August 7, 2018

New study gives us 10-20 years to fix climate disaster

Motherboard

This summer people have been suffering and dying because of heat waves and wildfires in many parts of the world. The past three years were the warmest ever recorded, and 2018 is likely to follow suit. What we do in the next 10-20 years will determine whether our planet remains hospitable to human life or slides down an irreversible path to what scientists in a major new study call “Hothouse Earth” conditions.

Hothouse Earth is an apocalyptic nightmare where the global average temperatures is 4 to 5 degrees Celsius higher (with regions like the Arctic averaging 10 degrees C higher) than today, according to the study, “Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene,” published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Sea levels would eventually be 10-60 meters higher as much of the world’s ice melts. In these conditions, large parts of the Earth would be uninhabitable.

Cutting carbon emissions to limit climate change to 2 degrees C, as proposed in the Paris climate agreement, won’t be enough to avoid a “Hothouse Earth,” said co-author Johan Rockström, executive director of Stockholm Resilience Centre. The reality is that global temperatures aren’t driven by human emissions of carbon alone, says Rockström—natural systems such as forests and oceans also play a major role.

If global warming reaches 2 degrees C it could trigger a feedback, or “tipping element,” in one or more of our natural systems and drive further warming, Rockström told Motherboard. To put that into perspective, the recent heat waves and wildfires are being linked to climate change that has raised the global average temperature 1 degree C.


1 comment:

greg gerritt said...

The first thing to do is stop digging the hole deeper. We must stop building any new fossil fuel infrastructure. We need to get to zero emissions by 2035, how the hell can anyone justify building new facilities that will emit carbon until at least 2060?