In discussions on the climate ‘hothouse’ paper, it’s interesting to see how annoyed some people get by the word stewardship. It’s labeled as anti-conservative, socialist, etc.
To me, stewardship is a positive word, and I remember it was e.g. often used by christian-democrats in this country. Checking it in the dictionary, I found this. Seems rather appropriate, given the climate crisis we’re causing.
Maybe the annoyance that "Earth system stewardship" causes has to do with the need for international cooperation it implies, for those who love competition?
The standard headline & interpretation: We are doomed, the Earth's climate will runaway to 4-5°C even if we slash emissions.
Well, that is not what the paper says (actually, it is a Perspective), & I don't see this framing as particularly helpful!
The paper does not seem to define "Hothouse Earth", this seems to come from the press material? I don't see much on 4-5°C or 10-60m in the paper, if so, it is very indirect?
The paper "explores" if we "could" instigate feedbacks, they "could" cascade, & they "could" lead to a hothouse earth (whatever that is). "We cannot exclude" this happening at 1.5-2°C. The closing paragraph says we should investigate these issues! pnas.org/content/early/…
But I want to say some other things. First bit a summary, then my thoughts.
This cartoon in their paper is an anchor point for the thread, which the authors (Steffen et al.) present to frame their discussion of climate stability and tipping points
Stefan et al. envision Earth’s climate as resting in a stable state in the various valleys in the cartoon, or at least oscillate between but remain bounded by two states (e.g., glacial-interglacial limit cycles).
I’ve gotten a number of questions about the Steffen et al paper on the transition into a #HothouseEarth. Some thoughts: 1/n
As a commentary, it summarizes concerns I think are broadly shared by many climate scientists: there are amplifying positive feedbacks in the climate system that could bring us into a very diffeeent climate state, and we don’t know how to quantify many of them that well yet. 2/n
It also leads to a point often discussed in the context of sea level adaptation: in face of this sort of deep uncertainty, we need to take a flexible response - thinking about what might happen, and planning contingent actions to be taken in response to different triggers. 3/n