READER REPORT:

It's too late to stop climate change

JOHN GILMARTIN
Last updated 05:00 13/06/2014

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For many reasons, I believe it is too late to stop climate change. 

1. Thirty positive feedback loops are now increasing. Summer Arctic sea ice in full retreat. As water becomes more exposed the planet will trap increasing heat energy. The world's cryosphere is in full retreat: Snow cover, glaciers, ice at the poles and on Greenland. Methane is increasingly being released by the warming Arctic seas and from the permafrost reserves in Northern Canada and Siberia.

2. The main driver carbon dioxide (CO2) is increasing in the atmosphere every year, now I believe it is at 402 parts per million.

3. Even if we stopped all emissions entirely tomorrow we have another 40 years of heat increase baked into the cake, the reason there is a time lag of 40 years between emission and consequence. Since 1980 more emissions have been pumped into the atmosphere than all of history before.

4. The oceans are now dangerously acidic, having soaked up much of the (CO2) which is harming sea life such as shell fish and reef systems.

5. Sea levels are set to rise by many feet and will flood some of the world's coastal cities.

This process is not linear but is exponential. Ice core records have shown Earth's climate can change by many degrees within 5 to 10 years. The Holocene we lived in was uniquely stable and was meandering towards another Ice Age. But the Anthropocene has unleashed the climate beast.

Our best bet is to adapt as well as we can.

I would be cheering if all the above were rubbish but I don't believe it is.


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