Introduction Basics of Climate Change Dangers of Linear Thinking Human • Policy • Economy Outlook Appendix • Publisher's Corner
Growth Curves
Water Lily Pond
Pond Curves
Expection Curve
Tough Luck!
Limits of Growth
Positive Feedback
Club of Rome
Amazon Region
Chain Reaction

Linear Thinking Blocks Foresighted Action

Climate change is based on nonlinear natural processes. The example presented on the prior pages clarifies the manner of blocked thinking which may be used to evaluate the chronological development of global warming (in the example showing water lily growth) and its associated consequences (in the example showing decrease in exposed pond surface area).

Even scientists can fall victim to the dangerous incompetence of human thought, and fail to predict the consequences of nonlinear processes punctually and correctly. There are many examples of this, such as the unexpected breakup of the Larsen B ice shelf in the Antarctic or the retreat of the Arctic ice caps, which progressed considerably more quickly than was previously assumed.

The trouble with linear thinking lies in that up to a certain point in time, when no further countermeasures are possible, the decision maker is led to believe in an actual, nonexistent, virtual time period available for action. The impending danger is only recognized when it can no longer be averted.

The time period prior to the onset of the resultant effects of global warming amounts to 16 years. The effects are menacing and thus should be averted. Exactly 1 year before the onset of the resultant effects, the belief would still predominate that up to 15 years of time were available for an adequate response. In this case, linear thinking would have irretrievably halted the foresighted action which is absolutely necessary.

Since climate change threatens worldwide civilization, forecasts which date the onset of climate change consequences far into the future can have dramatic repercussions for all of humankind. It is therefore urgent to answer the question of how necessary countermeasures can be realized in time and with sufficient security, without the mistaken chronological estimations explained here.

Associated Slide
Illustrating Slides
Slide 1
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