The stated purpose of international climate negotiations is to avoid “dangerous” climate change or, more formally, to prevent “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. But if conditions existing today are already sufficient to push more climate system elements past their tipping points and create “catastrophic” breakdown without any further emissions, what then is our purpose and what do we say?
This report explores recent scientific literature to explore seven myths of the predominant climate policy-making paradigm:
- Myth 1: Climate change is not yet dangerous
- Myth 2: 2°C is an appropriate focus for policy making
- Myth 3: Big tipping points are unlikely before 2°C
- Myth 4: We should mitigate for 2°C, but plan to adapt to 4°C
- Myth 5: We have a substantial carbon budget left for 2°C
- Myth 6: Long-term feedbacks are not materially relevant for carbon budgeting
- Myth 7: There is time for an orderly, non-disruptive reduction in emissions within the current political-economic paradigm.