Global warming will continue no matter what we do
Even if humanity stopped emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow, Earth will warm for centuries to come and oceans will rise by metres, according to a controversial modelling study published Thursday.
Natural drivers of global warming — more heat-trapping clouds, thawing permafrost, and shrinking sea ice — already set in motion by carbon pollution will take on their own momentum, researchers from Norway reported in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.
“According to our models, humanity is beyond the point-of-no-return when it comes to halting the melting of permafrost using greenhouse gas cuts as the single tool, If we want to stop this melting process we must do something in addition — for example, suck CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it underground, and make Earth’s surface brighter.”
The core finding — contested by leading climate scientists — is that several thresholds, or “tipping points”, in Earth’s climate system have already been crossed, triggering a self-perpetuating process of warming, as has happened millions of years in the past. One of these drivers is the rapid retreat of sea ice in the Arctic.