I’ve just realised that I started this blog eight years ago today. This past year has been relatively quiet, partly because it’s been a rather unusual year and I’ve not really felt all that motivated to write blog posts, and partly because I’m not all that sure what to write about anymore. I do think that the climate debate has shifted so that we are more discussing what to do, rather than focusing on whether or not we should be doing anything.
It feels like there’s less of a need for scientists to engage in debates about the science, which seems like progress. I do still wish that there were some things that were better appreciated. Carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, so (without negative emissions) a reasonable fraction of what we’ve emitted will remain in the atmosphere for a very long time. The changes (again, without negative emission technologies) are essentially irreversible on human timescales. The only real way to stop climate change is to get (net) anthropogenic emissions to zero. How much we will warm depends largely on how much we end up emitting (Figure). Just because we might miss a target doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try; just missing it is still better than giving up.
In other news, I got the first dose of my vaccine today, so I’m supposed to take it easy for the rest of the day. I have, though, ended up in a rather convoluted discussion on Twitter about plausible emission scenarios, so I may be failing to do so. It’s a lovely day, so maybe I should go and read a book in the garden. Hope everyone is keeping safe and well.