Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is the Director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). He is regarded as one of the world's leading climate experts. In 2007 he was appointed by the German government as the Chief Government Advisor on Climate & Related Issues for the German G8-EU twin presidency in 2007.
Warning that deep cuts in emissions are required
In September 2008 Schellnhuber told the Guardian that the proposed greenhouse gas reduction targets were insufficient and that it may be that only a reduction on CO2 levels to the pre-industrial levels of 280 parts per million [ppm] would be required to ensure a stable climate. Schellnhuber described the current negotiations, which at best aim to reach 450 parts per million, as being "a compromise between ambition and feasibility. A rise of 2C could avoid some of the big environmental disasters, but it is still only a compromise."
"It is a very sweeping argument, but nobody can say for sure that 330 ppm is safe. Perhaps it will not matter whether we have 270 ppm or 320 ppm, but operating well outside the [historic] realm of carbon dioxide concentrations is risky as long as we have not fully understood the relevant feedback mechanisms," Schellnhuber said.
In a December 2008 interview with a German newspaper, Schellnhuber warned that "in nearly all areas, the developments are occurring more quickly than it has been assumed up until now ... We are on our way to a destabilization of the world climate that has advanced much further than most people or their governments realize."
"When only one side fails to act, industrial countries or developing countries, than a disastrous climate change will be inevitable," he warned.
- "The first and second industrial revolutions were made possible by the all-out use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. As we stand on the threshold of the third industrial revolution, this dependence now needs to be dismantled, and the path smoothed for a genuinely sustainable energy supply. Climate change is simply compelling us to introduce reforms now that we
would have to introduce anyway in a few decades’ time in the face of the continuing price increases for fossil fuels. The task we face involves transforming our industrial society into a society that is sustainable and 'carbon-free.'" -- November 2007.
Articles and Resources
Related SourceWatch Articles
- "Director: Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber CBE", Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, accessed February 2009.
- Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, "Potsdam climate expert Hans Joachim Schellnhuber becomes Chief Government Advisor", Media Release, December 1, 2006.
- David Adam, "Roll back time to safeguard climate, expert warns: A return to pre-industrial levels of carbon dioxide urged as the only way to prevent the worst impacts of global warming", Guardian (UK), September 15 2008.
- "German Scientist Warns Climate Change Accelerating",Deutsche Welle, December 29, 2008.
- "Interview with Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber", Bosch, November 2007.
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