Thursday, November 10, 2016

It can only get worse

Now that the American election for president is over, let us focus our attention upon some of the problems Trump will have to face with concrete policies and not campaign speeches

If scientists writing in one of the most respected academic journals are right, Earth could be on course for global warming of more than seven degrees Celsius within a lifetime. It could trigger the kind of runaway global warming that may have turned Venus from a habitable planet into a 460C version of hell.

 According to the current best estimate, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if humans carry on with a “business as usual” approach using large amounts of fossil fuels, the Earth’s average temperature will rise by between 2.6 and 4.8 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100. However new research by an international team of experts who looked into how the Earth’s climate has reacted over nearly 800,000 years warns this could be a major under-estimate. Because, they believe, the climate is more sensitive to greenhouse gases when it is warmer. Professor Michael Mann, of Penn State University in the US, who led research that produced the famous “hockey stick” graph showing how humans were dramatically increasing the Earth’s temperature, told The Independent the new paper appeared "sound and the conclusions quite defensible". 

Greenpeace UK’s, Dr Doug Parr, the environmental campaign group’s chief scientist, said, “The worrying thing is the suggestion climate sensitivity is higher [than thought] is not incompatible with higher temperatures we have been seeing this year. If there is science backing that up, that there’s a higher sensitivity of the climate to greenhouse gases, that puts at risk the prospect of keeping the globe at the Paris target of well below 2C. Anybody who understands the situation we find ourselves in would have already have realised we are in an emergency situation.”

Dr Tobias Friedrich, one of the authors of the paper, said, “The only way out is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.”