"March 29 News: Just Because Climate Change Is Irreversible Doesn’t Mean It Is Unstoppable"
Confusion over what cutting carbon emissions will do is complicating the whole issue, says a new article in Science. [Climate Central]
There is widespread confusion about the near-term benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that misunderstanding may be complicating the formidable task of reducing manmade global warming, argue two climate researchers in Science in a story published Thursday.
The scientists, Damon Matthews of Concordia University in Montreal and Susan Solomon of MIT, make the case that policymakers, the media, and to some extent the public have misunderstood the implications of two key concepts — the “irreversibility” of climate change, and the amount of global warming already in the pipeline due to historical greenhouse gas emissions.
The duo challenge what they say have become pervasive misinterpretations of recent scientific results, including findings from a 2010 National Research Council report they helped write that said that the amount of global warming to date is essentially irreversible on the timescale of about 1,000 years. That study has been repeatedly cited by policymakers to justify delays in tackling carbon emissions by making global warming appear to be inexorable, regardless of what actions are taken.
But Matthews and Solomon rebut that justification, writing instead that, “the irreversibility of past changes does not mean that future warming is unavoidable.”
In addition, they said the notion that global warming would continue to take place even if the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were to be frozen at current levels — rather than increasing year-after-year as they are now — has also helped justify inaction.
Automakers are embracing hybrid technology, with more models increasing their efficiency in response to mandates. [Detroit News]
EPA is moving forward with rules for limiting sulfur in gasoline and fleet-wide pollution limits on new cars by 2017. [Washington Post]
A new survey finds Americans acknowledge the risks and impacts of climate change, yet little desire to pay to adapt to them. [Guardian]
Central Texas is slipping into extreme drought, with low lakes and reservoirs straining water supplies. [Austin American-Statesman]
The last three months in California have been the driest January-March on record, and the Sierra Nevada has half the snowpack as normal. [LA Times]
The extended drought is also extending into New Mexico, Oregon, Montana, Oklahoma, and much of the Western U.S. [Climate Central]
The House GOP released their energy plan which calls for more drilling and mining and fracking. [Washington Post]
A new study says that it’s possible Sandy-like superstorms could make their way to Europe this century as greenhouse gas emissions affected storm formation in the Atlantic. [New Scientist]