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View Diary: New Hansen study: Burning all fossil fuels would make most of planet 'Uninhabitable' (55 comments)

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  •  i understand, but then we've been focusing on (14+ / 0-)

    2 degrees without much success..need to focus on whatever will work

    Macca's Meatless Monday

    by VL Baker on Wed Sep 18, 2013 at 08:55:57 AM PDT

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    •  Totally agree. (8+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately, there's no obvious, linear path for humans to react now. I'd argue we're already living in such a dangerous status of the Earth's life, that there's no sense in not reversing course. We're operating in a system with the complex physics of negative and positive feedbacks that are integrated in such a way that there's no telling what temperature threshold in what given year will do significant damage to life. At 0.6 degrees C average surface global warming at present, there is enough potential for floods to wipe out hundreds of thousands of people who aren't prepared. I believe strongly that the next El Niño will bring temperatures to 0.7 C warming for the first time in millennia. Deniers will readjust their "No warming in X years timeline", starting in 2014 or 2015, or whenever the next record is reached, and the crisis will be normalized as its veiled as a situation that's just tolerable enough to do nothing about. Human life, in other words, may be arrive at the point of small relicts of people eking a desperate existence much, much sooner than we have the ability to burn all the fossil fuels we have on tap.

      A bad enough El Niño could produce famines and civil conflict in the tropics, and another La Niña like 2011-2012 could pressure the American southwest into a drought severe enough to the brink of collapse. This is looking mere decades into the future. The Texas drought of 2011 was a somber reminder that there's no waiting period safe enough for us. I'd argue that our psychological hubris could outlive our physiological ability to withstand global warming for a while, a paradox that's already in play. The point at which our physiological health is stressed enough that mainstream hubris is no longer useful for survival is a possible point of turnaround, but by then, there will be a continual lag between the time the last carbon is emitted and the time the Earth reaches an equilibrium state of energy in versus energy out. I'm with you on the observation of our collective passivity over this festering crisis, but the point that global warming is a present crisis and not one of merely future constructs never tires.

      "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey ////\\\\ "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

      by rovertheoctopus on Wed Sep 18, 2013 at 09:22:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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