Post-Climate Tipping Point Negotiations: Do They Serve Any Useful Purpose?
Cairns, John Jr.
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The InterAcademy Panel on International Issues issued a report on the effects of carbon dioxide on ocean acidification, insinuating that a major tipping point on pH has been passed. The rapid and continuing increase in anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions has exceeded the assimilative capacity for carbon dioxide in the biospheric life support systems and irreversible damage has already occurred to the coral reefs and other species in the ocean. In fact, the very definition of a tipping point means that the ecological damage is irreversible in any timeframe of relevant interest to humans. Earth has already passed two climate tipping points and, even if the unrealistic national goals to reduce global warming are reached, Earth will not regain the favorable climate that existed in the 1990. Negotiators give economic growth a higher priority than protecting the environment and assume that all ecological damages can be repaired and the ecosystem can be restored. It is this kind of thinking that needs to be changed if any progress is to be made.