"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 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
"Over Earth’s history, ocean life has recovered from numerous sudden extinction episodes by adaptation and evolution of new species, but the time scales for extinction and re-population are millions of years, not a few hundred years. Human-driven ocean acidification is affecting the ocean far faster than the Earth’s natural recovery pace can accommodate. Today’s rate of acidification is 10 times faster than anything experienced since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago."
"The climate system is an angry beast, and we're poking it with sticks."
— Walter Broecker, the climate science pioneer who uncovered the ocean's role in accelerating abrupt climate shifts in the earth's past.
"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
"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
"Anyone who hears this: your job for the rest of your life is to make the impossible possible."—Dave Roberts (Grist).
If 97% of experts say a mushroom is poisonous but 3% say it is safe, would you feed it to your kids?
97% of engineers agree bridge ahead will collapse. 3% say not to worry. Would you keep driving?
There’s no “STOP” button. There’s no emergency brake. Think of our climate system as an enormous tanker with a world’s worth of momentum behind it. Once it gets going, it can’t turn around on a dime.