Inevitable Losses

A summary of the losses that many scientists are seeing as inevitable, at the top of a post rather than at the bottom

Climate scientists and those who study species extinction use the term committed to refer to the inevitable. A species is committed to extinction in the wild when there is no longer enough connected habitat to support it. Relic individuals may continue for generations after a species is committed to extinction.

The temperature of the Earth has increased by 0.8 C, and is committed to 0.6 C more. The Earth may be 2 C (or more) hotter in 2050 than in 1960 (and committed to more), and 3 C (or more or much more) in 2100 and committed to even more.

The following comes from John Holdren’s talk at UC, Berkeley June 23, but others have said it as well. I will link to his talk as soon as his presentation is posted.

When the increase is 1.5 C, the polar bear and the coral reefs will be committed to extinction. With a 2 C increase, the Earth may be committed to catastrophic sea level rise of 3 – 4 m/century. At 2.5 C, agricultural productivity is expected to decrease pretty much everywhere on Earth (regionally, this change has already begun).

No one holds much hope for the polar bear or the coral reefs. The goal now is to keep the temperature increase below 2 C.

I address how to begin in If We Could Move Like Centipedes.

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