There seems to be an increasing consensus among climate scientist that even if we were to cease all production of man made greenhouse gases it could take tens of thousands of years to return to a more familiar state of global climate. This is because natural climate change is very slow by man’s timeframe. We can heat a pot of water much faster by quickly applying a lot of heat than it takes to naturally cool down back to room temperature. We, by our huge and sudden generation of greenhouse gases, have triggered nature to quickly release its own huge natural stores of greenhouse gases from the oceans, ice, and tundras which have been accumulating large stores of decaying vegetation matter and lying dormant for tens or hundreds of thousands of years or much longer. (See Global Warming – A real threat to all Life on Earth) As the earth’s waters, ice masses, land masses, and atmosphere continue to rise in temperature by only a few degrees these huge reservoirs of greenhouse gasses of carbon dioxide (CO2) as well as methane gas (30 times more potent than CO2) stored in rotting frozen tundras increasingly become released. So what are we to do? Give up because there is nothing we can do?
What Can be Done?
We can still make a difference if we act soon. Scientists hope our influence on Climate Change is still significant. If we wait longer the natural processes of Global Warming will become increasingly more dominant and our ability to influence overall Climate Change becomes less significant. We can slow down the progression of Global Warming by greatly reducing our contribution to greenhouse gasses as soon as possible. So we can slow down the rate of increasing Global Warming by quickly backing off our contribution. The sooner and faster we back off on our carbon and methane emissions load the more slowly Global Warming will progress from natural sources. This means that we can reduce the accelerating impacts of Climate Change on ourselves and especially future generations. If we do not act fast enough the intensity of storms and droughts will increase in frequency and duration more rapidly.
What is Being Done?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to reverse the ferocity of weather events. That may take tens of thousands of years for nature to slowly begin reversing. We can slow down the progressive severity of these weather events and the long-term peak of Climate Change far into the future if we act soon enough. Is the international community doing enough? Well, it depends on what you mean by ‘enough’. But the more we compromise greenhouse gas emissions in order to allow our economic systems to adjust to the new greenhouse standard the more rapidly global warming will progress and the harder we can slow it down.
The Paris Climate Accord is an attempt to reduce greenhouse gases globally but though it is better than nothing it is not addressing the urgency as a matter of a worldwide security threat. We are in a time crunch where the more protracted we address Global Warming the less impact we will have of influencing its overall rate of change and the more advanced global warming will ultimately advance.
I feel this is what most people fail to realize including those who believe in Climate Change. It is like a locomotive, representing man made greenhouse gases, that is loosely coupled to a long string of railway cars, representing total Climate Change, that is pushing this heavy load of railway cars on a slightly downward grade track, representing nature’s contribution to Climate Change. The longer the locomotive (man made Climate Change) pushes this train of cars (total Climate Change) the faster it proceeds (the faster is total Global Warming) and the longer it will take the railway cars to slow to a stop. The reverse is also true. The sooner the locomotive quickly disengages from pushing the railway cars the slower the cars will be traveling and the shorter distance and time they will eventually stop.
Our locomotive has been pushing hard and harder ever since the industrial revolution and continues to push as Global Warming continues to warm the planet warmer.
What Can We Do?
So what are we to do? Educate yourselves about this then educate our friends, relatives, and especially legislators. There is a lack of political will to treat this as a national threat. It is a national security threat as menacing as a global war. We are sitting on a huge ticking time bomb. The longer we wait to take the appropriate actions the faster we lose control to make a difference. We are talking about the survival of the human race and all high lifeforms. The world will not have seen such a dramatic rise in Global Warming since the earth was full of active volcanoes more than 100 million years ago.
Can We Depend On Science to Fix the Problem?
You might ask out of desperation cannot science find ways of saving us from the disasters of Climate Change? Sure it is possible. But the trouble about man playing God on a global basis is that in the process they can cause all kinds of changes such as rapidly reversing the change and causing an ice age. Man created all the technologies that got us in trouble. They can do experiments in the lab but still, they must do experiments on a global basis with no certainty of the outcome due to the complexities of nature and the earth. And there will likely be many unintended consequences. Nature is just too complex to anticipate most factors as it is constantly changing. But you might ask isn’t nature doing experiments as it evolves and adjusted to Global Warming changes? Yes, but nature is usually much slower in its evolution taking tens of thousands of years to slowly change and evolve and thus allowing life to adapt. Nature is going to do whatever it is going to do. We cannot depend on science to save us. It is simply too risky. The safest option is to work with nature, not work around it with science. We must reduce our production of greenhouse gases quickly. We must put the breaks on greenhouse gas emissions as soon and quickly as possible. The survival of our planet depends upon it.