Saturday, January 16, 2016

Anthropogenic CO2 predicted to postpone the next ice age by at least 100,000 years --Nature article

Commentary by Denis Rancourt

Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is a leading member of the global-warming scientific elite:

"In 2012, he was the lead-author of a report commissioned by the World Bank on possible impacts of a 4 degrees Celsius warming towards the end of the 21st century. This report received a lot of attention worldwide. That same year, Schellnhuber presented the keynote at the gala dinner that opened the high-level segment of the world climate summit COP18 in Doha, Qatar. In the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon and UNFCCC's boss Christiana Figueres, a few days later Schellnhuber signed an agreement with the Qatar Foundation to jointly create a Climate change research institute in Qatar - a remarkable step as the country's wealth for decades had been based on exporting fossil fuels." [Wikipedia]

His recent 2016 co-authored paper in Nature contains the conclusions:

"moderate anthropogenic cumulative CO2 emissions of 1,000 to 1,500 gigatonnes of carbon will postpone the next glacial inception by at least 100,000 years"


"our results suggest that anthropogenic interference will make the initiation of the next ice age impossible over a time comparable to the duration of previous glacial cycles."

I would say that those consequences of an increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere -- to the extent that the climate models can reliably be used for climate predictions -- are significant benefits to both humans and the planet, which far outweigh any negative consequences that have been projected and imagined.

Whereas it is difficult to establish a causal link between increased CO2 and any specific human suffering or environmental disaster, there can be no doubt that an ice age is a change in climate and that an ice age would be negative for life on Earth.

To be specific, there is a scientific consensus that an ice age would create large population migrations and associated political tensions possibly leading to wars, global loss of forests, a large drop in global mean surface temperature, massive loss of biodiversity over extended regions, collapse of agriculture, heightened threats to endangered species, loss of bees, perturbed migration patterns, and so on.

Few animal species would benefit from an ice age. The exceptions being cold-region animals such as polar bears.

Although fossil fuel extraction is largely motivated by state power and corporate profit, an unintended side affect may be to have postponed the certain environmental mega disaster of the next ice age, if we can believe climate modellers?

I think we should use some of the next thousand years or so to develop democracy and diplomacy tools (plenty of opportunity for development in those areas) just in case the modellers don't have all the details worked out yet and some of that unavoidable cooling starts to kick in sooner than expected. We know it's coming, modellers or no modellers.

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