Is it a Pearl Harbor if it has to happen twice? says Nature, discussing a list of stuff that Joe Romm thinks might lead to the second-world-war scale of effort against climate change.
#1 is Arctic goes ice free before 2020. I have bets out on this. It would be a big, visible global shock. One of his bettee’s is me, so it will come as no surprise to you all that I think this is unlikely. Would I get wildly excited if it did become ice free? The odds on the bet are 1-1, so neither side is sticking its neck out and saying this definitely will/won’t happen.
#2 is Rapid warming over next decade, as recent Nature and Science article suggests is quite possible – well, it will rather depend on what you mean by “rapid” I suppose. 0.4 oC/decade might wake people up. A bit. OTOH the models say it won’t happen.
#3 is Continued (unexpected) surge in methane – maybe. Methane will have to surge an awful lot to get back onto an exponential growth path, though – its been near-flat this past decade.
#4 is A megadrought hitting the SW comparable to what has hit southern Australia. Maybe. I don’t know much about drought. Large scale crop failures would get noticed, true.
#5 The one that wound me up: More superstorms, like Katrina. [[Hurricane Katrina]] wasn’t a superstorm. It was a cat-5 at one point, but only cat-3 at landfall. Nothing exceptional, except its track. All nature can manage on this is a weaselly Leaving aside the question of whether it was a superstorm – clearly disagreement would be too controversial. Good grief, if you can’t get this right, what hope is there?
#6: A heatwave as bad as Europe’s 2003 one. Well, it got hot for a bit, then stopped. Another one won’t be any more exciting.
#7 Something unpredicted but clearly linked to climate, like the bark beetle devastation. Something terrible but unknown… ah yes.
#8 Accelerated mass loss in Greenland and/or Antarctica, perhaps with another huge ice shelf breaking off, but in any case coupled with another measurable rise in the rate of sea level rise. Not at all sure thats right. The satellite record shows faster rate than the tide gauges, but not by a lot, and I’m not sure whether its believed to be real.
#9 The Fifth Assessment Report (2012-2013) really spelling out what we face with no punches pulled. – won’t happen.
Would any of those lead to a WWII-style all-societies-resources concentrated on GW? Probably not, and anyway what you need to combat GW is mostly society using less resources, which we don’t seem to be very good at. Make love for virginity, Make war for peace, and so on.