Black Elephants: Alex Steffen’s IPCC Take-Aways

Alex Steffen has a thoughtful set of seven reactions to IPCC.

1) We can’t understand the future without understanding the kinds of pressures climate change and other planetary crises are putting on humanity.

2) The IPCC’s statements are eminently credible, but they are also the product of scientific caution and political pressures.

3) When it comes to climate and thinking about the future, the most useful tools are carbon budgets and timelines.

4) We need better and stronger information about carbon budgets.

5) We need clearer understandings of the timelines forced on us by the climate crisis, and their implications.

6) What are the black elephants?

Black swans, as you may know, are major events which are considered extremely unlikely, or even impossible… until they happen.

Black elephants, on the other hand, are major events which are treated in politics or business as extremely unlikely, or even impossible… but are known to many to be entirely possible, maybe even likely. They are the elephants in the room whose consequences we refuse to consider.

7) Therefore, the best way to use the IPCC report (and its forthcoming reports) is as a baseline reality and launching pad for thinking through follow-on implications of that science in terms of the scope, scale and speed of change for humanity.

Much more at the link.

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  1. Pingback: Another Week in the Ecological Crisis, October 6, 2013 – A Few Things Ill Considered


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