Climate tipping points — too risky to bet against

Summary

Politicians, economists and even some natural scientists have tended to assume that tipping points1 in the Earth system — such as the loss of the Amazon rainforest or the West Antarctic ice sheet — are of low probability and little understood. Yet evidence is mounting that these events could be more likely than was thought, have high impacts and are interconnected across different biophysical systems, potentially committing the world to long-term irreversible changes.

Here we summarize evidence on the threat of exceeding tipping points, identify knowledge gaps and suggest how these should be plugged. We explore the effects of such large-scale changes, how quickly they might unfold and whether we still have any control over them.

Information

Link to centre authors: Gaffney, Owen, Rockström, Johan, Steffen, Will
Publication info: Lenton, T.M., Rockström, J., Gaffney, O., Rahmstorf, S. et.al. 2019. Climate tipping points - too risky to bet against. Nature Comment, Vol. 575