"It’s all a game of odds. We’ve never been here before. We just know two things: one, the CO2 we put into the atmosphere stays there for many years, so it is “irreversible” in real-time (barring some feat of geo-engineering); and two, that CO2 build-up has the potential to unleash “catastrophic” warming.
When I see a problem that has even a 1 percent probability of occurring and is 'irreversible' and potentially 'catastrophic,' I buy insurance. That is what taking climate change seriously is all about." —Thomas L. Friedman
A school bus goes up a hill, then down. The hilltop is the tipping point. Earth is the bus, but with no driver, just quarreling teenagers, called governments. And no brakes.
A hundred years from now, looking back, the only question that will appear important about the historical moment in which we now live is the question of whether or not we did anything to arrest climate change.
Everything else—the financial crisis, the life or death of the euro, authoritarianism or democracy in China and Russia, the Great Stagnation or the innovation renaissance, democratisation and/or political Islam in the Arab world, Newt or Mitt or another four years of Barack—all this will fade into insignificance beside the question of whether we managed to do anything about human industrial civilisation changing the climate of Planet Earth.
"...History will not judge us by how much economic growth we achieve in the immediate years ahead, nor by how much we expand material consumption, but by the legacy we leave for our children, grandchildren and their grandchildren. We are consuming what is rightfully theirs by sacrificing long-term progress on the altar of immediate satisfaction and convenience." — HRH The Prince of Wales
"Even small rises in sea level will have very big impact in some places, as storm surges hit coasts. If you raise the floor of a basketball court by just a few inches, you will see many more slam dunks." — Twila Moon, University of Washington
The climate system is like a rowboat. It has two stable states. "You can tip and then you’ll just go back. You tip it and just go back. And then you tip it and you get to the other stable state, which is upsihttp://www.climatebites.org/climate-communication-metaphors-and-soundbites/the-consequences-are-bad/abrupt-change/addde down."—Donald Perovich, Army Corps of Engineers.
"We're driving in a car with bad brakes in a fog and heaing for a cliff. We know for sure now that the cliff is out there, we just don't know exactly where it is. Prudence would suggest that we should start putting on the brakes."— John Holdren.
"What’s more socialist than American taxpayers subsidizing the fossil industry while they fleece our wallets? Perhaps Exxon should be renamed The People’s Oil Company of America." — Richard Whiteford, Environmental Communications Consultant in Downingtown, Pa.
"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.
"Mother Nature is just chemistry, biology and physics. That's all she is. You cannot sweet-talk her. You cannot spin her. You cannot tell her that the oil companies say climate change is a hoax. No, Mother Nature is going to do whatever chemistry, biology and physics dictate" "Mother Nature always bats last, and she always bats 1.000" — Rob Watson
Think of weather as a large die, with the number 6 signifying a violent storm. If you add dots to change the "1" to a "6," you've doubled your chances of a "6." But then when a "6" comes up, you can't tell: Is this the original, "natural" 6? Or the "new" 6 that you added? You can't be sure. But you can be sure that, over time, you'll get more sixes.Similarly, you can be sure that as the earth warms, we'll see more intense storms. Updated variation: "It is more like painting an extra spot on each face of one of the dice, so that it goes from 2 to 7 instead of 1 to 6. This increases the odds of rolling 11 or 12, but also makes it possible to roll 13." (Steve Sherwood) And a third variation from Jim Hansen: New Climate Dice
"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