Past redemption: Controversial model says world beyond tipping point on controlling global warming

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November 17, 2020 5:00 AM

The model developed by researchers at the BI Norwegian Business School that has already sparked outrage, concern and resignation from different quarters says that the planet is beyond the point of no return.

The model developed by researchers at the BI Norwegian Business School that has already sparked outrage, concern and resignation from different quarters says that the planet is beyond the point of no return.The model developed by researchers at the BI Norwegian Business School that has already sparked outrage, concern and resignation from different quarters says that the planet is beyond the point of no return.

The message from a recent study by some Norwegian researchers is clear—the Earth as humans knew it is now fundamentally altered, thanks to anthropogenic carbon emission. The study, published in Scientific Reports, the Anthropocene has put the planet past the tipping point; even if carbon emissions from human activity were to drop to zero now, the warming of the Earth would continue for many centuries. The model developed by researchers at the BI Norwegian Business School that has already sparked outrage, concern and resignation from different quarters says that the planet is beyond the point of no return.

The Norwegian researchers modelled the changes to the planet from 1850 to 2500 under two scenarios: the immediate achievement of zero emissions and a gradual reduction of GHGs by 2100. Under the first scenario, Earth will continue to warm over the next five decades, becoming hotter by 2.3oC from the pre-industrial levels. By 2500, the Earth will be hotter by more than 3oC from the pre-industrial temperatures. Under the second scenario, the planet gets to these extremes, but much faster. This underscores the severe limitations of the Paris Accord, which happens to be the most ‘ambitious’ climate deal so far, that too when the US, the largest historical emitter, plays ball. With climate action lagging in different countries, many fear that the latest projections could do more harm than spur action, by prompting a fatalistic turn in climate policy. The Norwegian researchers talk of the need for solutions like sucking out the existing carbon, in addition to drastically reducing emissions, and trapping this in the soil as a solution, even as some in the scientific community believe the model’s projections to be somewhat exaggerated. However, as the consensus shapes up, there is no denying that climate action today is barely scratching the surface.

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