"A wait and see policy may mean waiting until it is too late." — 1979 National Academy of Sciences report, Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment.
"Global warming will very probably unleash unstoppable planetary forces. And they will not be gradual. The history of our planet’s climate shows that it does not do gradual change. Under pressure, whether from sunspots or orbital wobbles or the depredations of humans, it lurches – virtually overnight." — Fred Pearce
Positive feedback increases change in whatever direction that change is heading—so it's self-reinforcing. While riding a motorbike, what starts as a slight wobble can quickly escalate into a total loss of control; a crash.
Many Earth systems behave like rubber bands, by not reversing smoothly down the same path that they were stretched along. This means that many changes brought about by global warming, such as sea-level rise and drought, will persist for some time even if we manage to reduce atmospheric CO2.
‘Weather is what you see outside your window, climate is what you see from a satellite.’ – Scott Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences at Suffolk County Community College, New York.
We are not the radicals. Oil companies are the radicals. They are willing to alter the chemical composition of the atmosphere to make more money. - inspired by Bill McKibben, environmental author and founder of 350.org
Our very elaborate infrastructure won't work because it was designed for the climate we had, not the one we are going to have. — Dr. Richard Somerville, Distinguished Professor, Climate Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
‘We can think of global warming as a bully that comes by every year and tells you to give him more and more of your money.’ – Park Williams, a tree ring researcher at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
In order to prevent climate change, the world has to switch from high-carbon, polluting, power generation; to new, low-carbon generating capacity. So in order to benefit in the long-term we need a huge building programme which unfortunately, in the short-term, will create a significant increase in CO2 emissions. It's like being caught by the hook of a fossil-fuel-powered crane which has lifted us off the ground. We know that when we eventually fall, the higher we are off the ground the more it will hurt. So the sooner we get off the hook the better—but, ironically, we must pull ourselves higher to lift ourselves off. Perhaps we can call this dilemma, the 'energy hook'.
‘Ocean barnacles don’t know science. They don’t read science. They don’t watch Fox News… What they do is they respond to the actual position of the ocean and they are moving up.” – Peter Harlem at Florida International University
'No warming in 15 years' is like arguing your car is broken down because it hasn't moved in the 15 seconds while you stopped at a red light.' — Dana Nuccitelli, an environmental scientist at a private environmental consulting firm in the Sacramento, California area.
"Mother Nature puts a time limit on how long we can dither and procrastinate" before taking action. "Several vulnerable elements in earth's climate system could be pushed toward abrupt or irreversible change. . .with our business-as-usual increase in emissions."—Dr. Richard Somerville.
Wildfires dominate the headlines – but the media coverage focuses only on effects while ignoring a major cause. Talking about western wildfires without mentioning climate change is like talking about lung cancer without mentioning cigarettes.
Climate change is like a train: it starts slowly, but it’s awfully hard to stop once it gains a bit of momentum.
Every day, beer is delivered to a restaurant in crates, and the driver takes away the empty bottles from the previous day in the same crates.Now, living above the restaurant is a man who likes to drink the same brand of beer. Each day he buys a bottle at the corner store on his way home from work and having drunk it while watching TV, he takes the empty downstairs. Knowing that nobody will notice just one extra bottle, he puts it with the big pile of empties outside the restaurant. After just a year the restaurant rings the brewery and complains of the huge pile of empty bottles outside their rear entrance. The brewery comes round to collect the empty bottles and fills dozens of crates to take away the 365 empties. Nobody — the man upstairs included — can figure out where they all came from!