Earth Is 1C From Hothouse State That 'Threatens Future Of Humanity'

Scientists have said the planet will reach a

"It may be very hard or impossible to stop the whole row of dominoes from tumbling over".

The study warns that Earth is already more than halfway towards the point of no return.

The planet urgently needs to transition to a green economy because fossil fuel pollution risks pushing the Earth into a lasting and unsafe "hothouse" state, researchers warned yesterday.

"The impacts of a Hothouse Earth pathway on human societies would likely be massive, sometimes abrupt, and undoubtedly disruptive", says the study, which is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

The research, according to its abstract, explores "the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a "Hothouse Earth" pathway even as human emissions are reduced".

Catastrophic climate change will cause sea levels to rise by 60 metres, threatening residents inhabiting coastal towns.

If polar ice continues to melt, forests are slashed and greenhouse gases rise to new highs - as they now do each year - the Earth will pass a tipping point.

The threshold will be reached when average global temperatures are only around two degrees higher than they were in pre-industrial times, research suggests.

Professor Johan Rockstrom, of University of Stockholm, said: "These tipping elements can potentially act like a row of dominoes".

Some of the processes also included permafrost thaw, Amazon rainforest dieback, a reduction of northern hemisphere snow cover, a loss of Arctic summer sea ice, and a reduction of Antarctic sea ice and polar ice sheets.

"This pathway would be propelled by strong, intrinsic, biogeophysical feedbacks hard to influence by human actions, a pathway that could not be reversed, steered or substantially slowed".

In 2015, nearly 200 countries agreed to only allow the temperature to rise "well below" 2 degrees above levels from the pre-industrial period - a limit that was estimated to be the tipping point.

"Hothouse Earth is likely to be uncontrollable and risky to many", said the article by scientists at University of Copenhagen, Australian National University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Curtain said this report by scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research is suggesting that even the 2C threshold could unleash planetary forces that are hard to understand or control. They recommend improving forest and agricultural management, conserving biodiversity and creating technology that will remove Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. "The wolves are now in sight".

To reverse this potential domino effect, climate change needs to be combated on all fronts, the report says, with "collective human action" is required to steer us away from this potential threshold, including "decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values".

"So, a "runaway" warming to a new and uncontrollable hot state would represent an existential threat to humanity and the majority of existing species".

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