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Daniel Swain in InsideClimate News: What Does ’12 Years to Act on Climate Change’ (Now 11 Years) Really Mean?

Despite the rising risks, it’s important to understand that, “in the physical climate system, there are no scientists claiming that there is a magical threshold that we breach or don’t breach that determines whether we have a habitable climate system,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Center for Climate and Weather Extremes.

The 2030 target is useful because it shows how the “next decade is incredibly consequential for what we do.” Swain said. “But I think the emphasis that’s being placed on this specific 12-year window as a differentiator between existential crisis or not is problematic.

In some ways, the “12 years” narrative may set up a deadline that’s too lenient, because some key part of the climate system may already be at or past tipping points, Swain said.