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Climate Change is Simple: We do Something or We’re Screwed

2012/06/23

That was the title of a TEDx Talk done by Grist.org blogger David Roberts, back in April.  His presentation (which I have embedded bellow) is simple, easy to understand and brutally frightening.  According to Mr. Roberts, if we stay on the emissions path that we are currently on (aka “business as usual”), temperature rise will reach 6 degrees Celsius by end of this century.  By itself, that number may not sound all that bad.  However, you have to consider that a warming of 4 degrees would be, in Roberts’ own words, “Hell on Earth”.  Or, as scientist Kevin Anderson puts it:

“a 4 degrees C future is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable.”

And, if you are wondering what “not being stable” means, it refers to the fact that we would cross tipping points where positive feed-backs, such as the release of methane from permafrost, would cause the temperature to drastically increase beyond any control.  If such tipping points are crossed, average temperature rise could reach +12 degrees Celsius by the year 2300.  According to Roberts, at +12 degrees Celsius “Up to half the currently inhabited land on the planet would be too hot for humans to live on” (my emphasis).  That means: you go outside, you die!

This is the path we are on.

Finally, to those of you who might be skeptical of Mr. Roberts’ assertions, you don’t have to take his word (or mine) for it.  Mr. Roberts has taken the time to write a blog post where he goes through his presentation, slide by slide, linking sources and giving additional thoughts.  I recommend you watch the video first, then read his post if you feel so inclined.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Martin Lack permalink
    2012/06/23 12:25 pm

    Well done for doing this. Instead of burying it at the end of a post on my blog last Friday, I should have given it a post all of it’s own like you have done (and I may still do so).

    • 2012/06/23 6:13 pm

      Thanks!

      It is quite a scary future that we are looking at. And, it is only doing the research for my presentation that I truly began to understand what “business as usual” meant in terms of climate change. And it makes “our” inaction seem more insane! This whole Rio+20 business is simply mind boggling. The only reason I didn’t write a comment while reading your post about it was because all I felt like typing was #$#%#?&@$%?%$@%@#@?@!

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