Global Warming “Irreversible” Warns Scientific Body

Governments, corporations and individuals could cut greenhouse gas emissions today, and it would still be too late to stave off disaster. What is left to us now is mitigation and adaptation. That is the conclusion of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in an Information Statement published August 20, 2012.

Their conclusions are yet more confirmation that the dire predictions of the 1972 report, “Limits to Growth”, were accurate. The MIT researchers who prepared that publication had entered a variety of population and economic scenarios into a computer model. Most of the scenarios resulted in the same outcome: the collapse of the global economy in 2030.

The researchers did say there was a way to avoid the disaster: drastic measures to the protect the environment. Forty years later politicians are still arguing over whether or not climate change is real and human caused. Corporations are continuing to act as if resources were infinite. Consumers are still being seduced by the latest goods to hit the market.

AMS Ratchets Up the Alarm

In 2007 AMS issued a statement on climate change that concluded:

Despite the uncertainties noted above, there is adequate evidence from observations and interpretations of climate simulations to conclude that the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; that humans have significantly contributed to this change; and that further climate change will continue to have important impacts on human societies, on economies, on ecosystems, and on wildlife through the 21st century and beyond.

The note of uncertainty is gone in the 2012 statement:

There is unequivocal evidence that Earth’s lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities. This scientific finding is based on a large and persuasive body of research. The observed warming will be irreversible for many years into the future, and even larger temperature increases will occur as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere. Avoiding this future warming will require a large and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. The ongoing warming will increase risks and stresses to human societies, economies, ecosystems, and wildlife through the 21st century and beyond, making it imperative that society respond to a changing climate.

Next: Moving from Alarm to Action

For the Coming Generations

The world’s countries are still far from embracing integrated action on climate change. In the U.S. both presidential campaigns are irresponsibly quiet on an issue that should be front and center.

Sticking our heads in the proverbial sand is burning our tails. What can Care2′s concerned readers do to dip cool some of the fire? Here are five suggestions. Please weigh in with your own.

  • Learn. There are a lot of sites that compile the science on climate change. Two good places to start are Skeptical Science and the Climate Reality Project.
  • Act. Turning off some lights, reducing water usage and food waste, and stepping off the consumer treadmill may seem insignificant when a steamroller is headed your way. However, each act ripples outward. Tell friends what you are doing, and the ripples spread even farther.
  • Vote. Vote with your dollars. Vote in elections. Vote with your strongly expressed opinions. Speak up and speak out. Hold governments, corporations, media and organizations accountable for the impact of their inaction and silence.
  • Support. Join your voice with others who are working hard to educate, raise awareness, and push for action. There are many to choose from, including, David Suzuki Foundation, and For Our Grandchildren.
  • Celebrate. Many people are calling for a more equitable and earth-friendly economy. You can read about some of them on Care2′s Trailblazers. They are people like Joel Solomon and Carol Newell, Bill Drayton, Cheryl Dorsey and you, the over 20 million Care2 members.

Climate change is already creating havoc around the world. It is going to cause a lot more. Together we can work for the world we want to leave for all the generations that come after us.

Related Care2 Stories

Politicians Ignore American’s Desire to Tackle Climate Change

Human Consumption Will Trigger Global Collapse by 2030

Global Warming Could Scorch America’s Breadbasket

Integrate Drought Plans or Face Disaster, U.N. Warns

Corporations Funding Climate Change Denial

Scientists Warn Climate Change May Be Irreversible


Photos from Thinkstock


Don H.
Don H3 years ago

Alexandra R, I use all my butterfly awards for tree planting. : )

We can't convince these people because they only tune into right wing corporate information sources. They are told every day that climate change is a hoax. Look at Texas, even after the record drought and dust storms millions of Texans still believe global warming is false.

Alexandra Rodda
Alexandra Rodda3 years ago

The information is not complicated. The data has been verified.
It's mind blowing that so many are unable to grasp what is going on and deny it.
Maybe one needs to become a super communicator to get the facts through to some people in psychotic denial. I've decided to study neuro-linguistic programming and then do my best to get the message across to as many people as I can.
I've been planting trees like mad, but now, with my buttefly rewards, I'm buying cement to build efficient home stoves so that people do not have to cut down so many trees to cook with and for heating their huts.

Ernest Roth
Ernest R4 years ago

@ Kathy P.” we can do our best to prevent further damage! “Really ? Like what ? Haven’t you read the posts from Don I., Kevin B , Elaine A and Gary R. informing us that there has been no change and that oil will continue to benefit our lives ? There are far too many like them who are JUST NOT INTERESTED ! Clearly, NO WE CAN”T.

Kathy Perez
Kathy J4 years ago

we can't erase what has been done but we can do our best to prevent further damage!

Jim Coke
Jim Coke4 years ago

Theresia K.: Thanks for injecting an important fact that is often ignored in the "global warming" issue!

Jim Coke
Jim Coke4 years ago

Scott R.: You say "we should be clamoring for funding". Do you mean "funding" by taxpayers? If all you say is true, why shouldn't investors and entrepreneurs be clamoring to get in on the "golden opportunity"? Generally, open markets and entrepreneurship are much faster and more efficient at producing funding for worthwhile projects than is government, which entails cumbersome, controversial, and time consuming processes which are distorted by conflicting special interests and political partisanship. Open markets foster competition that creates powerful incentives to achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time.

Scott R.
Scott R.4 years ago

There is one very important line of reasoning and that is to move away as fast as possible from a carbon-based energy economy. In other words putting an end to the Age of Carbon in our lifetime. To do so requires a fundamental breakthrough in energy storage science. The only reason we use petroleum and other fossil fuels is that they contain a huge amount of energy relative to weight and volume. Energy density is everything. It is the coin of the realm, so to speak. To put an end to our carbon-based energy economy means we have to come up with an alternate way to store energy. Enter Solid State Energy storage. This is the next evolutionary jump from 200 year old chemical-based 'battery' solutions to solid state systems that can safely store and distribute massive amounts of electricity the same way modern computer networks store and move data globally. These super capacitors are in development and will change everything. This disruptive new technology will make fossil fuels obsolete the same way whale oil was displaced by petroleum. We should be clamouring for funding to advance this area of material science as fast as possible. It will change everything.

Don H.
Don H4 years ago

Huber F, could you clarify your post? I do not understand what you mean.

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P4 years ago

I would hope it is since we have gone pretty far now

Huber F.
Huber F4 years ago

Global warming is endurance politics into which regions are actually supporting their environs. This is backward thinking in destroying new theories of survival.