Climate tipping points: reasons to urgently act on emissions

Loss of the Amazon Rainforest, the West Antarctic ice sheet or melting of permafrost, once seen as hypothetical, seem to become more plausible each year. Global events such as these are seen as climate tipping points: irreversible changes that, in their turn, lead to irreversible exacerbation of climate change. The IPCC ‘s risk assessments for tipping points occurring have become considerably gloomier in recent reports and could be moderate to high even at 1° to 2° C of temperature increase.

Scientists from the UK, Germany and Australia state that urgent action is needed to curb emissions while there still is a chance – however small – to prevent tipping points occurring.

Quote from the article: “We argue that the intervention time left to prevent tipping could already have shrunk towards zero, whereas the reaction time to achieve net zero emissions is 30 years at best. Hence we might already have lost control of whether tipping happens. A saving grace is that the rate at which damage accumulates from tipping — and hence the risk posed — could still be under our control to some extent.”