The Guardian sparks outrage with headline claiming 'five catastrophic climate tipping points' imminent

The Guardian

The Guardian

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 06/12/2023

- 15:04

Updated: 06/12/2023

- 15:33

The left-wing newspaper warned the planet could face ‘mass displacement and financial ruin’

The Guardian has sparked outrage after a sensationalised headline claimed the Earth is on the “verge of five catastrophic climate tipping points”.

It was also claimed that “many of the gravest threats to humanity are drawing closer”, with mass displacement and financial ruin identified as major issues.

The left-wing newspaper referred to comments made by leading experts about the threat.

Tim Lenton, from the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute, said: “Tipping points in the Earth system pose threats of a magnitude never faced by humanity.”

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Sina Loriani, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, also warned tipping-point risks could be disastrous and should be taken very seriously.

The article also referenced a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It said: “Risks associated with large-scale singular events or tipping points, such as ice-sheet instability or ecosystem loss from tropical forests, transition to high risk between 1.5C to 2.5C and to very high risk between 2.5C to 4C.”

A separate study from the report’s co-author Manjana Milkoreit last year warned against overusing the label of social tipping points by promising solutions that did not exist at scale or could not be controlled.

Giant tabular icebergs are surrounded by ice floe drift

Giant tabular icebergs are surrounded by ice floe drift


She claimed: “While scholarship benefits from hope, we need to exercise caution when offering social tipping points as potential solutions to the temporal squeeze of climate change.”

However, users on social media fired back against the headline.

One said: “Now we have a five point plan from the eco extremists.”

Another wrote: “In my 65 years I have been told it's an ice age, it's warming, it's ozone, it's acid rain. Always wrong.”

The Guardian mastheadThe newspaper has come under firePA

A third penned: “Lots of maybe’s in there. Is that how people earn their money, scaremongering?”

But not everyone on social media was so damning.

One wrote: “There is no way to sugar-coat the pill. We are bang on track for climate catastrophe.”

Another said: “Once they go, there's no coming back.”

A third simply warned: “Dreadfully serious.”

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