Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Global Climate Emergency Declared by Scientists at Columbia University Earth Institute

By Garry Rogers @Garry_Rogers

Global Climate Emergency

Climate-change projections published by scientists at the Columbia University Earth Institute have shifted from warnings to emergency alarms.  The scientists are ringing GarryRogersthe emergency bell because of the coming loss of human health and lives.  However, the real disaster lies with natural ecosystems. Earth’s webs of life constructed of interacting plants and animals will suffer far greater and more important loses than will human civilization.  For one thing, humans can emigrate (if their neighbors let them) from landscapes becoming uninhabitable.  Plants and most animals cannot.  (If you want a refresher course on climate change, this is an excellent review:  Global Warming Basics.)

In addition to the U. S. Southwest:

The tropics and the Middle East in summer are in danger of becoming practically uninhabitable by the end of the century if business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions continue, because wet bulb temperature could approach the level at which the human body is unable to cool itself under even well-ventilated outdoor conditions.[3] —James Hansen and Makiko Sato

The ecosystems of the tropics are the most diverse and complex.  Desertification there is an incomprehensible tragedy for the Earth.

I excerpted the following from:

Regional Climate Change and National Responsibilities

“Discussion:  We conclude that continued business-as-usual fossil fuel emissions will begin to make low latitudes inhospitable.  If accompanied by multi-meter sea level rise,[11] resulting forced migration and economic disruption could be devastating.

The overall message that climate science delivers to society, policymakers, and the public alike is this: we have a global emergency. . . . We argue that country-by-country goals, the approach of the 21st Conference of the Parties[13] cannot lead to rapid phasedown of fossil fuel emissions, as long as fossil fuels are allowed to be the cheapest energy.  It will be necessary to include a carbon fee that allows the external costs of fossil fuels to be incorporated in their price.  Border duties on products from countries without a carbon fee, would lead to most nations adopting a carbon fee.”–James Hansen and Makiko Sato.

Fossil Fuel CO2 Emissions

(a) Updates of Figure 5 in Hansen and Sato (2001) “Trends of measured climate forcing agents” (also in PDF) and (b)same quantities as in (a) but in linear scale (also in PDF.) [Last modified: 2015/08/07]

Updates of Figure 16 in Hansen (2003), “Can we defuse the global warming time bomb?” [Figure also in PDF. Last modified: 2015/08/08]

[Figure also in PDF. Last modified: 2015/08/08]Data source: Boden, T.A., G. Marland, and R.J. Andres. 2015. Global, Regional, and National Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., U.S.A. doi 10.3334/CDIAC/00001_V2015. Digital data are available at CDIAC web pages and used for 1751-2011. BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 data are used for extensions to 2014.

See More Figures.

GR:  For a broader discussion of the emergency, go to

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