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Climate change: We’re missing all the exits on the highway to hell, says Gwynne Dyer.

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25.12.2019

"The point of no return is no longer over the horizon," warned UN secretary general António Guterres as the 25th climate summit (COP25) opened in Madrid two weeks ago, and the multitude of delegates from more than a hundred countries presumably understood what he meant. But they ignored it anyway.

The 'point of no return' arrives in the mid-2030s, when the rising emissions of greenhouse gases (they are still rising, not falling) pushes the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent in the atmosphere up past 450 parts per million. 450 ppm of CO2 drives the average global temperature up past 2̊C (2 degrees higher than the pre-industrial average) and into runaway.

What happens at 450 ppm is that the two degrees of warming caused by human beings trigger natural processes ('feedbacks' or 'tipping points') that also cause warming — and once they start, human beings cannot stop them. The Big Three feedbacks are the loss of the Arctic Ocean's sea ice cover, the melting of the permafrost zone, and the release of vast amounts of CO2 by the warming world oceans.

Guterres........

© Peterborough Examiner