A Scientist Offers a Positive Vision for Emissions Reduction

At the most recent meeting of the American Meteorological Society, the distinguished Warren Washington presented a paper by a team of scientists called Climate Change Projections for the Twenty-First Century and Climate Change Commitment in the CCSM3, which is about projecting our future climate with general circulation (computer) models.

The news is not good, unsurprisingly, but what's interesting is that to his fellow scientists, Washington stressed the alarming fact that emissions currently are outpacing even the business-as-usual model, which is already on a course that appears disastrous to climate scientists. Here's the crucial graph:

Emissions and mitigation 

In ultra-dry scientific speak, here's how this crucial fact — which is barely visible above — is expressed:

Note the small dots in Figure 1a above the red curve after the year 2000 show, the 2005 – 2007 actual CO2 emissions [Raupach et al., 2007]. The non-mitigation scenario data is less than actual emissions.

To his fellow scientists, as I recall, Washington not only highlighted this fact, but said it more plainly. Here's my paraphrase:

Our models are underestimating emissions, and already, given a conventional climate sensitive about 2.7C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2, we face a perilously hot future.

To wit:


In ScienceNews, Washington put it this way:

"This research indicates that we can no longer avoid significant
warming during this century. But if the world were to implement this level of
emission cuts [70%], we could stabilize the threat of climate change and
avoid catastrophe."

Or if we don't reduce emissions dramatically and soon, we can have a catastrophe.

Once again, John Lennon's words come to mind…

…the world is at your command…

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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