Tue Jan 22, 2013, 08:12 PM
Matilda (5,848 posts)
The Climate Change Endgame
It is abundantly clear that the target of a 2-degree Celsius limit to climate change was mostly derived from what seemed convenient and doable without any reference to what it really means environmentally. Two degrees is actually too much for ecosystems. Tropical coral reefs are extremely vulnerable to even brief periods of warming. The elevated atmospheric CO2 also has raised the acidity of the oceans, which affects the ability of coral and mollusks such as oysters to build shells and skeletons. A 2-degree world will be one without coral reefs (on which millions of human beings depend for their well-being).
At current global warming of 0.8-0.9 degrees, the fingerprints of climate change can be seen virtually everywhere in nature. The coniferous forests of western North America are currently experiencing massive tree mortality because climate change has tipped the balance in favor of native bark beetles. The Amazon seems to be edging close to dieback in the southern and southeastern portions of the great forest.
At essentially double that current temperature increase, there undoubtedly will be massive extinctions and widespread ecosystem collapse. The difficulty of trying to buffer and manage change will increase exponentially with only small increments of warming.
Currently in Australia we are experiencing bushfires, floods and cyclones. The state of Queensland has just had bushfires and is now dealing with the effects of a cyclone and flooding. This is crazy weather! In Sydney the temperatures are jumping within days from 21 deg. C (69 deg. F) to 40 deg.+ (104 deg. F). It's sad to see the destruction of property, wildlife, and beautiful bushland - all happening while conservative governments in the eastern states are cutting funding to fire services. It's so clear that something extraordinary is happening, and it's worldwide, yet there are still those who have the blinkers firmly on.
The future scenario seems all too clear - not so many years from now, the catastrophes are going to be so widespread that even those who operate purely from self-interest or idiocy are going to see the writing on the wall. Drastic measures will have to be put in place, but it will probably be too little, too late. We're walking towards midnight already. I think of my children and my grandchildren yet to come, and I feel despair. We still have a tiny window for action, yet we seem to be no closer than we were twenty years ago.
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Response to Matilda (Original post)
Tue Jan 22, 2013, 10:40 PM
AverageJoe90 (9,370 posts)
Obviously we do face some serious challenges ahead, that much is certain. However, though, I've also been convinced for some time that the extent of some things in recent years, at least partly probably has been partly due to just a shitty roll of the proverbial probability dice.....yeah, sure, some extremists on here will likely call me a "denier" or a "minimizer" for saying that. Doesn't mean that climate change isn't a serious issue, though, and there may indeed not be much time to have a good statistical chance of avoiding 2*C by 2100.
There is some reason to be hopeful, particularly if you're an actual, genuine climate realist(such as myself and others), but the time to act is right now.