In response to this weekend Climate Progress Cartoon. (Original)
Thank you so much! Image: Extended version 2011
From → Climate Change, Climate Change Denial, Science
Many of the graphs relating to global warming are exponential, rather than linear. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising at accelerating speed, unlike anything that has been seen in history. This in itself is sufficient reason for alarm. Additionally, there are scenarios in which the combination of several tipping points can lead to a runaway greenhouse gas effect that feeds on itself through positive feedback mechanisms. For an example, read about the Clathrate Gun Hypothesis.
For decades, people have warned about this. Back in the early 1990s, a poll of the world’s leading climatologists showed that many feared that the greenhouse effect could be unstoppable if emissions of polluting gases were merely frozen and not cut. In December 1991, Greenpeace asked 400 climate scientists if they thought the greenhouse effect might reach the point of no return in the near future. Of the 113 scientists who returned their questionnaires, almost half thought a runaway greenhouse effect is possible, and 13 per cent thought it probable.
James Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, recently said that human activity is causing greenhouse gas levels to rise so rapidly that his model suggests there is a risk of a runaway greenhouse effect, ultimately resulting in the loss of oceans and of all life on the planet: “In my opinion, if we burn all the coal, there is a good chance that we will initiate the runaway greenhouse effect. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale (a.k.a. oil shale), I think it is a dead certainty.” http://geo-engineering.blogspot.com/2008_12_01_archive.html
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