FACTS about Recent WARMING and Calculations of Warming Damages SHOULD BE An Emergency WAKE UP CALL FOR GOVERNMENT POLICY MAKERS

The amount of recent climate warming is evidence that climate change continues to pose an increasingly significant threat to human health and ecological systems. Recent research has concluded that recent warming is much greater than anticipated. One climate scientist Ed Hawkins from the University of Reading summed up recent warming as “Surprising, astounding, staggering, bewildering, flabbergasting, disquieting, gobsmacking, and  mind-boggling.” This image depicts the monthly warming temperature anomalies.

The continuing rate of increases in temperatures is strong evidence that unless global greenhouse gas emissions can be put on a reduction pathway that can convince governments that the climate problem is under control.and the international community must respond to climate change as a global emergency. ASAP

  For this reason, we conclude that is not possible at this time to operationalize the “no harm ‘rule. which all countries agreed to in adopting the UNFCCC in 1992 at the Earth Summit. The ‘no harm’ rule is also a provision of: “customary ” international law which means there is no need to create the no-harm rule by legislation because customary international law provisions exist prior to their creation in legislation.  Why the no-harm rule has not been implemented thus far is because there was no mechanism in international law to adjudicate damages.  When the international community agreed at the recent Egyptian COP to finally create a funding mechanism for loss and damages, there was reason to believe the ‘no harm’ rule would finally be operationalized.  Yet this hope has been weakened in the last fewweeks when international negotiations to create the funding mechanism for loss and damages was discontinued because of conflicts between the developed and developing countries.

Thus the highest policy priority for the US should now be to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions to as low and as soon as possible.  

The failure to determine the amount of damages owed by those responsible for causing climate harms has been caused by the extraordinary difficulty in determining the amount  of damages from specific amounts of  CO2 in the atmosphere.. Also recent attempts to quantify damages have revealed that damage estimates are far greater than previously predicted because of certain scientific features of atmospheric CO2E that make estimates of the damages from a number of tons of atmospheric CO2e incredibly intellectually challenging,  There are certain scientific features of greenhouse gas caused warming that are different than other domestic pollution problems that citizens need to understand to critically evaluate proposed damage quantifications. 

These features include some atmospheric CO 2 stays in the atmosphere for several hundred years before they are removed by sinks. Some last potentially for thousands of years.

Features of climate change that citizens and the media need to understand to critically evaluate a government’s response to determining the damages from CO2 and the arguments of opponents of climate policies include that CO2 emissions remain in the atmosphere for a very long time. Recent attempts to quantify damages have initially found staggering damage values in the billions and occasionally trillions of dollars. 

Damages from emissions are particularly challenging to determine because co2e emissions create atmospheric co2 concentrations which continues to cause harm as long as they remain in the atmosphere. and thus damages continue to accumulate for as long as the CO2e remains in the atmosphere.

Another feature of atmospheric CO2e is that current concentrations of CO2E are a product of prior CO2 emissions which have been mixed in the atmosphere to generate current CO2e atmospheric concentrations.


Recent attempts to quantify damages have identified staggering amounts of damages because the damages have accumulated over time, See :  David Wallace Wells,  New York Times Magazine September 23. 2023. See David Wallace Wells https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/20/opinion/can-we-put-a-price-on-climate-damages.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article


emissions are very long lasting in atmosphere                            The international community needs to generate a system to trace the origins of current atmospheric CO2e concentrations.in order to determine responsibility for current atmospheric concentrations. Thus the international community needs a system to allocate responsibility, 


Comments on these issues are welcomed.

1 thought on “FACTS about Recent WARMING and Calculations of Warming Damages SHOULD BE An Emergency WAKE UP CALL FOR GOVERNMENT POLICY MAKERS

  1. Right on point, highly informative, thank you Don. This concise summary of our current physical, legal and ethical situation deserves wide circulation. Ron Engel

Leave a Reply