As much of the country is in a heatwave, and many Americans are looking for ways to keep cool, we are given some news that that the future is likely to be even hotter. And if we don’t take care of our planet by drastically reducing our use of fossil fuels, much, much hotter!
We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a “Hothouse Earth” pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene. We examine the evidence that such a threshold might exist and where it might be. If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause serious disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies. Collective human action is required to steer the Earth System away from a potential threshold and stabilize it in a habitable interglacial-like state. Such action entails stewardship of the entire Earth System—biosphere, climate, and societies—and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values.
By Doyle Rice
We’ve been warned.
Runaway global warming on our planet remains a distinct possibility in the decades and centuries ahead, scientists reported Monday in a new study, warning that a “hothouse Earth” threatens the very “habitability of the planet for human beings.”
Such a hothouse Earth climate would see global average temperatures some 6 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit higher than they are now, with sea levels 30 to 200 feet higher than today, the paper said.
In addition, even if the carbon emission reductions called for in the Paris Agreement are met – meaning a rise of no more than 3.6 degrees above preindustrial levels – that still may not be enough.
Scientists at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the Australian National University and other institutions made their forecast by reviewing past reports on tipping points for climate change. They also looked back at what the Earth’s climate was like millions of years ago, when carbon dioxide levels were higher than today, primarily due to volcanic activity.
Study lead author Will Steffen said “our study suggests that human-induced global warming of (3.6 degrees) may trigger other Earth system processes, often called ‘feedbacks,’ that can drive further warming – even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases.”
The feedbacks include methane release from thawing permafrost, loss of snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere, loss of Arctic summer sea ice, and dramatic reduction of Antarctic sea ice and polar ice sheets.
And what is the richest most powerful nation on the Planet focused on?
Not this looming crisis like nothing else our species has ever encountered.
Instead we are focused on the antics of this drama queen/buffoon of a president.
And our corporate media would rather sell ads for new cars than run stories about our critical global predicament.