Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Jumping the Guardrail


       Here's one I missed.  Sir Robert Watson, was at one time the head of IPCC, then the Tyndall Center.  He unfortunately has pretty good idea what is going on..

     Here's what he's been saying: 

"Prepare for a three to five degree C warmer world, said Sir Robert Watson the former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Speaking at a symposium in London Tuesday, Watson, the science director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said the world has missed its chance to stay below two degrees C."

Bonus feature :  Thawing Permafrost may be huge factor in Global Warming.   Which describes research from U Mich, suggesting that the permafrost leaks may cross into a self sustaining tipping point in 15-20 years.  (informed sources suggest that later this year, those dates may be changed to 7.5-10 years)   - Hat Tip to Mark K

Sir Robert Watson at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting: "We screwed up the planet."

By Christopher Neely

The American Geophysical Union held its 45th annual Fall Meeting in San Francisco last week, where more than 20,000 earth and space scientists, educators, students and other policy makers gathered to get an inside look on groundbreaking research in the geophysical field.
The fall meeting, which was held from Dec 3-7, featured some of the world’s most renowned environmental scientists. However, it was top British climate scientist, Sir Robert Watson, who gave the Union Frontiers of Geophysics Lecture, one of the most highly regarded lectures of the 5 day meeting.
Watson, who is the former Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, brought a serious tone with his lecture.
He solemnly informed the attendees that the world has jumped the two-degree Celsius “guardrail” in global warming, the mark that was necessary to avoid dangerous climate change.
According to Watson, to stay under the two-degree Celsius mark would have meant that industries began cutting carbon emissions in 2010. Watson said the Earth is on a path to become warmer by three to five-degrees, and the chance of limiting that warming to only three degrees is about 50-50.
“We need an evolution,” said Watson. He added that we “need to get to grips with carbon capture and storage.” He also emphasized the importance of finding ways to use renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, tidal and wave power.
In his lecture, Watson mentioned that the climate for 2020 and 2030 is already locked and the world must be ready to adapt. However, Watson still believes in the chances of saving the future of global climate change. According to Watson, relying on adaptation without an intense effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions will not work and that geo-engineering techniques cannot solve the climate problem alone.
Dr. Xin-Zhong Liang, University of Maryland professor of atmospheric and oceanic science, agrees with Watson that instead of working hard to completely halt the climate change, it is time to adapt. “I don’t think there is a way to completely halt the warming,” says Liang. “I strongly believe that it is time to seek for ways to adapt the change.”
While Liang believes adaptation is a treatment for the warming planet, he says there are things the world must do now to prevent it from getting worse. “We must act now to significantly reduce the greenhouse gasses to contain global warming before it goes beyond what our existing human infrastructure can manage.”
Liang also noted that the U.S., China, and India must take a leading effort to make substantial emission cuts to have it recognized by the rest of the world.
While adaptation and cutting carbon emissions seem to be the contemporary answers to the change in climate, the long term answer is going to take collaboration across multiple disciplines, something that has been challenge recently.
“We screwed up the planet by not understanding the planet,” concluded Watson. “We need moral leadership and political will, and they are in short supply.”


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