Emily Pilloton

NASA PUTS GLOBAL WARMING Tipping Point Within 10 Years

by , 05/31/07
filed under: global development

nasa Study on Global warming, Ice cap, melting ice cap, global warming effects 2

The global warming issue is really starting to heat up. In a startling article from abcnews.com, author Bill Blakemore brings to light NASA and Columbia University Earth Institute’s recently conducted study that verifiably asserts that “with just 10 more years of ‘business as usual,’ it becomes impractical to avoid disastrous effects.” The forecast, as articulated by the study’s lead author, James Hansen of NASA, sounds like the worst parts of the Bible, predicting everything from “increasingly rapid sea-level rise, increased frequency of droughts and floods, and increased stress on wildlife and plants due to rapidly shifting climate zones.” The 10-year timeframe shows other recent climate studies to have underestimated the urgency of the window in which we can make significant changes.



Earth Day, Image of Earth, Apollo 17 earth image, Earth Rising

The study identifies the “tipping points” as the “points of no return” moments that would quickly turn a dangerous situation into “potentially catastrophic for civilization.” In response to the study’s findings, NASA is endorsing science that places “considerably more urgency on the need to reduce emissions to avoid “disastrous effects” of global warming,” and emphasizing “the danger of ‘strong amplifying feedbacks’ pushing Earth past dangerous tipping points.”

The article also points to “uncontrollable feedback loops,” the disappearance of reflective Arctic ice and snow, and dangerous levels of CO2 (450+ parts per million) as catalysts bringing us closer to these tipping points.

Read the full article here.

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21 Comments

  1. bimtz November 12, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Hi, I would like to know the iceberg’s image autor. Thanks!

  2. Phillip Emmanuel July 5, 2007 at 5:26 am

    I know global warming is for real and it is a event in which men, gradually being their own world to an end without even knowing it.
    I feel sorry for our planet and harm we are doing to it and i think its time we start doing something about it and help make our world a better place… even for our children’s children.

  3. Tom June 5, 2007 at 10:09 am

    THE BUSH DOCTRINE:

    Let us all swear from this day forward that we will do whatever is politically and socially necessary to prevent SOCIETY’S MOST IDIOTIC from ever stepping foot in the White House ever again;

    that we will prevent immediate relatives and spouses from holding the seat of President within the same twenty year period;

    that we will request from prospective Presidents the names of the twenty or so people each intends to drag to Capital Hill, and thoroughly investigate the credentials of each one;

    that we will fight for economic growth in the environmentally friendly sector, and become world leaders in the fabrication and sale of sustainable building supplies and materials all over the world;

    that we will monitor our planet and our government, and scream bloody-hell loud if either starts spinning in the wrong direction;

    that we will expose ever fiber of hypocrisy and ever string of a lie told by our country’s leaders (House and Senate), and seek to have poor performers on all levels promptly replaced;

    that we will as a people in an advanced society take action on alternative resources without waiting for our government to catch up or “get on board”;

    that we will fight for the right to bear arms in case our crazy government ever gets itself into the horrible position of declaring Marshall Law;

    that we will never let a President condemn our youth to death for the sake of bad policy and bad planning;

    that we will impeach and remove from office any President who ever goes to war on the back of bad intelligence, bad advice and a whole pack of lies;

    that we will remind our government that it works for us, and not the other way around;

    that we will take whatever strides we can to be responsible for the Global warming caused by our own households, cars and properties, and correct or improve whatever problems we can with whatever resources we have available to use;

    that we will not wait for our government and President to ratify international treaties (Kyoto, etc.) before taking action in areas requiring our attention.

    On this day we solemnly swear to the above!

    THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

  4. ernie June 4, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    It boggles the mind how the USA still drags its feet. The government does not seem to have a problem dropping billions of dollars on nuclear subs, underground tunnels connecting underground military bases (because it will be too damn hot on the service for our country’s leaders to play golf), and electromagnetic dish arrays designed to literally disrupt the ionosphere (see the HAARP project at http://www.fiu.edu/~mizrachs/HAARP.html), but it does when it comes to imposing something as imperative as serious gas emission controls and fuel efficiency standards on a level that would make us proud. Are we merely a shadow society caught up in life’s distractions to the point that we can no longer grab the fabric that made the founding fathers so potent and visionary?

    Lee Iacocca recently published his newest book entitled, “Where have all the leaders gone?” and I suggest we all read it and better understand why our society stands on the precipice of failure.

    Global warming is nothing new and it is perhaps our brief existence on this planet that makes grappling with the issue such a monumental task. However, what is new and definitely within our grasp is understanding how our own influence has altered and accelerated naturally occurring Global Warming to a degree that should have us a bit more frightened.

    It is interesting to note that the Chinese have recently unveiled a Global Warming plan, but one that depends on economic (gas drilling, coal exploration, etc.) growth for implementation. This is indeed the stance our own administration is taking: “Let’s make gradual change and improvements, but I do not want to step on the toes of the companies with whom I have stock.”

    Why have not leaflets and energy conservation booklets and alternative energy pamphlets been sent out to every mailbox alerting people how each family can make a few changes to decrease the Global Warming condition? This happens in Texas when water conservation measures must be implemented, especially in the region of El Paso, whose citizens have water monitor gauges on their homes to control and limit water consumption.

    Where are all of the buildings with grass on the rooftops?

    Where are the incentives for our young intelligent minds to develop the fuel efficient cars of the future? Do we need Richard Branson and Bill Gates to set up every contest for the most innovative idea?

    Where is the UFO technology at to help us with this issue? Is alien technology only limited to stealth fighters and new metals for nuclear powered ships? Yes, and though alien technology itself may be questionable, there is plenty of evidence on the net to suggest that something on this level is happening without the general population’s consent. So let’s have some know-how, boys!

    Where are the solar panels that should be built into every new home being constructed today?

    Where, besides out in Taos, New Mexico, are the sustainable homes being built?

    The Achilles heal of the human condition is best seen when we are pushed to act but cannot due to rutts and the desire for the status-quo. Global Warming shall reveal to us much more than the power of the Earth. It shall illuminate the total and complete weakness our government and civilization – besides the brave and capable few – have to take country-wide action and deliver!

  5. Jo June 3, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    Dont worry, im certainly not giving up…. im just bewildered by people who twist logic so they can keep their cushy comsumer lives.

    Isnt it sad that we have gotten to a stage where everything is a conspiracy theory and everyone believes everyone else is ‘crying wolf’

    Its not hard to see the truth… just go travelling – see the effects first hand instead of sitting on your butts and making judgments out of thin air.

    Regardless of whether global warming exists or not, it doesnt matter, the fact is we are trashing our planet… and we need to find a way to be sustainable…. its just going to be one thing after another, now global warming, then coal runs out, then oil, then we have too much nuclear waste, we have no where else to throw our non degradable garbage, we have no space for housing… etc etc

    Forget the conspiracy theories, forget what the media, the government, your friends are saying… just look ‘out the window’ be accountable and take some responsibility!

  6. Erik van Lennep June 3, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    This is an issue I am working on day in and day out at my job, as well as my other time. I have been working on it a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time, since 1983, and only in the past year has general awareness begun to include climate change. Sometimes I despair, sometimes I have hope, but always I keep doing whatever is possible to find creative and effective responses we can implement, and to get others thinking and acting. It’s real folks, no question. Denial is just one of the stages of confronting a problem (next comes attempting to strike a bargain with god, then reluctant acceptance, then decision to make a change, then action). Personally I would prefer to die fighting than just give up.

    The good news is that most of the changes we need to make are good for us at all levels. If we make the shifts needed to stop trashing our climate, we will also create healthier and happier societies, communities, economies and selves. It’s win win win if we go down that road. And when enough start the trend, the rest will follow anyway as they see us benefiting and the weight of public opinion shifts towards more sustainable activity.

    But nothing is guaranteed and we are definitely running out of time. So pull the finger out and make a move…ok?

  7. BKgreen June 3, 2007 at 12:31 am

    Will we have super low emission cars? Not if we as consumers don’t keep demanding that car companies make cars with lower emissions. How do we do that? By actually buying hybrid cars, other alternative fuel vehicles, etc. instead of continuing to buy cars as a status symbol like Hummers and other large SUV’s. Stop the dependance on oil. Decrease polution. We must change our thinking and start caring about what we are doing to our planet and to our kids.

  8. royalestel June 2, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Hey Nick Simpson, and Kim,
    Don’t Panic!

    Would be the first order of business.

    Second order of business, work on known problems, i.e. mercury in ground water sources, car pollution, and in our own homes, emergency praparedness.

    Third, continue researching the earth and sun’s interactive systems until we know more facts about the climate. For example, we don’t even know why the basic theory of global warming doesn’t fit actual tropospheric temperatures.

    The last thing we ought to do is create problems by meddling with things we don’t understand and digging ourselves into a deeper hole. For example, there’s a plan in the works to dump tons and tons of iron into the ocean to fight global warming, even though they don’t know what will happen if they do it. Common sense would say do some small scale test first.

    Catch my drift? Five years and we’ll all have LED lights and super low emissions cars. Ten years and we’ll have no emissions cars.

    In the meantime, take a deep breath, grow some of your own food in a window garden, and keep working.

    Love to the world,
    Royal

  9. Kim June 1, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    Yes, life will go on, Nature will heal itself but that doesn’t mean humans are included!
    Read “Beyond the Limits” and it’s clear that Global Warming has the catchy name, but there’s more to it than just CO2, there’s population, diminishing resources and that includes food.
    The Kazinsky cabin doesn’t work if we all do that, so there’s got to be a solution and giving up is the cowardly way out. We have to keep trying, there’s too much at risk.

  10. Naomi June 1, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    Hey “Aydede”….

    Can I ask if you have any sort of insurance? Like house/car/health? Because, NOT taking this climate change issue seriously makes about as much sense as saying you can go through life without one cent of insurance either. Are you taking that sort of personal risk? Likely not. SO, just for the sheer hell of it… try to think of all of this concern as simply wiser people than yourself acting responsibly for the sake of tomorrow and their kids’/grandkids’ futures.

  11. Nick Simpson June 1, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    Some people here’s comments really worry me. What are some of you suggesting, we sit back and let things just happen, “the earth will heal itself”?! We’ve wrecked it, we need to put things right! The whole point is we can’t actually fix the planet anyway, we just need to stop wrecking it. Even if it doesn’t seem possible, what exactly do you think is the other option?

  12. Dodgey June 1, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    Whilst I can see the situation re global warming and would concur that this is not something to look fwd to. What no one has yet shown me is the clear and unequivocal link between the levels of CO2 and the planets changing cycle. I am still not assured by the vested interests bodies suddenly bleating on about how we can change this effect. Do we all consider ourselves to be so damned important and omnipotent that we can alter what may well be a new cycle for the planet? I think all this bad news is going to happen with us or without us.
    Of course we should all change our ways and be less wasteful, stop squandering energy in all its forms just call a halt to the whole lie that is capitalism. It doesn’t work any more, it’s worn out and the fat cats have to find something else for us to focus on so that we wont notice what a complete hash they have made of it so far!
    If our time is due, all the “Greenwash” in the world wont stop the planet changing. It may not suit us, but we are not even in the equation.

  13. royalestel June 1, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Jo,
    Don’t despair becuase there are skeptics. We keep the enviro-crowd on their toes.
    We will work to protect and preserve the beauty and resources of the earth together. Take heart in the self-repairing nature of earth’s environmental systems–everything from DNA replication to fish population balances. There are amazing interdependecies between the systems, but the systems adapt to fill in flaws as well, if we give them half a chance. Things aren’t too late.

    Life will go on.

    We will get better and better at taking care of the earth. Panicking is not the solution. We’ll just keep working to prepare. If we are prepared, then we do not fear.

    Just prepare yourslef and family. No rocking in the corner please. Stand up and get to work, my friend.

  14. J June 1, 2007 at 8:51 am

    I too saw the abcnews article and was duking it out in the newsblog there. Climate change is real, no matter what is causing it, is something we can all agree upon. Therefore, we should at least do the little that we can to help curb the problem and rectify our self-indulgent ways. this is all people really need to understand…but even that is asking too much. nobody wants to give up their precious suv, nobody can be bothered to shut down their computer at night, and nobody can do the dishes and turn of the faucet between each dish. sad sad world.

  15. Jac June 1, 2007 at 7:07 am

    Already when studying Geography abt a decade ago, I see red with the rate trees are being cut down, the lack of non-petrol resources to feed our mobility and low anti-pollution law enforcements among other issues that harm the Planet Earth greatly. We can only change the mindset of mankind, 1 homosapien at a time.

  16. aydede June 1, 2007 at 2:26 am

    global warmins is a hoax. dont believe it

  17. Jo May 31, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    it just makes me want to sit in a corner and cry whilst rocking back and forwards….the ignorance/denial of some people

  18. Brad Arnold May 31, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    So, according to Dr Hansen at NASA, 450 ppm CO2 level in the air is a potential tipping point. Actually, if you include other greenhouse gas (GHG) levels in the air, the level is virtually 459 ppm-past the red line.

    More worrisome, to have a 50% chance of avoiding a 2C rise in temperature, the world must cut their GHG levels 50% by 2050. Unfortunately, we are taking about a 2C rise from the temperature before the Industrial Revolution, so it is really just a 1C rise from today. Furthermore, we are taking a 50% cut in GHG emissions from 1990 levels, so it is really an 80% cut from today.

    It gets worse, because developing countries will continue to “catch up” to developed countries in per person GHG emissions, so the developed countries will have to cut their GHG emissions over 90% to compensate. That’s right-the US would have to cut their GHG emissions over 90% for a 50-50 chance at avoiding dangerous warming.

    That is unreasonable-I suggest improving nature’s ability to remove CO2 from the air using genetic engineering-perhaps seeding a GMO into the ocean. This is a low cost, highly scalable, technologically feasible solution.

  19. treekiller May 31, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    So with this in mind, I came across the California Climate Change Portal (http://www.climatechange.ca.gov/) that has lots of good resources and reports. Maybe too little, too late, but at least the golden state has started engaging the issues.

    Now we have 10 years left to repent before its too late!!!!!

    ok, I’m a sustainability geek – but I’m starting to think about heading for the hills and living in a kazinsky cabin off the grid. just need some water, whisky and a flock of geese for faux gras.

  20. L.F. May 31, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for posting that link to ABC’s story about NASA in-fighting. What were as interesting as the article itself are the comments that came after. Most of the comments disagree that Global Warming is man-made or an issue at all, with a whole bunching of name calling thrown in. I’m hearing this more and more lately and I find it really disturbing. The huge strength and the tactics of the environmental movement are causing a growing backlash in my opinion.

    It’s incredibly distressing in my opinon.

  21. royalestel May 31, 2007 at 11:38 am

    NASA’s top official questions the need to combat global warming today on ABC and NPR.
    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=3229696&page=1

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