(Worst Case/Business As Usual Carbon Emissions Temperature Scenario A1F1)
According to numerous scientific papers, the current path of CO2 emissions will lead to a 6 degree Celsius warming by the end of this century. These studies have been produced by various agencies including the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (World Bank) and Price Waterhouse Coopers.
A 6 degree Celsius average global average temperature increase would have devastating climate impacts. Regions where average land temperatures are 80 degrees today would see average temperatures climb to about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Large regions, about 60% of land currently inhabited by humans, becomes desert. And initial sea level rise by 2100 is in the range of 3 to 10 feet. The weather and climate shocks that result makes it questionable that human civilization could survive such a catastrophe.
But a study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that 6 degrees of average temperature increase by 2100 would be just the start. At such a rapid heating the global environment would contribute a growing number of feedbacks — methane emission, CO2 from burning biomass, and water vapor from heating oceans that produce an additional 6 degrees Celsius warming by 2300.
At 12 degrees Celsius most of the world is entirely unlivable. Fifty percent of the land mass becomes too hot to survive outdoors. Heat stress becomes an outright killer in these conditions. Regions where average temperatures are 80 degrees today experience average temperatures of 170 degrees Fahrenheit. By 2300-2500 major heatwaves in isolated equatorial regions may be enough to produce air temperatures that boil surface water.
Six and twelve degrees Celsius may not seem like much. But consider this, the difference in average global temperature between now and the last ice age is about 5 degrees Celsius. 5 degrees Celsius on the side of cold means two mile high glaciers bury New York. And we’re headed, under the current CO2 emissions path, to more than that much temperature change on the side of hot by 2100.
Or think of it this way. Average global temperature is now 14 degrees Celsius. So a six degree warming by 2100 would be a nearly 50% increase in world average temperatures. Imagine that for a moment. Image that summers and winters are 50% hotter. What would that world look like? Now consider the 12 degree C warming by 2300. That’s nearly double current temperatures. Can you imagine living through a summer when temperatures for your area are at least twice as hot (surface feedbacks produce greater warming in equatorial and temperate regions at this point, so averages for these areas more than double)?
So many people just don’t get global warming. They don’t understand that the path we’re on right now is nothing more than a short, hot road to hell. Let’s hope we get off it soon. The trouble we’re brewing up by the warming we’ve locked in now is bad enough. But God forbid we ever reach 6 degrees C and the 12 degree C of eventual warming that would unleash.
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