Earth at risk of tipping into hellish 'hothouse' conditions

A study by scientists says global average temperatures will be 4-5C higher

Lead researcher Professor Will Steffen from the Australian National University (ANU) said at that point much of the earth would be uninhabitable.

One of the big things the leaders agreed was to take steps to stop the global temperature increasing by more than 2°C, and to try to limit it to 1.5°C.

"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.

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

"A Hothouse Earth trajectory would nearly certainly flood deltaic environments, increase the risk of damage from coastal storms, and eliminate coral the end of this century or earlier", the study says.

The scientific community, by and large, is in agreement that global temperatures will exceed 2C above pre-industrial levels within this century, possibly within the next few decades.

The world is on the brink of entering a potentially fatal phase of climate change, according to new research.

Drought conditions are seen in Cape Town, South Africa.

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In the time of the dinosaurs, about 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, where volcanic activity was more frequent, carbon dioxide levels were around 1000 ppm. Some admit that while the new work is "rather selective" the results of the study aren't "outlandish".

To state that 2 C is a no-return threshold "is new", said Martin Siegert, co-director of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, who was not involved in the study.

The planet is just decades away from a climate change tipping point which threatens the future of humanity, a scientist has told LBC.

Fossil fuels must be replaced with low or zero emissions energy sources, and there should be more strategies for absorbing carbon emissions such as ending deforestation and planting trees to absorb carbon dioxide.

Professor Steffen said if temperatures rose to two degrees above pre-industrial levels, a level within Paris Agreement targets, it could trigger natural processes that would cause further warming of the Earth even if all human emissions ceased.

Soil management, better farming practices, land and coastal conservation and carbon capture technologies are also on the list of actions.

Such processes include permafrost thaw; the loss of methane hydrates from the ocean floor; weaker land and ocean carbon sinks; the loss of Arctic summer sea ice and the reduction of Antarctic sea ice and polar ice sheets, said the report.

Researchers say it's not certain that the Earth can remain stable. Even if we stop emitting greenhouse gases today, an increase of only one degree Celcius from where we are at now will likely send the Earth into a "natural" cycle of warming itself.


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