Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Palm-trees at the North Pole

Research published in Nature Communications finds that if fossil fuel use continues unabated, the atmosphere could revert "to values of CO2 not seen since the early Eocene (50 million years ago)," a time when humans did not exist, by the middle of the 21st century.

Dana L. Royer, a paleoclimate researcher at Wesleyan University and co-author of the study, told Climate Central, "The early Eocene was much warmer than today: global mean surface temperature was at least 10°C (18°F) warmer than today. There was little-to-no permanent ice. Palms and crocodiles inhabited the Canadian Arctic."
Because carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for centuries, climate change would continue to impact the planet even if humans miraculously dropped emissions to zero after hitting that mid-century peak, Royer said.

Indeed, global warming may have already locked in the Antarctic ice sheet for unstoppable melting—driving sea level rise and threatening coastal communities worldwide.

The authors continue, "If CO2 continues to rise further into the twenty-third century, then the associated large increase in radiative forcing, and how the Earth system would respond, would likely be without geological precedent in the last half a billion years."

We can go on doing nothing, despite all the cries of doom and despair, because we have locked ourselves into an economic system that cannot function in any other way than to place profits as its imperative purpose rather than the welfare of humanity and nature. The brutal reality we face is than no number of climate-change conferences is going to change that. We must demand more – the end of capitalism, itself.  

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