Climate’s hidden risk


The release of of a total of 2.9 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and oceans by humanity combined is predicted to drive the planet into a hot phase of +4-5 degrees Celsius above present temperatures. We have already released 1.9 trillion tonnes of that total and are adding a further 50 billion tonnes every year by continuing to burn fossil fuels and clear land.

However, the greatest risk is that, as the planet warms, much of the 5 trillion tonnes of methane estimated to be locked in the tundra and seabed will be vented, causing unstoppable ‘runaway’ warming to 10 degrees or more. Scientists have warned this could render the Earth uninhabitable to large life forms, including humans.

The only foreseeable way to avert this is to end the use of fossil fuels and to revegetate a substantial part of the world’s land mass, to set the planet on a cooling trajectory. This can be assisted by a switch to urban agriculture, carbon farming and landscape restoration.

The adoption of renewable energy is essential to preventing the earth from overheating, and must take over from fossil fuels in the 2020s if there ius to e any hope of avoiding runaway warming.

However many governments, funded by the 90 giant corporations who make up the bulk of the fossil fuel industry, are hampering this transition rather than assisting it, and climate denialism is attempting to lull humanity into a false sense of security - at a cost to be paid by all our grandchildren.

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Australia21This website was commenced by a group of Members of The Emeritus Faculty at The Australian National University and is administered by a steering group of the not-for profit think tank, Australia21. The views expressed on this website are those of the initial author and are not necessarily shared or endorsed by the University, the Emeritus Faculty or Australia21.

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