Socialist Worker

Not every cloud has a silver lining

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2709

The ecological catastrophe could be far worse than predicted

The ecological catastrophe could be far worse than predicted (Pic: Flickr/Eric Wustenhagen)


The scale of the climate catastrophe could be far worse than predicted, according to new research. 

Data suggests that the climate is even more sensitive to carbon emissions than previously thought. 

The research looks at the amount of warming expected as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere continue to rise. It showed that there was due to be a 5 degree rise, rather than the 3 degrees predicted in 2014.

“This is a very deep concern,” said Johan Rockstrom, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

“For 40 years it has been around 3 degrees. Now, we are suddenly starting to see big climate models on the best supercomputers showing things could be worse than we thought.”

The new studies come as scientists gather data for the next major assessment by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is set to be released in 2021. 

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And the dramatic increase in predicted temperature rises comes as a scientists reconsider the role of clouds in climate catastrophe. 

Clouds can warm and heat up the atmosphere, but most modelling has suggested they will have a neutral effect on global heating. 

But now a growing body of research and more sophisticated computer modelling suggests they will have a warming effect. 

A 5 degree temperature rise will mean unimaginable horror on a global scale. 

That level of global warming will mean blistering heats in some of the poorest parts of the world, food scarcity, rising sea levels and extreme weather. 

It’s another argument urgently to break with fossil fuels and capitalism which is burning the planet for profit.


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