According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), if we continue to do what we are doing, using fossil fuels as often and in such enormous amounts, the average temperature of our planet will increase by 2.6 degrees Celsius – 4.8 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. This information is now under contention as new research is suggesting that this estimation might be too much of an under-estimation.
On November 9, 2016, a paper entitled “Nonlinear climate sensitivity and its implications for future greenhouse warming” was published in the journal Science Advances. It refers to research conducted by an international team of scientists who studied how the Earth’s climate has been reacting over time.
Based on what they found, as the climate gets warmer, the Earth becomes more sensitive to changes in the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. And because we are in an interglacial period, our planet is naturally warm and is more easily affected by greenhouse gases. To this end, they were able to calculate that by 2100, the average increase in the Earth’s temperature will be between 4.78 degrees Celsius to 7.36 degrees Celsius — a range that is much higher than what has previously been forecasted. More importantly, it’s an increase that can potentially transform our planet into a blazing inferno.
Dr. Doug Parr, chief scientist of Greenpeace UK, seems to agree with the findings, saying that the higher temperatures we have been seeing support the notion that climate sensitivity is higher than we thought. Continuing with this line of thinking, it would seem that the target set by the Paris Agreement to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees might not be enough to save our planet.
Climate change has been accepted by many as a real and present threat.
And the Paris Agreement was supposed to be a promising step towards solving this imminent threat on a global level. But then Donald Trump gets elected as the next U.S. President.
Someone who has been openly saying that climate change isn’t real. Someone who has vowed to withdraw support for the Paris Agreement. As the incoming leader of a nation that is acknowledged as the second biggest source of CO2 pollution, making good on the threat to turn their back on the climate agreement is almost equivalent to saying that the treaty is futile. Because the U.S. will just continue with their business — run those power plants, encourage fossil fuel production, emit those toxic gases, resurrect the coal industry, and oppose policies that could have helped spare our atmosphere from further degradation. So what happens then?
We can’t be sure how fast our environment will continue to deteriorate. And the same technology that we can use to fight against climate change may very well be the same technology that’s accelerating its progress. But the Earth is our home. And the responsibility of taking care of our home should be a universal effort. It’s something we all have to remember before it becomes too late.