Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Still crazy after all these years: NY Times article claims that if the world warms about one degree C. from here, the world will be "without coral reefs...[with] massive extinctions and widespread ecosystem collapse"

The Climate Change Endgame - NYTimes.com
WHETHER in Davos or almost anywhere else that leaders are discussing the world’s problems, they are missing by far the biggest issue: the rapidly deteriorating global environment and its ability to support civilization.

The situation is pretty much an endgame. Unless pressing issues of the biology of the planet and of climate change generated by greenhouse gas emissions are addressed with immediacy and at appropriate scale, the matters that occupy Davos discussions will be seen in retrospect as largely irrelevant.
It is abundantly clear that the target of a 2-degree Celsius limit to climate change was mostly derived from what seemed convenient and doable without any reference to what it really means environmentally. Two degrees is actually too much for ecosystems. Tropical coral reefs are extremely vulnerable to even brief periods of warming. The elevated atmospheric CO2 also has raised the acidity of the oceans, which affects the ability of coral and mollusks such as oysters to build shells and skeletons. A 2-degree world will be one without coral reefs (on which millions of human beings depend for their well-being).

At current global warming of 0.8-0.9 degrees, the fingerprints of climate change can be seen virtually everywhere in nature.
At essentially double that current temperature increase, there undoubtedly will be massive extinctions and widespread ecosystem collapse. The difficulty of trying to buffer and manage change will increase exponentially with only small increments of warming.
More than a 2-degree increase should be unimaginable....Can we avoid the greatest intergenerational environmental injustice of all time?
Thomas E. Lovejoy is professor of science and public policy at George Mason University and biodiversity chairman at the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment.

Trace amounts of CO2 caused this?

1 comment:

chris y said...

Lovejoy lunacy- "...my great-grandfather chaired the commission that designed the New York subway system. How was he to anticipate the sea-level rise that contributed in part to the impact of Hurricane Sandy?"

Umm, sea level rise since the 1890's has been about 1 foot. Maybe if the commission read some history about 13 foot or higher storm surges that occurred BEFORE the commission was created. For example the hurricane of 1821 that hit NYC.

Just a thought.