Chicago Tribune

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Study opens new cracks in scientific front on climate change
Chicago Tribune

A major recent study has put the cat among the pigeons on climate change, challenging the size of the problem in the near-term and the role of a recent slowdown in warming.

The paper, published in the journal Nature Geoscience in May, involved scientists from 14 institutions and calculated that more extreme climate change was now less likely, after taking into account slower warming in the past decade.

The science, for its part, reflects a vastly complicated climate system and the number of variables at play, although there is some hope that new research plus observed warming may resolve some uncertainties by the end of the decade. The new paper’s key conclusion, at least politically, is that it forecasts the long-term impact of a doubling of CO2 levels on the earth at 2 degrees of warming.

The estimate of 2 degrees is lower than the IPCC estimate by a whole degree and, interestingly enough, precisely in line with the maximum safety limit that every climate conference for the past five years has put on warming.

The science shows a complicated problem which is hard to pin down, and is therefore struggling to engage voters. And the more cracks appear in the consensus that climate change demands urgent action, the less political will there will be to do more.

Il y a quelques années quand les médias nous annonçaient une accélération du réchauffement climatique, on faisait taire les détracteurs en disant « la science a parlé et le débat est clos ». Aujourd’hui, on apprend que finalement, ce sont les sceptiques qui avaient raison… Les médias québécois en parleront-ils ?