Climate Change: Earth’s Unthinkable Future

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Global warming has the potential to increase the Earth’s temperature and affect human lives sooner than we think. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if greenhouse gas emissions dropped close to zero overnight and concentrations remained at current levels, then the Earth would increase 4.3°F by the end of the century and this pattern of warming could drastically change life as we know it.

According to Climatologists Steven Sherwood and Matthew Huber, “a global mean warming” of about 12°F could make conditions intolerable for humans. The MIT Integrated Global System Model estimates median surface temperatures to increase by 7 to 9°F by 2100 and in three centuries time some areas of the planet could become uninhabitable.

Climatologists Noah Diffenbaugh and Moetasim Ashfag found that by the 2030’s the equivalent of the longest historical recorded heat wave will occur five times per decade in the western U.S. and three times in the east. This dramatic rise in temperature will have a large negative impact on work performed outside. Places such as Africa or India will be affected first because these areas already face high levels of heat stress today and when temperatures become lethal, these populations will have to relocate or remain permanently in air-conditioned surroundings. Elich ends the article by stating “in a social system where consideration of human needs is peripheral, given a choice between serving the wealthy or cherishing the planet, future generations stand no chance.”

Title: Climate Change: Earth’s Unthinkable Future
Source: Global Research, 11/13/10 Author: Gregory Elich

Student Researcher: Thomas Gojkovich, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Elaine Wellin, Sonoma State University