Outlook - The Urgency of Rising Temperatures
◀∎ Climate Initiative / Prognosis ∎▶
Pale Blue Dot
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
- Carl Sagan
In all our exploration we have not found anywhere in the Universe which is conducive to life except our home planet, the Earth; where a photosynthetic dynasty of interdependent, carbon-based organisms miraculously emerged from the Cambrian Explosion, ~540 million years ago. Following an evolutionary paradigm, it should come as no surprise that the conditions for life are perfect for humans; this is referred to as the Anthropic Principle.
Primordial hydrogen provides the energy we receive from the Sun in the form of sunlight to power our biosphere. The relatively stable pre-industrial levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere have for millenia trapped some of the heat and kept the Earth warmer than it otherwise would be.
Our Earth resides in the "Goldilocks" zone, ~93 million miles from the Sun in a region where, according to atmospheric conditions, liquid water can form on the surface. Plants and trees combine water and sunlight via photosynthesis producing oxygen as a by-product; sequestering carbon in the process. We, like other animals, breathe oxygen and exhale CO2. Our flora and fauna have enjoyed a symbiotic exchange.
However, the emission of greenhouse gases from combustion of fossil fuels has compromised our ability to sequester carbon. More CO2 in the atmosphere means more heat that doesn't get radiated back into space spawning multiple feedback loops. Without intervention the average global temperature will continue to rise due to inherent latency, seemingly leaving only one possibility, that of geoengineering; theoretically allowing more heat out, or less in.
Our Climate Crisis arises from the limitations of our current experiment:
- the magnitude of the course correction;
- a lack of primacy in our global strategy;
- our perceptual blindness of future peril;
- a disinformation campaign by the stakeholders;
- the trepidation of tenured climate scientists;
- the dependence of political will on public opinion;
- multiple interdependent feedback loops;
- a global dissociation of cause and effect;
- an inherent latency between cause and effect;
- the immobilizing effect of climate anomalies;
- the unintended consequences of geoengineering.
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