Jan 6, 2020
The earth is heading toward a “global tipping point” if the climate crisis continues on its current path, according to the group of scientists who published a commentary in the journal Nature. The global tipping point is a threshold after which global warming, with a spiraling pace, starts to destroy the earth’s natural foundations beyond the point of no return, making the earth uninhabitable for humans. “The intervention time left to prevent tipping could already have shrunk toward zero, whereas the reaction time to achieve net zero emissions is 30 years at best. Hence we might already have lost control of whether tipping happens,” the scientists wrote. That is, we are reaching the catastrophic environmental change point much sooner than expected.
Current evidence for such catastrophic failure is simply staggering: widespread destruction of the Amazon, large scale death of coral reefs, melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, thawing of permafrost, destabilizing of boreal forests, and a slowdown of ocean circulation.
Such very wide-scale destruction and change are interconnected. That is, one such destruction or change accelerates another destructive event at every turn. For example, increasing temperatures of the Arctic at least twice as quickly as the global average causes melting of sea ice at an ever accelerating pace. Since the ice is white, it can reflect the solar radiation back to space. But when the ice melts away, the solar radiation is no longer reflected back and instead is absorbed by the ocean or the land, causing temperatures to increase further. Then the Arctic soil, which used to stay frozen throughout the year, starts to warm up and release greenhouse gases that cause global warming, such as carbon dioxide and methane, into the atmosphere. Increasing levels of such gaseous pollutants further accelerate global warming. These cascading effects can quickly cause sudden collapse of whole ecosystems on earth.
“Countries collectively failed to stop the growth in global greenhouse gas emissions, meaning that deeper and faster cuts are now required … Incremental changes will not be enough, and there is a need for rapid and transformational action,” according to the scientists.
Betting against this scientific understanding is simply too risky. But the capitalist businesses, resting on large-scale exploitation of humans and nature to benefit only a few selfish rich people, can’t and won’t collectively organize the society to avert global warming. Such much-needed vital response can only be achieved by transforming society toward a social system resting on collective action that is beneficial to all.