Max Planck Institute For Meteorology Director Not Worried About Climate Tipping Points…Worried About Panic

In an interview with flagship daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ here), Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPIM) Director Dr. Jochen Marotzke said predicting how many degrees of warming we need to prepare for was like reading tea leaves and that he is not worried about “climate tipping points”. 

He also spoke of the wide disagreement among climate models.

Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPIM) Director Dr. Jochen Marotzke told the FAZ he doesn’t worry about climate “tipping points”, but worries about panic. Image: MPIM

He told the FAZ that the worst case scenarios put out by some models were useful for the purpose of risk assessment, i.e. scenarios that are unlikely but cannot be ruled out. “In the latest generation of models, there are some models that are much more sensitive to greenhouse gases than previous models in terms of their temperature increase,” he said.

Five degrees “very very unlikely”

When asked about the results of the French model released earlier this year, which assumes five degrees of warming for a doubling of atmospheric CO2, Marotzke expressed his amazement, telling the FAZ what he thought of the French scientists: “My God, what are you doing? Because it is very, very unlikely that the true climate is as sensitive as these new models show.”

“The issue of climate sensitivity is extremely complex. Therefore, the results of a model should first be treated with caution,” Marotzke said.

When asked why the French model produced such a high warming for a doubling of CO”, Marotzke said he didn’t know why: “No one understands why they published it without first reflecting. The British did it differently, they said the new value is a mystery to us. They first want to investigate what the reason is and whether the warming rate is realistic.”

No worries about climate tipping points

Later in the interview, the FAZ touched on the so-called “tipping points in the climate system”, which are “threshold values that set irreversible processes in motion that, once started, can no longer be stopped.” Possible tipping points named by some scientists include the Greenland Ice Sheet, Gulf Stream, West Antarctica:, coral reefs, Amazon dying etc.

On whether they could happen, Marotzke views it as “conceivable” and that it “cannot be ruled out” and with “almost all of them we don’t know where we stand.”

When asked which one is most worrying, he replied: “None”.

“I don’t see any risk with Greenland”

And not even the melting of the Greenland ice sheet worries the MPIM Director. He told the FAZ:  “It’s gonna take so long – a couple thousand years. I don’t see any risk with Greenland.”

Arctic not a tipping element

On the subject of the Arctic, Marotzke says he is “quite sure that it is not a tipping point” – and that the ice albedo feedback “is not the dominant effect”.

“The ice comes back every year – in winter, said Marotzke, who has been Director at the MPIM in Hamburg since 2003. “When the temperature goes down again, the sea ice will come back.”

No worries about thawing permafrost

He is also not worried about the permafrost thawing, saying the contribution to warming “is relatively small.”

“Besides, even if the permafrost thaws, it is uncertain how much of the methane actually reaches the atmosphere,” said Marotzke. “Methane can be converted by bacteria to CO₂. I am not worried about methane.”

Worries “panic will backfire”

When asked about what he is worried about, he replies: “That the panic will backfire.” Marotzke warns against spreading panic: ” It can become incendiary. The question is, at what point do the risks of climate protection measures exceed the risks of climate change? Panic does not help here, only relatively sober analysis and weighing up – and a democratic discussion will help.”

Hat-tip: Die kalte Sonne

7 responses to “Max Planck Institute For Meteorology Director Not Worried About Climate Tipping Points…Worried About Panic”

  1. John F. Hultquist

    His, Jochen Marotzke, reference to “panic” is about “How dare you! – panic” but this has now been pushed to a back burner (at least in the USA) while folks deal with Panic2020, the unfathomable reaction to a virus.
    When (if) Kamala Harris (it’s Comma-la) becomes president “climate panic” will be front and center.
    In the US, Panic2020 is being sustained as part of Trump derangement syndrome (TDS). If Trump wins in November the opposition will need to regroup and find something other than climate change as an existential threat to humanity and the Planet.

  2. Yonason


    One thing I’d like to know is, was Marotzke always a climate realist, or is he backpedaling now because he read the tea-leaves that show he should appear more skeptical because most people aren’t buying climate catastrophism?

    After a little digging…

    “Climate-change skeptics claim the hiatus is proof that global warming doesn’t exist**, and that climate models overestimate greenhouse gases’ warming effects. Marotzke ardently disagrees.

    “The claim that models systematically overestimate warming from increasing greenhouse gas concentrations is unfounded,” said Marotzke.”

    He’s no climate moderate, if he believes that models are performing just fine.

    **strawman alert. We are not skeptical of “global warming,” but of “anthropogenic global warming.” Big difference!

    Looks like standard PR BS, where it’s now common to portray extremists as sane and moderate.

  3. Yonason

    Marotzke is a believer.

    Marotzke: “One of the problems is that of the climate freeloaders. Countries that are not contributing to climate protection now may benefit from the mitigation measures of others later on. On the other hand, those who invest in climate protection must take into account the possibility of economic losses and may have to watch the freeloaders overtake them economically. Furthermore, if, despite their efforts, greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly reduced, these countries will quite probably have to face even more losses due to climate-related damage.”

    I’m not a fan of anyone involved in the “climate protection” racket.

    See also here

    Marotzke is part of a team of the most renowned climatologists in the world that is now taking into account the most recent increase of surface temperatures in a new prediction of how the Earth is warming due to the effects of greenhouse gases, primarily through carbon dioxide (CO2). This prognosis confirms that the climate models correctly predict the trend in global warming over a period of several decades,

    Let’s see…
    “one of most renowned” = appeal to authority.
    warming caused “…primarily through … (CO2).” = deceit
    climate models’ prognoses confirms themselves = circular reasoning.

    LOL! How am I supposed to take this character or his enablers seriously?

    1. bonbon

      Funny how he goes after the French, and says the British did it better.

      Is some geopolitics afoot? I wonder what he thinks about China. Better give Pompeo a call….

  4. Chris Hanley

    Given the IPCC AR5 models, 2020 looks like it could be crunch year:
    Alarmist scientists have contributed to an unimaginable waste of wealth, not to mention lives.
    Will any be held responsible?

    1. John F. Hultquist

      Will any be held responsible?


  5. bonbon

    A bit more digging, and the real ideology appears – population. He claims 10 billion people is max, and birth control with nuclear power should work.

    So it has nothing to do with “climate”, and all to to with Malthusian overriding ideology, no matter what scientific arguments are used.

    To conflate nuclear power with enforced population reduction is Orwellian newspeak, sheer insanity, even schizophrenic. What would Max Planck, optimist, think of today’s MPG?

    Now for these ideologues to actually tell people what they intend to do with the next generations would definitely induce panic. So he is not worried as long as the Malthusian imperative is hidden and we waffle on about CO2 model “sensitivity”, whether in French, British, or German.

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