study concludes that, even if we were to stop carbon emissions completely today, we and our descendants are in for a much different world.
What makes this study different from the depressing scenarios we've read so often before is that it identifies conditions in the Northern Hemisphere that are still reversible if we take action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
"...many of the negative consequences in the Northern Hemisphere, such as loss of Arctic sea ice, are reversible. That means global efforts to cut greenhouse gases are not a waste of effort and money, said Shawn Marshall, a University of Calgary geography professor and one of the study's authors.
" But there are some parts of the climate that have a lot of inertia and it will take many centuries before they start to reverse," said Marshall.
The study, led by Nathan Gillett of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, is published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
...Simulations show big differences in some parts of the world, however, between cutting emissions in 2010 and in 2100, including long-term temperature variations between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius, an argument for action on carbon dioxide, Marshall said.
" You sometimes hear that defeatist argument that it's too late and there are a lot of changes that are going to happen, so just worry about adaptation," he said. " But I think you do see a big divergence in potential futures depending on if there are some reductions in emissions."
In other words, we still have much to lose if we continue to ignore anthropogenic global warming. Our descendants will pay dearly for our inaction but we can also leave them a better Canada if we take the initiative and move to curb carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. We can still do a lot of damage or do a lot of good. It's up to us. It's up to Harper and Ignatieff and Layton and Duceppe. Oh dear, I guess that's one thought too many.