25 Aug '12, 3pm

Climate Change, Irreversibility, and Urgency

To meet the 2 degree Celsius target, the climate system itself thus imposes a timescale on when emissions need to peak and then begin to decline rapidly. Scientific understanding of this timescale shows that mitigation of climate change is urgent and cannot wait. A window of opportunity to decrease emissions has been open for several decades but will soon close and will remain closed. This urgency is thus not ideological or political, but rather is due to the long residence time of atmospheric carbon dioxide and the resulting near-irreversibility of climate change for centuries or longer. This is a critical shortcoming of the medical metaphor that likens the climate change problem to the task of an individual trying to reach a target body weight. If your current weight is higher than your target, medical science can advise you on how to lose weight. If the amount of carbon...

Full article: http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1594

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