July 21, 2012
-- by Dave Johnson
Everyone needs to understand this about climate change: Global Warming's Terrifying New Math by Bill McKibben
1) We have to try to hold warming to 2 degrees Celsius, we're at .8 of that now with huge storms, drought, floods and all kinds of effects. It gets dramatically worse from here - crop failure, famine, running out of water, rising seas, mass extinctions ...
2) To hold at 2 degrees we can put no more than 565 gigatons CO2 into atmosphere.
3) Current proven coal, oil and gas reserves is 2,795 gigatons even if we discover no more. That is 5 times what we can burn and stay at 2 degrees. That is $20 trillion in oil company assets, they will fight to the death to be able to burn that carbon. If they do it is the death of billions of us, and the ecosystem.
Posted by Dave Johnson at July 21, 2012 1:19 PM
With respect to 3), "the ecosystem" won't die.
Ecosystems will flip states and have different properties and flows. But they won't "die".
What will likely happen is surely some population biology, where we will have a fraction of our population die off. Likely there will be disruption and impoverishment as the remainder fight for dwindling resources in an unfamiliar earth system. But the death of "the ecosystem"?. No.
This is not to say it will be a garden of Eden, with bunnies and flowers and cornucopias everywhere. But the death of "the ecosystem"?. No.
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