In a previous post I talked about the uncertainties that make global warming a confusing issue. In this post, I’m going to quote a couple of Oregon experts that say it’s irrefutable and pretty much unstoppable in our current situation.
At the forestry and climate change summit from two weeks ago, OSU prof Mark Harmon explained the seemingly contradictory science around global warming, but he also said the proof is unequivocal. “Scientists have been able to reconstruct atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas by sampling air trapped in the arctic ice. The graf shows a hockey stick shaped curve, greatly increasing since the industrial revolution. We’re increasing greenhouse gas emissions at a phenomenal rate compared to history. The number is going straight up.”
Bob Doppelt, director of Resource Innovations and the Climate Leadership Initiative at the University of Oregon projects temperatures to rise fast. In a new series on global warming in the Register-Guard, he said “In the Pacific Northwest… mean average temperatures are expected to rise about 1.9 degrees by the 2020s compared with the 1970-to-1999 average, and by 2.9 degrees by the 2040s.”
According to Harmon, there is probably a 1% chance that we haven’t changed global surface temperatures. There’s a much larger chance that we’ve changed it significantly.
Snow caps are disappearing faster. The West is drying up. See the recent National Geographic coverage of this issue. It’s a great but terrifying article.
“We’ve set ourselves on a path that’s hard to get off of. If we stopped fossil fuel use today, the momentum of the system will result in big changes anyway. We will not be living in the same world. Systems that we rely on may not produce the things we want,” Harmon said.
The concentration of CO2 is going to go up in the next 100 years, but we can influence that in multiple ways. We don’t need to suffer from paralysis because we don’t know everything that will happen in the face of global climate change.
“I don’t believe we’re all screwed, but it’s easy to come to that conclusion. The organizers took away all of the sharp implements from you when you came in,” Harmon said. “There are solutions, like the stabilization wedges [from Princeton University’s Carbon Mitigation Intitative]. Each piece can buy us a significant amount of time.”