View Full Version : Climate change: 'Hothouse Earth' risks even if CO2 emissions slashed

Peerie Maa
08-06-2018, 05:47 PM
It may sound like the title of a low budget sci-fi movie, but for planetary scientists, "Hothouse Earth" is a deadly serious concept.
Researchers believe we could soon cross a threshold leading to boiling hot temperatures and towering seas in the centuries to come.
Even if countries succeed in meeting their CO2 targets, we could still lurch on to this "irreversible pathway".
Their study shows (http://www.stockholmresilience.org/research/research-news/2018-08-06-planet-at-risk-of-heading-towards-hothouse-earth-state.html) it could happen if global temperatures rise by 2C.
An international team of climate researchers, writing in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says the warming expected in the next few decades could turn some of the Earth's natural forces - that currently protect us - into our enemies.

Each year the Earth's forests, oceans and land soak up about 4.5 billion tonnes of carbon that would otherwise end up in our atmosphere adding to temperatures.

But as the world experiences warming, these carbon sinks could become sources of carbon and make the problems of climate change significantly worse.
So whether it is the permafrost in northern latitudes that now holds millions of tonnes of warming gases, or the Amazon rainforest, the fear is that the closer we get to 2 degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels, the greater the chances that these natural allies will spew out more carbon than they currently now take in.


Too Little Time
08-06-2018, 06:00 PM
It seems that the battle was lost long ago: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/08/01/magazine/climate-change-losing-earth.html?action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article&region=Footer

08-06-2018, 06:04 PM
Yes, we are in deep trouble as is every other life form on this planet. Out-gassing soils and melting permafrost are perhaps the two big ones. If we stop our CO2 emissions it may improve the end outcome a little but we are already much too late.

08-06-2018, 06:47 PM
I suppose the only consolation is that the deniers will be in the same boat as the rest of the world's species.

08-06-2018, 09:37 PM


It's the year 2300. Extreme weather events such as building-flattening hurricanes, years-long droughts and wildfires are so common that they no longer make headlines. The last groups of humans left near the sizzling equator pack their bags and move toward the now densely populated poles.
This so-called "hothouse Earth," where global temperatures will be 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 5 degrees Celsius) higher than preindustrial temperatures and sea levels will be 33 to 200 feet (10 to 60 meters) higher than today, is hard to imagine — but easy to fall into, said a new perspective article published today (Aug. 6) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1810141115). [Top 9 Ways the World Could End (https://www.livescience.com/36999-top-scientists-world-enders.html)]
In the article, a group of scientists argued that there is a threshold temperature above which natural feedback systems that currently keep the Earth cool will unravel. At that point, a cascade of climate events will thrust the planet into a "hothouse" state. Though the scientists don't know exactly what this threshold is, they said it could be as slight as 2 degrees C (around 4 degrees F) of warming above preindustrial levels.

08-06-2018, 10:46 PM
Another Forumite, whom I think may have eschewed the bilge for some time, has brought this scenario up several times over the last few years.

"May you live in interesting times" indeed!