Global warming and “going green” are some of the most prominent buzzwords in the media today. Although our weather changes from day to day, our climate generally stays constant over the years. Over the years, the Earth’s temperature has been gradually increasing (hence, global warming).
Global warming and its effect on regional climate change has serious consequences and repercussions – for the environment, for biodiversity, for our own food sources and economies and, of course, politics.
The rapid pace of current climate change has already placed a great deal of stress on terrestrial ecosystems, including melting glaciers and irreversible damage to the habitats of Arctic and Antarctic animals. As we’ve already established, climate change occurs when the factors that influence it changes. Certain gases in our atmosphere known as greenhouse gases allow the lower atmosphere to absorb the heat released by the Earth’s surface, trapping it within our atmosphere.
It is projected that the average annual temperatures in North America, Europe, and East Asia will increase by 2-4°C by 2046 – 2065.
Besides the environmental damage, which is the original driving force behind studies of climate change, we as humans should be more aware of global warming’s consequences because it may have some effect on our behavior. Researchers noted increased violence in many forms, such as domestic violence, assaults, murders, ethnic violence, land invasions, police violence, and civil conflicts. If we take these studies seriously, then “going green” can be a lot more important than we ever thought before. Climate of the earth keeps on changing in a natural cycle but the scientists are worried because the speed of these changes in the climate has been accelerated due to the activities of human beings.
The scientists are concerned with the human causes which contribute hugely to the rise in the green house gases in the atmosphere.
The global sea level is rising about three times faster over the past 100 years compared to the previous 3,000 years. There are a growing number of studies that show plants and animals changing their range and behavior in response to shifts in climate. Read these popular myths about global warming, then read the accompanying science fact that shows the real situation.  Now you’ll know what to say the next time you hear someone repeating one these myths!
Fact:  not only are severe storms getting stronger, but climate history shows sharp climate changes can occur  abruptly, in only a few years. The Antarctic Peninsula is particularly sensitive to small rises in the annual average temperature. Over the last 20 years there has been a steady  decline in the Antarctic Peninsula’s Adelie penguin population.
Antarctic Krill populations, which feed baleen whales and other species, have fallen off  by as much as 80% in the last 30 years – a development which may be rippling through the entire food chain. Food insecurity — the increasingly difficulty task of feeding 7 billion, then 8 billion, and then 9 billion people in a world with an ever-worsening climate.
The single biggest failure of messaging by climate scientists (until very recently) has been the failure to explain to the public, opinion makers, and the media that business-as-usual warming results in simultaneous, ever-worsening impacts that,  individually, are each beyond catastrophic, but combined are unimaginablly horrific.  For these impacts, terms like “global warming” and “climate change” are essentially euphemisms.
By virtue of their success in promoting doubt and inaction, the climate science deniers and disinformers have, tragically and ironically, turned the worst-case scenario into business as usual. Business-as-usual typically means continuing at recent growth rates of carbon dioxide emissions, which we now know would likely take us to atmospheric concentrations of CO2 greater than 850 ppm if not above 1000 ppm (see U.S.
What is less well understood is that even a very strong mitigation effort that kept carbon emissions this century to 11 billion tons a year on average would still probably take us to 1000 ppm (A1FI scenario) — a little noted conclusion of the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (see “Nature publishes my climate analysis and solution“).
Until recently, the scientific community has spent little time modeling the impacts of a tripling (~830 ppm) or quadrupling (~1100 ppm) carbon dioxide concentrations from preindustrial levels. So I pieced together those impacts from available studies and from discussions with leading climate scientists for my 2006 book, Hell and High Water. That likely rise corresponds to roughly 9°F globally and typically 40% higher than that over inland mid-latitudes (i.e.
By century’s end, extreme temperatures of up to 122°F would threaten most of the central, southern, and western U.S. Yet that conclusion is based on studies of only 700 ppm and 850 ppm, so it could get much hotter than that. Note again that this is not the worst-case scenario.  It’s just business as usual out to 2100. Dust-bowlification — and its impact on food security –  may well be the impact that harms the most number of people over the next few decades.
As far back as 1990, scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies projected that severe to extreme drought in the United States, then happening every 20 years, could become an every-other-year phenomenon by mid-century [Rind et al., 1990].
A number of major recent studies have confirmed those early findings.  They warn that the Southwest, parts of the Midwest, and many other highly populated parts of the globe are likely headed toward sustained — if not near permanent — drought and Dust Bowl-like conditions if we stay anywhere near our current emissions path (see “USGS on Dust-Bowlification“).
The PDSI [Palmer Drought Severity Index] in the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl apparently spiked very briefly to -6, but otherwise rarely exceeded -3 for the decade (see here).
The large-scale pattern shown in Figure 11 [of which the figure above is part]appears to be a robust response to increased GHGs. The National Center for Atmospheric Research notes “By the end of the century, many populated areas, including parts of the United States, could face readings in the range of -8 to -10, and much of the Mediterranean could fall to -15 to -20. The UK Met Office came to a similar view four years ago in their analysis, projecting severe drought over 40% of the Earth’s habited landmass by century’s end (see “The Century of Drought“). The serious hydrological changes and impacts known to have occurred in both historic and prehistoric times over North America reflect large-scale changes in the climate system that can develop in a matter of years and, in the case of the more severe past megadroughts, persist for decades. An unprecedented combination of heat plus decades of drought could be in store for the Southwest sometime this century, suggests new research from a University of Arizona-led team”….

The literature makes clear future droughts will be fundamentally different from all previous droughts that humanity has experienced because they will be very hot weather droughts (seeMust-have PPT: The “global-change-type drought” and the future of extreme weather). Finally, while the Dust Bowl lasted under a decade, the NOAA-led study found permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe on our current emissions trajectory would be irreversible for 1000 years. From a worst-case perspective, Princeton has done an analysis on “Century-scale change in water availability: CO2-quadrupling experiment,” which is to say 1100 ppm.
Finally, the heat and drought drives wildfires.  Here’s a National Academies figure from apresentation made by the President’s science adviser Dr.
High Water: Greenland ice sheet melting faster than expected and could raise East Coast sea levels an extra 20 inches by 2100 — to more than 6 feet.
Needless to say, a sea level rise of one meter by 2100 would be an unmitigated catastrophe for the planet, even if sea levels didn’t keep rising several inches a decade for centuries, which they inevitably would. And, of course, “When CO2 levels in the atmosphere reach about 500 parts per million, you put calcification out of business in the oceans.” There aren’t many studies of what happens to the oceans as we get toward 800 to 1000 ppm, but it appears likely that much of the world’s oceans, especially in the southern hemisphere, become inhospitable to many forms of marine life. A 2010 Nature Geoscience study found that Oceans are acidifying 10 times faster today than 55 million years ago when a mass extinction of marine species occurred. Nature Stunner — “Global warming blamed for 40% decline in the ocean’s phytoplankton”: “Microscopic life crucial to the marine food chain is dying out. Yes, some scientists disputed the analysis, but I have seen no refutation in the scientific literature. If we go to 800 ppm — let alone 1000 ppm or higher — we are far outside the bounds of simple linear projection. As quantified in the journal Nature, “Mountain pine beetle and forest carbon feedback to climate change,” (subs.
Insect outbreaks such as this represent an important mechanism by which climate change may undermine the ability of northern forests to take up and store atmospheric carbon, and such impacts should be accounted for in large-scale modelling analyses.
The key point is this catastrophic climate change impact and its carbon-cycle feedback were not foreseen even a decade ago — which suggests future climate impacts will bring other equally unpleasant surprises, especially as we continue on our path of no resistance. 1) Here we show that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to the observed intensification of heavy precipitation events found over approximately two-thirds of data-covered parts of Northern Hemisphere land areas. Changes in extreme precipitation projected by models, and thus the impacts of future changes in extreme precipitation, may be underestimated because models seem to underestimate the observed increase in heavy precipitation with warming. 2) Occurring during the wettest autumn in England and Wales since records began in 1766 these floods damaged nearly 10,000 properties across that region, disrupted services severely, and caused insured losses estimated at ?1.3 billion…. A new study by a Duke University-led team of climate scientists suggests thatglobal warming is the main cause of a significant intensification in the North Atlantic Subtropical High (NASH) that in recent decades has more than doubled the frequency of abnormally wet or dry summer weather in the southeastern United States…. The models – known as  Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3) models – predict the NASH will continue to intensify and expand as concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases increase in Earth’s atmosphere in coming decades.”This intensification will further increase the likelihood of extreme summer precipitation variability – periods of drought or deluge – in southeastern states in coming decades,” Li says. The team calculates that a 1 ?C increase in sea-surface temperatures would result in a 31% increase in the global frequency of category 4 and 5 storms per year: from 13 of those storms to 17. This represents true suffering for hundreds of millions of people who live on the edge, for whom food is a large fraction of their income like, say, North Africa (see Expert consensus grows on contribution of record high food prices to Middle East unrest). Population growth, dietary shifts, growing use of crops for biofuels, peaking conventional oil production and increases in extreme weather have all played a part.
Sea level rise and the accompanying salt water infiltration, threatening some of the richest agricultural deltas in the world, such as the Nile and Ganges (see “Rising sea salinates India’s Ganges“). Ocean acidification, warming and overfishing severely depleting the availability of seafood. One analysis just of the impact of temperature rise on food finds “Half of world’s population could face climate-driven food crisis by 2100.”  And this is just a 700 ppm analysis with no discussion of the impact of soil drying up or other well-understood climate impacts. A June 2011 peer-reviewed report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) — “Climate Change and Your Health: Rising Temperatures, Worsening Ozone Pollution” — shows that the harm to Americans, especially children, from human-caused warming is upon us now.
Scientists are warning that death rates linked to climate change will increase in several European countries over the next 60 yrs. As a result of plant and animal remains decomposing for thousands of years, organic carbon in the permafrost zone is distributed across 11.7 million square miles of land, an amount that is more than three times larger than previously estimated.
The survey, which was completed following a National Science Foundation-funded Permafrost Carbon Network workshop about six months ago, proposed four warming scenarios until 2040, 2100 and 2300.
The occurrence of carbon in northern soils is natural and the chemical does not have an effect on climate if it remains underground, but when released as a greenhouse gas it can add to climate warming. When carbon is released from the ground as a result of thawing permafrost, there is no way of trapping the gases at the source, so action to slow its effect must be taken beforehand.
The “Blue Planet” awards are the nobel prizes for the environment and in the face of this “absolutely unprecedented emergency” , the past 18 winners of the award state that “society has no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilization. Apart from  dire warnings about biodiversity loss and climate change the group challenges governments to think differently about economic “progress”. NEWS: Cold King Coal Our civilization, wrote George Orwell over 70 years ago is founded on coal. The IEA has stated that by 2017, on current projections, new power plants, increased coal usage and new buildings will increase temperatures by more than 2 degrees Celsius, making reversion and slower temperature rises increasingly very difficult. FACT: Subsidized Fossil Fuels transformation of the world to a Green economy can only be made, if Governments stop subsidizing fossil fuels. The hype about water bottles produced using 30% less plastic and napkins made from 100% recycled paper isn’t just for any random reason, though. Climate, defined as the average weather over a long period of time, is different in various regions of the world according to the amount of sunlight locally received as well as geographic factors, including proximity to oceans and altitude. However, a recent study conducted by Noah Diffenbaugh and Chris Field, senior fellows at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, has shown that climate change is now occurring ten times faster than at any other time in the past 65 million years (Stanford University), resulting in obvious consequences for our environment as well as some surprising ones for human activity. Climate change is also causing flooding in some coastal areas and, according to a study conducted by climate researcher Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, may be related to increasing the severity and frequency of hurricanes (Rice).

Changing climate on a global scale, though, can only occur when the amount of heat in the Earth’s system changes by either being added or released. Greenhouse gases, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane, are important to our ecosystem because their entrapment of heat prevents Earth from turning into a block of ice. One effect of this will be that the hottest summer of the last 20 years is expected to occur at least every other year. In a recent study conducted by the University of California – Berkeley and Princeton University, scientists discovered a positive correlation between increasing temperature and human violence.
According to the study’s calculations, a global temperature rise of 2°C could increase intergroup conflicts by over 50% (Wilkey). Increasing use of fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal is responsible for about ? of the carbon dioxide emissions as well as one fifth of the methane released in the atmosphere.
1998, with global temperatures spiking due to one of the strongest El Ninos on record, was the hottest year since reliable instrumental temperature measurements began. Joe is an acclaimed futurist and author and the original article has a deep resource of links and further reading, and is highly recommended.
In part, I think, that’s because they never believed humanity would be so stupid as to ignore the warnings and simply continue on its self-destructive path. Even worse, Houston and Washington, DC could experience temperatures exceeding 98°F for some 60 days a year.Much of Arizona would be subjected to temperatures of 105°F or more for 98 days out of the year–14 full weeks. This is very alarming because if the drying is anything resembling Figure 11, a very large population will be severely affected in the coming decades over the whole United States, southern Europe, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Chile, Australia, and most of Africa. Such hydrological changes fit the definition of abrupt change because they occur faster than the time scales needed for human and natural systems to adapt, leading to substantial disruptions in those systems. In the Southwest, for example, the models project a permanent drying by the mid-21st century that reaches the level of aridity seen in historical droughts, and a quarter of the projections may reach this level of aridity much earlier.
The grim result:Most of the South and Southwest ultimately sees a 20% to 50% (!) decline in soil moisture. The first meter of SLR would flood 17% of Bangladesh, displacing tens of millions of people, and reducing its rice-farming land by 50 percent. Some of the worst impacts may not be obvious — and there may be unexpected negative synergies. These results are based on a comparison of observed and multi-model simulated changes in extreme precipitation over the latter half of the twentieth century analysed with an optimal fingerprinting technique.
1 in the journalNature, a survey of 41 international experts led by University of Florida ecologist Edward Schuur shows models created to estimate global warming may have underestimated the magnitude of carbon emissions from permafrost over the next century.
The new number is mainly based on evidence the carbon is stored much deeper as the result of observations, soil measurements and experiments. Researchers were asked to predict the amount of permafrost likely to thaw, how much carbon would be released, and what amount would be methane, which has much more warming potential than carbon dioxide. However, humans could slow warming temperatures as the result of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels, which are what speed up the process of permafrost thaw. Some predicted effects of global warming include sea level rise, loss of biodiversity as some organisms are unable to migrate as quickly as the climate shifts and more extreme weather events that could affect food supply and water resources. The perpetual growth myth is the disease that is the root cause of our unsustainable global practices.
It mines 3bn tones a year, 3 x more than America, and yet in 2011 overtook Japan as the worlds biggest coal importer.
It only takes a simple deduction to realize that if these factors change, then the climate changes. Warming climates are the result of either an increase in heat entering the Earth or a decrease in heat released from the atmosphere. However, lately the balance has tipped – the quantity of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has been rapidly increasing over the past several decades, primarily as the result of burning fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide. By the end of the century, if the trend of increasing greenhouse gas emissions continues, temperatures will increase by 5-6°C. There are natural causes of climate change like the continental drift, ocean currents, volcanoes, meteorites and comets and the earth’s tilt. We are at about 8.5 billion metric tons of carbon a year (31 billions metric tons of CO2) and, until the recent global economic recession, were rising about 3% per year. Globally, it would create more than 100 million environmental refugees and inundate over 13,000 square miles of this country. The best evidence that will happen is the fact that it is already happened with even a small amount of warming we have seen to date. Its effect on climate change is projected to be 2.5 times greater than models predicted, partly because of the amount of methane released in permafrost, or frozen soil. Coal accounts for 20% of primary energy supply in OECD countries, BUT, between 2000 to 2010 coal accounted for 50% of the energy use increase.
The amount of heat trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere can fluctuate, possibly due to small changes in Earth’s orbit around the Sun that occur over thousands of years or by changes in the Sun’s intensity. The last time such a hike in temperature occurred was 20,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age! Coal is experiencing an historically incredible resurgence and may overtake oil as a primary source by 2025.

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