The longer we wait before acting, the more drastic the action has to be. The result of failing to act is to increase the likelihood of dangerous climate change.

— Richard C. J. Somerville, Climate Scientist, Scrippts Institute of Oceanography, UC-San Diego

Since I decided to focus more personal effort on the quest for Net Zero, one challenge I’ve had is finding good sources for the basic climate change science needed to understand the models, that’s expressed clearly enough that a person like me — science-minded but not specifically trained in climate science — could understand.

This article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a useful rundown of the current state of climate science:

  • How the climate has naturally fluctuated over the millennia.
  • How we estimate global temperature, and measure the heat stored in the ocean.
  • How we estimate sea rise, ice sheet shrinkage, and the pH of the ocean which becomes more acidic due to dissolved CO2.
  • How we forecast rising temperatures and model the effects of reducing emissions.

The author describes global warming of a symptom of a planet that has been sickened by excess emissions, but sees signs of optimism, especially in the economics of power generation, and in growing pubic awareness:

There is no silver bullet that solves all the challenges of climate change, but there is a lot of silver buckshot, including increased energy efficiency and energy conservation, and much more use of sun, wind and water to provide the energy the world needs. These renewable resources are widely available now and already cost-competitive with fossil fuels. We have the technology, and it is improving. In the United States, even without energetic action by the federal government, I am guardedly optimistic.

Source: The Current State of Climate Change Science – And A Slightly Optimistic View of the Future