The only ‘adaptation’ possible is to die. — before you jump in, I know that’s not what you meant, but I thank you for the opportunity to exercise my pendantry! 😉 * I note that the language of that page has become far less equivocal than it once was. A minor success in a campaign we’re losing badly, if ‘winning’ is defined as not losing our shirts (by them going up in flames while we’re wearing them).

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      • Rick Altman says:

        I think there is a difference between human adaptation (what I was talking about) and planetary adaptation (what you are talking about). However, you are quite right; we need to stop being so bl00dy anthropocentric.

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      • pendantry says:

        I’m clearly missing your point, because, no, I’m not talking about ‘planetary adaptation’. I’m saying that the concept of humans (or almost any life bar anaerobic bacteria, for that matter) ‘adapting’ to a planet that is in the grip of a runaway greenhouse is total nonsense.

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      • Rick Altman says:

        OK, there may have been some misunderstanding but not too much. I think we understand each other very well. The runaway greenhouse effect is expected to kill off a very significant proportion of life on Earth; but not all of it. As you imply, there is still thought to be microbial life in the atmosphere of Venus; and small, highly mobile organisms and extremophiles will survive on Earth too. When atmospheric CO2 concentrations return to pre-Industrial levels, in 10 to 100 thousand years time, there will almost certainly be a new blossoming of the evolutionary tree (unless some supreme being decides to call “Time” on the whole cosmological experiment we call our Universe).

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