We only have little time left to act. But we can still avoid the passing of tipping points. Here is how.
Reposted with permission by Jim Hansen
In my opinion, it is still feasible to solve the global warming problem before we pass tipping points that would guarantee disastrous irreversible climate change. But urgent strong actions are needed. These actions would have multiple benefits, providing a helpful economic stimulus, improving public health, and increasing energy independence and national security.
Assessment of strategic options for solving the problem requires knowledge of geophysical constraints and their implications. The geophysical facts practically dictate the general course of action. Fortunately, it is clear that the required course is technically feasible, and it would have great benefits to the public in developing and developed countries. Unfortunately, knowledge and understanding of the situation are not widespread. In addition, there is a minority of people, termed fossil interests, who benefit from business-asusual.
These fossil interests have enormous influence on governments worldwide, far outside their fair role in democracies. Failure to achieve the actions needed to stabilize global climate will result in great intergenerational injustice. The young and unborn in both developed and developing countries would bear full consequences of actions of prior generations. We need to help young people draw attention to this great injustice.
Our global climate is nearing tipping points. Changes are beginning to appear, and there is a potential for rapid changes with effects that would be irreversible – if we do not promptly slow fossil fuel emissions during the next few decades. Tipping points are fed by amplifying feedbacks. As Arctic sea ice melts, the darker ocean absorbs more sunlight and speeds melting. As tundra melts, methane – a strong greenhouse gas – is released, causing more warming. As species are pressured and exterminated by shifting climate zones, ecosystems can collapse, destroying more species.