Quantcast

Scientists Say Climate Change Could Produce ‘Irreversible' Effects on Earth

Climate

With its new report on climate change, the largest science society in the world is intent on reaching the largest possible amount of people.

That's likely why the American Association for the Advancement of Science's (AAAS) What We Know gets straight to the point without the confusing data and over-analytical language some reports offer. Instead, the report presents plenty of no-nonsense language on human-caused climate change, which 97 percent of climate scientists agree on.

“The longer we wait to respond, the more the risks of climate change will increase," the report reads. "Conversely, the sooner we take action, the more options we will have to reduce risk and limit the human and economic cost of climate change."

A panel of scientists believes that not acting soon on climate change could lead to the Earth experiencing "irreversible" changes.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The AAAS' study was compiled by a panel of scientists from various universities and institutes around the U.S. and United Kingdom. There are more than 120,000 members in the AAAS.

While they find it "disturbing" that scientists can't agree on just how much warming it will take to trigger drastic changes, the scientists say they could come in the next 10 to 20 years. They label those changes "abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible."

"Average global temperature has increased by about 1.4 degrees over the last 100 years," according to the report. "Sea level is rising, and some types of extreme events—such as heat waves and heavy precipitation events—are happening more frequently. Recent scientific findings indicate that climate change is likely responsible for the increase in the intensity of many of these events in recent years."

Like most, this panel, led by Mario Molina of the University of California San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, says lowering carbon dioxide emissions is our best hope. Carbon dioxide remained stable at 280 parts-per-million (ppm) for millennia, before beginning to rise in the 19th century. As more fossil fuels were burned, that figure kept rising. It broke the 400 ppm mark a year ago.

The study largely agrees with a NASA study that predicts that the Earth could warm 20 percent more than earlier estimates. However, the AAAS ends things on quite a few hopeful notes, though. The panel believes that scientists worked successfully with the government, industries and consumers after identifying acid rain and ozone threats. Its members believe the same can be done regarding climate change. The study also applauded the greenhouse gas emission reduction initiatives in larger cities like New York, Seattle, Boston and Chicago.

"The United States is one of the most resourceful and innovative societies in the world," the study reads. "We are a nation of problem solvers ... We believe that our responsibility as scientists is to ensure, to the best of our ability, that people fully understand the climate realities and risks we face.

"Prior experience shows that we and future generations will be better off when science effectively informs decision-making and action." 

Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

FDA

Food manufacturer General Mills issued a voluntary recall of more than 600,000 pounds, or about 120,000 bags, of Gold Medal Unbleached All Purpose Flour this week after a sample tested positive for a bacteria strain known to cause illness.

Read More Show Less
Imelda flooded highway 69 North in Houston Thursday. Thomas B. Shea / Getty Images

Two have died and at least 1,000 had to be rescued as Tropical Storm Imelda brought extreme flooding to the Houston area Thursday, only two years after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the Associated Press reported Friday.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Aerial assessment of Hurricane Sandy damage in Connecticut. Dannel Malloy / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.

Read More Show Less
Giant sequoia trees at Sequoia National Park, California. lucky-photographer / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.

Read More Show Less
This aerial view shows the Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium, one of the venues for 2019 Rugby World Cup. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP / Getty Images

The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Vera_Petrunina / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Wudan Yan

In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."

Read More Show Less
Volunteer caucasian woman giving grain to starving African children. Bartosz Hadyniak / E+ / Getty Images

By Frances Moore Lappé

Food will be scarce, expensive and less nutritious," CNN warns us in its coverage of the UN's new "Climate Change and Land" report. The New York Times announces that "Climate Change Threatens the World's Food Supply."

Read More Show Less
British Airways 757. Jon Osborne / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Adam Vaughan

Two-thirds of people in the UK think the amount people fly should be reined in to tackle climate change, polling has found.

Read More Show Less