Working Group I, remember, was supposed to tell us the scientific case for man-made global warming. If our emissions aren’t driving the climate towards a catastrophe, then we don’t need to analyze what happens during the catastrophe we probably won’t get. This applies equally to War, Pestilence, Famine, Drought, Floods, Storms, and Shrinking Fish (which, keep in mind, could have led to the ultimate disaster: shrinking fish and chips).
This way of looking at the climate is new for both scientists and policymakers. Until now, many of them have thought of the climate as a problem like no other; and best dealt with by trying to stop it (by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions). The new report breaks with this approach. It sees the climate as one problem among many, the severity of which is often determined by its interaction with those other problems. And the right policies frequently try to lessen the burden—to adapt to change, rather than attempting to stop it. In that respect, then, this report marks the end of climate exceptionalism and the beginning of realism.
Take this climate matter everybody is thinking about. They all talk, they pass laws, they do things, as if they knew what was happening. I don’t think anybody really knows what’s happening. They just guess. And a whole group of them meet together and encourage each other’s guesses.
Uma investigação conduzida pelo Centro de Estudos Geográficos da Universidade de Lisboa para reconstituir o clima dos últimos 350 anos contabilizou, no séc. XIX, 148 tempestades semelhantes às que assolaram o litoral em Janeiro. Parece que as ondas que arrasaram a costa no Inverno de 2014 foram iguais às que em 1814, no Inverno, a costa arrasaram.