The concept of net zero has rapidly taken hold in the public consciousness and it is having a big impact on pledges to cut carbon, writes Graham Lawton

Environment


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10 February 2021

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ONE of the concepts that climate science has bequeathed the wider world is the tipping point: a description of how a complex system can change gradually, almost imperceptibly, then suddenly flip into a new, stable state. Climate tipping points tend to be things we really don’t want to go past, such as the irreversible conversion of the Amazon rainforest to savannah or, heaven forfend, the Gulf Stream shutting down. Like in the climate disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow. That one ends especially badly.

The existence of climate tipping points and where they lie, however, remain uncertain. …