A scientist who first raised concerns about climate change in the 1980s is now warning that global warming is increasing at a faster pace.
According to a study led by renowned US scientist James Hansen, global warming is progressing at a faster pace than previously thought and is expected to surpass a crucial temperature limit within the next decade. Hansen was the first to bring attention to the greenhouse effect.
According to a recent publication, the Earth’s climate is more susceptible to human-induced alterations than previously thought. This could result in a rapid increase in temperature, leading to a 1.5C rise compared to pre-industrial levels in the 2020s and a 2C rise by 2050.
The rapid acceleration of global warming, which would result in the world exceeding the 1.5C limit established in the Paris climate agreement much earlier than anticipated, poses a threat to a world that may become “less livable for humanity, with more severe climate events,” according to a study led by Hansen, a former Nasa scientist who first warned the US Congress about climate change in the 1980s.
According to Hansen, the ongoing combustion of fossil fuels and Earth’s high sensitivity to its effects has resulted in a significant amount of global warming “in the pipeline”. This sensitivity far exceeds the estimated projections by the IPCC.
According to Hansen, it would be foolish and unscientific to not anticipate a faster pace of global warming. Our actions have consequences, and we are now experiencing the negative effects of our choices. This is why the rate of global warming is increasing.
Scientists have been actively discussing whether the rate of global warming is increasing, especially in light of consecutive months of record high temperatures.
Hansen cites a disparity in the amount of energy received from the sun compared to the energy emitted from the Earth, which has significantly risen by almost two-fold in the last ten years. He warned that this increase could lead to severe consequences such as a significant rise in sea levels for coastal cities around the world.
The latest study, consisting of carefully reviewed contributions by Hansen and a team of over twelve scientists, suggests that the Earth’s increased climate sensitivity and decrease in shipping pollution, which has led to a decrease in sulphur particles in the air that reflect sunlight, are contributing to a rise in global warming.
The paper cautions that we are currently experiencing the beginning stages of a climate crisis. This rapid increase in climate change is particularly concerning as our climate is already in an unstable state. It is crucial that we take action to reverse this trend and cool the planet in order to protect shorelines and safeguard coastal cities around the world.
Hansen and his colleagues propose implementing a worldwide carbon tax to address the crisis. They also suggest, albeit controversially, releasing sulphur into the atmosphere as a deliberate measure to reflect heat and reduce the Earth’s temperature.
The concept of “solar geoengineering” has faced extensive criticism due to concerns about potential negative effects on the environment. Additionally, some scientists warn that abruptly stopping the injection of sulphur could result in a sudden increase in temperature, but a minority of scientists support this approach as a last resort to prevent catastrophic global temperature increases.
Hansen stated that reducing emissions should be the top concern. However, due to the delay in creating sustainable energy sources and the lack of implementing a cost on carbon emissions, it is improbable that we can achieve a positive future for the younger generation without temporary assistance from solar radiation management.
This year is highly likely to break records as the hottest year on record, according to one climate researcher who described September’s temperatures as “shockingly extreme.” A recent report revealed that the world is rapidly depleting its carbon budget to limit global warming to 1.5C, largely due to ongoing use of fossil fuels and deforestation.
However, although scientists agree that this is a contributing factor to the overall increase in global temperatures, there is currently no consensus on whether this trend is intensifying.
According to Michael Mann, a climate scientist from the University of Pennsylvania, Hansen and his colleagues are not following commonly accepted beliefs by claiming that there has been a consistent increase in surface warming over the last few decades. Mann argues that reducing shipping emissions will have minimal impact on the climate and that advocating for solar geoengineering is dangerous and could lead to unintended consequences.
Bärbel Hönisch, a paleoclimatologist at Columbia University, said she had “some reservations” about the certainties expressed in Hansen’s research about the state of the Earth’s climate millions of years ago, which helps predict the consequences of warming today. “I’d be a little more reserved, but they may well be correct – it’s a nicely written paper,” she said. “It raises a lot of questions that will trigger a lot of research that will bring our understanding forward.”
Other researchers are not as doubtful of Hansen’s alarming prediction of accelerated global warming, emphasizing his past accurate predictions about the climate emergency that have mostly come true due to years of neglect in reducing the use of fossil fuels.
“I believe that Hansen’s argument about the IPCC potentially underestimating climate sensitivity will ultimately be proven correct,” stated Rob Jackson, a scientist at Stanford University and head of the Global Carbon Project. “It is becoming increasingly difficult to predict what is considered improbable when it comes to the rate of warming. Currently, there has not been a decrease in global use of any fossil fuel, including coal.”
I believe Hansen’s negative outlook is justified. 35 years ago, he raised the alarm and warned the world, but he was largely disregarded by everyone.