Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Four Degrees conference

A conference was held in Melbourne in July on the consequences of four degrees of warming by the end of the century.

For those of us who didn't get to go, the presentations and audio are online here.


  1. The Conversation: Are you ready for a four degree world?

    This seems to be a decent brief summary of the picture, though doesn't cover every angle, is way too brief to bring out the full horror, and also has one very odd paragraph: "Previous rapid temperature fluctuations of 3-5°C, historically, have caused great hardship, suffering, death and social-political disruption around the world." There have been no "historical" fluctuations of that magnitude, only pre-historical ones (e.g. glaciations), during which there were probably tens of thousands of humans, not seven, eight, nine, ten billion.

    The money quote is from Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber: “What is the difference between two degrees (of temperature increase) and four degrees? The difference, is human civilisation”.

  2. To understand what he means by that, it could help to be aware that Schellnhuber is on record as saying that on a four degree world the planet’s “carrying capacity estimates [are] below one billion people.”

    He is no lightweight but has been Chair of the German Scientific Advisory Council, advisor to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).