Researchers warn that Earth risks a lasting and risky "hothouse" state

Experts have warned that swathes of the planet could be left uninhabitable

Experts have warned that swathes of the planet could be left uninhabitable

Lead researcher Professor Will Steffen from The Australian National University (ANU) said these kinds of increases in temperatures and sea level would be "devastating" for human civilisation and most ecosystems that support plant and animal life.

"The real concern is these tipping elements can act like a row of dominoes".

"The current efforts by nations, which are not sufficient to meet the emission-reduction targets set in the Paris Agreement a few years ago, are unlikely to help us avoid this very risky situation, where many parts of the planet could become uninhabitable for humans", said Professor Steffen from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.

How realistic is "Hothouse Earth"? In such a climate catastrophe rivers would flood, storms would cause serious issues in coastal areas and coral reefs would die out, this could all happen by the century's end or earlier warn the scientists.

Melting polar ice caps would lead to dramatically higher sea levels, flooding coastal land that is home to hundreds of millions of people.

"This cascade of events may tip the entire Earth system into a new mode of operation", warned co-author Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

That means the Earth faces the potential of runaway global warming at some point in the future.

To state that 2 C is a no-return threshold "is new", said Martin Siegert, co-director of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, who was not involved in the study.

"It's rather selective, but not outlandish".

The research explains that it's not clear if this deal will affect climate change.

Fossil fuels must be replaced with low or zero emissions energy sources, and there should be more strategies for absorbing carbon emissions such as ending deforestation and planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide.

This is possible through improved forest, agricultural and soil management, biodiversity conservation, and technologies that remove Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it underground.

These feedbacks include permafrost thaw, loss of methane hydrates from the ocean floor, weakening land and ocean carbon sinks, increasing bacterial respiration in the oceans, Amazon rainforest dieback, boreal forest dieback, reduction of northern hemisphere snow cover, loss of Arctic summer sea ice, and reduction of Antarctic sea ice and polar ice sheets.

The research, according to its abstract, explores "the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a "Hothouse Earth" pathway even as human emissions are reduced".

Researchers say it's not certain that the Earth can remain stable. If the global temperature increases by 2°C then this can trigger other processes, which can drive further warming - even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.