Is the concept of ‘tipping point’ helpful for describing and communicating possible climate futures?

There’s a new book just out “Contemporary Climate Change Debates: A Student Primer” edited by Mike Hulme. I contributed a short essay arguing the negative side of the above question. It was originally intended to be “Will exceeding 2C of warming lock the world onto a ‘Hothouse Earth’ trajectory?” but no-one could be found to argue in favour of that (this was shortly after the publication of the Steffen nonsense) so we settled on something a bit more vague. Maybe I should summarise my compelling argument but don’t have time right now so you’ll have to take my word for it.

I haven’t had time to read the book but my complementary copy just arrived (hence the post) and the table of contents is quite interesting, so maybe it would make a good Christmas present for the person who is interested in climate change – or even for someone who isn’t!

Introduction: Why and how to debate climate change

Mike Hulme

1. Is climate change the most important challenge of our times?

Sarah Cornell and Aarti Gupta

PART I: What do we need to know?

2. Is the concept of ‘tipping point’ helpful for describing and communicating possible climate futures?

Michel Crucifix and James Annan

3. Should individual extreme weather events be attributed to human agency?

Friederike E.L. Otto and Greg Lusk

4. Does climate change drive violence, conflict and human migration?

David D. Zhang and Qing Pei; Christiane Fröhlich and Tobias Ide

5. Can the social cost of carbon be calculated?

Reyer Gerlagh and Roweno Heijmans; Kozo Torasan Mayumi

PART II: What should we do?

6. Are carbon markets the best way to address climate change?

Misato Sato and Timothy Laing; Mike Hulme

7. Should future investments in energy technology be limited exclusively to renewables?

Jennie C. Stephens and Gregory Nemet

8. Is it necessary to research solar climate engineering as a possible backstop technology?

Jane C.S. Long and Rose Cairns

PART III: On what grounds should we base our actions?

9. Is emphasising consensus in climate science helpful for policymaking?

John Cook and Warren Pearce

10. Do rich people rather than rich countries bear the greatest responsibility for climate change?

Paul G. Harris and Kenneth Shockley

11. Is climate change a human rights violation?

Catriona McKinnon and Marie-Catherine Petersmann

PART IV: Who should be the agents of change?

12. Does successful emissions reduction lie in the hands of non-state rather than state actors?

Liliana B. Andronova and Kim Coetzee

13. Is legal adjudication essential for enforcing ambitious climate change policies?

Eloise Scotford; Marjan Peeters and Ellen Vos

14. Does the ‘Chinese model’ of environmental governance demonstrate to the world how to govern the climate?

Tianbao Qin and Meng Zhang; Lei Liu and Pu Wang

15. Are social media making constructive climate policymaking harder?

Mike S. Schäfer and Peter North

2 thoughts on “Is the concept of ‘tipping point’ helpful for describing and communicating possible climate futures?

  1. Pingback: Catastrophic tipping points of no return, returned! | BlueSkiesResearch.org.uk

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