Scientists: Humanity’s End Is Now In Sight

earth-screensaver_largeThe same week as Pope Francis’s historic encyclical warning of the dire dangers posed to humanity over climate change , scientists have issue new warnings that we are likely past the point of no-return to save humanity from catastrophe and possible extinction. Famed Australian microbiologist Frank Fenner, a key figure in the elimination of smallpox in the 1970s, now believes that humans will be extinct in 100 years after making the planet uninhabitable. Others have pointed out that the United States and other nations continue to adopt insufficient targets from carbon reduction and that our passing the critical “3C” threshold now appears all but assured due to opponents and deniers of climate change or reforms.

Fenner insists that it is now a sure bet that we will pass the point of no return and that humanity has missed its window to act. He was reacting to the G7 announcement on Monday that it was asking all countries to reduce emissions — a meaningless effort that scientists around the world denounced as too little too late. The G7 simply asked all countries to reduce carbon emissions to zero in 85 years despite the overwhelming scientific data showing that such a target date would be too late to stop the disastrous course for the planet.

The view of the scientific community is that no treaty that emerges from the current United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany, in preparation for November’s United Nations climate conference in Paris, can now avoid the global disaster.

Scientists generally use the target of 2 degrees Celsius as the level that must not be passed. At 3C, the trend is viewed as unstoppable. Even the Pentagon now rates climate change as a “Threat Multiplier” and an existential threat.

While the Obama Administration has moved aggressively, the U.S. target (a 26 percent to 28 percent decrease from 2005 levels by 2025) is viewed as based on clearly erroneous and rosy projections. The European Union has proposed a 40 percent decrease from 1990 levels by 2030 while China as usual is the worst with a call for an unspecified emissions peak by 2030.

There have been dozens of academic publications from around the world reaching basically the same conclusions from leading academics and institutions. For the less scientifically trained, Bill McKibben did an oft-cited piece in in 2012 explaining the stark realities of these figures and why they will not avoid disaster. McKibben noted that the target temperature has already increased 0.8C, and even if we were to stop all carbon-dioxide emissions today, it would increase another 0.8C simply due to the existing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That would leave only a 0.4C buffer to hitting 2C. The failure to act by humanity has squandered its chance to avert the global catastrophic results. Indeed, as Pope Francis expressly denounced, powerful industrial interests have succeeded in blocking efforts to act and delaying any meaningful reforms. For many scientists, it is the Nero complex of fiddling as the planet burns.

The 100 year prediction of demise seems a bit too specific a time frame but that period does represent the passing of the critical 3C line that is expected to trigger catastrophic and cascading global changes. Regardless of whether we are speaking of extinction in a 100 years or worldwide famine and natural disasters, many of us are left to marvel at man’s capacity for avoidance of difficult challenges, even when our very existence could rest in the balance. The refusal to act in the face of such overwhelming scientific evidence and warnings is a sad (and possibly lethal) conclusion of our species.

166 thoughts on “Scientists: Humanity’s End Is Now In Sight”

  1. “Problem with scientists’ predictions is, nobody goes back to check…

    The problem with such a hypothesis is that they then go on to quote past fringe elements, the exact same type of group today (the <5%) of scientists who deny climate change is man made.

    1. veggiedude – there was a non-man made drought in the Southwest, so severe it first caused the Anasazi to move to the canyonsides and eventually to leave the area. It was a major climate change, but not man made. And, no one is hiding the data. It is all taken from tree rings.

      BTW, those 95% of scientist who believe in climate change? There computer model cannot accurately predict today’s weather. Sad, isn’t it?

  2. Karen S. “It is therefor this trend that anyone who asks questions is ridiculed, mocked, or called names that is so very wrong. You will win no people to your side by making fun of them”

    The climate deniers I am “ridiculing” are not honest. Being dishonest is more wrong.

    You won’t win them over by pandering to them.

    It’s a dumb list. It was dumb to write it; it was dumb to reference it.

    Karen S. “I’m neither a “denier” nor a “true believer” or any other silly name because I have serious questions about the data, such as stations that were moved. I need those issues resolved, and it would be quite nice if that could happen without the name calling.”

    You don’t know whether I’m a “true believer”, by the way. It’s OK to have questions. Still, you should look as skeptically at the denier’s comments about actual research as you do at the actual research. Over and over again, the “serious” problems “discovered” by the deniers have fairly mundane explanations (and it doesn’t take alot of digging to find that out). The “problems” are often the result of vigorous cherry picking too.

    1. davep – I am not a denier as much as a skeptic. What I see are supposed paleoclimalogists who have admitting to playing with the numbers and are now hiding the data. We have NOAA changing data after the fact to make it fit the climate story they want to tell, not the story that really exists.

      I read 4-8 science digests a day. One day coffee is bad for you. The next day coffee is good for you. The next no more than 4 cups is good for you. The next have all you want, mainline the damn stuff, it won’t damage you.

      Let’s take the official weather station in Phoenix, AZ. It is at Sky Harbor Airport. It was located near the tower for easy access. That was surrounded by grass. And Sky Harbor had one runway and one terminal. Now Sky Harbor has 4 terminals.

      Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is one of the ten busiest in the nation for passenger traffic with a $79 million daily economic impact. On a typical day:

      More than 1,200 aircraft arrive and depart
      More than 100,000 passengers arrive and depart
      More than 800 tons of air cargo is handled

      Just imagine what all of that is doing to the official weather station, beside being surrounded in concrete. And Sky Harbor is only 3 miles from the center of downtown Phoenix. So it not only has it’s on heat island, but it get the effect from the city of Phoenix as well. The difference in temperature between Phoenix and Gilbert (where I live) is 4-6 degrees.

      So, is Phoenix hotter than it used to be, or is there just more concrete holding heat?

  3. Karen S. “My point is that this strange pushback on asking honest questions is misguided. It’s not that you shouldn’t “trust” science. It’s that a spirit of investigation and inquiry is good, because we make new discoveries every day.”

    You keep missing my point and/or misrepresenting it.

    The climate scientists producing results that support climate change are the ones asking “honest questions” and are showing the “spirit of investigation and inquiry”.

    The climate-change denialists, for the most part, aren’t doing any research at all. Much of their supposed “criticism” is stupid and dishonest. “wattsupwiththat” is a prime example. It’s a crappy reference. Only careless people would treat is as “serious”.

    That list isn’t a list of “consensus” opinions. It’s just dumb examples.

    Also, as it turns out, much of the action that is suggested to mitigate climate change has other benefits.

    Unless you think that petroleum reserves are inexhaustible, energy independance is bad, or mountain top removal for coal are something you want to see happen.

    Karen S. “Yesterday’s accepted conclusions are tomorrow’s quaint dated beliefs.”

    This is, as a generalization, false.

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