For decades, climate scientists have tried to predict when it would be too late to stop global warming — too late to limit the amount the temperature rises, the amount of sea level rise, and the number of lives claimed by both and other climate-induced ecological disasters — through reducing carbon emissions alone.
Now some experts are looking back to identity the so-called tipping point, acknowledging that humanity has missed its chance to avert disaster.
Humanity “is beyond the point-of-no-return when it comes to halt the melting of the permafrost using greenhouse gas cuts as the single tool,” Jørgen Randers, PhD, professor emeritus of climate strategy at BI Norwegian Business School and lead author of a new study published in Scientific Reports.
The study suggests that if all human-made greenhouse gas emissions stopped immediately, the Earth’s temperatures would continue to rise because of self-sustaining melting ice and permafrost.
These “feedback loops” — in which melting ice causes less sunlight to be reflected back into space, which in turn raises temperatures and causes more ice melt — have already been set into motion.
Even if we made drastic reductions in carbon output, it would still not be enough to prevent significant changes in the world.
Most people are not genuinely interested in the problem even as wildfires, more potent hurricanes and other evidence presents clear proof that climate changes have already occurred.
Rising sea levels are likely to have devastating effects in countries around the world and force migration from island nations as well as areas rocked by war and religious strife.
The only certain way to ensure that the planet remains habitable for people is to find an alternative to fossil fuels for energy production but gas, oil and coal industries have more political influence than the collective power of environmental advocates.
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