Loaded dice

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We experienced summer in the Netherlands during this first November weekend. Temperatures exceeded 20 Celsius, significant considering that the historical average this time of year is 11. In Amsterdam, parks were full of people strolling and sitting out in their shirts. Already, 2014 is expected to become the warmest year ever recorded in Dutch history.

To many this may be sufficient proof that our globe is warming. However, these recent events are as much an indication of the higher than average temperatures that are part and parcel of climate change as they are of the cold and wet periods that are sure to come.

Indeed, there is a difference between weather and climate. As NASA terms it, climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long periods of time, while weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time. However, the two are inexplicably linked. For the Netherlands, recently the Royal Dutch Metorological Institute published a very good read sketching how climate change will change Dutch Weather patterns.

In a 2012 New York Times column Paul Krugman wrote about climate change in a period of severe drought in the North East of the US. In his column he mentioned the pioneering work that NASA scientist James Hansen did to put climate change on the agenda. Hansen introduced the analogy of climate change with loaded dice:

Imagine, he and his associates suggested, representing the probabilities of a hot, average or cold summer by historical standards as a die with two faces painted red, two white and two blue. By the early 21st century, they predicted, it would be as if four of the faces were red, one white and one blue. Hot summers would become much more frequent, but there would still be cold summers now and then.

I had to think back to this column when sitting outside this weekend in the sun reading the news of new assessment report (the fifth) by the IPCC (International Panel for Climate Change) coming out on November 2. The main messages are unchanged, compared to previous reports by IPCC, albeit stronger formulated. First, the overwelming evidence concludes that human influence on the climate system is clear. Second, the more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts. And third, we have the means to limit climate change and build a more prosperous, sustainable future.

It is the third message that is especially compelling; we have the choice to change the course of action. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, says in the report, “We have the means to limit climate change”. His colleague Youba Sokona, co-chair of IPCC working group continues, “It is technically feasible to transition to a low-carbon economy” but “the longer we wait to take action, the more it will cost to adapt and mitigate climate change.”

Moreover, making this choice does not come at any significant cost. While the Synthesis Report finds that mitigation cost estimates vary, global economic growth would not be strongly affected. In business-as-usual scenarios, consumption – a proxy for economic growth – grows by 1.6 to 3 percent per year over the 21st century. Ambitious mitigation would reduce this by about 0.06 percentage points. “Compared to the imminent risk of irreversible climate change impacts, the risks of mitigation are manageable” says Sokona.

So, we have a choice. A choice to slow down or even stall climate change by steering towards a fundamental transition away from our current model. Part of this transition requires shifting our energy mix as the IPCC report argues, aiming for the greater use of renewables to replace hydrocarbons. However, more broadly, we require more sweeping changes to the way we think about systems.

There is an urgent need for our society to start re-evaluating the linear economy which we have been accustomed to for the past century and start transitioning towards a more circular economy. One guided by the principles of materials cycling, rebuilding of natural capital, a healthy and cohesive society, and resource maximisation. This shift in thinking should certainly come from world leaders and nations in creating boundary conditions. But more so, it requires companies and consumers to innovate, change their actions, and work together towards a more sustainable future.

As Pachauri says, “We have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2ºC of warming closes. To keep a good chance of staying below 2ºC, and at manageable costs, our emissions should drop by 40 to 70 percent globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to zero or below by 2100. We have that opportunity, and the choice is in our hands.”By Marc de Wit and Shyaam Ramkumar

November 3, 2014

Loaded dice

We experienced summer in the Netherlands during this first November weekend. Temperatures exceeded 20 Celsius, significant considering that the historical average this time of year is 11. In Amsterdam, parks were full of people strolling and sitting out in their shirts. Already, 2014 is expected to become the warmest year ever recorded in Dutch history.

We experienced summer in the Netherlands during this first November weekend. Temperatures exceeded 20 Celsius, significant considering that the historical average this time of year is 11. In Amsterdam, parks were full of people strolling and sitting out in their shirts. Already, 2014 is expected to become the warmest year ever recorded in Dutch history.

To many this may be sufficient proof that our globe is warming. However, these recent events are as much an indication of the higher than average temperatures that are part and parcel of climate change as they are of the cold and wet periods that are sure to come.

Indeed, there is a difference between weather and climate. As NASA terms it, climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long periods of time, while weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time. However, the two are inexplicably linked. For the Netherlands, recently the Royal Dutch Metorological Institute published a very good read sketching how climate change will change Dutch Weather patterns.

In a 2012 New York Times column Paul Krugman wrote about climate change in a period of severe drought in the North East of the US. In his column he mentioned the pioneering work that NASA scientist James Hansen did to put climate change on the agenda. Hansen introduced the analogy of climate change with loaded dice:

Imagine, he and his associates suggested, representing the probabilities of a hot, average or cold summer by historical standards as a die with two faces painted red, two white and two blue. By the early 21st century, they predicted, it would be as if four of the faces were red, one white and one blue. Hot summers would become much more frequent, but there would still be cold summers now and then.

I had to think back to this column when sitting outside this weekend in the sun reading the news of new assessment report (the fifth) by the IPCC (International Panel for Climate Change) coming out on November 2. The main messages are unchanged, compared to previous reports by IPCC, albeit stronger formulated. First, the overwelming evidence concludes that human influence on the climate system is clear. Second, the more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts. And third, we have the means to limit climate change and build a more prosperous, sustainable future.

It is the third message that is especially compelling; we have the choice to change the course of action. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, says in the report, “We have the means to limit climate change”. His colleague Youba Sokona, co-chair of IPCC working group continues, “It is technically feasible to transition to a low-carbon economy” but “the longer we wait to take action, the more it will cost to adapt and mitigate climate change.”

Moreover, making this choice does not come at any significant cost. While the Synthesis Report finds that mitigation cost estimates vary, global economic growth would not be strongly affected. In business-as-usual scenarios, consumption – a proxy for economic growth – grows by 1.6 to 3 percent per year over the 21st century. Ambitious mitigation would reduce this by about 0.06 percentage points. “Compared to the imminent risk of irreversible climate change impacts, the risks of mitigation are manageable” says Sokona.

So, we have a choice. A choice to slow down or even stall climate change by steering towards a fundamental transition away from our current model. Part of this transition requires shifting our energy mix as the IPCC report argues, aiming for the greater use of renewables to replace hydrocarbons. However, more broadly, we require more sweeping changes to the way we think about systems.

There is an urgent need for our society to start re-evaluating the linear economy which we have been accustomed to for the past century and start transitioning towards a more circular economy. One guided by the principles of materials cycling, rebuilding of natural capital, a healthy and cohesive society, and resource maximisation. This shift in thinking should certainly come from world leaders and nations in creating boundary conditions. But more so, it requires companies and consumers to innovate, change their actions, and work together towards a more sustainable future.

As Pachauri says, “We have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2ºC of warming closes. To keep a good chance of staying below 2ºC, and at manageable costs, our emissions should drop by 40 to 70 percent globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to zero or below by 2100. We have that opportunity, and the choice is in our hands.”By Marc de Wit and Shyaam Ramkumar

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December 5, 2019

Loaded dice

Loaded dice

We experienced summer in the Netherlands during this first November weekend. Temperatures exceeded 20 Celsius, significant considering that the historical average this time of year is 11. In Amsterdam, parks were full of people strolling and sitting out in their shirts. Already, 2014 is expected to become the warmest year ever recorded in Dutch history.

To many this may be sufficient proof that our globe is warming. However, these recent events are as much an indication of the higher than average temperatures that are part and parcel of climate change as they are of the cold and wet periods that are sure to come.

Indeed, there is a difference between weather and climate. As NASA terms it, climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long periods of time, while weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time. However, the two are inexplicably linked. For the Netherlands, recently the Royal Dutch Metorological Institute published a very good read sketching how climate change will change Dutch Weather patterns.

In a 2012 New York Times column Paul Krugman wrote about climate change in a period of severe drought in the North East of the US. In his column he mentioned the pioneering work that NASA scientist James Hansen did to put climate change on the agenda. Hansen introduced the analogy of climate change with loaded dice:

Imagine, he and his associates suggested, representing the probabilities of a hot, average or cold summer by historical standards as a die with two faces painted red, two white and two blue. By the early 21st century, they predicted, it would be as if four of the faces were red, one white and one blue. Hot summers would become much more frequent, but there would still be cold summers now and then.

I had to think back to this column when sitting outside this weekend in the sun reading the news of new assessment report (the fifth) by the IPCC (International Panel for Climate Change) coming out on November 2. The main messages are unchanged, compared to previous reports by IPCC, albeit stronger formulated. First, the overwelming evidence concludes that human influence on the climate system is clear. Second, the more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts. And third, we have the means to limit climate change and build a more prosperous, sustainable future.

It is the third message that is especially compelling; we have the choice to change the course of action. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, says in the report, “We have the means to limit climate change”. His colleague Youba Sokona, co-chair of IPCC working group continues, “It is technically feasible to transition to a low-carbon economy” but “the longer we wait to take action, the more it will cost to adapt and mitigate climate change.”

Moreover, making this choice does not come at any significant cost. While the Synthesis Report finds that mitigation cost estimates vary, global economic growth would not be strongly affected. In business-as-usual scenarios, consumption – a proxy for economic growth – grows by 1.6 to 3 percent per year over the 21st century. Ambitious mitigation would reduce this by about 0.06 percentage points. “Compared to the imminent risk of irreversible climate change impacts, the risks of mitigation are manageable” says Sokona.

So, we have a choice. A choice to slow down or even stall climate change by steering towards a fundamental transition away from our current model. Part of this transition requires shifting our energy mix as the IPCC report argues, aiming for the greater use of renewables to replace hydrocarbons. However, more broadly, we require more sweeping changes to the way we think about systems.

There is an urgent need for our society to start re-evaluating the linear economy which we have been accustomed to for the past century and start transitioning towards a more circular economy. One guided by the principles of materials cycling, rebuilding of natural capital, a healthy and cohesive society, and resource maximisation. This shift in thinking should certainly come from world leaders and nations in creating boundary conditions. But more so, it requires companies and consumers to innovate, change their actions, and work together towards a more sustainable future.

As Pachauri says, “We have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2ºC of warming closes. To keep a good chance of staying below 2ºC, and at manageable costs, our emissions should drop by 40 to 70 percent globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to zero or below by 2100. We have that opportunity, and the choice is in our hands.”By Marc de Wit and Shyaam Ramkumar

Loaded dice

Downloads

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We experienced summer in the Netherlands during this first November weekend. Temperatures exceeded 20 Celsius, significant considering that the historical average this time of year is 11. In Amsterdam, parks were full of people strolling and sitting out in their shirts. Already, 2014 is expected to become the warmest year ever recorded in Dutch history.

To many this may be sufficient proof that our globe is warming. However, these recent events are as much an indication of the higher than average temperatures that are part and parcel of climate change as they are of the cold and wet periods that are sure to come.

Indeed, there is a difference between weather and climate. As NASA terms it, climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long periods of time, while weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time. However, the two are inexplicably linked. For the Netherlands, recently the Royal Dutch Metorological Institute published a very good read sketching how climate change will change Dutch Weather patterns.

In a 2012 New York Times column Paul Krugman wrote about climate change in a period of severe drought in the North East of the US. In his column he mentioned the pioneering work that NASA scientist James Hansen did to put climate change on the agenda. Hansen introduced the analogy of climate change with loaded dice:

Imagine, he and his associates suggested, representing the probabilities of a hot, average or cold summer by historical standards as a die with two faces painted red, two white and two blue. By the early 21st century, they predicted, it would be as if four of the faces were red, one white and one blue. Hot summers would become much more frequent, but there would still be cold summers now and then.

I had to think back to this column when sitting outside this weekend in the sun reading the news of new assessment report (the fifth) by the IPCC (International Panel for Climate Change) coming out on November 2. The main messages are unchanged, compared to previous reports by IPCC, albeit stronger formulated. First, the overwelming evidence concludes that human influence on the climate system is clear. Second, the more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts. And third, we have the means to limit climate change and build a more prosperous, sustainable future.

It is the third message that is especially compelling; we have the choice to change the course of action. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, says in the report, “We have the means to limit climate change”. His colleague Youba Sokona, co-chair of IPCC working group continues, “It is technically feasible to transition to a low-carbon economy” but “the longer we wait to take action, the more it will cost to adapt and mitigate climate change.”

Moreover, making this choice does not come at any significant cost. While the Synthesis Report finds that mitigation cost estimates vary, global economic growth would not be strongly affected. In business-as-usual scenarios, consumption – a proxy for economic growth – grows by 1.6 to 3 percent per year over the 21st century. Ambitious mitigation would reduce this by about 0.06 percentage points. “Compared to the imminent risk of irreversible climate change impacts, the risks of mitigation are manageable” says Sokona.

So, we have a choice. A choice to slow down or even stall climate change by steering towards a fundamental transition away from our current model. Part of this transition requires shifting our energy mix as the IPCC report argues, aiming for the greater use of renewables to replace hydrocarbons. However, more broadly, we require more sweeping changes to the way we think about systems.

There is an urgent need for our society to start re-evaluating the linear economy which we have been accustomed to for the past century and start transitioning towards a more circular economy. One guided by the principles of materials cycling, rebuilding of natural capital, a healthy and cohesive society, and resource maximisation. This shift in thinking should certainly come from world leaders and nations in creating boundary conditions. But more so, it requires companies and consumers to innovate, change their actions, and work together towards a more sustainable future.

As Pachauri says, “We have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2ºC of warming closes. To keep a good chance of staying below 2ºC, and at manageable costs, our emissions should drop by 40 to 70 percent globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to zero or below by 2100. We have that opportunity, and the choice is in our hands.”By Marc de Wit and Shyaam Ramkumar

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Loaded dice

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We experienced summer in the Netherlands during this first November weekend. Temperatures exceeded 20 Celsius, significant considering that the historical average this time of year is 11. In Amsterdam, parks were full of people strolling and sitting out in their shirts. Already, 2014 is expected to become the warmest year ever recorded in Dutch history.

To many this may be sufficient proof that our globe is warming. However, these recent events are as much an indication of the higher than average temperatures that are part and parcel of climate change as they are of the cold and wet periods that are sure to come.

Indeed, there is a difference between weather and climate. As NASA terms it, climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long periods of time, while weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time. However, the two are inexplicably linked. For the Netherlands, recently the Royal Dutch Metorological Institute published a very good read sketching how climate change will change Dutch Weather patterns.

In a 2012 New York Times column Paul Krugman wrote about climate change in a period of severe drought in the North East of the US. In his column he mentioned the pioneering work that NASA scientist James Hansen did to put climate change on the agenda. Hansen introduced the analogy of climate change with loaded dice:

Imagine, he and his associates suggested, representing the probabilities of a hot, average or cold summer by historical standards as a die with two faces painted red, two white and two blue. By the early 21st century, they predicted, it would be as if four of the faces were red, one white and one blue. Hot summers would become much more frequent, but there would still be cold summers now and then.

I had to think back to this column when sitting outside this weekend in the sun reading the news of new assessment report (the fifth) by the IPCC (International Panel for Climate Change) coming out on November 2. The main messages are unchanged, compared to previous reports by IPCC, albeit stronger formulated. First, the overwelming evidence concludes that human influence on the climate system is clear. Second, the more we disrupt our climate, the more we risk severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts. And third, we have the means to limit climate change and build a more prosperous, sustainable future.

It is the third message that is especially compelling; we have the choice to change the course of action. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, says in the report, “We have the means to limit climate change”. His colleague Youba Sokona, co-chair of IPCC working group continues, “It is technically feasible to transition to a low-carbon economy” but “the longer we wait to take action, the more it will cost to adapt and mitigate climate change.”

Moreover, making this choice does not come at any significant cost. While the Synthesis Report finds that mitigation cost estimates vary, global economic growth would not be strongly affected. In business-as-usual scenarios, consumption – a proxy for economic growth – grows by 1.6 to 3 percent per year over the 21st century. Ambitious mitigation would reduce this by about 0.06 percentage points. “Compared to the imminent risk of irreversible climate change impacts, the risks of mitigation are manageable” says Sokona.

So, we have a choice. A choice to slow down or even stall climate change by steering towards a fundamental transition away from our current model. Part of this transition requires shifting our energy mix as the IPCC report argues, aiming for the greater use of renewables to replace hydrocarbons. However, more broadly, we require more sweeping changes to the way we think about systems.

There is an urgent need for our society to start re-evaluating the linear economy which we have been accustomed to for the past century and start transitioning towards a more circular economy. One guided by the principles of materials cycling, rebuilding of natural capital, a healthy and cohesive society, and resource maximisation. This shift in thinking should certainly come from world leaders and nations in creating boundary conditions. But more so, it requires companies and consumers to innovate, change their actions, and work together towards a more sustainable future.

As Pachauri says, “We have little time before the window of opportunity to stay within 2ºC of warming closes. To keep a good chance of staying below 2ºC, and at manageable costs, our emissions should drop by 40 to 70 percent globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to zero or below by 2100. We have that opportunity, and the choice is in our hands.”By Marc de Wit and Shyaam Ramkumar

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