Dr Richard Betts of the British Meteorological Office speaking at the 4 Degrees (and beyond) conference in Oxford this week :-
“It’s important to stress it’s not a doomsday scenario, we do have time to stop it happening if we cut greenhouse gas emissions soon.”
Some of the potential problems from a four degree average rise in global temperature are being outlined to the conference.
There are spectacular regional warming issues, most notably for the Arctic region.
Here’s one rough estimate that I made from a variety of sources :-
Global Warming experienced since 1900 (mostly in the last 30 years) : 0.6 to 0.75 degrees Celsius or Centigrade.
Additional Global Warming on top by 2040 (conservative estimate) : 0.8 to 1.4 degrees Celsius or Centigrade.
By 2040, total average Global Warming (conservative estimate) : 1.4 to 2.15 degrees Celsius or Centigrade.
Think about it : an extra 1.4 – 2.15 degrees Celsius or Centigrade of near-surface air temperature by roughly 2040, with roughly current levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere.
That’s right : the current levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere.
Holding down Global Warming is dependent on us halting the increase of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere – capping it and controlling it.
The temperature will continue to rise anyway, because of the time lag between putting more Carbon Dioxide in the air and the Earth heating up because of that.
If mankind’s Fossil Fuel emissions of Carbon Dioxide stopped this minute, we would still reach roughly 2 degrees of extra Global Warming above pre-industrial temperatures by 2040.
Everybody knows about the time lag by now, don’t they ? That the Earth is already committed to extra warming because of how heat is generated and moves around the system ?
Trying to peg Global Warming at 2 degrees C “above pre-industrial” is looking more and more like an impossible task.
What seems to be even more impossible is getting this information given its correct priority.
John Schellnhuber says Americans are “illiterate” about Climate Change (according to the Daily Telegraph) :-
Unfortunately, so are a large proportion of the British, the Canadians, the Australians…
Despite years and years and years of education on this subject, people on the whole are still nowhere near understanding it.
I think it is the responsibility of the Media as a whole to put resources into this issue as a matter of urgency.
The time lag of comprehension in the Media is astonishing.
Global Warming has a time lag of roughly 30 years between the signal of rising Carbon Dioxide and the response : increased surface temperatures. The journalists don’t seem to have responded at all, not even in those same 30 years.
Do we have to wait until all the editors and senior hacks retire to get the facts into the public domain ? Do we have to ask the newspapers to retire their jaded cynical hacks early ? Or send them back to college ?
After all, you only need A level Physics plus a bit of Chemistry and some Geography context, like a foundation year a university, in order to comprehend the basics of Global Warming.
But I suppose that’s beyond people who enter journalism. That must be the problem. They’re just the wrong sort of thinkers with the wrong sort of education.
Here’s a competition : give me a journalist who can describe the basic physical science of Global Warming in 350 words.