Implicit to any rational scientific understanding of climate change is the certainty that if the world continues on a business as usual course it will get bad, very bad indeed. Don't Scare the Children Richard Betts reports
For a scenario of high GHG emissions, the earliest time of reaching 4°C above pre-industrial was around 2070, and the latest sometime after 2100. In the most extreme case, 6°C is projected by 2100 although most models do not show this. If feedbacks are stronger or weaker than in those simulations, the timing could be outside these bounds – but evidence for these would need careful examination before we could be confident in this.He is telling us that not only will it get very, very bad, but it will do so in a very short time, within the lifetime of children born today. When he says
Finally, even if the world does make major emissions cuts very soon, this will take time to filter through into tangible effects on global warming. There is already more warming in the pipeline which is unavoidable. Therefore anything projected for the next few years is already unavoidable. If “whole swathes” really will become uninhabitable “in a few years” then there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, however urgently we cut emissions.Dear Dinosaurs, there is nothing you can do, go ahead munching the grass, the asteroid will hit in about 80 years and you will all be dead anyhow.
But what if the dinos could do something, then, of course Richard also has a word of advice
Secondly, if people come to believe that catastrophic impacts are only round the corner, this could lead to wrong decisions made in panic. A lot is being done to make us more resilient to the climate change we’ve already set in motion – new flood defences, plans for reservoirs and water supplies, and so on. But these are expensive, and doing these too early could cost billions. And if people are scared into moving away from their homelands because they think it will be uninhabitable, this would only add to the existing refugee crisis, for no good reason.In other words: Dear Dinos: You could do something by recognizing that there is an asteroid on the way, DASA might be able to help, but maybe you would waste a few dino dollars, maybe the initial response would not be perfectly, scientifically perfect. If you break up the asteroid maybe some chunks might hit the planet. Wait, and a miracle might occur.
Nico Stehr in Nature continues their tradition of finding ways to blame scientists for what they are not doing. ATTP discusses this, but IEHO misses the point,
More surprisingly, a similar impatience with the political elite is now also present in the scientific community. Researchers are increasingly concerned that no one is listening to their diagnosis of the dangers of human-induced climate change and its long-lasting consequences, despite the robust scientific consensus.True enough, but immediately following is this clanger
As governments continue to fail to take appropriate political action, democracy begins to look to some like an inconvenient form of governance. There is a tendency to want to take decisions out of the hands of politicians and the public, and, given the 'exceptional circumstances', put the decisions into the hands of scientists themselves.Other than those who can don the Lab Coat of Power, this is a complete strawman. What scientists fear is that when things get bad, very bad indeed, the response of the world will be to launch the black helicopters. Pfft, there goes democracy and much else of value, well if you and yours have not previously disappeared in the crush.