Part 2 of the Climate Series

The ‘tipping point’ is reached when climate runs away with itself because the temperature has moved above where it has historically been. No matter what action we then took – our climate would change all by itself hugely and fast.  It would be climate mayhem.

Those negotiating at Copenhagen are trying to stop the global temperature rising more than 2° above the pre-industrial level because that is where they believe the ‘Tipping Point’ is.  Our climate hasn’t been above this figure in the last few million years so this is logical, and to do this they are aiming to reduce our global carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. But will this do the trick? Incidentally the temperature is already up about 0.8°C!

Now we have already hugely changed our atmosphere, and right now the climate seems to be changing very quickly – floods, highest temperatures ever, forest fires, water shortages etc. Even if we stop emitting any carbon now, the climate will continue changing until it reaches a stable level for this atmosphereIf the temperature would then rise to that 2° we would already have reached the ‘Tipping Point and we would have no more carbon left to emit.  The decision on the Tipping Point cannot be based on current temperature but must be on current atmosphere = future climate. Working from the current temperature is working blind.

If we do go past the Tipping Point many things are waiting to happen all of which either emit carbon from the world’s surface or stop it being absorbed back and most have huge climate impacts. Also most of them are in the Northern Arctic Region which means we have another problem.

Working from the average global temperature rise (or future rise) is meaningless as rising temperatures over England will make little difference while over the Arctic they are extremely serious. So future emission decisions have to be based on the temperature rises over the critical areas, and already in the Arctic they are up several degrees.

So we are very possibly already past the tipping point:  we need to be getting carbon out of the atmosphere rather than putting more up there. If this is the case, arguing about reducing carbon by 80% by 2050 is pointless. We need Copenhagen to fail because in a year or two we will understand the real problem, at which time we can find the real answers. Solutions to the wrong problem are the wrong solutions.


i.            We will be arguing the case in later blogs about where we are relative to the Tipping Point, and whether we have already gone past it or not.

ii.            The situation may look incredibly bleak, but some of us are working on and producing solutions so we can live better than now in a zero carbon world. It is possible, practical and affordable.  At a political level there is confusion partly due to permanently moving targets from the climate community, witness Copenhagen. Our future and that of our children is in our hands. We need to come together as a people and drive the agenda ourselves. An action plan will follow – see

For a fuller article please go to hyperlink where I argue the ‘Tipping Point’ was between 325 and 335ppm of GHG.