Burning All Fossil Fuels Would Lead to a 17 C Rise in Arctic Temperatures
Burning all the fossil fuels we know to exist on Earth could push global temperature an average of 8 C above preindustrial levels, according to new research. The Arctic would bear the brunt of the warming, with temperatures potentially rising 17 C, said the authors.
The new paper, published Monday in Nature Climate Change, looks at would happen over the next 300 years or so if the world continues to burn coal, oil and gas with no efforts to limit emissions.
Dr. Malte Meinshausen from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who was not involved in the research, told Carbon Brief:
“The study is yet another reminder about the profoundly different planet we would create by burning all fossil fuels … It is hard to imagine a single ecosystem that would remain untouched.”
The paper is in stark contrast to the tone of conversation in Bonn, where climate talks are taking place on how to meet the Paris agreement‘s goal of keeping warming “well below” 2 C or even 1.5 C.
Five Trillion Tons
The starting point for the new study is a world in which there are no efforts to curb emissions. Under this scenario, CO2 stabilizes at roughly 2,000 parts per million (ppm) in 2300.
For context, this is more than five times higher than today’s level (~399ppm) and seven times what it was before humans started industrializing (~280ppm).
Another way to express this is the total amount of carbon released since the beginning of the industrial period, known as cumulative emissions. For this scenario of unmitigated fossil fuel burning, a total of 5 trillion tons would have found its way to the atmosphere by 2300 in the form of carbon dioxide, the paper explains.
This scenario effectively assumes the Paris agreement—adopted last December—fails to gain any traction. Kasia Tokarska, a PhD student at the University of Victoria in Canada and lead author on the paper, told Carbon Brief:
“It is relevant to know what would happen if we do not take actions to mitigate climate change—for example, if we do not ever implement the Paris agreement … From a scientific perspective, it is interesting to study how the climate system would respond under such high forcing levels.”
“Sixth Extinction Event”
Five trillion tons of carbon would raise global temperatures by 6.4-9.5 C, relative to preindustrial times, according to the study. The Arctic, which is already warming faster than the rest of the world, would see temperatures rise at least 14.7, even as high as 19.5 C.
As well as a double figure temperature rise, burning all the world’s fossil fuels would result in a factor of four increase in rainfall in the tropical Pacific, said the authors.
As the map below from the paper shows, rainfall would decrease in other places, including Australia, the Mediterranean, southern Africa, the Amazon, central America and North Africa.
The consequences of such changes would be huge for polar and tropical rainforest ecosystems, as well as for mountain species, the Tundra and coral reefs, said Prof. Camille Parmesan, an expert in marine life at Plymouth University. She told Carbon Brief:
“The temperature and precipitation changes [the authors] project … are way out of bounds for several ecosystems. This is no big surprise, since even what is viewed as ‘moderate’ warming will cause loss of Arctic sea ice and hence the entire ecosystem adapted to sea ice.”
Since model projections already show the loss of whole ecosystems with 4 C or 6 C, it follows that a 8-10 C rise could trigger the loss of more common ecosystems as well. Parmesan said:
“Grasses didn’t evolve until CO2 was low enough that grasses could out-compete trees. At least one research group has predicted loss of grasslands at very high CO2 … [Overall, it is] likely these types of extreme climate changes would lead to a 6th mass extinction event.”
The temperatures that Monday’s study talks about are higher than scientists have predicted in the past for unmitigated fossil fuel burning.
But whereas past studies have used relatively simple models, today’s uses four complex Earth System Models (ESMs). These include a more advanced, more realistic simulation of the various interrelating elements of the climate, Tokarska told Carbon Brief:
“These models have a much more complex representation of the climate system and include dynamic carbon cycle feedbacks and dynamic atmosphere, for example, which may be not represented well in the simpler models.”
What difference does the extra model complexity make?
Until now, simple models have suggested that global temperature rises approximately in proportion with cumulative carbon emissions up to about 2tn tons but that after that point, warming slows down.
Monday’s study suggests that is not the case. The ESMs find the relationship holds up to the full 5tn tons, leading to the paper’s conclusion that:
“[T]he unregulated exploitation of the fossil fuel resource could ultimately result in considerably more profound climate changes than previously suggested.”
Whether or not the linear relationship holds for higher emissions may well be interesting from a scientific perspective. But if CO2 was ever to reach this high, it would be a bit of a moot point, Allen told Carbon Brief:
“I very much hope we don’t find out if it is linear out to 5 trillion tons in the real world, because frankly, we’ll be worried about a lot more than the linearity of the temperature/cumulative-carbon relationship if we do.”
Meinshausen echoes this point, he told Carbon Brief:
“Whether the increase in temperatures flattens off or—as this study shows—is likely to continue linearly with cumulative emissions, is secondary, as it is hopefully a world that we will never see.”
So, how likely is it that we will get close to the 5tn tons figure? Is it purely hypothetical or a realistic worst-case scenario?
To give some perspective, the authors equate 5tn tons of carbon “approximately to the unregulated exploitation of the fossil fuel resource.”
In other words, it is about equivalent to how much fossil fuels is thought to exist deep in earth’s crust, should we be able to burn it all, they say.
It’s worth a quick technical note here on fossil fuel “resources” and “reserves.” The authors point to a 2013 report by the International Energy Agency, which explains the difference as follows:
“Resources are those volumes that have yet to be fully characterized or that present technical difficulties or are costly to extract … Reserves are those volumes that are expected to be produced economically using today’s technology.”
But Monday’s study uses the term “fossil fuel resource” to mean the sum total of both reserves plus resources, Tokarska told Carbon Brief.
Since this total includes fossil fuels that are not currently economically recoverable—and, arguably, may never be—it could be suggested this is a hypothetical rather than realistic extreme scenario. Indeed, Tokarska acknowledged:
“Using an estimate of proven reserves would result in a lower warming estimate.”
But the distinction between reserves and resources is probably less relevant when looking so far into the future, said Allen. He told Carbon Brief:
“Many of today’s fossil carbon reserves would have been deemed resources 50 years ago, before it occurred to anyone we would develop technologies to extract oil from the deep ocean, for example or frack methane from rock. If the resource is there and we don’t get a grip on climate policy, it will get used someday.”
Either way—taking reserves or resources—the temperatures are huge.
It’s also worth noting that 5tn tons is at the low end of estimates of the total resource, Tokarska said. For example, the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) puts the figure for fossil fuel resources in 2011 in the region of 8-13tn tons of carbon (31-50tn tons of CO2).
This is not the first time scientists have done this kind of “thought experiment.”
Meinshausen’s 2011 paper described what would happen if you take the IPCC’s high emissions scenario (RCP8.5) and continue it to 2300. The paper also contained a figure of ~5tn tons for the total cumulative carbon emissions under this zero-mitigation scenario.
Monday’s study essentially repeats the exercise with more complex models. Doing so highlights the importance for projections of carbon cycle feedbacks—knock on effects that can speed up or slow down the pace of warming. Prof. Richard Allan from the University of Reading told Carbon Brief, for example:
“The simulations show that the ability of the land to take up some of the carbon emissions and the deep ocean to take up the heat trapped by rising greenhouse gases begins to wane by the end of this century, which exacerbates warming.”
But while the authors of Monday’s study consider 5tn tons of carbon to be a reasonable estimate of where we could end up without any mitigation, the reality is likely to be different. As Allan put it:
“This is a useful ‘what if’ study that exercises computer simulations to their limits. But, in reality, the damage to societies and ecosystems by such severe climate change would cripple economies to such an extent that it would be practically impossible to burn all the fossil fuel reserves.”
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By Sara Lindberg
Whether you've hit a workout plateau or you're just ready to turn things up a notch, adding more strenuous exercise — also known as high-intensity exercise — to your overall fitness routine is one way to increase your calorie burn, improve your heart health, and boost your metabolism.
However, to do it safely and effectively, there are some guidelines you should follow. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of vigorous exercise and how to safely dial up the intensity of your workouts.
What Is Considered Strenuous Exercise?<p>When it comes to exercise, the intensity of how hard you work out is just as important as the duration of your exercise session. In general, exercise intensity is divided into three categories:</p><ul><li>low</li><li>moderate</li><li>vigorous or strenuous</li></ul><p>For an activity to be vigorous, you need to work at 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, according to the<a href="https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/target-heart-rates" target="_blank"> American Heart Association</a>. Examples of vigorous exercise include:</p><ul><li>running</li><li>cycling at 10 mph or faster</li><li>walking briskly uphill with a heavy backpack</li><li>jumping rope</li></ul><p>Low to moderate exercise is easier to sustain for longer periods since you work below 70 percent of your maximum heart rate and, sometimes, well below that level.</p><p>To reap health benefits, the <a href="https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/index.html" target="_blank">Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans</a> recommends that people age 18 and older get one of the following:</p><ul><li><strong>150 minutes</strong> of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week</li><li><strong>75 minutes</strong> of vigorous aerobic activity per week</li><li><strong>combination of both types</strong> of activity spread throughout the week</li></ul>
Strenuous Exercise Vs. Moderate Exercise<p>Increasing your exercise intensity is fairly simple to do. You can still participate in your favorite activities — just at a more vigorous pace.</p><p>One of the benefits of more strenuous exercise is that you can reap the same rewards as moderate-intensity exercise but in less time. So, if time is of the essence, doing a more strenuous 20-minute workout can be just as beneficial as doing a slower 40-minute workout session.</p><p>Here are some examples of <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/pdf/pa_intensity_table_2_1.pdf" target="_blank">strenuous vs. moderate exercise<span></span></a>.</p><table><tbody><tr><th>Moderate intensity</th><th>Strenuous intensity</th></tr><tr><td>bicycling at less than 10 mph</td><td>bicycling at more than 10 mph</td></tr><tr><td>walking briskly</td><td>running, or hiking uphill at a steady pace</td></tr><tr><td>jog-walk intervals</td><td>water jogging/running</td></tr><tr><td>shooting baskets in basketball</td><td>playing a basketball game</td></tr><tr><td>playing doubles tennis</td><td>playing singles tennis</td></tr><tr><td>raking leaves or mowing the lawn</td><td>shoveling more than 10 lbs. per minute, digging ditches</td></tr><tr><td>walking stairs</td><td>running stairs</td></tr></tbody></table>
Benefits of Vigorous Exercise<p>Besides being more efficient, turning up the heat on your fitness sessions can benefit your health in a variety of ways. Let's take a closer look at some of the evidence-based benefits of a higher intensity workout.</p><ul><li><strong>Higher calorie burn.</strong> According to the <a href="https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/5008/7-things-to-know-about-excess-post-exercise-oxygen-consumption-epoc/?utm_source=Rakuten&utm_medium=10&ranMID=42334&ranEAID=TnL5HPStwNw&ranSiteID=TnL5HPStwNw-hYlKnAcfzfixAUsvnO6Ubw" target="_blank">American Council on Exercise</a>, working out at a higher intensity requires more oxygen, which burns more calories. It also contributes to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) or the "afterburn effect" that allows you to continue burning calories even after you finish working out. This means your metabolism will stay elevated for longer after a vigorous exercise session.</li><li><strong>More weight loss.</strong> A <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/interval-workouts-will-help-you-lose-weight-more-quickly" target="_blank">higher calorie burn</a> and an elevated metabolism will help you lose weight more quickly than doing low- or moderate-intensity exercise.</li><li><strong>Improved heart health.</strong> According to a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16377300" target="_blank">2012 study</a>, high- and moderate-intensity exercise appears to offer low chance of cardiovascular events, even in those with heart disease. Cardiovascular benefits may include improvements in:<ul><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/diastole-vs-systole" target="_blank">diastolic blood pressure</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/15-ways-to-lower-blood-sugar#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1" target="_blank">blood sugar control</a></li><li>aerobic capacity</li></ul></li><li><strong>Improved mood.</strong> High-intensity exercise may also boost your mood. According to a large <a href="https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jpts/27/4/27_jpts-2014-736/_article" target="_blank">2015 study</a> that analyzed the data of more than 12,000 participants, researchers found a significant link between strenuous exercise and fewer depressive symptoms.</li><li><strong>Lower risk of mortality.</strong> According to a 2015 <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25844882" target="_blank">study</a>, researchers found that vigorous activity may be key to avoiding an early death. The study, which followed 204,542 people for more than 6 years, reported a 9 to 13 percent decrease in mortality for those who increased the intensity of their exercise sessions.</li></ul>
How to Measure Exercise Intensity<p>So, how do you know for sure that you're exercising at a strenuous level? Let's look at three ways to measure the intensity of your physical activity.</p><h3>1. Your heart rate</h3><p>Monitoring your heart rate is one of the most reliable methods for measuring exercise intensity. Exercising at 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate qualifies as vigorous exercise intensity.</p><blockquote><strong><strong>WHAT IS YOUR MAXIMUM HEART RATE?</strong></strong>Your maximum heart rate is the fastest your heart can safely beat. To find out what your maximum heart rate is you need to subtract your age from 220. For example, for a 40-year-old person: <ul><li>220 bpm (beats per minute) minus age</li><li>220 – 40 = 180 bpm</li></ul>To work out at a vigorous pace, you'll want to exercise within 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. For example: <ul><li>180 x 0.70 (70 percent) = 126</li><li>180 x 0.85 (85 percent) = 153</li></ul>For a 40-year-old person, a vigorous training range is 126 to 153 bpm.<br></blockquote><p>You can check your heart rate while you're working out by wearing a heart rate monitor or <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-check-heart-rate" target="_blank">taking your pulse</a>.</p>
How to Add Vigorous Activity to Your Workout<p>Adding strenuous activity to your weekly workout routine requires some careful planning. Fortunately, many of the activities that you do at a moderate level can easily be performed at a higher intensity.</p><p>One way of incorporating vigorous aerobic activity into your routine is to do a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workout. This type of workout combines short bursts of intense activity — typically performed at 80 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate — with recovery periods at 40 to 50 percent maximum heart rate.</p><p>To sustain this level of training, consider following a 2:1 work to rest ratio. For example, a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/treadmill-weight-loss#hiit" target="_blank">treadmill workout </a>or outdoor running session could include:</p><ul><li>running at 9 to 10 mph for 30 seconds</li><li>followed by walking at 3 to 4 mph for 60 seconds</li><li>alternating this work-to-rest ratio for 20 to 30 minutes</li></ul><p>Playing a fast-paced sport like soccer, basketball, or racquetball is another effective way to add strenuous activity to your fitness routine. Participating in <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-a-spin-class" target="_blank">cycling classes</a> or swimming laps are other ways to build more strenuous exercise into your workouts.</p>
Safety Tips<p>Before you turn up the intensity on your workouts, it's important to keep the following safety tips in mind.</p><h3>Check with your doctor</h3><p>If you have a health condition or you haven't been active in a while, make sure you talk to your doctor before you start a high-intensity exercise routine. Your doctor can advise you on a safe level of exercise or how to become more active in the safest way possible.</p><h3>Build up the intensity slowly</h3><p>Going from low- or moderate-intensity workouts to vigorous exercise requires time and patience. While you may be ready to jump in with both feet, the safest way to add more vigorous exercise is to do it in bite-size increments. Pushing yourself too quickly can result in injuries and burnout.</p><p>For example:</p><ul><li><strong>Week 1:</strong> Swap out one moderate-paced cardio session for a HIIT workout.</li><li><strong>Week 2:</strong> Swap one moderate-paced session with a HIIT workout, and also add a circuit strength training session to your weekly routine.</li><li><strong>Week 3 and 4: </strong>Repeat weeks 1 and 2 before you start adding more high-intensity exercise to your weekly routine.</li></ul><p>It's also a good idea to space out your vigorous workouts throughout the week. Try not to do two strenuous sessions back-to-back.</p><h3>Don't forget the recovery time</h3><p>Your body requires more time to recover from a vigorous workout compared to a low- or moderate-intensity session.</p><p>To help your body recover, make sure to always include a cooldown and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/static-stretching" target="_blank">stretch routine</a> after strenuous physical activity.</p><h3>Stay hydrated</h3><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-water" target="_blank">Staying hydrated</a> is especially important when you're exercising hard. Not drinking enough fluids can affect the quality of your workout and make you feel tired, lethargic, or dizzy. It may even lead to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/dehydration-headache" target="_blank">headaches</a> and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-relief/how-to-stop-leg-muscle-cramps" target="_blank">cramps</a>.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>Turning up the intensity of your workout sessions can be an effective way of boosting your overall health and fitness. It's also an easy way to save time when trying to fit a workout into your day.</p><p>To play it safe, always start slow and pay attention to how your body feels.</p><p>While vigorous exercise offers many health benefits, it's not appropriate for everyone. If you have a health condition or you haven't been active in a while, make sure to talk with your doctor before working out at a more strenuous level.</p>
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By Jeffrey Miller
In January 2015, food sales at restaurants overtook those at grocery stores for the first time. Most thought this marked a permanent shift in the American meal.
Solving the Age-Old Problem of Spoiled Cheese<p>People have eaten pasta and cheese together for hundreds of years. Clifford Wright, the doyen of Mediterranean food history, says <a href="http://www.cliffordawright.com/caw/food/entries/display.php/topic_id/16/id/105/" target="_blank">the first written recipe</a> for macaroni and cheese was created in the court of the king of Naples in the 13th century, while <a href="https://food52.com/blog/9916-the-history-of-macaroni-and-cheese" target="_blank">the first reference</a> in an English language cookbook likely appeared in Elizabeth Raffald's 1769 book "The Experienced English Housekeeper."</p><p><span></span>An internet search for macaroni and cheese recipes will turn up over 5 million hits, but many still prefer to get theirs in a box – the kind with pasta that comes in shapes ranging from shells to Pokemon characters, accompanied by a packet of powdered cheese sauce.</p><p>Boxed macaroni and cheese was one outcome of the quest for ways to keep cheese longer. Some cheese gets better as it ages – a well-aged cheddar is one of life's delights – but once most cheeses hit their prime, <a href="https://www.dairyfoods.com/articles/91548-how-to-maximize-cheese-shelf-life" target="_blank">they tend to quickly go bad</a>. Before household refrigeration became common, many retailers wouldn't even stock cheese in the summer because it spoiled so quickly.</p><p>Processed cheese solved this age-old problem.</p>
When Natural Was Nasty<p>Today, food that's simple, pure and natural is <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-was-french-cuisine-toppled-as-the-king-of-fine-dining-66667" target="_blank">all the craze</a>, while <a href="https://apnews.com/c06a1200807c4b82a03452d08d480692" target="_blank">disdain for processed foods</a> is practically a credo among sophisticated consumers.</p><p>But when Kraft's different forms of processed cheese came out, they found widespread acceptance despite their strange textures. The fact that it wasn't natural didn't seem to bother consumers at all. In fact, as international food historian Rachel Laudan <a href="https://online.ucpress.edu/gastronomica/article/1/1/36/93394/A-Plea-for-Culinary-Modernism-Why-We-Should-Love" target="_blank">has noted</a>, back then, "natural was something quite nasty." She describes fresh milk as warm and "unmistakably a bodily secretion." Throughout the history of cookery, most recipes aimed to transform an unappetizing raw product into something delightful and delectable.</p><p>So for most consumers, processed foods were a godsend. They kept well, tended to be easily digestible and, most importantly, they tasted good. Many of them could be easily prepared, freeing women from spending entire days cooking and giving them more time to pursue professions and avocations.</p><p>In some ways, processed foods were also healthier. They could be fortified with vitamins and minerals, and, in an era before everyone had access to mechanical refrigeration, the fact that they kept well meant consumers were less likely to contract diseases from spoiled, rotten foods. Pasteurization of dairy products virtually <a href="https://www.the-scientist.com/foundations/rethinking-raw-milk--1918-65126" target="_blank">eliminated diseases like undulant fever</a>, while foods processed and canned in large factories were less likely to harbor food-borne illnesses that could crop up due to faulty or improperly sanitized equipment used by home canners.</p>
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