Since I am concerned with abrupt climate change – and it‘s not a very long period, 3 or 4 years – I can observe a game in mainstream media and their publications about climate change: The period of time until the temperature of our planet is rising so steep, that we are facing consequences.
First the period has been infinite, because in most publications it has been mistrusted if there is a measurable climate change. If yes, it may not be anthropogenic. Then in some publications, that agree to climate change, the prognosis has been maybe 2° C until 2100. For most humans on the planet the consequences like increasing sea level and more extreme weather would be left for following generations. Nothing to do with us. Since 40 years the few warnings conclude mostly that climate change will be irreversible, if we don‘t do something during the next decade.
The next level in this game is to expect that we‘ll have a climate heating of let‘s say 2 or 3 °C until 2050. Level 3 is a comparable increase until 2030. And again: „If we don‘t do something during the next decade …“
Now, if you compare these time spans from now on: 83 years, 33 years and 13 years, the first thing is, it is more an more probable, that most of us will live to see this increase. The second is, that it is faster and faster. That is an exponential function. The increase is higher and higher and the effect is, we can observe the increase is coming faster and faster.
What I often say about exponential functions is, that most people don‘t understand it. And even if people understand it, the growth and the speed is underestimated. (Al Bartlet: https://youtu.be/eOykY2SMbZ0)
One example: If you save money during a live span, we have two models here:
- You begin in the first year with 100 € and save 100 € every year.
- You begin with 100 €, but you don‘t save money, instead your amount brings 10% every year.
After ten years model 1 has 1100 €, model 2 259 €. You see model 1 is much more successful so far. But in 39 years both lines cross. Up to now, most people are underestimating the exponential growth.
And within the next years exponential growth speeds up. After 60 years we have a nearly vertical growth in model 2. Now this comes faster than expected.
This is just an example, financial growth isn‘t that stable and infinite growth isn‘t possible. So this model collapses always some day.
Now we have an exponential growth in the perception of mainstream media regarding global heating. We didn‘t talk about the amount of heating. I don’t want to prove the evidence here. And I did’t talk about the reasons for an exponential growth of global heating and the underlying self-reinforcing feedback loops. But I have enough information to assume that we are in an abrupt climate change.
The statement that we have 10 years left to do something, must be wrong, if it‘s repeated since decades. If the time span for global heating is shorter and shorter, the time span to do something must be shorter and shorter, too, in a logarithmic way, the inverse function. Therefor I assume, that we had the tipping point or the point of no return in the time since 1970th (Club of Rome) and now. But maybe they had a false estimation even in the 70th and the point was passed earlier in the phase of industrial revolution.
My thesis is, that even if you understand exponential growth you can‘t avoid the effect of underestimation. So even Guy McPherson, Sam Carana or Paul Beckwith had this faster-than-expected effect year after year.
So my answer to the question, I have asked myself, is: Climate is changing faster than expected, because we are in an exponential growth and the logical side effect is underestimation.
- More about passing tipping points (June 2019): It is Too Late to Prevent Climate Change