How scared should we be?
Question: How scared should we be?
Copeland: You know it’s important to be . . . And I’m quoting . . . I’m quoting somebody and I can’t remember his name. But it’s . . . It’s important not to be an alarmist, but it’s important to be alarmed. Whether or not we have passed the cryptical . . . the cryptic tipping point, that is, is impossible for me to tell you. It’s impossible for most scientists to tell you. What I can tell you is that things are progressing in a way that have defined a trend. And that trend has been, in my estimation, undeniably associated with the development of the . . . of industrial activities and manmade activities associated with our use of hydrocarbon energy and our demographic growth. What I can tell you is that that growth in the carbon output into the atmosphere is non-linear. And it is not as classically progressive as what we would love to be able to see because it sort of moves forward. But the trend is definitely growing upwards, and that is just undeniable. So where is the cryptic tipping point? Well you know there’s a general acceptance in the scientific community that 550 parts per million of carbon – that is per air . . . per . . . per air – yes oxygen – is the . . . is the cryptic tipping point, and that we are presently at 430, and that we’re growing at a rate of about two parts per million per year. So this would put us at about 250 . . . 2050 as a place where if we were to exceed 250 parts per million, we would not be able . . . The increase in changes would be of such consequences that we would be thrown into an irreversible and accelerated process of warming up. I don’t necessarily believe that it’s gonna take that long. I also . . . I’m not exactly sure that we can be 100 percent certain that 550 parts is already . . . is the cryptic tipping point, because we are seeing changes that are being accelerated today in the, you know . . . how our glaciers are receding; obviously the polar cap is melting; and how different environments around the world are being impacted by a change in seasons, and by an increase in strong storms – by hurricane strength storms; by areas that are seeing, you know, an increase in drought while other areas are seeing an increase in torrential rains and whatnot. And we also know that these processes are exponential; that they’re sort of . . . They’re like a self-fulfilling mechanism, and it is confounding experts. I mean the environmental science is relatively new. It’s essentially 40 to 50 years old, and models . . . computer models are obviously becoming more and more sophisticated as our interests are being developed in that area. And what I will say is scientists are being confounded by the rate of change. So as such I am conservatively siding on the fact that they are looking at this and going look, we can project. But every year, and sometimes every six months, we are reassessing our projections. And you know the IPCC, and the UN . . . the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made some projections which were revised within a period of six months and saw some dramatic revisions. Recorded on: 12/3/07
It’s important not to be an alarmist, but it’s important to be alarmed, Copeland says.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
Carl Sagan liked to smoke weed. His essay on why is fascinating.
- Carl Sagan was a life long marijuana user and closeted advocate of legalization.
- He once wrote an anonymous essay on the effects it had on his life and why he felt it should be legalized.
- His insights will be vital as many societies begin to legalize marijuana.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.