The average temperature of the world continues to rise due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions. Our planet’s history shows that temperatures are highly correlated with carbon dioxide levels.
Small changes in carbon dioxide have large impacts on earth’s climate. Carbon dioxide levels are 25% higher than observed in 800,000 years and the temperature is higher and accelerating faster than in the past 2,000 years. As a result the science shows that there are now more intense droughts, forest fires, and hurricanes. Such events, due to human induced climate change, will become worse in the future, having significant impacts to planetary life and human survival. Millions of species and entire ecosystems are in great jeopardy because it will be impossible to adapt to ever increasing temperatures.
The best scientific assessments, published, and extensively peer reviewed, indicate that ecosystems and agriculture will be irreversibly damaged if average temperatures rise more than about 3 degrees Centigrade. To stay within a 2 degree rise, projections show that net carbon emissions must be decreased by nearly 100% in just the next 30 years. Yet world fossil fuel consumption continues to rise. Temperatures already have risen one degree since 1990 and the planet is on track to equal or exceed the 2-3 degree maximum target by 2050.
Imagine a planet where droughts, floods, and human starvation continues for thousands of years and hundreds of human generations. As the oceans rise from loss of glacial ice, populations in shore cities around the world will be forced to move creating large migrations. As conditions become more dire there will be economic, social, and political collapse.
Polls show that the public is certainly concerned about global warming and the majority of people want action. More scientists must become advocates, clearly communicating to the media that we only have a decade or two to move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Realistic economic and political solutions to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, such as a carbon tax that would be given to Americans as a tax credit, must be promoted. We have little time left. The time for action and speaking out is now.