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Tipping Point

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  1. Climate Disruption or Catastrophic Climate Change
  2. Global Warming Prevention Efforts
  3. Oceans
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Multimedia
  1. Editorial: The New Abolishionists (MSNBC News)
      Chris Hayes discusses the economic similarities between the effort to end slavery and the effort to end the use of fossil fuels. He states that he is not making a moral equivalency. 04-14

  2. Run Away (Accelerating) Temperatures (Youtube.com)
      Explores the temperature needed for run away climate and temperatures, especially related to melting permafrost. Dr. Anton Vaks has estimated that the temperature is 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. 02-16

Papers
  1. -01 A Biochar Solution for Climate Change (Awesome Library) star
      "The Biochar Program will demonstrate that carbonizing forest waste and then planting the char, "biochar," in farming soil is a powerful method to mitigate climate change." 01-16

  2. -01 Average CO2 Level Hits 400 PPM (Time.com)
      "April was the first time the monthly average of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed 400 parts per million, a threshold that the U.N. says has 'symbolic and scientific significance.' "

      Also see: Climate Change: The Delicate Balance 05-14

  3. -01 Climate Change's Exponential Increase (New York Times)
      "More than a 2-degree increase should be unimaginable. Yet to stop at 2 degrees, global emissions have to peak in 2016. The Carbon Tracker organization has examined fossil-fuel investments around the world (including 1,200 new coal plants) and determined that they would lead to a 6-degree world. A recent World Bank report indicates the bank cannot fulfill its development mission in a 4-degree world. Given what we know about planetary biology, 2 degrees seems nightmarish as it is."

      "So what to do? The first thing is to recognize both the climate and biodiversity agenda as deadly important, of utmost urgency and fundamental to the future of humanity. The second is to find ways to keep temperature increase below 1.5 degrees." 03-14

  4. -01 Climate Policy Is 20 Years Behind (Truth-Out.org)
      "The 2013 IPCC has acknowledged this great disconnection between climate science and current policy with a clear and unambiguous statement of fact: 'A large fraction of climate change is largely irreversible on human time scales, unless net anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions were strongly negative over a sustained period.'

      "For the best-case scenario, to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius while limiting carbon dioxide emissions to 390 parts per million (today it's 400 parts per million), we need to remove all the carbon dioxide that we emit every year, plus one-third more. For the worst-case scenario - and we are basically straddling the worst-case scenario today; carbon dioxide levels will reach 1,190 parts per million by 2100 without action - we need to remove over twice as much carbon dioxide as we emit every year. These amounts are four to six times greater than those put forth by the Clean Power Plan. (4)" 12-15

  5. -01 How Much Carbon Dioxide Is Too Much? (TruthOut.org)
      "New work from the France, Japan and Great Britain institutes of sciences and meteorology have new modeling that reveals the true challenge of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Under the best case scenario, negative emissions of 135 percent of annual emissions are required. For the worst-case scenario that we are currently tracking, negative emissions of 210 percent of annual emissions are required."

      "The US commitment at the UN Climate Conference that concluded this month in Paris was for 80 percent emissions reductions below 2005 levels by 2050. Commitments for developed nations under the Kyoto Protocol were 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. (4) The current US commitment is 27 percent less with a 30 year delayed target."

      "Climate science is way out in front of climate policy." 12-15

  6. -01 UN Report: Humans Are Causing Severe and Irreversible Climate Disruption (Truth-out.org)
      "A recently released draft of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Synthesis Report concluded that anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) is fully upon us, will dramatically worsen unless something is done immediately - and that something is on the level of a wartime response. The report noted that ACD is 'severe ... pervasive ... irreversible.' " 09-14

  7. -01 Why 2 Degrees Are So Important (CBS News)
      "As the United Nations conference on climate change gets underway Monday in Paris, one temperature that will be on everyone's minds is 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Although it might not sound like a big number, climatologists predict that if the planet warms a total of 2 degrees more than its average temperature before the Industrial Revolution -- when humans started burning fossil fuels -- the results could be catastrophic." 12-15

  8. -Another Theory on the End of the Dinosaur (NewYorker.com)
      "Catastrophes of the past are an irresistible backdrop onto which we project our own fears of apocalypse, the doomsday scenarios that trouble our sleep. They allow us to peer timidly into the abyss and then draw our feet back again, glancing nervously about at this Anthropocene world. If we’re fortunate, we’ll just be naturally selected." 07-16

  9. -Are We Making Progress on Climate Change? (Grist.org)
      "Consider: Carbon dioxide emissions have gone up every year since 2009. CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has gone up too — from an average of 387 parts per million in 2009 to an average of more than 400 ppm for April, May, and June of this year. Last month was the hottest August ever recorded, and 2014 is on track to be the hottest year ever recorded." 09-14

  10. -Beyond the Worst Case Scenario (Scientific American)
      "The IPCC has declared man-made climate change 'unequivocal.' The hard part: trying to stop it." 05-09

  11. -Cameras Reveal Methane and Other Gases (EarthWorksAction.org)
      "Communities living near oil and gas operations often are exposed to air pollution that can cause serious health problems. However, the energy industry claims there is no proof, and, as a result, the impacts are often discounted as 'anecdotal.' The Citizens Empowerment Project aims to outfit citizens with the tools they need to document the pollution that is occurring in their communities."

      "The FLIR camera provides visual evidence of gases leaking during oil and gas activities or being purposefully vented or released into the air as part of an operation. The camera we use is designed to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs)."

      "This technology, along with our FLIR trained staff armed with 25 years of experience in the field, is helping communities see what’s in the air they breathe at home, in school and around town."

      Editor's Note: This technology could, perhaps, provide early warning for coastal communities that are vulnerable to methane releases from deep ocean warming. 12-15

  12. -Carbon-Negative Biochar and the Tipping Point (e360.Yale.edu) star
      "As the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere climbs to 400 parts per million and beyond, and the impacts of climate change become more unmistakable and destructive — rapid melting of Arctic Ocean ice, a rising incidence of extreme weather events — the case for extracting carbon from the atmosphere becomes increasingly compelling. Reducing the world’s emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases — the focus of virtually all public discussion and government policy on climate at the moment — remains vital, but as a practical matter that effort only affects how quickly the 400 ppm figure will increase. Turning biomass into biochar and burying it underground effectively withdraws CO2 from the atmosphere; if done at sufficient scale and in combination with aggressive reductions in annual greenhouse gas emissions, biochar thus could help reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2."

      "Johannes Lehmann, a professor of agricultural science at Cornell University and one of the world’s top experts on biochar, has calculated that if biochar were added to 10 percent of global cropland, the effect would be to sequester 29 billion tons of CO2 equivalent — roughly equal to humanity’s annual greenhouse gas emissions." 01-14

  13. -Carbon-Negative Biochar and the Tipping Point (e360.Yale.edu) star
      "As the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere climbs to 400 parts per million and beyond, and the impacts of climate change become more unmistakable and destructive — rapid melting of Arctic Ocean ice, a rising incidence of extreme weather events — the case for extracting carbon from the atmosphere becomes increasingly compelling. Reducing the world’s emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases — the focus of virtually all public discussion and government policy on climate at the moment — remains vital, but as a practical matter that effort only affects how quickly the 400 ppm figure will increase. Turning biomass into biochar and burying it underground effectively withdraws CO2 from the atmosphere; if done at sufficient scale and in combination with aggressive reductions in annual greenhouse gas emissions, biochar thus could help reduce atmospheric concentrations of CO2."

      "Johannes Lehmann, a professor of agricultural science at Cornell University and one of the world’s top experts on biochar, has calculated that if biochar were added to 10 percent of global cropland, the effect would be to sequester 29 billion tons of CO2 equivalent — roughly equal to humanity’s annual greenhouse gas emissions." 04-14

  14. -Climate Change Leaders Convey Urgency (CNN News)
      "Four top environmental scientists raised the stakes Sunday in their fight to reverse climate change and save the planet. Climate and energy scientists James Hansen, Ken Caldeira, Kerry Emanuel and Tom Wigley have released an open letter calling on world leaders to support development of safer nuclear power systems."

      "Embracing nuclear is the only way, the scientists believe, to reverse the looming threat of climate change which they blame on fossil fuels. Depending who you ask, they're either abandoning -- or leading -- traditional environmentalists who for a half-century have rejected clean-burning nuclear power as too expensive or too dangerous. Opponents cite disasters at Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile island."

      "The fear is that time is running out. Without nuclear, the scientists believe global energy consumption will overtake the planet's ability to reverse the buildup of carbon dioxide pollution from burning oil, coal and other fossil fuels." 01-14

  15. -Climate Policy Is 20 Years Behind (Truth-Out.org)
      "The 2013 IPCC has acknowledged this great disconnection between climate science and current policy with a clear and unambiguous statement of fact: 'A large fraction of climate change is largely irreversible on human time scales, unless net anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions were strongly negative over a sustained period.'

      "For the best-case scenario, to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius while limiting carbon dioxide emissions to 390 parts per million (today it's 400 parts per million), we need to remove all the carbon dioxide that we emit every year, plus one-third more. For the worst-case scenario - and we are basically straddling the worst-case scenario today; carbon dioxide levels will reach 1,190 parts per million by 2100 without action - we need to remove over twice as much carbon dioxide as we emit every year. These amounts are four to six times greater than those put forth by the Clean Power Plan. (4)" 12-15

  16. -Climate Scientists Call for More Nuclear (BradBlog.com)
      "How precarious has our climate predicament become? Bad enough that four prominent climate scientists --- including one very prominent activist --- are now publicly calling on major environmental advocacy organizations to embrace nuclear power. Yes, nuclear power." 11-13

  17. -Danger Zone of Climate Change (Scientific American)
      The report states that in order to keep the average temperature below 2 degrees above pre-industrial level, CO2 levels must be held to 405 parts per million, just above levels reached in 2016. 07-16

  18. -Editorial: Our Threatened Oceans (Awesome Library)
      "We have reason for great concern that our oceans are going through a rapid change that may create severe problems for ourselves and disaster for our children and grandchildren. Here are some of the problems...." There have been catastrophic losses of live globally in the past. 12-15

  19. -Growth in CO2 Rates in the Air Since 1958 (NOAA.gov)
      "The carbon dioxide data (red curve), measured as the mole fraction in dry air, on Mauna Loa constitute the longest record of direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere. They were started by C. David Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in March of 1958 at a facility of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Keeling, 1976]. NOAA started its own CO2 measurements in May of 1974, and they have run in parallel with those made by Scripps since then [Thoning, 1989]. The black curve represents the seasonally corrected data."

      The chart shows that CO2 was around 310 parts per million in 1958 and is 392 in 2011. 05-11

  20. -How Much Carbon Dioxide Can We Still Burn? (InformationIsBeautiful.net)
      Discusses the earth's CO2 "budget." 09-14

  21. -How Much Carbon Dioxide Is Too Much? (TruthOut.org)
      "New work from the France, Japan and Great Britain institutes of sciences and meteorology have new modeling that reveals the true challenge of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Under the best case scenario, negative emissions of 135 percent of annual emissions are required. For the worst-case scenario that we are currently tracking, negative emissions of 210 percent of annual emissions are required."

      "The US commitment at the UN Climate Conference that concluded this month in Paris was for 80 percent emissions reductions below 2005 levels by 2050. Commitments for developed nations under the Kyoto Protocol were 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. (4) The current US commitment is 27 percent less with a 30 year delayed target."

      "Climate science is way out in front of climate policy." 12-15

  22. -How Much Carbon Is Too Much? (Scientific American)
      "To avoid catastrophic climate change, the world will need to emit less than one trillion metric tons of carbon between now and 2050, according to two new papers published in Nature today. In other words, there is only room in the atmosphere to burn or vent less than one quarter of known oil, natural gas and coal reserves."

      Editor's Note: One alternative is to "pull carbon from the air and store it in the soil. See biochar. 05-09

  23. -New Hope for the Climate (Al Gore, Rolling Stone)
      "In the struggle to solve the climate crisis, a powerful, largely unnoticed shift is taking place. The forward journey for human civilization will be difficult and dangerous, but it is now clear that we will ultimately prevail. The only question is how quickly we can accelerate and complete the transition to a low-carbon civilization. There will be many times in the decades ahead when we will have to take care to guard against despair, lest it become another form of denial, paralyzing action. It is true that we have waited too long to avoid some serious damage to the planetary ecosystem – some of it, unfortunately, irreversible. Yet the truly catastrophic damages that have the potential for ending civilization as we know it can still – almost certainly – be avoided. Moreover, the pace of the changes already set in motion can still be moderated significantly." 06-14

  24. -Record-High CO2 Levels a Bad Sign for Climate (ClimateBiz.com)
      "CO2 emissions from energy production in 2010 were the highest in history following a recessionary dip the year before, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a stark announcement Monday. Existing and planned power plants mean the bulk of energy-related CO2 emissions projected for 2020 are already 'locked in.' "

      "World leaders have agreed to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius or less above pre-industrial levels to prevent catastrophic climate change, which could include heat waves, rising sea levels, extreme weather and droughts, among other impacts."

      "We need to keep the concentration of atmospheric GHGs below 450 parts per million in order to achieve this. To put this in perspective, we reached 393 ppm in April. Maintaining an energy pathway to the 450 Scenario would require us to essentially keep emissions levels flat over the next decade." 06-11

  25. -Scientist Predicts 2036 May Be Point of No Return for Disaster (MSNBC News)
      " 'If the world keeps burning fossil fuels at the current rate, it will cross a threshold into environmental ruin by 2036,' Mann wrote in Scientific American earlier this week." 03-14

  26. -Scientists Mourn Where We Are Headed (Truth-out.org)
      "In fact, Joanna Macy believes it is not in the self-perceived interest of multinational corporations, or the government and the media that serve them 'for us to stop and become aware of our profound anguish with the way things are.' "

      "Nevertheless, these disturbing trends of widespread denial, disinformation by the corporate media, and the worsening impacts of runaway ACD [anthropogenic climate disruption], which are all increasing, are something she is very mindful of. As she wrote in World as Lover, World as Self, 'The loss of certainty that there will be a future is, I believe, the pivotal psychological reality of our time.' "

      "We don't know how long we have left on earth. Five years? 15 years? 30? Beyond the year 2100? But when we allow our hearts to be shattered - broken completely open - by these stark, cold realities, we allow our perspectives to be opened up to vistas we've never known. When we allow ourselves to fully experience the crisis in this way, we are then able to truly see it through new eyes." 01-15

  27. -Scientists Urgently Warn About Climate Change (Think Progress.org)
      "Global carbon dioxide emissions are set to rise again this year, putting the world on a path toward dangerous climate change and making the internationally-accepted warming target of 2 degrees Celsius nearly 'unachievable,' say researchers." 11-13

  28. -Special Report: Climate Change (Scientific American)
      "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just completed its fourth assessment of the science of climate change, its impacts and possible solutions. The panel of 2,500 scientists and other experts declared manmade warming 'unequivocal' and wrote that it could lead to climate changes that are 'abrupt and irreversible.' " 05-09

  29. -Study: Climate Change May Be Catastrophic (Washington Post)
      "Because of the impact of warming on cloud cover, the researchers calculated, average global temperatures could rise a full 7 degrees by the end of the century. This 'would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous,' the study’s lead author, Steven Sherwood of the University of New South Wales in Australia, told the Guardian newspaper. He said such a temperature increase 'would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much of the tropics.' It would also guarantee the melting of so much polar ice that sea levels would rise dramatically, with dire implications for coastal cities around the world." 01-14

  30. -The Difference Between Global Warming 1.5 and 2.0 Degrees (e360.Yale.edu)
      "By some estimates, curbing warming at 1.5 degrees could be sufficient to prevent the formation of an ice-free Arctic in summer, to save the Amazon rainforest, and to prevent the Siberian tundra from melting and releasing planet-warming methane from its frozen depths. It could also save many coastal regions and islands from permanent inundation by rising sea levels, particularly in the longer run." 07-16

  31. -Tipping Point: Over 500 Gigatons of Carbon Dioxide Before 2050 (InformationIsBeautiful.net)
      Provides simple charts on the projected consequences of climate change. 02-14

  32. -U.N. Report Warns of Climate Change (Time.com)
      "A new report on climate change warns the impact of rising temperatures on crop yields, water supplies and sea levels may push our planet over the edge." 03-14

  33. -Undersea Methane May Speed Climate Change (USA Today)
      "It lurks beneath the sea."

      "No, not The Blob, but something perhaps far more sinister: methane, a potent greenhouse gas 30 times better than carbon dioxide at trapping atmospheric heat."

      "Research released Thursday finds that underground methane appears to be seeping through the Arctic Ocean floor and into the Earth's atmosphere, thanks to a weakening of the protective layer of permafrost at the bottom of the ocean. Once released into the atmosphere, methane could wreak havoc with the world's climate.” 03-10

  34. -Voluntary Emission Caps Not Enough to Avert Catastrophe (Truth-Out.org)
      "In preparation for COP21, the nations of the world were asked to each provide their voluntary emission caps. They fell short. Voluntary proposals are insufficient to avert catastrophic climate change. We are rapidly approaching a precipice, since there are irreversible changes - for example, the melting of Greenland and of the polar caps - that occur once we exceed 2 [degree] Celsius increase in temperature and cannot be reversed for centuries since, once emitted, carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. This catastrophic scenario will happen now unless we actually remove existing carbon from the atmosphere. Mandatory emissions [limits] are critical, yet the US continues to be strongly opposed to this approach." 11-15

  35. -We Are the Last Generation Able to Stop Climate Change (PBS.org)
      "We are the first generations that have truly had the opportunity to end poverty, and we are the last generations to be able to stop climate change." 12-15

  36. -Why 2 Degrees Are So Important (CBS News)
      "As the United Nations conference on climate change gets underway Monday in Paris, one temperature that will be on everyone's minds is 2 degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Although it might not sound like a big number, climatologists predict that if the planet warms a total of 2 degrees more than its average temperature before the Industrial Revolution -- when humans started burning fossil fuels -- the results could be catastrophic." 12-15

  37. -Why is 2 Degrees the Target for Maximum Temperature Change? (PBS.org)
      " Why is that specific number so important though? And what happens if we exceed that limit?" 03-16

  38. Are the Paris Accords on Climate Change Enough? (Scientific American)
      "The greater concern, perhaps, is whether the many national pledges go far enough, fast enough given the speed of global warming and the scale of global energy infrastructure—both existing and to be built in the next few decades. The latest report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests the world must emit zero CO2 by 2070, at the latest, to have a good chance to avoid more than 2 degrees Celsius of global warming, the threshold for serious fallout."

      "That optimistic projection relies on technologies that actually suck CO2 back out the air, such as capturing and burying the CO2 created by burning fossil fuels. That technology is not practical yet.""

      "Editor's Note: Technologies do exist to prevent enough CO2 emissions from the natural carbon cycle to counter emissions from burning fossil fuels. Please see: A Biochar Solution 03-16

  39. Carbon Emissions Need to Go "Negative" by 2050 (Planet2025News.net)
      "A chapter by climate scientist W. L. Hare concludes that in order to avoid a catastrophic climate tipping point, global greenhouse gas emissions will need to peak before 2020 and drop 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, with further reductions beyond that date. Emissions of carbon dioxide would actually need to ‘go negative’—with more being absorbed than emitted—during the second half of this century. Hare’s research finds that even a warming of 2 degrees Celsius poses unacceptable risks to key natural and human systems, including significant loss of species, major reductions in food-production capacity in developing countries, severe water stress for hundreds of millions of people, and significant sea-level rise and coastal flooding." 01-09

  40. Climate Disrupting Feedbacks Have Begun (Truth-Out.org)
      "For me, what it means is that Greenland is warmer than it has been in over 100,000 years. Since the global thermal maximum about 5,000 years ago, Greenland has cooled 5 degrees Fahrenheit, but in the last 50 years, it has warmed back up that amount and added a couple of degrees of warmth for good measure. Every year that passes sees Greenland ice getting darker and darker, as more and more dust accumulates on the surface, and more and more energy is captured, melting more and more ice."

      "Snow itself has darkened enough so that the energy it absorbs is increased by 20 to 25 percent. The glaciers that discharge ice from Greenland have increased discharge by an incredible 600 percent and newly discovered tunnels beneath the ice may have the capacity to channel warm ocean water to where it can do the most damage destabilizing the interior of the ice sheet." 03-15

  41. Disturbing Rise in Ocean Temperatures (Grist.org)
      "This year’s biggest climate change news was that 2014 was hottest year on record. Turns out, there’s bigger news: It was also the hottest year in the oceans, which are warming so fast they’re literally breaking the NOAA’s charts."

      " While air temperatures can fluctuate on any given year, they are usually matched by an increase or decrease of the amount of heat stored in the oceans (which, by the way, absorb around 90 percent of total global warming heat). To know whether the system as a whole is getting warmer or not, scientists need to take into account the temperatures of the atmosphere, land, AND oceans.” 01-15

  42. Editorial: COP21: Too Little, Too Late? (Truth-out.org)
      "The goal, like that of past COPs, is to have governments commit to taking steps to cut carbon dioxide emissions in order to limit planetary warming to within 2 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial temperature baseline."

      "Yet this is a politically agreed-upon limit. It is not based on science."

      "Renowned climate scientist James Hansen and multiple other scientists have already shown that a planetary temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius above preindustrial baseline temperatures is enough to cause runaway climate feedback loops, extreme weather events and a disastrous sea level rise."

      "Furthermore, the UK meteorological office has shown that this year's global temperature average has already surpassed that 1 degree Celsius level." 11-15

  43. Exactly How Hot Is Too Hot? (New York Times)
      "That raised the question of how much warming would be dangerous. In the mid-1990s, the German government picked up on the 2C finding as a way to breathe life into the treaty."

      "A decade of subsequent research added scientific support to the notion that 2C was a dangerous threshold. Experts realized, for example, that at some increase in global temperature, the immense Greenland ice sheet would begin an unstoppable melt, raising the sea by as much as 23 feet over an unknown period. Their early calculations suggested that calamity would be unlikely as long as global warming did not exceed about 1.9 degrees Celsius."

      "Those ice sheets now appear to be in the early stages of breaking up. For instance, Greenland’s glaciers have lately been spitting icebergs into the sea at an accelerated pace, and scientific papers published this year warned that the melting in parts of Antarctica may already be unstoppable."

      " 'The climate is now out of equilibrium with the ice sheets,' said Andrea Dutton, a geochemist at the University of Florida who studies global sea levels. 'They are going to melt.' ” 01-15

  44. Gauging Climate Change (Time.com)
      "There are many units by which to measure the impact of climate change: degrees of increasing temperature, feet of rising sea level, dollars needed to adapt to a warming world. But a group of scientists in California have put forth an intriguing new unit of measurement: kilometers per year." 12-08

  45. Global Warming Nears "Dangerous Levels" (MSNBC News)
      "Global temperatures are dangerously close to the highest ever estimated to have occurred in the past million years, scientists reported Monday." 09-06

  46. How Climate Change Has Disrupted the Polar Vortex (New Zealand Herald)
      "When the variable nature of global warming became apparent, scientists started calling it climate change. Now they are starting to call it 'climate weirding', which is an alarming step indeed."

      "The ice and snow storms currently affecting half of the US are attributed to the polar vortex, a prevailing wind pattern that circles the Arctic, flowing from west to east all the way around the Earth. It normally keeps extremely cold air bottled up toward the North Pole." 02-14

  47. Is It Too Late to Stop Global Warming? (ABC News)
      "A prime example: decayed vegetation in the Arctic, which contains massive amounts of carbon, used to be protected by the perpetual cold. As the climate warms — sped along by human beings burning fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide — scientists say the vegetation will dry out and break down, releasing even more carbon dioxide."

      " 'Humans are putting about 6 or 7 billion metric tons of carbon in the atmosphere a year, and we're standing on 200 billion tons here," says [biologist Walter] Oechel. 'Any significant portion comes out, that's worse than current human injection into the atmosphere. And once that runaway release occurs, there would be no way to stop it.' " 03-06

  48. Methane Release from Arctic Ice Melting (Arctic Methane Emergency Group)
      "The Arctic summer sea ice is in a rapid, extremely dangerous meltdown process. The Arctic summer ice albedo loss feedback (i.e., open sea absorbs more heat than ice, which reflects much of it) passed its tipping point in 2007 – many decades earlier than models projected, and scientists now agree the Arctic will be ice free during the summer by 2030. However, that is not to say it couldn't happen very much earlier. "

      "The retreat of sea ice appears to be leading to the most catastrophic feedback process of all. This is the venting of methane to the atmosphere from frozen methane gas hydrates on the sea floor of the Arctic continental shelf."

      "If methane release from Arctic sea floor hydrates happens on a large scale — and this year's reports suggest that it will — then this situation can start an uncontrollable sequence of events that would make world agriculture and civilization unsustainable. It is a responsible alarm, not alarmist, to say that it is a real threat to the survival of humanity and most life on Earth." 01-15

  49. Methane in Oceans an Emerging Threat (Truth-Out.org)
      "The Permian mass extinction that occurred 250 million years ago was related to methane - in fact, the gas is thought to be the key to what caused the extinction of approximately 95 percent of all species on the planet."

      "Also known as 'The Great Dying,' it was triggered by a massive lava flow in an area of Siberia that led to an increase in global temperatures of 6 degrees Celsius. That, in turn, caused the melting of frozen methane deposits under the seas. Released into the atmosphere, it caused temperatures to skyrocket further. All of this occurred over a period of approximately 80,000 years."

      "We are already in the midst of what scientists consider the sixth mass extinction in planetary history, with between 150 and 200 species going extinct daily, a pace 1,000 times greater than the 'natural' or 'background' extinction rate. This event may already be comparable to, or even exceed, both the speed and intensity of the Permian mass extinction." 01-15

  50. Poll: Americans Not Concerned About Climate Change (Grist.org)
      "The results of a Gallup survey reveal just how little climate change raises Americans’ anxiety levels. The research firm called 513 Americans last week and asked them how much they worry about 15 problems facing the nation. When it came to climate change, half said 'a little' or 'not at all.' "

      "Only a quarter said they worried about climate change “a great deal,” which puts the issue second from the bottom in the list of Americans’ concerns, above only race relations. Even drug use has Americans more worried than climate change."

      Editor's Note: Amazing. 03-14

  51. Runaway Climate Change (Wikipedia.org)
      "The phrase 'runaway climate change' is used to describe a situation in which positive feedbacks result in rapid climate change.[7] It is most commonly used in mass media and popular science literature and by environmental organizations,[8][9] is occasionally used in the social sciences.[10] It is particularly used in the popular media and by environmentalists with reference to concerns about rapid global warming.[7][8] Some astronomers use the similar expression runaway greenhouse effect to describe a situation where the climate deviates catastrophically and permanently from the original state - as happened on Venus.[11][12]. 11-09

  52. Scientists: Arctic Ice Loss Triggering Global Warming (BBC News)
      " 'September 2005 will set a new record minimum in the amount of Arctic sea ice cover,' said Mark Serreze, of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), Boulder, Colorado.' "

      "The current rate of shrinkage they calculate at 8% per decade; at this rate there may be no ice at all during the summer of 2060."

      " 'These dark areas absorb a lot of the Sun's energy, much more than the ice, and what happens then is that the oceans start to warm up, and it becomes very difficult for ice to form during the following autumn and winter.' "

      " 'It looks like this is exactly what we're seeing - a positive feedback effect, a "tipping-point".' "

      "The idea behind tipping-points is that at some stage the rate of global warming would accelerate, as rising temperatures break down natural restraints or trigger environmental changes which release further amounts of greenhouse gases."

      "The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, a four-year study involving hundreds of scientists, projected an additional temperature rise of 4-7C by 2100." 9-05

  53. Study: Current Renewable Energy Technologies Are Not Sufficient (Spectrum.IEEE.org)
      "Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today’s renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach." 02-15

  54. Study: We Need to Leave Fossil Fuels in the Ground (Grist.org)
      "To keep the climate somewhat safe and relatively stable, 82 percent of the world’s coal reserves, half of all natural gas, and every drop of Arctic oil must be left in the ground, according to a new study from researchers at University College London. And that’s just considering the energy resources already counted as assets-to-be-burned by fossil fuel companies, meaning they can be extracted for a profit at current commodity prices. We must also stop exploring for new carbon-based fuels altogether to avoid complete climate chaos." 02-15

  55. Warming Debate Shifts to "Tipping Point" (MSNBC News)
      "Now that most scientists agree human activity is causing Earth to warm, the central debate has shifted to whether climate change is progressing so rapidly that, within decades, humans may be helpless to slow or reverse the trend."

      "There are three specific events that these scientists describe as especially worrisome and potentially imminent, although the time frames are a matter of dispute: widespread coral bleaching that could damage the world's fisheries within three decades; dramatic sea level rise by the end of the century that would take tens of thousands of years to reverse; and, within 200 years, a shutdown of the [Atlantic thermohaline] ocean current that moderates temperatures in northern Europe." 01-06

  56. We Have Hit the Tipping Point Already (Boston Globe)
      "Across the northern hemisphere, the temperature, if only for a few hours, apparently crossed a line: it was more than two degrees Celsius above 'normal' for the first time in recorded history and likely for the first time in the course of human civilization."

      "That’s important because the governments of the world have set two degrees Celsius as the must-not-cross red line that, theoretically, we’re doing all we can to avoid." 03-16

   
   


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