David G. Victor & Charles F. Kennel have an opinion piece in Nature arguing that it would be a really good idea to re-arrange the deckchairs on the Titanic. Or possibly ask the orchestra to play a somewhat different tune. I paraphrase somewhat, you understand.
Naturally, you should read their actual article first, and then secondly you should read the excellent RC response by Stefan. However, I disagree with both of them.
To be somewhat less sarcastic, V & K urge that Average global temperature is not a good indicator of planetary health. Track a range of vital signs instead, or Scientifically, there are better ways to measure the stress that humans are placing on the climate system than the growth of average global surface temperature – you’ll notice that I’ve skipped the silly bit which I’ve no intention of discussing, Stefan rips that to shreds quite adequately. But on the main point, I can see no virtue at all in changing from a single, easily-understood, well-monitored (mostly) large-scale index (global temperature) which has a range of fairly well-understood clearly-linked follow-on effects to a range of poorly-monitored less-clear indices that legions of pols and political scientists can have lots of fun, lunches, dinners, drinks and conferences in interesting parts of the world arguing about. Did you know that Victor is a political scientist, BTW?
But I also disagree with Stefan, for all the familiar reasons. We could start with Cancun, which he seems to like but I thought was a total failure. And indeed that post, if you wade through the gore, does end up with my counter proposal. Which is, in essence, Carbon Tax Now. This (in exchange, its true, for some other disadvantages) gets rid of the rather poorly motivated 2 oC limit.
[Update: Ocean heat storage: a particularly lousy policy target by SR at RC. Note in particular one clear scientific error of V’s that R picks out, which V appears too embarrassed to admit and resorts to obfustication -W]
* Climate Controversy: Does the 2 Degree Goal Need to Go? By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor
* Defining dangerous anthropogenic interference by Michael E. Mann, PNAS 2009
* Could the 2C climate target be completely wrong? – Graun
* ‘Ditch the 2° C Warming Goal’ Commentary by a pair of UC San Diego researchers suggests society is striving for a misleading and unattainable climate goal – Scripps PR
* Don’t ditch the 2°C target – Sou
* Eli is busy
* On climate, a call for more social science – John Fleck.