Morning Star | September 09, 2022
HUMAN-INDUCED climate change is driving the world to the brink of five “disastrous” tipping points, warns a major study published today.
Some of the critical thresholds that, when crossed, lead to large and often irreversible changes in the climate system, may have already been passed due to 1.1°C of global heating since the Industrial Revolution, researchers said.
These could include the collapse of Greenland’s ice cap and a key current in the north Atlantic, the disruption of rain patterns upon which billions of people depend for food and an abrupt melting of carbon-rich permafrost.
At 1.5°C of heating, the minimum rise now expected, four of the five tipping points move from being “possible to likely,” the analysis predicted.
In total, the researchers found evidence for 16 critical thresholds, which, if breached, could begin to affect life on Earth in the next few years.
The University of Exeter’s Dr David Armstrong, a lead author on the study, said: “It’s really worrying. There are grounds for grief, but there are also still grounds for hope.
“Every fraction of a degree that we stop beyond 1.5°C reduces the likelihood of hitting more tipping points.”