The inevitability of warming: a matter of degrees

In Tales of a Warming Planet in today’s review section of the Sunday NYTimes, Curt Stager makes some central points about climate change well-known and accepted by climate scientists, but still new to most people:

Let me cite just three, in byte-sized form:

1) Roughly one-eighth of the carbon in your flesh, hair and bones recently emerged from smokestacks and tailpipes. We are not only a source of air pollution — we are air pollution.

2)This best-case [climate change] scenario is troubling, but Earth history shows us that the alternative is unacceptable. If we burn all remaining coal, oil and gas reserves within the next century or two, we could introduce a more extreme, longer-lasting hothouse much like one that occurred about 56 million years ago: the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM

3)  A switch from finite fossil energy to cleaner, renewable energy sources is inevitable: We are only deciding how and when to do it.

One can look at the apocalypse and despair, or one can look at the risks and lead, as Jerry Brown has been doing in California, discussed in a nice piece by UCLA prof Jon Christiansen called:

The California Way: Sunny, with a chance of apocalypse

But in either case, it’s going to get warmer on this planet. The only question is a matter of degrees.



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