Two wildly contrasting takes on climate change

Posted by K R on

How urgent is it that we act on climate change? Georgia Tech atmospheric science professor Judith Curry says the pace of climate change is slower than previously assumed, and we have time. Secretary of State John Kerry says unwelcome impacts have already arrived and we must get to work right away to avoid “devastating” effects. These two perspectives, published in the Wall Street Journal (Curry) and Huffington Post (Kerry), are notable for their marked divergence. Here are the key excerpts from Curry’s WSJ and Kerry’s HuffPo contributions… From Curry:
… new climate sensitivity estimates add to the growing evidence that climate models are running “too hot.” Moreover, the estimates in these empirical studies are being borne out by the much-discussed “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming—the period since 1998 during which global average surface temperatures have not significantly increased. . . . This slower rate of warming—relative to climate model projections—means there is less urgency to phase out greenhouse gas emissions now, and more time to find ways to decarbonize the economy affordably. It also allows us the flexibility to revise our policies as further information becomes available.
From Kerry:
Shame on all of us if we don’t act now to confront this “gathering storm. . . . Decades of observation, monitoring, and research have demonstrated beyond a doubt that the Earth’s climate is changing, that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are to blame, and that the consequences will be devastating unless the world gets serious about reducing emissions. This is not a distant or future challenge. Climate change is affecting millions around the world right now — today.
In your view, whose argument is more compelling? via Washington Post.

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