By the end of this century, the global temperature is likely to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This scary conclusion was reached by two different studies using different methods.
One study used statistical analysis to show that there is a 95% chance that Earth will warm more than 2 degrees at century’s end, and a 1% chance that it’s below 1.5 C. “The likely range of global temperature increase is 2.0-4.9 [degrees Celsius] and our median forecast is 3.2 C,” said Adrian Raftery, author of the first study. “Our model is based on data which already show the effect of existing emission mitigation policies. Achieving the goal of less than 1.5 C warming will require carbon intensity to decline much faster than in the recent past.”
The second study analyzed past emissions of greenhouse gases and the burning of fossil fuels to show that even if humans suddenly stopped burning fossil fuels now, Earth will continue to heat up two more degrees by 2100. More realistically, if emissions continue for 15 more years, Earth’s temperature could rise as much as 3 degrees. “Even if we would stop burning fossil fuels today, then the Earth would continue to warm slowly,” said Thorsten Mauritsen, author of the second study. “It is this committed warming that we estimate.”
These similar results paint a grim future. We’re in deeper than we originally thought. But not all is lost, as the fight against global warming is currently occurring. But we have to up our game. We need to start installing clean energy and walk away from our old polluting ways. If we don’t do this, we have to start preparing for many severe consequences for a much hotter world.
“There are only two realistic paths toward avoiding long-run disaster: increased financial incentives to avoid greenhouse gas emissions and greatly increased funding for research that will lead to at least partial technological fixes,” said Dick Startz, economist and co-author of the second study. “Neither is free. Both are better than the catastrophe at the end of the current path.”
Silver linings are hard to find in climate change studies, but we may have one as long as solar power continues to plummet in cost. But our governments have to take full advantage of the breakthroughs our engineers have produced.
How do you feel about global warming and climate change? Are you willing to change your source of power to try and lessen the damage done? Leave your thoughts below.