The Global Warming Snowball Effect

     The two temperature thresholds given 1.5℃ and 2℃ are the points of reversibility without widespread severe damage and widespread, catastrophic damage, respectively. As a fix, Renewable energy would have to increase from its current share of electrical production of 20% to 67%, by 2050. Coal, which currently accounts for 40% of total electrical production, would also need to drop to between 1-7% in the same time frame. As a technological fix, inventing a “clean coal” or increasing the production and storage capacity of either new or existing renewable resources would help to alleviate some of the CO2 stress. While the thought of any sort of miraculous technological fix may seem overly naive in its optimism, a socio-technological fix would require something even more extraordinary. While it may be the most effective way of limiting temperature change to 1.5℃, it would require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” (IPCC Press Release). Unfortunately, climate science has become an incredibly politicized topic and any sort of societal level changes would need to have a coming together of various political ideologies. While it may be possible, a socio-technological fix is highly unlikely. (Davenport, NYT)

     While many opponents to the idea of climate change may argue that the science itself is still in its infancy, we can see that even as far back as 1861, climate change has been a recognized and concerning event. Tyndall sums up the early understanding of the connectivity of the environment as follows, “Any changes to the constitution of the atmosphere ‘would produce great effects on the terrestrial rays and produce corresponding changes on the environment… Such changes may have produced all the mutations which the research of geologists reveal.’” (Reidy, 13) Also, concerning the specificity of the temperatures as well as  the timeline presented by the IPCC, it’s evident that climate change has evolved past it’s supposed “infancy”.

2 thoughts on “The Global Warming Snowball Effect”

  1. Hey Connor,
    I agree that we need to look at our possible technological fixes, such as renewable energy, carbon capture, and most importantly changing people minds. We will get nowhere near our goal if government leaders and other important people are not on board to make a huge change in our carbon emissions and other factors leading to global warming. This will probably be the hardest thing to do, because as you said, climate change has become a huge controversial political topic. Also, I believe it’s quite ignorant to say that climate research is in its infancy. Since the 1800’s, scientists have been able to recognize that climate change could have a large effect on our planet. So much needs to be done to stop the rising temperatures and we have so little time to do so. Overall I completely agree with you, your post looks a lot like my own.

  2. Hey Conor! I think you made a really good point with the idea that the socio-technological fix would take a lot more than simply producing some sort of a technological fix. It seems societal opinions are a lot harder to adjust. Unfortunately, as you stated, it would be the most efficient way to fix our climate change concerns and limit the rise in temperature. In terms of how advanced our climate science research is, I would say it has passed the level of naive. I do think if we are looking at the age of climate science, it is young relative to the age of Sapiens. But, this is on a different scale than we have been talking about.

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