Prof Katherine Hayhoe, the Director of the Climate Science Center at the Texas Tech University, shared a fantastic Twitter thread last week in response to a recently leaked report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 5 notes:
(1) The leaked IPCC report was damning (summary). The speed at which our ice caps are melting suggest we’re going to hit irreversible tipping points faster than we anticipated.
(2) Prof Katherine Hayhoe, in her thread, gave us more color. She started by explaining that the report was just a synthesis report of data that is already published. So, no climate scientist was surprised at the report.
(3) She put our current situation into perspective with powerful analogy – “Our entire civilization is built on the assumption that climate varies within bounds that can be predicted based on the past. It’s as if we’ve been driving down the road looking in the rearview mirror: but now we’ve hit a dangerous curve & our wheels are teetering on the edge.” She then explained that climate scientists defaulted to sharing the facts without explaining the devastating full picture. This has been termed “ESLD” or erring on the least side of drama.
(4) She goes onto explain the importance of the bluntness in the IPCC report. In the past 30 years, the playing field hasn’t been level thanks to the fossil fuel industry pouring huge amounts of money to manufacture science denial. But, there’s much needed growing awareness about the gravity of the situation.
It is a great thread. I ended up reading more about Prof Hayhoe’s great work and also pre-ordered her book. I look forward to learning more from her.