1. (mathematics, catastrophe theory) The point at which a slow, reversible change becomes irreversible, often with dramatic consequences.
2. (sociology) A point in time when a group rapidly and dramatically changes its behavior by widely adopting a previously rare practice.
3. (climatology) An irreversible change in the climate system.
On January 9, the Dalai Lama, Greta Thunberg, and scientists Susan Natali, Arctic Program Director at the Woodwell Climate Research Center, and Professor William Moomaw, lead author of several reports for the IPCC, met online to discuss climate tipping points. As an audience of almost 1000 around the world watched, Diana Chapman Walsh moderated the discussion.
I found the panel fascinating and somewhat alarming. The Dalai Lama’s affection for “young sister” Greta and his sadness over climate impacts to the Himalayas, his home region, were moving. Greta’s forceful question, “What can we DO about it?” with regard to raising the issue of tipping points was spot on. And scientists Natali and Moomaw presented strong arguments for bringing down greenhouse gas emissions and protecting forests worldwide.
You can view the webinar for free here: https://www.mindandlife.org/event/the-dalai-lama-with-greta-thunberg-and-leading-scientists-a-conversation-on-the-crisis-of-climate-feedback-loops/
There is also a new series of educational videos, narrated by Richard Gere, about the tipping points found in forests, permafrost, the atmosphere and the albedo effect, and how crossing them creates irreversible feedback loops: https://feedbackloopsclimate.com/
Tough and scary, but necessary truths to confront.