One of the most important realizations of climate change research is exemplified in this graphic from Weather Uderground:
The point is this. The PETM (Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, millions of years ago) was a period of high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere which caused significant warming. It is an example of both relatively rapid and intense climate change caused by CO2 acting as a greenhouse gas. The red line is, of course, our current estimated rate of change given current rates of release of fossil carbon into the atmosphere. This gives scientists pause because the rate of change in a system is often a more significant factor than the state of a system after the change. A simple example is motion. Assume you are standing on a commuter train moving at 50 km/h. If the train suddenly sped up to 100 km/h it might knock you down and even cause injury. But if the train increased its speed by 1 or 2 km/h every minute or so, you would not even notice and eventually you would be cruising along happily at double the speed.
It isn’t just the high rate of change in climate that concerns us. It is also the fact that this rate of change has never been observed in nature; we have no record of such a rapid and large change happening in the paleo record. For many aspects of the Earth’s climate system, we simply don’t know what would happen under such rapid change because there is no point of reference, no precedent, for such a thing.
But there is another graph that also shows a very high rate of change, in a different system, that may allow us to feel a bit better. One way to avoid such an increase in release of fossil Carbon is to rapidly transition to non-Carbon sources of energy such as solar. One way for that to happen is if solar energy become economically more viable very quickly. Ideally, the rate of change in the economic viability of solar energy would be very fast, enough to knock you off your metaphorical feet. And, apparently, that is the case. From a study described here:
There are caveats, as noted. But solar power is, seemingly going to have its day in the sun sooner than later.