A 2-degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in global average temperature by the year 2100 has been the official estimate of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC). But it is low and overly optimistic. The IPCC is a part of the United Nations charged with researching global warming and is currently recognized as the leading authority on the subject. (If you have not read about the critical climate tipping points, do so now. They are that important to your future!)
This 2-degree Celsius IPCC estimate is based on the operating premise that everything happening in the very complex and highly interconnected climate system will always work perfectly as predicted in our favor, and no known or unknown critical climate tipping points will be crossed. When is the last time relying on a perfect scenario has worked well for you?
In 2015 James Hansen, along with others, published results of a new study warning of IPCC errors and that sea level could rise by 10 feet by 2050 and not 3 feet by 2100 as the IPCC has predicted. According to a recent analysis from scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), "The worst-case projections for global warming may be the most likely.”
Extrapolating from the current IPCC’s own worse case projections and the IPCC’s glaring lack of climate tipping point scenarios within its worst-case projections implies that a 6°C (12° Fahrenheit) increase is the more realistic projection, to occur sooner than 2100 by far.
A much sooner than expected 6°C (12° Fahrenheit) average global temperature increase is based on these reasonable real-life assumptions:
We continue business as usual increasing the toxic carbon pollution of the atmosphere at our current exponentially rising levels of carbon 2-3 ppm per year,
Methane continues rising as it has over the last several decades because of the fracking boom and other factors, and/or
We have unknowingly crossed or will soon cross any one or more of the many known or unknown critical global warming climate system tipping points within any of the numerous critical subsystems of the climate master system.
According to the climate author Mark Lynas, if we let our planet’s temperature increase by 6 degrees Celsius (about 12 degrees Fahrenheit), “it would cause a mass extinction of almost all life and probably reduce humanity to a few struggling groups of embattled survivors clinging to life near the poles.” In May of 2014, we crossed another dangerous climate tipping point when scientists discovered that the West Antarctic Ice Shelf has gone into an irreversible and escalating melt.
There's another global warming shocker here as well. The first wave of escalating global warming superstorms or "millennial storms" (storm severity levels that have not been seen for thousands or tens of thousands of years) will be coming much sooner than the 60-100 years from now as it is currently being told to us.
Our evaluation of the current climate data, when you include crossing one or more of the critical climate tipping points to some degree, implies that these new super storms, super droughts, super floods, and super wildfires will begin replacing our current waves of extreme weather in as little as 15 to 30 years.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations (IPPC) appears to have once again gotten something very important wrong on where we are right now. Even if we stopped emitting all carbon and methane greenhouse gases today, we are committed to considerably more global warming than the IPCC has publically stated.
According to Michael Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at the University of Pennsylvania State in a study published a few years ago, we are already committed to a total rise in temperature of 1.7°C (about 3 degrees Fahrenheit) in the northern hemisphere, no matter what we do to slow or stop global warming. In part, this is because there is future global warming already baked into the pipeline.
This is what it is called committed warming. Committed warming is inevitable and due mainly to the lag time for the oceans to heat up owing to the slow response of ocean warming to greenhouse gases. (For more about how the ocean heating and cooling, as well as how other ocean factors will affect our future global temperature, click here to read about the ocean-related global warming tipping points.)
The temperature increase of 1.7° C already committed global warming is really bad news. And, the computer modeling used to create it also does not include the real possibility that we have unconsciously crossed or could very soon cross any critical global warming climate tipping point (because of already existing climate system momentum factors.) If that has happened or will happen soon, the 1.7-degree Celsius calculation for already committed global warming could be significantly above the 1.7° C calculation above. We could rapidly move through 2 or 3 degrees celsius and beyond and face the full catastrophic effects of "hell and high water."
This 1.7° C of already committed global warming also does not include the atmospheric aerosols like carbon soot that will be removed from the air as we stop burning fossil fuels. But, there is a twist. Without these black soot-like aerosols which come from burning fossil fuel blocking some of the sun’s heat remaining in the atmosphere, global temperatures are estimated to go up an additional .2 to .5° C depending upon the atmospheric soot levels in your area of the world.
This calculation for how average global temperature will go up as we shut down fossil fuel aerosol production is significant. This implies assuming and planning your personal or business future using only 1.7° C of already committed average global warming might well be a very dangerous life and business planning assumption indeed.
To put this already committed temperature level in perspective, the IPCC at the last Paris conference in November 2015 pushed to ensure global warming does not rise above 1.5° C. This is because a 1.5° C increase spells an unending chain of horrific disasters for many of the world’s poorest countries.
Additionally, according to Professor Mann, when we hit 405 parts per million (ppm) of carbon in the atmosphere we have now committed ourselves to a 2° C (3.6°F) increase in global temperature. As of January 2018, we are at 408 ppm with carbon now going up at about 2-3 ppm per year in the most recent years. Add in the fact that none of the above committed global warming calculations include any possibility that we have already unknowingly crossed any global warming tipping point (or will soon cross one,) or include any calculation for the aerosol effects of black soot that will be continually eliminated, and we are indeed in deep trouble!
In James Hansen's analysis, “...goals of limiting human-made warming to 2° C and CO2 to 450 ppm are prescriptions for disaster” because significant global warming tipping points will be crossed. (Hanson’s calculation for carbon 450 ppm also does not include calculations for aerosols like carbon soot. If you took into account this additional atmospheric aerosol heating factor of .2 to .5° C, James Hansen’s 450 ppm calculation would need to be adjusted down to about 405 -425 ppm --- exactly where or close to we are now.
Professor Mann also believes we currently have a 33% probability of overshooting the mark of a no more than 2°C increased average global temperature. From the information above, we at Job One believe the risk is considerably larger than that. Therefore, from all of the above, it would be unrealistic, bordering on irrational, for anyone to keep promoting that we can realistically keep the average global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius. Passing beyond 2°C makes runaway global warming caused human extinction a real threat.
The battle to keep global warming less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) has already been lost! We all need to accept this harsh reality and move on to preparing for and adapting to what is coming next while we still have time!
In order for humanity to endure, we now have no other prudent choice but to do whatever we can to try to lessen and slow the long-term pain of this global warming emergency because it has already become irreversible. The good news is that we may still have enough time to prepare families, businesses, nations, and ourselves for the tremendous stress that the increasing levels of escalating global warming will cause; but again, only if we start preparing for it right now!