The dangers of global warming

How do we solve a problem that seems too large to tackle and too complex to understand? By not taking action now, are we putting at risk the only planet we call home… for the off chance that global warming is NOT really going to cause massive destruction? Are we willing to risk the environment that our children and future generations are going to inherit? What Is Global Warming?

The dangers of global warming

The rapid dwindling of summer Arctic sea ice has outpaced all scientific projections, which will have impacts on everything from atmospheric circulation to global shipping.

And plants, animals and other species are already struggling to keep up with rapid climate shifts, increasing the risk of mass extinction that would rival the end of the dinosaurs.

The dangers of global warming

So warns a new report from the U. That's exactly why longtime climate scientist James Hansen and a panoply of scientists and economists are urging in another new paper that current efforts to restrain global warming are woefully inadequate.

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In particular, global negotiations to limit global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius risk "wrecking the planet," in the words of lead author Hansen, recently retired head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a researcher at Columbia University's Earth Institute.

There is no recognition of this in government policies. Global emissions of CO2 from burning fossil fuels—which set another new high inaccording to the Global Carbon Project—must decline to zero new pollution within the next few decades, according to the analysis.

Given the size of the problem—the fossil fuels of coal, oil and natural gas still provide more than 80 percent of the world's energy—an " all of the above " clean energy effort will be required, according to Hansen and his co-authors.

That includes geothermal, hydropower, nuclear, solar, wind and further development of technologies to capture CO2 from fossil fuel burning and permanently store it in some way.

Increasing efficiency in the use of such energy as well as switching cars from running on gasoline to electricity will also be vital. Delay increases the need as well as making the return to ppm even harder.

To date, the fastest decarbonizations—such as France's switch to nuclear for electricity generation or Denmark's drive for wind power —have managed a top speed of roughly 2 percent a year, and in relatively small countries.

The dangers of global warming

That rate would have been fine if it had begun worldwide in but something much faster is now required, according to the analysis. The key to accelerating that change may be a tax or other fee on carbon that would force fossil fuels to pay the full costs of their environmental impacts.

But the most necessary policy may be a plan for how to achieve such reductionsincluding measures to pay for it, whether a carbon tax or some kind of clean energy bond to be paid off in future.

It's got the makings of a success story but it's hard. Already, the world has warmed by 0.

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Scientific study suggests that threats like a shift in ocean currents or a rapid meltdown of Arctic permafrost and frozen methane in the oceans is unlikely to happen abruptly. Relatively few measurements of methane in the Arctic are taken, nor is there any oversight of the ongoing meltdown of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet as warmer waters lap at its base.

Geological Survey, for example—and then feeding that physical scientific information into social science efforts to enhance warnings, much like the " cone of uncertainty " now used in hurricane warnings.

After all, just 12, years ago the Earth's climate seems to have warmed by several degrees C— bringing to an end an episode of colder average temperatures known as the Younger Dryas—in a matter of decades. The reality is, however, that the U.

Surprises like the rapid meltdown of Arctic sea ice are therefore inevitable, but extreme global warming still isn't, necessarily.Scientific American is the essential guide to the most awe-inspiring advances in science and technology, explaining how they change our understanding of the world and shape our lives.

Global warming is the term given to the anthropogenic (human-induced) intensification of the greenhouse effect. Since the beginning of human agriculture, and more sharply since the beginning of the industrial era, the human race has caused the average global surface temperature to rise.

Global warming is now accelerating the rate of sea level rise, increasing flooding risks to low-lying communities and high-risk coastal properties whose development has been encouraged by today's flood insurance system. May 25,  · What Are the Dangers of Global Warming? The Earth has been showing signs and symptoms of global warming for quite some time.

For many decades, scientists have been warning all of us about the dangers of global warming but, few people paid much Earth is “talking” to us again it’s message is loud and clear.

But there are at least ten dangers of global warming. Events that to many may seem to be unrelated, can combine to make things progressively worse, with one danger feeding and reinforcing the next one. The increasing number of droughts, intense storms, and floods we're seeing as our warming atmosphere holds—and then dumps—more moisture poses risks to public health and safety, too.

Global Warming Impacts | Union of Concerned Scientists