Scientists warn of ‘hothouse’ tipping point

| 08/08/2018 | 41 Comments

Cayman News Service, Rising seas, climate change(CNS): An international team of scientists released a new study this week warning that even if governments around the world meet the carbon emission reductions called for in the Paris Agreement, there is a risk of ‘no return’ towards climate change as Earth hits what they called a “hothouse” tipping point. The authors warn that the transition towards an emission-free world economy has to be accelerated before parts of the planet become inhabitable due to changes in climate and (the most pressing issue for the Cayman Islands) sea-level rise.

Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, warns of a domino effect as natural phenomena currently storing greenhouse gases emit those gases in a warmer world.

The authors of the study consider ten natural processes, some of which are “tipping elements” that lead to abrupt change if a critical threshold is crossed, turning from a “friend” storing carbon to a “foe” that emits it. This includes 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.

“Human emissions of greenhouse gas are not the sole determinant of temperature on Earth,” said lead author Will Steffen from the Australian National University and Stockholm Resilience Centre. “Our study suggests that human-induced global warming of 2°C may trigger other Earth system processes, often called ‘feedbacks’, that can drive further warming — even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases. Avoiding this scenario requires a redirection of human actions from exploitation to stewardship of the Earth system.”

Co-author Johan Rockström, Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and incoming co-Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, explained that the tipping elements could act like a row of dominoes. “Once one is pushed over, it pushes Earth towards another. It may be very difficult or impossible to stop the whole row of dominoes from tumbling over. Places on Earth will become uninhabitable if ‘Hothouse Earth’ becomes the reality.”

Maximising the chances of avoiding a “Hothouse Earth” requires not only reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions but also enhancement or creation of new biological carbon stores, the scientists warn, through improved forest, agricultural and soil management; biodiversity conservation; and technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it underground.

The report comes as temperatures across the northern hemisphere are causing deadly heatwaves and raging wildfires, which most scientists attribute to man-made climate change.

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Category: Science & Nature, Weather

Comments (41)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mankind was given a perfectly functioning earth. Most pollution these days is attributed to financial constraints. No money for proper garbage disposal, greedy people making “disposable” containers that are not biodegradable, massive chemical companies laden with cash flooding the world with plastic.
    Household items promoted with seductive commercials, yet full of toxic chemicals.
    Cannot spend money to harvest free sunlight etc, etc, etc.
    Somehow it is the fault of the unwashed masses?
    So what do the elites and governmrnts want now? Yes to enroll everyone in their bold plan to save the planet that they are responsible for destroying.
    This planet existed before the illusion that is called money was foisted upon us.
    The global Carbon Tax is not far away together with your means of easy payment, the chip in your hand or forehead.
    Those haters who do not subscribe to the plan to save humanity will be labelled as haters, not fit to breathe air and produce CO2.
    A man cannot serve two masters……

  2. McCarron MCLAUGHLIN says:

    This is the biggest scam in the history of mankind. Why are financial institutions stillngiving loans for coastal property? Why, because they know the climate change argument is pure bullshit.

    • Anonymous says:

      They don’t care…if the property ends up in the sea you still got to pay for it. That’s the scam.

      • Anonymous says:

        lol, no they don’t, the properties are bought mainly through corporations or trusts. They simply declare bankruptcy and vanish.

  3. Bertie :B says:

    Not being a climate change denier , its strange to me that they keep saying a record will be broken ? for instance it hasn’t been this warm or cold in at least sixty years . So this has all happened before .

    • Anonymous says:

      I am confused. The article doesn’t mention anything about sixty year old records. So what are you talking about?

  4. dennisa says:

    This is not a scientific paper although the implication is that it is. It has no data, no new research, it is yet another computer modelling exercise from the scary Potsdam institute.

  5. Anonymous says:

    People in Cayman talk about Climate change like it some esoteric idea that will have no effect on us

    Let me be the first to tell you

    Cayman will be one of the first places to go
    Thermal expansion is a very visible process that can be demonstrated easily with water, or classic mercury thermometers, a couple degrees change in global ocean temperatures means bye bye Cayman Islands
    and that isn’t even taking into account the massive amounts of polar ice melting into the ocean

    Keep that in mind, Climate change deniers and company
    How much more time do you think Cayman is going to be inhabitable at our current rate?
    I suggest investment in alternative real estate opportunities and a foreign passport won’t hurt either

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you forgot about the Bluff. If that sinks because sea levels have risen 100+ feet, pretty much the whole world is screwed.

      Not even sure if there’s even enough water trapped in the ice to cause such a rise, either.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      I guarantee that if and when the expats leave, the true Caymanians will stay and cherish their hallowed rock, even if it 50 feet underwater. The will figure something out as they have always done.
      I will be staying with them, sink or swim.

    • Anonymous says:

      Off you go then.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If people would only stop thinking they are more important than earth and animals, only then can they have the compassion and sense to stop the pollution.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Trump That!

  8. Anonymous says:

    All a bunch of BS! Universe will always change. So arrogant of mankind to think they are in control

    • Anonymous says:

      So you’re saying if mankind cut down every single tree on the planet and harvested all of the kelp beds that it would have zero affect on the global climate?

      Please think before spewing nonsense on the internet.

      • Anonymous says:

        Speaking of nonsense. Nonsense is even the possibility of cutting down every tree on earth. That’s total irrational and hysterical nonsense. Take a look at google maps sometime. Second, if you understood any of the science, you would know that almost 80% of the oxygen on the plane comes for oceans, melting ice, other oceanic reactions, not trees. Thrid, carbon dioxide is plant food. forth, the earth produces enourmous amounts methane naturally (oceans, swamps, lakes, decomposing trees, Brazil Amazons etc..etc.. etc.). If you want to lower methane production, BAN ORGANIC DECOMPOSITION., fifth, the leading greehouse gas is water vapor not Co2 or methane. Sixth, Co2 rises LAGS heat temperature rises, meaning Co2 only goes up AFTER the temperature rises. Seveth,during the cambrian period, Co@ level were 7000+ PPM and went down totally on its own. Eigth, the climate has ALWAYS CHANGED.

        Educate yourselves or be suckers of the global carbon tax fraud.

        • Anonymous says:

          Dart could do it. He does everything right.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hot ain’t it?

        • Anonymous says:

          You are right about the carbon tax fraud , how genious , Tax carbon hahaha
          Perhaps we should tax the volcanos or tax the lighting that started a few forest fires , please check the sea levels today, it’s 2018 are we not supposed to be under water already to fear fraud can only work when it’s in the near future so please be afraid and remember the government can find a solution for us , it’s tax by the way , I’m in Canada and we r already paying carbon tax and we have no volcanos

  9. Anonymous says:

    The beautiful thing about the Earth is that she is a self correcting ecosystem. After we’ve polluted it and killed everything including ourselves, she will take her time and purge it all and life will start again and hopefully they take better care of her than we did.

  10. Anonymous says:

    LOL!!!! 80% of the world O2 comes from the oceans, and the earth is more than 40% uninhabited forests. That does not include all the trees within urban and suburban areas and parks.

    Let’s plant some trees in Russia why don’t we.. HAHAHAHAHA.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Surely Dart and his team can solve this problem. After all, when the world was in the verge of total collapse due to not being able to eat in their automobiles, he came through and ‘did things right’ by supplying the planet with a convenient way to get their rice and peas and coffee from the suppliers to billions of fat bellies.
    I put all my faith and confidence in him, his people, and people just like him (think the Orange Bag of Crap from just north of here) because their hearts, and more importantly their great, really great, minds are on the case.

  12. Anonymous says:

    What, exactly do you expect them to do to mitigate this “problem”?

    More importantly, what are YOU doing?

  13. Anonymous says:

    don’t worry our mla’s will do what they have done for the last 30 years….stick their heads in the sand.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Plant trees people!

  15. Elvis says:

    The world will take back what is hers one day,
    It was given to us by well……who really knows.
    Man has hurt, abused and blown it to bits, polluted it and poisoned it.
    Climate change has been happening for years and years, it cannot stop now no matter how hard you try,
    Just enjoy it while we can now….we all soon be dead anyway so don’t fret it’s spoil

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