Friday, December 30, 2016

The "Compost Bomb" Exploding Beneath Us

Think of the vast northern permafrost as compost only waiting a thaw to decompose. Well, it's thawing now and it's doing what compost does - releasing carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere at levels that could be devastating.

A new study (there's always a "new" study) in Nature ought to have our leaders' minds on something other than bitumen and pipelines.

The headline in The Independent is pretty blunt:  "Climate change escalating so fast it is 'beyond point of no return."

The author of the report, Dr. Thomas Crowther, wasn't pulling any punches.

“It’s fair to say we have passed the point of no return on global warming and we can’t reverse the effects, but certainly we can dampen them,” said the biodiversity expert.

“Climate change may be considerably more rapid than we thought it was.”

Remember that target of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, recently changed to 1.5C? Well the most recent research suggests that 2C is now a certainty in the best case scenario. By 2100 we could be at 5 to 7 degrees  

“I think this is catastrophic for humanity,” said Dr Crowther.

“Uncertainty is nothing like a reason enough to suggest climate change isn’t happening. There’s a nice analogy; if you step in front of an oncoming bus, no doctor in the world can tell you how damaging the impact is going to be.

“But we do know the damage is going to be huge. This alone should be enough information to persuade us to avoid the bus.”

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