Thursday, December 5, 2013

We Are Already Teetering on the Brink of Tipping Points for Abrupt Climate Change

A December 4, 2013 report indicates that the world is already beginning to pass tipping points for abrupt, catastrophic, and irreversible changes.

According to a new 200-page report released by the US National Academy of Sciences, abrupt climate change, unlike gradual changes such as steadily increasing global temperatures, can cause rapid changes to physical, biological, and human systems in a matter of years or decades, far too fast for humans to properly adapt.

The collapse of Arctic summer sea-ice are already underway and accelerating and the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could occur in this century. There is some good news in the report, like the finding that the melting of arctic permafrost is unlikely to occur in this century.

The report concedes that there are significant uncertainties however, they conclude that the world is not doing enough to prepare and anticipate for these types of threats, and calls for more research and the development of an early warning system that could give humanity a few critical years to prepare for the worst impacts of abrupt climate change.

“This should be a wakeup call for the world,” stated Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “No amount of continued warming can be considered safe when we have no idea when we’ll pass these thresholds for irreversible and abrupt climate change.”

Click here to see the report (PDF).

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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