I can hardly imagine a grossly higher sea level happening quickly, but some say we're in for it as the methane frozen in the tundra evaporates and enters the atmosphere. When I hear of geological evidence of a quick change of earth temperatures how can I know it can't happen again?? If we raise the ocean levels 200 feet many toxic hot-spots could be submerged. Like Fukushima, or many other nuclear power plants. Clean-up of Fukushima may take a century - during which radiation will continue to leak into the Pacific. In Alaskan marine life is dying off, fishing seasons in California, Oregon & Washington have been eliminated.... I read that in the Indian Ocean plankton has disappeared....
In the early 1990s, people set a goal to keep temperatures below 2C above pre-industrial levels. At the time, it looked like a reasonable goal. We have dallied out for too long, and keeping climate change below this level today requires unprecedented worldwide effort. Seeing how hard it is to get people, society, and governments to act, there is no sign of this heroic effort happening.
If all emissions ended today, positive feedback will increase warming by at least 0.3C, which is pretty bad. Heck, we're already seeing lots of droughts, floods, melting ice caps, coral reef bleaching, etc. And the public is still arguing about whether global warming exists at all.
There is no reason to believe that things are going to change fast enough. It's not too late to stop it; we can. But we simply won't.
Rapid warming of the Arctic reduces ice, increasing amount of sun's energy absorbed by the Arctic ocean, increasing water temperature. This leads to more ice melting and more light absorbed. As temperature rises, methane is released from tundra and methane clathrates deposited in the ocean. Methand is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2 leading to more positive feedbacks. Soon there will be runaway and we could get cooked. Wake up folks.
There are 460 nuclear reactors in service around the world. They all rely on an electrical grid to operate; they have to have a steady supply of power for their cooling pools for the next 500,000 years or so. There is no chance of that happening, so there's going to be a lot of meltdowns happening in the future. Reactors are still being constructed all over the world in the face of estimated temperatures this century we can't survive, let alone keep the power grids going. With the chaos that is definitely coming, these plants are sitting ducks.
There is no historical evidence for the idea that spontaneous mass human change of behavior will draw us back from the brink; besides it's almost certainly too lake even if the entire global economy shut down tomorrow. People believe what they want to believe, to suit their interests, and their outlooks are shaped by generational or life span developmental stages - late life stagers see the obvious because their outlook is longer, as is their memory - and can more easily conceive the time scales involved in out current mass extinction event. The young and middle aged are possessed by life tasks that blind them to this reality.
Observation, measurement and the combined and mutually reinforcing principles and findings of physics, chemistry, geology, paleontology and climate science all agree that the observed warming trend of the planet since the beginning of the industrial revolution is due to the increased carbon emissions from the industrial revolution. Global warming is a fact and is anthropogenic. The tipping points are real and the risk of mass extinction (including human) is real. Even if the threat of mass extinction was extremely small and carbon emissions were not as large a threat as scientists believe, the remedy, reduced reliance on fossil fuels, would still be necessary. This is because, politically, reliance on the unstable and Islamic fundamentalist Middle East for our energy needs is folly and because clean energy is better for our quality of life and the environment. Clean energy will ultimately be our primary source of energy since fossil fuels are a finite resource. A forward thinking society would try to become a leader or major, if not dominate, player in the field of clean and renewable energy simply to avoid the inevitable collapse of any economy dependent on a finite resource.
Long term loss of Carbon from fossil fuel, including coal, and SOIL which most forget to the atmosphere, not only leaves lack of energy to MOVE the goods around, but lack of FOOD to even HAVE. It is not just the change of climate, but that change on plants for food, and on pests, and inability to transport what food is made. Just give it 100 years. No diesel to move what food is made or fossil based fertilizers to make it, and the climate will turn places to desert or flood not the more even environment we have seen. Our poor children, grand children and great grandchildren... Not sure there will be great, great grand children.
Global warming is not considered a serious problem by people and by the media. A recent survey has showed that 50% of Britons consider global warming a serious threat. It's not possible to change the world without change in people's mind. The climate change will be irreversible if drastic changes are not taken right now. And I don't see our politics wiling to make these important decisions soon. Everybody talks about the economic crisis, but it will be nothing next to the catastrophic events we are heading towards.
If we do not stop pumping co2 into the air we are all going to die from the effects of global warming. Please do your part and help stop global warming by abandoning fossil fuels and converting to the use of more renewable sources of energy. Our lives depend on it!
First, I would like to comment that this question should be phrased “Could,” not “Will.” That said, James Hansen, one of the top atmospheric physicists in the world, has predicted that global warming plus feedback loops could drive the temperature above the boiling point of water, thus evaporating all water on Earth. This would result in total extinction of all life on Earth.
A lesser event would simply be a majority of the food producing regions turning to desert, resulting in Earth only being able to support a few hundred million humans. While not total extinction, that would qualify as “mass extinction.” I am also concerned that ocean acidification could destroy the base of the food chain in the seas, resulting in complete collapse of all sea life. The seas produce 30% of the oxygen on Earth, so lose of sea life could render Earth nearly uninhabitable. The food chain on land would probably collapse as support animals (pollinating insects, birds that spread seeds, etc.) died out. I suppose that some humans could survive in closed-loop sealed communities using aquaculture and solar/wind power, but would that really be sustainable? Could such small biospheres maintain themselves as they start to break down?
How can we prove scientific evidence of something that took place 6,897,091 years is accurate? This is why humans may end up killing themselves off. We rely far too much on conspiracies. We just need to live and enjoy life. I know for a fact that we as humans are only hurting ourselves with inaccurate opinions.
The global ecosystem is robust with respect to climate (proven over hundreds of millions of years). Estimates of CO2 sensisitivity (net of feedbacks) and rates of warming are being revised down on a continuous basis (except those held by the most ardent and faith-based adherents). Unforced incentives to move toward renewables will further improve the trend.
But I just can't give in to that way of thinking. I believe that for every problem there is a solution. We just need to band ourselves together, put aside our petty differences and work towards a better tomorrow. We can't afford pessimism or pettiness. Will humanity as we know it eventually go extinct? Yes, the key phrase here being "AS WE KNOW IT."
However, the earth has been constantly changing since it was formed. The movies portray water world if all the earth's ice melts. This is not realistic. First, if all the ice on earth melted (which is very unlikely anytime soon) then sea levels would rise 175-225 feet. The majority of the land on earth is higher than that. In a similar vein, movies like "The Day After Tomorrow" radically exaggerate the possible speed and severity of climate change. We have been fed a bunch of lies.
But, the truth is scary. It's not the sea level that's the problem, it's the reflectivity of the sun's rays and the decreased salinity of the water that have the real potential to cause mass extinctions. However, a human level extinction is another matter. Humans live in the desert and in Alaska. People talk about the cockroach being tough, but they have nothing on us. The doomsday scenarios talk about an unlikely six degrees of climate change. But, that would not kill us off. Our ability to adapt is extreme. We have technology that can grow food on mars and extract water out of the atmosphere. We can walk in space. Any of the worst case scenarios for climate change don't realistically take decades - they take millennia. Over that time-frame, we would find a way to survive pretty much any extreme that has been realistically suggested. The earth has been six degrees hotter before, and six degrees colder before. There was still significant life on earth throughout all of that. So, no, we are not looking at a human level extinction event.
The fact that humans are able to survive in such a vast array of environments leads me to believe that even drastic climatic changes would not lead to human extinction. Through technology we have been able to survive in both deserts and tundras. We can survive on the moon (and in space) by using tools. We have found ways to resist the effects of hurricanes and tornadoes. We are smart and we adapt. Personally, I believe that the changes in climate are cyclic and natural. Even if we hit one extreme, I don't believe it will last, and I believe we can fight our conditions by thinking it through. Anyway, it's not like it's going to be 200 degrees TOMORROW. It's still a gradual thing. There's plenty of time to prepare for any problems we might have.
All this "Scientifically backed" information is based on speculation and is not really proof. And for all we know this change in temperature could be normal, and most likely is. The earth's climate is constantly changing. If you don't believe me google a little some thing called THE ICE AGE (not the stupid childrens movie).
Global warming might trigger serious climate change, and those changes might kill some people, but not all of us. I am sure that citizens of poor countries will suffer, but they suffer anyway. We will have some warning about this before things happen, and we will have a few preparations in place. Most of the species will survive.
The exact endgame for global warming is still in debate. The best case is that we have wild weather fluctuations and minor flooding. The worst case we lose a good portion of the world's biggest cities and richest farm lands. Experts don't really agree on where things are truly likely to fall between those possibilities. Even assuming the worst happens, though, global climate change does not have a potential for human extinction. A large portion of the population may die off, but extinction would take a stellar disaster, rather than a terrestrial one.
It really depends on how "climate change" is defined. There can and will be catastrophic effects, especially if sea levels rise and super storms are triggered. It remains to be seen if those will become extinction events, however. Saying that also does not diminish the threat either. While extinction may not happen, widespread destruction wrought by storms like Hurricane Katrina is very possible.
Although global warming is a large concern, and would cause many changes for us here on Earth, there is not enough proof to show that it could cause a catastrophic climate change. Based on weather patterns we see, the media exaggerates the problem, and conditions would have to be severely worse for anything catastrophic to happen. Human destruction would occur earlier through the next world war, versus global warming.