by Joris Rosse
In the extreme, Climate Instability can lead to infinitely destructive and unmanageably chaotic effects, namely the irreversible runaway greenhouse. This issue deserves top priority, as it threatens all life on the Planet. Feedback Loops kick in when ecosystem abuses themselves cause an increasing rate of ecological injury. For instance, when the temperature goes up people turn on air conditioners, increasing CO2 emissions caused by power plants. Further unpleasant consequences are almost sure to follow.
Ocean surface waters have been the main repository of extra CO2 from rapidly depleted tree cover (“the lungs of the earth”) and burning of fossil fuels. Upon ocean saturation with CO2 there will be a huge spike of CO2 in the atmosphere, probably enough to trigger a runaway greenhouse effect. The precautionary principle cries out to radically reduce CO2 emissions before the imminent runaway phase materializes. Regional average temperature increases are up 12° F in Alaska, Siberia, and Antarctica, while in our region most estimates are in the 1° F range. The Gulf Stream warms the North Atlantic region, but the present reckless disregard of natural systems is causing an abrupt reduction of this global temperature conveyor as a sweet layer of glacial and sea ice meltwater blankets the Gulf Stream.
Solutions to all these problems lie in adoption of permaculture (see Bill Mollison’s work) and Wholistic Healing Principles, which would enable us to end war and reduce CO2 emissions across the board to the absolute minimum. There is no guarantee that we can still save life on this Planet, but we may still be able to save our souls. Between denial and despair hides right action — integration of ecological principles on a global scale.
The worst-case scenario is not flooding out hundreds of millions of people, but Venus-like global temperatures of 400° F or more. We need to try all positively-inspired, reasonable options, not just let the global climate-instability tsunami roll over us…
Without total mobilization and healing action, that cataclysmic scenario becomes more likely with each passing day.
Note: For more on global climate instability and feedback loops, see the Focus On section of this website