Carnegie Mellon's M. Granger Morgan Unveils New Report
Forecasting Dangerous, Fundamental Climate Change
Published Paper Predicts Long-lasting Changes Will Affect at Least Half the Planet
PITTSBURGH—In a paper just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Carnegie Mellon University's M. Granger Morgan and a team of international researchers report that even if we begin now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions the earth's climate could be pushed into a dangerous state.
Morgan and his colleagues conducted face-to-face interviews with 14 prominent climate scientists who represented a wide range of mainstream opinions about climate science and how the climate may change in the face of growing concentrations of carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and natural gas. Some of the changes that are likely to occur will push a "tipping point" and lead to fundamental climate shifts that affect at least half the planet and persist for several decades.
"Our interview participants were presented with low, medium and high trajectories for CO2 increases over the next two centuries that are similar to those being used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," said Morgan, a University Professor — the highest distinction faculty members can achieve at Carnegie Mellon — and head of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy.
The authors reported that for the high trajectory of CO2 increases, 13 of the 14 experts predicted that the probability was greater than 50 percent, and 10 specified a probability of 75 percent or more, that the climate would undergo some "fundamental state change." Other results from the detailed face-to-face interviews display clear consensus that considerable warming will occur, despite uncertainty about just how much warming may occur and how much may be able to be reduced.
At Carnegie Mellon, Morgan directs the National Science Foundation's Climate Decision Making Center and is co-director of the university's Electricity Industry Center. He also serves as chair of the Scientific and Technical Council for the International Risk Governance Council.
Morgan is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Society for Risk Analysis.