Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How Much Will We Choose to Change Our Climate?

That's the question we face as scientists warn we've already permanently changed our climate:
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Climate change is "largely irreversible" for the next 1,000 years even if carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could be abruptly halted, according to a new study led by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The study's authors said there was "no going back" after the report showed that changes in surface temperature, rainfall and sea level are "largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after CO2 emissions are completely stopped."
Would you like the minor increases in temperature, slightly higher sea level, and minor increases in drought and storm intensity we're already seeing at our current concentrations of global warming pollution? Or would you like to find out what happens if we continue to emit carbon at our current pace, doubling or even tripling our atmospheric carbon? See if we can melt the polar ice caps, submerge Chesapeake Bay islands, and make category 5 hurricanes a regular occurrence in the mid-Atlantic?

Those aren't rhetorical questions. We (Virginians, Americans, humans) are currently choosing to take our chances with runaway global warming. Basically, we're telling our grandchildren, "Sorry there's no such thing as Virginia wine anymore since it's too warm and dry to grow the grapes, but getting off oil and coal seemed like more trouble than it was worth so we decided not to bother. Good luck fighting off the climate refugees."

Cross-posted from Article XI
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