Misunderstanding Of Climate Change Concepts May Be Stalling Global Action
Posted: 03/28/2013 5:59 pm EDT | Updated: 03/28/2013 6:02 pm EDT
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 Thursday’s issue of the journal Science.
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.