What has been known as the climate cliff is the climate point you go over which begins the runaway global warming process.
(At the end of this article, you will find a link to a comprehensive four-part plan for what you can do to help manage global warming. To counterbalance these disruptive facts, in this article, you will also find a link to the many surprising benefits that you will experience as we work toward resolving this great challenge, opportunity, and evolutionary adventure.)
The not-for-profit Job One for Humanity organization is primarily a place focused on educating individuals and businesses on how to both survive and thrive through the coming climate change and global warming challenges.
You are about to read some horrible climate change and global warming news. The good news is that there are still many things we can do to improve our global warming future.
At the end of this document, we have provided links to a practical plan to manage escalating global warming. We have also provided a link to the many benefits we will achieve as we face this emergency and enact the needed actions to manage its consequences. You will be surprised by the benefits that you (and humanity) will acquire as we resolve this challenge, opportunity, and adventure while never forgetting, "our greatest challenges are also our greatest opportunities."
The not so good news. . .
Before discussing the more up-to-date climate cliff, it is essential to understand the idea of runaway global warming. It means that global warming will increase on a runaway course. Imagine a train going down a hill with no functional brakes and you have a good concept of it! Runaway global warming will also continue, of, and by itself with no practical way to stop or control it.
In our 2016-17 analysis, using the existing fossil fuel infrastructure, we at Job One calculated that the first climate cliff for triggering a runaway crossing of more and more amplifying global warming tipping points would occur between carbon 425 to carbon 450 ppm and at a 2 degrees Celcius temperature increase over preindustrial levels. Due to new research and a re-analysis of older studies, the updated carbon ppm level and temperature associated with the climate cliff has changed.
The beginning temperature limits for the former climate cliff needs to be updated from its previous temperature level of 2 -2.7° C above preindustrial levels to its new climate cliff starting point, which is staying below an average global temperature increase of 1.5C.
One of the major reasons for the new 1.5C climate cliff temperature level now being acknowledged among recognized climate scientists is that there are considerably more atmospheric carbon emissions than was previously predicted. These additional carbon emissions come from other amplifying carbon feedbacks and carbon sink failures. This additional carbon feedback and carbon sink issue will start to show up as a 1.5C average global temperature increase as soon as 2025. (The amplifying carbon feedbacks and carbon sink failures will be described in detail further below.)
Newer research also shows that staying at or below a 1.5 C average global temperature increase level (above preindustrial levels) is the only temperature level that excludes the runaway global warming threat or continuing to cross additional critical global warming tipping points. What this really means is that going above 1.5C would eventually lead to the mass extinction of most of humanity by mid-century.
Staying below the older 2C average global temperature increase only minimizes the possibility, but does not exclude, the mass extinction of most of humanity by mid-century. (Please note that this older 2C limit calculations by the United Nations IPCC did not include adequate tipping point calculations, it did wrongly include magical compensatory carbon capture calculations for technology that might not exist for thirty years, and it did not include many other critical calculation factors described here.)
By mid-century when the suffering and survival of most of humanity is at stake, just minimizing the current global warming extinction threat is insane! Additionally, in its eventual effect, any average global temperature increases above 2C is moot.
It is moot because any temperature increase of 1.5 to 2C also triggers runaway global warming and a mass extinction event fueled by crossing ever more critical global warming tipping points! And, if nothing is done by our governments to radically slow and reverse any temperature increases above 1.5C that are reached, total extinction will also be our eventual future.
Supporting this 1.5C new climate cliff is also the Siberia permafrost field research (rather than less accurate computer modeling) by Anton Vaks. This research puts the global permafrost "thaw-down" at 1.5C. This Siberian research means that when the world's permafrost crosses this 1.5C average global temperature increase tipping point, the world's permafrost begins a near-continuous meltdown. This means that after we reach this 1.5 C temperature increase, all permafrost stored carbon and methane will eventually be released from the permafrost.
This 1.5C permafrost release point plus other human-made carbon and methane releases put us squarely on the fast track for the worst global warming prediction scenarios. (Click here for more documentation on the permafrost meltdown.)
The big climate cliff shocker. . .
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has calculated that reaching carbon CO2 of 420 ppm is a 1.6C average global temperature increase from preindustrial levels. (Ref UN Carbon Brief 5 April 2020.)
If we can stay below a 1.5C temperature increase, we would have to have kept our atmospheric carbon level below about 386 ppm, but as of 2020, we are already at carbon 414 ppm. (Click here to see the current monthly and yearly amounts for carbon ppm in the atmosphere.)
Crossing this 386 carbon ppm level also means that 2014-2015 was around the time that we had already crossed over the 1.5C correct climate cliff. Because we went over the climate cliff in 2015, and because any average global temperature increase of 1.5 to 2C triggers runaway global warming, we now have to face we are already in a state of runaway global warming and that we can no longer stop a mass human extinction event by mid-century, but we can slow it down if we reach the 2025 targets.
Yes, you read that correctly! At this time, all we can do now is slow and delay this mass extinction event consequence and it will take a government-driven mass mobilization. This government-driven mass mobilization would have to radically reduce global fossil fuel use to get very close to the difficult to reach 2025 targets.
If the world governments do act immediately and reach the last chance 2025 global fossil fuel reduction targets, more people will live longer and a bit more comfortably. And, maybe we can still save humanity from the only thing worse than mass extinction, - - - total extinction!
And finally, the most important thing to remember from this new research update on the older climate cliff level is that we have already fallen over the 1.5C, carbon 386 ppm climate cliff. We are on the pathway to mass extinction by mid-century.
Unless our governments get us to the 2025 global fossil fuel reduction targets, runaway global warming will move so fast that we will not be able to stop the total extinction of humanity and the collapse of civilization.
The carbon feedback loops, carbon sinks, points of no return, and tipping points that are occurring after we crossed the carbon 386 ppm climate cliff
1. Decreased albedo from reduced snow cover and melting Arctic ice increasing the earth's heat,
2. Increased sea ice and glacier melt resulting in additional sea-level rise,
3. Increased atmospheric water vapor increases resulting in more extreme weather,
4. Increased permafrost and tundra heating releasing more carbon and methane and which results in more heat and more disease epidemics and possible pandemics. This once again speeds up the whole process of more positive feedback loops and crossing more points of no return and tipping points.
Please also note that melting permafrost in the tundra is because the northernmost areas are also warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. This permafrost melting also has the potential to cause new local and global pandemics caused by ancient viruses and bacteria being released from the permafrost. Already in Siberia they have had localized anthrax and smallpox outbreaks because of the decomposition of ancient frozen animals from the melting permafrost and tundra which residents either had no immunity to and who were not prepared to deal with these outbreaks due to lack of available vaccines.
5. Decreased carbon capture from the world's forests as temperatures rise and forests go from removing carbon from the atmosphere to carbon-neutral, no longer removing carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon neutral is the state that occurs before overheated over-stressed forests begin to release carbon back into the atmosphere.
(Click here to learn more about each item listed above.)
Here is the most likely keystone tipping point to be crossed after crossing the carbon 386 climate cliff
There is am extinction-accelerating tipping point area that is the most likely first candidate to significantly worsen the beginning of the end of humanity. It is the increased melting of summer and year-round arctic polar ice due to global warming.
It will truly have profound effects not only on worldwide weather but more importantly, on lowering global crop yields and increasing global crop failures. It will cause an accelerating massive global starvation, which will then also destabilize national economics, politics, and society.
In the summer, when Arctic ice melts there is less cooling of all of the growing season areas affected anywhere by arctic weather. The more polar ice melts each year the less cooling and the more heat in and during these critical growing season areas.
To make matters worse, food crops are more sensitive to heat when there are droughts and, they are more sensitive to heat, rain bombs, and cold spells when they are just beginning to grow. Unfortunately, because more ice is melting in the Arctic ocean almost every summer and staying melted longer in the year we are losing more and more critical cooling for our absolutely vital food crop growing season.
The five major food grains are the largest source of the world's food supply. They are corn, wheat, rice, soybeans, and sorghum.
All of these grains have upper and lower temperature limits. Most of them cannot survive more than 10 days during their growing season over 100° Fahrenheit particularly, if this heat comes early in their growing season or when their soils are drought dry.
Because of the continually increasing loss of the cooling effect on growing regions below the Arctic because of the continually diminishing Arctic ice, the number of growing season days with temperatures over 100° will continue increasing steadily as more and more Arctic ice melts and remains melted longer throughout the year.
Because melting Arctic ice also affects and disrupts the jet stream and ocean currents like the Gulf Stream, you will also have radical and unseasonable cold spells appearing during the prime crop growing seasons around the world. This will also reduce food yields and produce more crop failures during the fragile growing season.
This means that the world is going to continue to experience more and larger crop reductions and failures as more polar ice melts and stays melted longer. To make matters even worse, corn is one of the largest food staples for humanity and it is also one of the most sensitive crops to increasing 100 degrees plus temperatures and drought.
The following is from Wikipedia:
“Since 1979, the minimum annual area of sea ice in the Arctic has dropped by about 40%, as measured each September. From sea ice models and recent satellite images, it can be expected that a sea ice-free summer will come before 2020. Models that best match historical trends project a nearly ice-free Arctic in the summer by the 2030s. However, these models do tend to underestimate the rate of sea ice loss since 2007.” (If you would like to see a video of how more polar ice is melting each summer as the years go by click here for this NASA video.)
The increasing melting of arctic polar ice is a clear warning sign of increasing global warming and future serious reductions in major future crop yields as well as serious increases in future crop failures. This means not only higher prices but ever-increasing food scarcity and increasing global starvation.
This is not something far-off in the future. It is already happening in many areas of the world.
It is also already causing major migrations. This expanding and increasing polar ice melting is a major “canary in the coal mine” for increasing future mass starvation not way off in 2100 as we have been told but in the near years and new few decades to follow.
Already in the growing belt of the United States, we are seeing increased and record-breaking heat, droughts, rain bombs, and other extreme seasonal weather that is having a direct effect in reducing crop yields and crop failures in the most vulnerable areas. This pattern of greater crop yield reductions and crop failures will continue to increase as long as more polar ice disappears and the Arctic remains relatively ice-free into longer and longer summers. As the process of massive crop reductions and failures expand and continues, mass starvation will begin to destabilize all of our other economic, social, and political systems.
Additionally, reduced polar ice also reduces the albedo effect, which simply is that white snow or ice reflects heat back away from the earth and out into the atmosphere keeping the earth cooler. As more Arctic polar ice is melted the darker polar oceans absorb the heat, and then heat up more, which once again, causes more global warming.
As temperatures continue rising, the time frames in which we will be crossing more of the tipping points listed above will get shorter. But that will not be the only significant effect of melting Arctic ice due to global warming. Paradoxically, according to new studies, because of melting Arctic ice we will also have more extreme cold and heavier snows during the US winters.
In general, increased crop yield reductions and crop failures will increasingly occur because of arctic ice melt, increased heat, increased droughts, increase cold spells and increased extreme weather storms that will make it more and more impossible for modern agriculture and the major food crops to survive throughout their current growing seasons. There are estimates that crop yield reductions and crop failures will average 5 to 10% or more for each degree that the average global temperature rises until the planet becomes so warm that far too many days of the growing season will be at 100° or more. This will make successfully growing the world's major grains all but impossible.
The current climate cliff and 1.5C temperature increase threshold was the last threshold for excluding humanity's mass extinction threat by mid-century. Staying below 1.5C was also the last threshold where we still could have prevented a significant acceleration in crossing other more dangerous global warming tipping points. Without even reading the four other extinction-accelerating tipping points in this link, one can see that while you do your best to encourage our governments to meet the 2025 targets, it is also now wise to start your personal global warming emergency backup plan and "Plan B!"
What is happening now and what will happen because we have already gone over the carbon 386 climate cliff
Click here for what is happening now and going to happen now that we have gone well over the climate cliff. It will explain the four extinction-accelerating global warming tipping points that we are racing towards and what we must do to prevent extinction!
Climate researchers have been saying for years that "by the time our governments and populations realize the real, soon-arriving extinction threats of accelerating global warming, it will be too late to prevent its worst consequences. Now that we have fallen over the climate cliff and are just a mere 3-5 years away from the next extinction-accelerating global warming tipping points, it looks like they may have been right.
The essential positive perspective on the above disruptive global warming and climate change news
Despite the many types of challenging global warming consequences and past fossil fuel reduction mistakes that we now face, we can still learn from their feedback, and we can adapt and evolve to make life as good and as happy as is possible. No matter how severe the coming global warming consequences might become, if we wisely play the remaining cards that we have been dealt, we can still achieve the best remaining possible outcomes.
We can yet make a significant difference to reduce global fossil fuel use to stabilize and save the future of humanity by executing a comprehensive reduction and survival plan like the Job One for Humanity global warming action plan.
We can still maintain the perseverance needed to succeed in this monumental task by regularly reviewing the many benefits which will unfold as we work successfully on this together. (Click here to review those benefits.)
We can persevere through this time of emergency. We just need to remember that our greatest challenges are also the seeds of our greatest opportunities.
We are engaged in nothing less than the most critical and meaningful evolutionary opportunity, challenge, and adventure in human history! It is our last opportunity to slow down the mass human extinction threat by getting close to these 2025 global fossil fuel reduction targets. Only reaching these targets will fully remove the total extinction threat. In reaching these targets, we also significantly improve many of the world's other 12 major challenges.
Get started today on the Job One for Humanity global warming reduction and survival plan. Help save and salvage as much of humanity and our beautiful civilization as is possible.
1. The United Nations report that to avoid 2C global emissions had to be in decline from 2015. It is evident from the carbon graph above we did not do that. If we did not meet the goal of staying of declining atmospheric carbon since 2015, remaining below 1.5C is all but impossible. Click here to see this UN report.
2. Please note that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) 2014 AR5 2C mitigation scenario (RCP2.6) required the removal of CO2. The 2018 IPCC 1.5C report had CO2 removal and sequestration for all 1.5C scenarios. We currently have no capacity for CO2 removal at any scale and nothing for it in the foreseeable future.
MIT says CO2 removal would take 30 years for carbon capture to happen. Therefore, we have, in essence, gone over the climate cliff from multiple prediction perspectives.
3. Click here to see the latest monthly and yearly graphs for current carbon ppm in the atmosphere.
What has been known as the climate cliff is the climate point you go over which begins the runaway global warming process.