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September 26, 2017

Climate scares

Opinion

September 26, 2017

It was only five years ago that Scientific American published this article: ‘Climate Armageddon: How the World’s Weather Could Quickly Run Amok’. The subheading to that article read: “Climate scientists think a perfect storm of climate ‘flip’ could cause massive upheavals in a matter of years.” Well now….

That 2012 article also explained how the eminent British scientist James Lovelock (98) switched allegiance from his original theory of Gaia, which states that Gaia (Earth) will always compensate for changes in climate by natural occurrence, a self-correcting mechanism, not too hot, not too cold, not to worry. That was back in the 1970s.

Contrariwise, thirty-plus years later in 2006 Lovelock rejected his own theory, ominously stating: “I have to tell you, as members of the Earth’s family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilization, are in grave danger.”

Thus, Lovelock rejected his own Gaia hypothesis of a self-regulating planet and embraced the “flip” school of thought, which refers to dynamic systems or mathematics that describe things that tend to change suddenly, difficult to predict as to timing. Ergo, this refers to the fearsome tipping point, when the climate system suddenly turns wacky like a wild beast poked with a stick (Broecker), self-reinforcing its destructive path, hands-free, no stopping its ruinous behavior! This may already be happening on a scale that is downright scary in fact singularly scary because it’s so soon. This is not normal. The planet is on Speed!

Massive hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, Maria) and torrential flooding (Houston, Sierra Leone, Bihar-India, Assam-India, Nepal, Mumbai, Southern Asian Noah’s Ark territory) are only telltale signs, minor events in a bigger picture, like canaries in the proverbial mineshaft, warning of a much larger canvas painted with darkened hues, threatening like the distant rumbling of an upcoming mega storm.

In that regard, it’s unmitigated insanity to ignore the bellwethers of Armageddon when big time trouble brews, like now. Ominous changes in the planet’s ecosystem are so blatant that anybody ignoring these warning signals should be slapped on the back of the head: Wake up and pay attention!

After all, Greenland’s entire surface turned to slush for the first time in scientific history, raising the question of whether a tipping point is at hand, in turn, raising sea level by a lot. According to the climate models of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Greenland’s entire ice sheet was not expected to turn 100% slushy for decades to come. Surprise, surprise, it’s here now!

All of this anomalous climate activity is getting a little too familiar for comfort, in part, because it has a nasty doom and gloom ambience. Not only is Antarctica splintering ice shelves the size of states, thereby exposing large-scale (big time) glacial runoff immediately behind the ice shelves, which served as backstops, but also in addition to Antarctica’s horror story at the bottom of the world, the Arctic, at the top of the world, is an ecological basket case.

As such and horrifyingly, the discombobulated ecosystem may be in the process, heaven forbid, of overtaking human influenced carbon emissions/global warming. No more anthropogenic or human influence required to overheat the planet; it may be starting to heat up on its own volition. What to do?

Today, it’s basically the same with fossil fuels at 81%. Go figure.

Withal, nobody knows for certain what will happen, in part, because we’ve never been here before. All the same, abrupt climate change continues to negatively outpace expectations of scientists, leading to serious concerns that their worse case scenarios are too soft, too conservative.

What then should be done remains the most compelling question of the 21st century.

According to several top-flight scientists, like James Hansen, the Paris Agreement of 2016 signed by almost 200 nations is too flimsy and misguided to solve the problem.

 

This article has been excerpted from: ‘Climate Armageddon
Revisited’.

Courtesy: Counterpunch.org

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