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Royal Society Special Issue on Global Warming Details ‘Hellish Vision’ of 7°F (4°C) World — Which We May Face in the 2060s!

By Joe Romm on June 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

"Royal Society Special Issue on Global Warming Details ‘Hellish Vision’ of 7°F (4°C) World — Which We May Face in the 2060s!"

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“In such a 4°C world, the limits for human adaptation are likely to be exceeded in many parts of the world, while the limits for adaptation for natural systems would largely be exceeded throughout the world.”

Figure 7.

“Projections of global warming relative to pre-industrial for the A1FI emissions scenario” — the one we’re currently on. “Dark shading shows the mean ±1 s.d. [standard deviation] for the tunings to 19 AR4 GCMs [IPCC Fourth Assessment General Circulation Models] and the light shading shows the change in the uncertainty range when … climate-carbon-cycle feedbacks … are included.”

Note: I am reposting and updating my most important articles.  I will put them in an accessible place soon.

One of the greatest failings of the climate science community (and the media) is not spelling out as clearly as possible the risks we face on our current emissions path, as well as the plausible worst-case scenario, which includes massive ecosystem collapse. So much of what the public and policymakers think is coming is a combination of

  1. The low end of the expected range of warming and impacts based on aggressive policies to reduce emissions (and no serious carbon-cycle feedbacks)
  2. Analyses of a few selected impacts, but not an integrated examination of multiple impacts
  3. Disinformation pushed by the anti-science, pro-pollution crowd

In fairness, a key reason the scientific community hasn’t studied the high emissions scenarios much until recently because they never thought humanity would be so self-destructive as to ignore their warnings for so long, which has put us on the highest emissions path (see U.S. media largely ignores latest warning from climate scientists: “Recent observations confirm … the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised” 1000 ppm [A1FI]).

A special January 2011 issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, “Four degrees and beyond: the potential for a global temperature increase of four degrees and its implications,” lays out this 4°C (7°F) world.

Warming of 7F is certainly not the worst-case in the scientific literature (see M.I.T. doubles its 2095 warming projection to 10°F “” with 866 ppm and Arctic warming of 20°F and “Our hellish future: Definitive NOAA-led report on U.S. climate impacts warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90°F some 120 days a year “” and that isn’t the worst case, it’s business as usual!“).

But for the first time, “A hellish vision of a world warmed by 4C within a lifetime has been set out by an international team of scientists,” as the UK’s Guardian describes it:

A 4C rise in the planet’s temperature would see severe droughts across the world and millions of migrants seeking refuge as their food supplies collapse.

These papers began as conference presentations, one of which I discussed last year (see UK Met Office: Catastrophic climate change, 13-18°F over most of U.S. and 27°F in the Arctic, could happen in 50 years, but “we do have time to stop it if we cut greenhouse gas emissions soon”).

Dr Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre, laid out the “plausible worst case scenario,” in a terrific and terrifying talk (audio here, PPT here). What is worst-case is not the temperature rise, which is all but inevitable this century if we don’t take action.

What is “worst-case” is that if we stay on the high emissions pathway and the carbon cycle feedbacks turn out to be strong (as observations and paleoclimate data suggest they will be) then it could happen by the 2060s. It could look something like this [temperature in degrees Celsius, multiple by 1.8 for Fahrenheit]:

[That isn't their worst-case, which is A1F1. This is "only" A1B, which is the 720 ppm scenario (to which they add feedbacks).]

In a must-read paper that is the source of the top figure, “When could global warming reach 4°C?” Betts et al. drop this bombshell:

Using these GCM projections along with simple climate-model projections, including uncertainties in carbon-cycle feedbacks, and also comparing against other model projections from the IPCC, our best estimate is that the A1FI emissions scenario would lead to a warming of 4°C relative to pre-industrial during the 2070s. If carbon-cycle feedbacks are stronger, which appears less likely but still credible, then 4°C warming could be reached by the early 2060s in projections that are consistent with the IPCC’s ‘likely range’.

On the one hand, the A1FI is quite a high emissions scenario, and I suspect that humanity will turn off of it by 2030. On the other hand, even a much lower emissions like A2 is only a few tenths of a degree centigrade cooler. Also, while Betts et al. does a better job of incorporating carbon-cycle feedbacks into their modeling than virtually anyone else, I do not believe that they incorporate any feedback of methane emissions from the tundra or methane hydrates — and that is certainly the most worrisome of all of the carbon-cycle feedbacks (see “NSIDC bombshell: Thawing permafrost feedback will turn Arctic from carbon sink to source in the 2020s, releasing 100 billion tons of carbon by 2100” and Science: Vast East Siberian Arctic Shelf methane stores destabilizing and venting: NSF issues world a wake-up call: “Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming”).

Another important Royal Society article is the concluding piece, “The role of interactions in a world implementing adaptation and mitigation solutions to climate change,” by Rachel Warren. She makes a crucial point that is all too neglected in most discussions of adaptation — it is the interaction of impacts that is likely to overwhelm, particularly when you consider the very real risk of eco-system collapse over large parts of the Earth:

a 4°C world would be facing enormous adaptation challenges in the agricultural sector, with large areas of cropland becoming unsuitable for cultivation, and declining agricultural yields. This world would also rapidly be losing its ecosystem services, owing to large losses in biodiversity, forests, coastal wetlands, mangroves and saltmarshes, and terrestrial carbon stores, supported by an acidified and potentially dysfunctional marine ecosystem. Drought and desertification would be widespread, with large numbers of people experiencing increased water stress, and others experiencing changes in seasonality of water supply. There would be a need to shift agricultural cropping to new areas, impinging on unmanaged ecosystems and decreasing their resilience; and large-scale adaptation to sea-level rise would be necessary. Human and natural systems would be subject to increasing levels of agricultural pests and diseases, and increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

In such a 4°C world, the limits for human adaptation are likely to be exceeded in many parts of the world, while the limits for adaptation for natural systems would largely be exceeded throughout the world. Hence, the ecosystem services upon which human livelihoods depend would not be preserved. Even though some studies have suggested that adaptation in some areas might still be feasible for human systems, such assessments have generally not taken into account lost ecosystem services.

Precisely.

Right now, even the worst-case analyses for adaptation ignore the potential impact of ecosystem collapse (see Scientists find “net present value of climate change impacts” of $1240 TRILLION on current emissions path, making mitigation to under 450 ppm a must).

Warren also notes another area often ignored in adaptation analyses:

In the coming decades, one of the most serious impacts of climate change is projected to be the consequences of the projected increases in extreme weather events. For example, climate change-induced changes in precipitation patterns and changes in climate variability would increase the area of the globe experiencing drought at any one time from today’s 1 per cent to a future 30 per cent by the end of the twenty-first century…

Few studies examine the potential consequences of these increases in extreme weather upon individual sectors and/or regions, but these could be significant. Only a few days of high temperatures near flowering in wheat, groundnut and soybean can drastically reduce yield, while maize losses could potentially double owing to floods in the USA; and the AVOID study estimated that, in a 4°C world, 50 per cent of fluvial flood-prone people would be exposed to increased flood risk compared with approximately 25 per cent in a 2°C world.

Unfortunately, this issue was not published in time to take into account the Must-read NCAR analysis that warns we risk multiple, devastating global droughts even on moderate emissions path. And the sea level rise article adds little to the many recent scientific and media articles on the subject — see Coastal studies experts: “For coastal management purposes, a [sea level] rise of 7 feet (2 meters) should be utilized for planning major infrastructure.” Also, I would have liked to have seen an ocean acidification article that looked at what we face on the high-emissions, moderate carbon-cycle feedbacks scenario.

But there are several important articles, like “Agriculture and food systems in sub-Saharan Africa [SSA] in a 4°C+ world,” which concludes:

The prognosis for agriculture and food security in SSA in a 4°C+ world is bleak. Already today, the number of people at risk from hunger has never been higher: it increased from 300 million in 1990 to 700 million in 2007, and it is estimated that it may exceed 1 billion in 2010 . The cost of achieving the food security Millennium Development Goal in a +2°C world is around $40-60 billion per year, and without this investment, serious damage from climate change will not be avoided. Currently, the prospects for such levels of sustained investment are not that bright. Croppers and livestock keepers in SSA have in the past shown themselves to be highly adaptable to short- and long-term variations in climate, but the kind of changes that would occur in a 4°C+ world would be way beyond anything experienced in recent times. There are many options that could be effective in helping farmers adapt even to medium levels of warming, given substantial investments in technologies, institution building and infrastructural development, for example, but it is not difficult to envisage a situation where the adaptive capacity and resilience of hundreds of millions of people in SSA could simply be overwhelmed by events.

The article “Beyond ‘dangerous’ climate change: emission scenarios for a new world” concludes:

The analysis within this paper offers a stark and unremitting assessment of the climate change challenge facing the global community. There is now little to no chance of maintaining the rise in global mean surface temperature at below 2°C, despite repeated high-level statements to the contrary. Moreover, the impacts associated with 2°C have been revised upwards, sufficiently so that 2°C now more appropriately represents the threshold between dangerous and extremely dangerous climate change. Consequently, and with tentative signs of global emissions returning to their earlier levels of growth, 2010 represents a political tipping point. The science of climate change allied with emission pathways for Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 nations suggests a profound departure in the scale and scope of the mitigation and adaption challenge from that detailed in many other analyses, particularly those directly informing policy.

However, this paper is not intended as a message of futility, but rather a bare and perhaps brutal assessment of where our ‘rose-tinted’ and well intentioned (though ultimately ineffective) approach to climate change has brought us. Real hope and opportunity, if it is to arise at all, will do so from a raw and dispassionate assessment of the scale of the challenge faced by the global community. This paper is intended as a small contribution to such a vision and future of hope.

The Preface to the issue makes a similarly crucial point about why to have as realistic an assessment of the science as is possible:

Second, responses that might be most appropriate for a 2°C world may be maladaptive in a +4°C world; this is, particularly, an issue for decisions with a long lifetime, which have to be made before there is greater clarity on the amount of climate change that will be experienced. For example, a reservoir built to help communities adapt to moderate temperature increases may become dry if they continue to increase, or coastal protection designed for 2°C may be overcome at 4°C. This will require systems that are flexible and robust to a range of possible futures. Third, for some of the more vulnerable regions, a +4°C world may require a complete transformation in many aspects of society, rather than adaptation of existing activities, for example, high crop failure frequency in southern Africa may require shifts to entirely new crops and farming methods, or SLR may require the relocation of cities.

In short, even those who favor adaptation need to get real about what we are facing — or else we will waste a lot of time and money maladapting. But in a 4C/7F world, the word ‘adaptation’ should probably be replaced by “misery and triage” (see Real adaptation is as politically tough as real mitigation, but much more expensive and not as effective in reducing future misery).

Finally, it must always be repeated that for far, far less than the cost of so-called adaptation, we could dramatically reduce the likelihood of the worst of these impacts with technologies are available today or in the process of being commercialized.

Indeed, while one paper cited above asserts, “There is now little to no chance of maintaining the rise in global mean surface temperature at below 2°C,” that is only true in the political sense that the human race is choosing not to act, choosing not to stay below 2°C. We almost certainly have it within our scientific and technological power to do so, though it would take a WWII-scale effort globally — see “How the world can stabilize at 350 to 450 ppm: The full global warming solution.”

Related Post:

The analysis within this paper offers a stark and unremitting assessment of the climate change challenge facing the global community. There is now little to no chance of maintaining the rise in global mean surface temperature at below 2°C, despite repeated high-level statements to the contrary. Moreover, the impacts associated with 2°C have been revised upwards, sufficiently so that 2°C now more appropriately represents the threshold between dangerous and extremely dangerous climate change. Consequently, and with tentative signs of global emissions returning to their earlier levels of growth, 2010 represents a political tipping point. The science of climate change allied with emission pathways for Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 nations suggests a profound departure in the scale and scope of the mitigation and adaption challenge from that detailed in many other analyses, particularly those directly informing policy.

However, this paper is not intended as a message of futility, but rather a bare and perhaps brutal assessment of where our ‘rose-tinted’ and well intentioned (though ultimately ineffective) approach to climate change has brought us. Real hope and opportunity, if it is to arise at all, will do so from a raw and dispassionate assessment of the scale of the challenge faced by the global community. This paper is intended as a small contribution to such a vision and future of hope.

Below are the comments from the Facebook commenting system:

Maura Sheehy

In case you’re not convinced yet, the UK Royal Society’s Paper from January.

June 2 at 2:15pm

stevegeneral999

It was this very post that was a personal “tipping point” that inspired a lot of updates on, the wiki page for global warming (for whatever wiki pages are worth). That and Lonnie Thompsons’ “clear and present danger” paper. Thanks for calling them to my attention Joe.

June 2 at 2:23pm

lelandpalmer77

Unfortunately, if the following peer reviewed result from a “state of the art” general atmospheric chemistry transport model is correct, any large future increases in methane concentration make estimates like these obsolete.

Strong atmospheric chemistry feedback to climate warming from Arctic methane emissions.

http://www.atmos.washingto​n.edu/academics/classes/20​11Q2/558/IsaksenGB2011.pdf

For 13 times current methane concentrations, for example, he’s talking about a huge radiative forcing from methane and its indirect effects of 5.4 W/m2- with only 1.1 W/m2 of that coming from methane at it’s current greenhouse potency. The rest is coming from increases in methane lifetime, ozone, CO2, and stratospheric water vapor.

And the best curve fit to this model output is not strictly logarithmic- it’s a polynomial fit. So, the sum of the radiative forcing from all the various greenhouse gases generated by atmospheric chemistry, according to this model, grows faster than that of any single gas.

Very scary stuff.

June 2 at 3:15pm

stevegeneral999

Let’s see if I understood that….

Assign value of “1″ to today’s methane emissions

multiply by 5.2
Warming power of the methane itself is 5.2
================
But if the indirect effect is 400%, are they saying its 4×5.2=20.8 for indirect effects, plus 5.2 of direct effects for a total “value of 26? In other words, by raising today’s methane emissions 5.2-fold the overall effect would be a 26-fold increase in warming power? I’m tempted to then multiply by 72 (the warming power of methane over CO2 during first 20 years) but my wife points out a meaningful comparison would require some numbers about the indirect synergistic effects of atmospheric _CO2_. Do we have numbers on that?

· June 2 at 9:59pm

lelandpalmer77

It’s a pretty dense paper. I didn’t really start to understand it until I started plugging the numbers into an Excel spreadsheet. I think you’ve misunderstood what the author was trying to say.

What he’s saying is that as methane concentrations increase, hydroxyl radical (the species that oxidizes methane into CO2) starts to decrease in the troposphere, where the methane is. So the methane lasts longer, and has more of a greenhouse effect. Also, ozone starts to increase- in the troposphere where it could cause health problems and interfere with plant life. Also, water vapor starts to build up in the stratosphere- where we don’t need it. Finally, the methane is oxidized into CO2, and that has some greenhouse effect.

Each of the indirect effects grow at slightly different rates, according to his modeling. The fastest growth is due to decline of hydroxyl radical and increased methane lifetime.

Taking a snapshot of what his model predicts, if methane concentrations increase 13 times, to about 23 ppm, we’ll get 1.1 Watts per square meter (W/m2) radiative forcing from methane at its current greenhouse potency. We’ll get a further 2.1 W/m2 from increased lifetime of methane due to decline in hydroxyl radical. We’ll get another 2.2 W/m2 from increases in tropospheric ozone, stratospheric water vapor, and CO2. The total of these is 5.4 W/m2.

What modelers have been counting for methane, in their predictions up until this point is the 1.1 W/m2 radiative forcing for a 13X increase in methane. What we’ll get instead is 5.4 W/m2- 400% more forcing than expected. This 5.4W/m2 of forcing would translate into about 4.3 degrees C of warming- just from the methane and its indirect effects. Add that to several degrees C of warming from CO2 and increased water vapor.

Our current additional greenhouse forcing from our current CO2 increases is around 1.5 to 2 W/m2 relative to pre-industrial times, according to Wikipedia.

The authors say a methane increase of 13X any time soon is unlikely. But methane has grown from about 0.6 ppm to our current 1.8 ppm in the last few hundred years. If the methane hydrates destabilize, well, there is enough methane in the methane hydrates to put thousands of ppm of methane into the atmosphere. But probably most of it would end up in the oceans, oxidized into CO2 and adding to ocean acidification by methane eating bacteria

There are however recent papers predicting substantial releases of methane from shallow hydrates with as little as 1 degree C of ocean water temperature increase. There are other papers that show that large methane releases could limit oxygen and other nutrients that the methane eating bacteria need, leading to higher methane releases into the atmosphere than predicted up until now.

· June 2 at 11:21pm

stevegeneral999

many thanks for your time and effort in the reply, L

· June 3 at 6:56am

lelandpalmer77

  • Oh, no problem. :) When this paper really starts to get scary is if we assume large releases of methane- tens or hundreds of ppm. At that point, projecting the curves far into unknown territory, much farther than is scientifically valid, we start to see greenhouse forcing increases which could plausibly, in combination with CO2 and water vapor, tip the climate into true runaway warming.

June 3 at 10:10am

stevegeneral999

For what its worth, I know one of the permafrost microbe researchers. It seems the arctic anaerobic bugs that would exhale methane do it at a MUCH slower rate than arctic aerobic bugs that would breathe out CO2. This fact, combined with the paper you cited, makes me wonder how long it will be before the geoengineers are proposing canal & drainage projects across Canada and Siberia for the main purpose to aerate thawed permafrost to force outgassing in the form of CO2 instead of CH4. I’d claim credit for this idea, except it was a sidebar in some magazine or journal article I saw a couple years ago. Either that, or some means to harness the methane for energy. Anyway…. its scary, its depressing, and its folks like everybody here at CP and at realclimate and skepticalscience etc that keeps me believing theres light at the end of….. well, at the end of a long series of long dark tunnels. But still there’s light down there. Thanks for your responses.

· June 3 at 5:41pm

Dave Finnigan

Lets put this excellent article into perspective. Gaia trumps mere human economics. Growth, it is now being suggested, will become not merely undesirable, but impossible as nature rapidly changes conditions on Earth. This is thanks to the many feedback loops which are accelerating the change from an interglacial average temperature of 11 degrees centigrade to the next stable temperature average, more than 14 degrees on average.

There are only three possibilities – A cool Earth, as we had during the ice ages, a warm Earth as we have now in this interglacial, and a hot earth as was last experienced 55 million years ago in the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. There is no way to set the thermometer anywhere in between these three stable states. 350 ppm or 500 ppm are not stable. 180 and 280 are stable levels of CO2 but we will probably not be able to reach either for at least 200,000 years from now.

There is an excellent article by Alder Stone Fuller at http://74.54.191.130/~alde​ rsto/?page_id=433 entitled “Why large-scale climate change (probably) cannot be stopped (& we must, thus, increase our adaptability)” add to this http://www.endgame.org.uk/​2011/02/why-climate-change​-probably-cannot-be-stoppe​d/ and all the attendant links in both articles and you get a grim picture indeed. Endgame says:

“We need to be collectively far angrier, intellectually more incisive and offer realistic alternative routes to the future which take on board the realities of the size and complexity of the global population and don’t retreat into endless (intellectual discussion) about ideals that just are undeliverable.”

So what are we to do? Here are my suggestions:

First, we must TELL THE TRUTH, loudly and stridently, and in very simple terms to the media and to every student in every school in every country, at every level of education from elementary through graduate levels. Stop beating around the bush that we can just make incremental changes and everything will be fine.

Second, we must insist through mass movements (boots on the ground like Tahrir square not clicking “like” on Facebook) that politicians make this the number one priority for humankind in every society on the Planet. We should insist that our collective preparations “to increase adaptability should include personal & community planning to facilitate a transition to a new kind of civilization that promotes planetary healing (but not geoengineering) as well as planning for water, food, shelter, health care, energy, transportation and security in a world with a climate that humans have never experienced in our million year history characterized by the words extreme, chaotic, unpredictable and violent.” Endgame.

Third, we must lead by example by creating “Transition Town” type communities starting with the neighborhoods where we find ourselves today, blooming where we are planted, working with one another on sustainability and adaptation as well as continuing to push through with mitigation in the (futile) hope that we are wrong and that we can somehow stop the train.

Fourth, even though it is bleak, we must not ever despair or quit. That is not the way humans adapt to change. I bring to your attention Lawrence Gonzales’ 12 Rules of Survival:

1. Perceive and believe. Don’t fall into the deadly trap of denial or of immobilizing fear.

2. Stay calm – use your anger. In the initial crisis, survivors aren’t ruled by fear – they make use of it.

3. Think, analyze and plan. Survivors quickly organize, set up routines, and institute discipline.

4. Take correct, decisive action. Survivors are willing to take risks to save themselves and others.

5. Celebrate your success. Survivors take great joy from even their smallest successes.

6. Be a rescuer, not a victim. Survivors are always doing what they do for someone else.

7. Enjoy the survival journey. Even in the worst circumstances, survivors find something to enjoy.

8. See the beauty. Survivors are attuned to the wonder of their world, especially in the face of mortal danger.

9. Believe that you will succeed. The survivor’s will to live becomes firmly fixed.

11. Do whatever is necessary. Survivors believe that anything is possible and act accordingly.

12. Never give up. Survivors are not easily discouraged by setbacks.

http://www.deepsurvival.co​m/

As Alder Stone Fuller says “We cannot afford fear, despair and denial. We must inform ourselves about what we face, and do the work that must be done to prepare for it.”

This is humankind’s biggest challenge ever and our biggest opportunity. Whatever we are as individuals and collectively as societies at the end of this abrupt, chaotic, extreme, violent, rapid process will be established by what we decide to do now.

I bring to your attention two quotes I’ve used for the past 30 years of my 70 – “The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do.”
– Henry Moore.

and “Set a goal to achieve something that is so big, so exhilarating that it excites you and scares you at the same time. It must be a goal that is so appealing, so much in line with your spiritual core, that you can’t get it out of your mind. If you do not get chills when you set a goal, you’re not setting big enough goals.”
– Bob Proctor.

Let us move forward together on this futile yet vital mission to develop a strategy to TELL THE TRUTH.

June 2 at 3:51pm

Peter S. Mizla

The future looks decidedly grimmer as time progresses. I just wonder, has the world gone mad- or has the United Sates finally met its end?

Tipping Points are here now Climate Hawks. C02 is entering the atmosphere again at a record pace- and yet the world goes about blissfully ignorant of the fate it will face.

Homo Sapiens ‘Wise Man’ hardly.

June 2 at 3:59pm

Geo Hernandez

Sorry if I sound depressing but expect the following in the upcoming years (4-10?):

1. A paradigm shift in Denier propaganda. The official but unpublicized position of the Fossil Fuel industry vis a vis the Denier noise machine will be:

a) <b>The phony explanation.</b> Natural Global Warming. Not the contradictory medley of no global warming; ‘global cooling’ or ‘natural global warming’ all of which current deniers claim in the same Orwellian breath. This will acknowledge the warming that will become obvious beyond a shadow of a doubt while the oil and coal companies as well as politicians continue to avoid responsibility.

b) <b>The phony solution.</b> Geo-engineering. Enough said.

2. Less likely to happen but still a possibility, a radical transition in the minds of a substantial fraction of the population, leading to an acceptance of AGW. However, don’t expect successful efforts to avoid further escalation in AGW or even plan for realistic mitigation due to political reasons; social inertia; incomplete knowledge or denial of the full extent of the situation (Yes, those who believe in AGW will be; already are for the most part; in <b>denial</b> of the full consequences of AGW.

3. A revolution (not metaphorically), by ultra-conservatives (with a strong Christian Dominionist influence) or, less likely, by ‘Leftist’ groups as a reaction to their actions.

a) If the ultra-conservatives win, go back to #1a & b.

b) If the ‘Leftists’ win go to #2.

4. Very unlikely, but you never know. Whatever it is that you conceive of as being necessary to minimize the impact of AGW.

June 2 at 4:01pm

Geo Hernandez

Joe, is HTML available here?

June 2 at 4:04pm

Joseph Romm

I am working on it. No promises, sadly.

June 2 at 5:21pm

Mike Allen

Love the new website, very groovy, it’ll be interesting to see what you can do with it.

· June 3 at 3:45am

Jack Fischer

Very sobering research and paper. The one saving grace to all this is that nature is now sounding the alarm bell loudly: large numbers of violent tornados, record flooding and rainfall, severe drought in Europe and China, ecosystems under stress in the Arctic and Antarctic, the vast melting of permafrost etc.. The continuation of these cycles will most certainly impact public opinion, and hopefully, governments, to stop looking the other way. We either change, or we will be changed.

June 3 at 12:24am

Donna Albert

Dave, it’s nice see your post. I hope you are right about the stability points. The rate at which we’ve added CO2 exceeds anything done by nature in the past. I’m concerned that we have kicked a finely balanced system so hard that the results are unpredictable. I agree with your survivor philosophy, but hope that by rapidly reducing emissions we can still avoid disaster.

June 4 at 2:36am

Bradley Jarvis

I’ve been able to reproduce the IPCC temperature projections as a simple function of global ecological impact, highlighting the obvious fact that climate change is perhaps the most obvious consequence of humanity’s obsession with consumption at all costs. Your excellent article is a starting point for my latest blog post, which describes this: http://ideaexplorer.blogsp​ot.com/2011/06/climate-thr​eshold.html.

June 5 at 1:37pm

Anumakonda Jagadeesh

Future Environment scenario quite alarming due to global warming.While GLOBAL WARMING is the CAUSE, CLIMATE CHANGE is the EFFECT.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP), India.
Wind energy Expert.
E-mail: anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail​.com

June 5 at 1:54pm

Derrick Gibson

If we can’t agree to raise taxes when we face record deficits and debts, how in the world will we deal with the loss of agricultural areas and the resulting food shortages?

July 21 at 7:14am

Jackie Ashton de Floris

Um, we’ll fail to?

July 21 at 8:41am

Brett J. Rowley

Put birth control into the food we send third world nations for free.

July 21 at 9:02am

Jackie Ashton de Floris

Start with that at home

July 21 at 9:08am

Jonathan Underwood

Food shortages!? Republican solution: cut farms. That will produce a windfall of food.

July 21 at 11:34am

Derrick Gibson

And how will that help those farmers along the Mississippi deal with floods?

July 21 at 1:38pm

Jonathan Underwood

Humm… I was being sarcastic. ?

July 21 at 3:54pm

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