Planetary Emergency: Tipping Points and Accelerating Feedbacks

Feedbacks are Already Operational

There is no precedent in the past, for the abrupt and extreme rate of global climate forcing that the industrial civilization has created. Though the scientists are silent (with exception for the reason to justify on-going research), the fact is, that most definitely, we are now in an abrupt global climate change event, which is most likely unsurpassed in the history of life on the planet. Scientists condemn humanity by failing to call for the absolute ending of the current fossil fuel economy, as well as, an ending to burning all fossil fuels – the only way to zero carbon – and the only way to stabilize the planet (recognized by IPCC). Any science or policy that is accepting of any fossil fuels – inclusive of conventional oil and gas, condones and legitimizes current coal plants and drilling to continue and expand, while ignoring the fact that nature does not compromise. Therefore, those who accept such false solutions including CCS (carbon capture storage) (already proven to be a spectacular failure) are complicit in protecting the current suicidal ‘business as usual’ economic model which will bring us to a complete collapse of civilization.

Simply stated, it does not matter where methane carbon feedback comes from. What matters is that these feedbacks will cascade and multiply – at some point causing a mass extinction event. Imagine a domino effect. It takes just one carbon feedback to add to our current state of global warming to trigger all other carbon feedbacks – this is definite. As world governments absolutely refuse to stop burning fossil fuels, continued accelerating warming of our increasingly fragile planet, caused by rising greenhouse gas emissions will ensure such feedbacks are dead certainties.

Feedbacks which further amplify global warming (creating additional CO2 and additional feedbacks):

  • Warming soil. (CO2)
  • Increased ground level ozone. This reduces photosynthesis which are toxic to all green growth.
  • Warming peatlands. (Methane)
  • Warming wetlands. (Such as lakes, ponds, rivers, etc.) [17]
  • Forest fires. (CO2 and Methane)
  • Forest die back. (CO2)
  • Thawing permafrost. (Methane)
  • Melting methane hydrates. (Methane)
  • Warming ocean water. (Dissolves less CO2)
  • Ocean acidification. (Draws down less CO2)
  • Plankton die-off. (Less effective ocean biological carbon pump)(CO2)
  • Loss of sea ice (albedo)

The slightest risk/possibility of methane being added to the atmosphere from carbon feedback today – from any source – leaves no doubt that an absolute expedient transition from fossil fuel energy to zero carbon energy is imperative for our survival. Yet, methane releases continue to accelerate. The fact that methane is 100 times more powerful than CO2 in the first five years, creates a unparalleled world emergency of massive scale. State governments, media and scientists who minimize, ignore or deny methane risks condone the massive risk to civilization’s survival from methane carbon feedbacks.

Scientists and governments have known for decades that climate change accelerates the warming temperature in the Arctic, far faster than anywhere else on Earth; warming the ocean that will result in the destabilization, melting and venting of the methane hydrates. It is not surprising that we now find ourselves in a situation where we are ‘beyond dangerous atmospheric interference (DAI) with the climate – as the world has done nothing to stop it. This situation will continue to accelerate even if we stop burning all fossil fuels today. This is why the emergency is unprecedented and unparalleled in magnitude.

The video below shows a large plume of methane-rich gas continuously bubbling in a tundra lake in Alaska. (2010 | 0:40)

Creative commons photograph courtesy of  John Williams via Flickr.

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