For many years, Deep Green Resistance has argued that it’s not “too late” to stop global warming, because scientific predictions for the future never assume that emissions may fall to zero. Now, science has backed up our assertion.
The following is excerpted from a longer article by Bob Berwyn, published on Inside Climate News, and re-posted here with permission from the author.
This is, in our estimation, the most important climate change story of the decade.
by Bob Berwyn / Inside Climate News
Recent research shows that stopping greenhouse gas emissions will break the vicious cycle of warming temperatures, melting ice, wildfires and rising sea levels faster than expected just a few years ago.
There is less warming in the pipeline than we thought, said Imperial College (London) climate scientist Joeri Rogelj, a lead author of the next major climate assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“It is our best understanding that, if we bring down CO2 to net zero, the warming will level off. The climate will stabilize within a decade or two,” he said. “There will be very little to no additional warming. Our best estimate is zero.”
The widespread idea that decades, or even centuries, of additional warming are already baked into the system, as suggested by previous IPCC reports, were based on an
“unfortunate misunderstanding of experiments done with climate models that never assumed zero emissions.”
Another recent article, this one in Columbia Journalism Review, quotes climate scientist Michael Mann discussing this new science:
Scientists used to “treat carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as if it was a simple control knob that you turn up” and temperatures climb accordingly, “but in the real world we now know that’s not what happens,” Mann said. Instead, if humans “stop emitting carbon right now … the oceans start to take up carbon more rapidly.” The actual lag effect between halting CO2 emissions and halting temperature rise, then, is not 25 to 30 years but, per Mann, “more like three to five years.”
All of this reflects a critical understanding. Climate change is a symptom. It is not the root problem. A doctor who treats only symptoms of an illness, without addressing the underlying root cause, can never expect to cure the disease.
The same is true of global warming. The root cause of global warming is the contradiction between civilization and the natural world. More simply, our relationship with nature is broken. This root cause must be addressed if we wish to solve the ecological crisis. This research shows what we have long known to be true: global warming should not be our focus. Rather, we should focus on halting the destruction of the natural world. If we do this successfully, the climate will heal.
As with disease, addressing the root cause is the way to fundamentally resolve an illness.