We don’t know how long we have. The more we heat up the planet, the more we reach “tipping points,” where “positive feedback loops” that we set in motion become Earth’s way of consuming itself. Our models for predicting effects of human-caused climate change do not — cannot — take into account the potential for the feedback loops running out of control, beyond reach of any mitigating efforts we may make.
So, what, then?
We have to simply stop feeding carbon into the air. Just stop, in every way we can, as much as possible, everywhere, and punish those who resist. They don’t call it “an existential threat” for nothing. Why treat it as less?
Lesser efforts, lesser objectives, raise the risk beyond our ability to measure, as shown below in the new PBS Nova episode, “Arctic Sinkholes.”
As the authors explain, the craters look like sinkholes to the naked eye, but they are not sinkholes. They are massive, explosive and incessant methane leaks from the arctic permafrost.
The rate of increase in the arctic temperature is twice that of the planetary average. The permafrost — ground frozen continuously for at least two years, but also thousands of feet deep for millennia — is thawing, and opening big methane vents at alarming rates.
We don’t know how many there are, or will be. We don’t know their ultimate effect. We don’t know if our feeble efforts to stop killing our planet can begin to take into account the effects of thawing permafrost.