Even if

It’s too late.

]A]ccording to a new modeling study published in Scientific Reports today, even if we made such drastic reductions permanent, it would still not be enough. The study shows that if we stopped all human-made greenhouse gas emissions immediately, the Earth’s temperatures would continue to rise because of self-sustaining melting ice and permafrost. These “feedback loops” — in which melting ice causes less sunlight to be reflected back into space, which in turn raises temperatures and causes more ice melt — have already been set into motion, the researchers argue.

I read something about it a couple of days ago – the melting tundra. It’s melting so fast and there’s so much of it that it’s going to dump more carbon than we can possibly compensate for even at zero emissions – aka it’s too late.

Humanity “is beyond the point-of-no-return when it comes to halt the melting of the permafrost using greenhouse gas cuts as the single tool,” Jørgen Randers, PhD, professor emeritus of climate strategy at BI Norwegian Business School and lead author of the study, tells Future Human.

For decades, climate scientists have tried to predict the so-called tipping point at which it would be too late to stop global warming — too late to limit the amount the temperature rises, the amount of sea level rise, and the number of lives claimed by both and other climate-induced ecological disasters — through reducing carbon emissions alone. Climate scientists point to either 2030 or 2050 as deadlines for the world to get to zero emissions before runaway climate change kicks in. But according to the new study, no matter how much we reduce emissions now, he says, warming will continue, and the self-sustained melting of Arctic ice and permafrost that has already begun could continue for 500 years.

It’s not 2050 or 2030 or even 2020; we passed it some time ago.

Will carbon sequestration save the day? Well…

To stop self-sustained melting — and the expected rise in temperature and sea level after emissions cease — Randers says the world must undertake a massive effort to capture carbon out of the atmosphere and store it back underground, a technology known as carbon sequestration. And we would have to start sucking at least 33 gigatons out of the air every year, starting this year. For comparison, all animal life on Earth collectively weighs an estimated two gigatons.

It’s kind of a big job.

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