The longer humans continue to pour carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the closer we draw to leaving the next generation with an unmanageable climate problem, scientists say. A new study, [see above] just out Tuesday in the journal Earth System Dynamics, suggests that merely reducing greenhouse gas emissions may no longer be enough — and that special technology, aimed at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, may also be necessary to keep the Earth’s climate within safe limits for future generations.The research was largely inspired by a landmark climate change lawsuit brought by 21 children against the federal government, which is scheduled to go to trial in February 2018, and will be used as scientific support in the case. In fact, its lead author, Columbia University climatologist and former NASA scientist James Hansen, is a plaintiff on the case, along with his now 18-year-old granddaughter.The new paper argues that the Paris Agreement’s target of keeping global temperatures within 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius (2.7 to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) of their preindustrial levels isn’t strong enough. During a previous warm period in the Earth’s history, known as the Eemian, or the last interglacial period, the planet experienced similar levels of warming, the authors note — and the resulting consequences included the disintegration of ice sheets and six to nine meters of sea level rise…….the paper calls for a more stringent target of bringing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels down from their current concentration of more than 400 parts per million to about 350 parts per million by the end of the century. This would bring global temperature closer to a 1-degree threshold, rather than 1.5 or 2 degrees, the authors say……..But the study has already come in from some criticism from other scientists, such as Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who told The Washington Post that some aspects of the study were “alarmist” and that if changes come slowly enough, society will be able to adapt to them. Trenberth said he disagreed that the 1 degree target is justified and thinks that even 1.5 degrees is “unrealistic.”……Other researchers are a little more cautiously accepting of the paper’s points.Cristian Proistosescu, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington who was not involved with the new research (but who recently led a major study, himself, on the potential future impact of slow-developing climate modes) expressed some skepticism about using the Earth’s ancient history as an analogy for the future. He noted that some of the conditions that were true during the Eemian — the existence of large ice sheets that have already disappeared, for instance — are not the same now. And because humans have not been around to witness some of the slow-developing climate processes that scientists fear will intensify in the future, there’s uncertainty about how and even whether they will affect future climate change.“But that would be the wrong way to think about it,” he added in an email to The Post. “The more important point is that we cannot rule out the very real probability that there are slow feedbacks — and risk is probability times cost. … Once you start thinking in terms of risks I would concur with Dr. Hansen that the current trajectory presents some unacceptable risks.”…
World’s young face $535 trillion bill for climate.
One of the world’s most famous climate scientists has just calculated the financial burden that tomorrow’s young citizens will face to keep the globe at a habitable temperature and contain global warming and climate change – a $535 trillion bill. Climate News Network, United Kingdom.