January 27, 2013
Major Climate Changes Looming. A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle detailed the growing belief among scientists that the Earth’s climate is fast approaching an irreversible and potentially catastrophic climate change tipping point. The planet has warmed 0.8°C (1.4°F) since preindustrial times which is already causing the Arctic ice sheet to melt at a dramatic rate, the acidity of the ocean to rise to alarming levels, and triggering a previously unseen frequency of extreme weather events around the globe. Even more troubling, a November report by the World Bank predicted that if current trends continue, the Earth could warm by as much as an additional 4°C in 50 years, largely due to a lack of governmental action to curb greenhouse gas emissions and the addition of powerful positive feedbacks loops in the climate. The current international political consensus is that global warming should be capped at 2°C which is expected to be reached in a mere 25 years based on current trends. Alan Robock of the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction and a CECI affiliate, criticized this number as being arbitrary and that on our current path we will simply “go zooming way past” it.