Archive for ‘Tipping Points’

10 factors that could create tipping points to motivate greenhouse action – Climate Institute, Australia

Monday, February 15th, 2010
  • Science: Need to make cut in emissions of at least 60% by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic impacts.
  • USA: Position of USA to shift to environmentally friendly politics is extremely important for the rest of the world. “Like a super tanker changing course, seemingly small initial movements are imperceptible but alter the destination markedly.”
  • Business: Companies to use climate change as economic opportunity and profits.
  • Media: Media role to bring about public awareness and call for action.
  • Energy security and oil prices: Moving from fossil fuel to renewable energy sources.
  • International policy: Climate change to become top priority for G8 and UK’s Presidency of the EU. Kyoto Protocol has opened US$2.7 billion of greenhouse friendly investments.
  • Carbon profits: Global carbon market boomed last few years and is one of the biggest commodity markets.
  • Clean Energy: One of the most sought commercial sectors in the world; global market in 2005 was worth US$56 billion.
  • Pop Culture: Celebrities, magazines, movies are all talking about the issue.
  • Moral Issue: Global leadership by church and moral leaders on impacts of climate change to protect plant Earth.

Source: Top Ten Tipping Points on Climate Change – The Climate Institute, Australia

Date: NA

It is only matter of time before the small island nation of Kiribati is submerged. Their tipping point has already occurred.

Monday, February 15th, 2010

It is only matter of time before the small island nation of Kiribati, made of 33 small atolls (ring-like coral islands) of no more than 6.5 feet above sea level, is submerged. Thus, their tipping point has already occurred.

Source: Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Irreparable Change – Washington Post

Date: 29 January 2006

Scientists say extremely urgent that policies cut carbon emissions in the next 50 years. Some tipping points have already been passed.

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Although scientists are uncertain of when some of the tipping points will occur, many say that it is extremely urgent that policies cut carbon emissions in the next 50 years; not doing so could trigger changes that are irreversible. Three “too close for comfort” tipping points are:

  • complete coral bleaching which could damage world fisheries in three decades;
  • serious sea level rise by the end of the century, taking tens of thousands of years to reverse;
  • shutdown of the ocean current system that moderates temperatures in northern Europe, in as little as 200 years.

Princeton University geosciences and international affairs professor Michael Oppenheimer, who also advises the advocacy group Environmental Defense, said one of the greatest dangers is in the collapse of Greenland or West Antarctic ice sheets that consist of 20% of world’s fresh water. If either collapses, sea level would rise by 20 feet, flooding a third of Florida and Manhattan. Once lost, there would be no way to reverse it for thousands of years. A 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit rise would lead to serious coral bleaching. Many are worried about the collapse of Atlantic thermohaline circulation, a current bringing warm surface water to northern Europe as well as returning cold water from the south. According to Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, there is 50% chance that the current will collapse within 200 years.

Source: Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Irreparable Change

Date: 29 January 2006

NASA: Global Warming Tipping Points Closer Than Thought

Monday, February 15th, 2010

In a study published by NASA and Columbia University Earth Institute, lead author James Hansen urges the need to reduce emissions to avoid “disastrous effects” of global warming which could push Earth past tipping points. Some tipping events are the thawing tundra, seabeds, drying forests, disappearance of Arctic sea ice and snow (which helps cool the planet by reflection). These are all feedback loops, that produce more heat, reinforcing one another leading to more thawing, more GHG and so on, in a vicious cycle. Earth’s CO2 concentration is currently 383ppm, up from 280ppm at the start of the industrial age.

Source: NASA: Danger Point Closer Than Thought From Warming

Date: 29 May 2007

NASA: Tipping point for Arctic perennial sea ice already passed

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Tipping point for Arctic perennial sea ice (that which remains frozen throughout the summer) already passed according to Josefino Comiso of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Tipping point for many parts of the climate is at 300-350 parts per million of CO2, which is below the current value of about 383ppm.

Source: Global Warming “Tipping Points” Reached, Scientist Says

Date: 14 December 2007

52 climate experts say 50:50 chance of Earth hitting inflection point by 2200

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Elmar Kriegler of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research reported that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet was the most likely climate catastrophe to happen under warming of 4-8 degrees Celsius or 7.2-14.4 Fahrenheit. The likelihood of permanent El Niño and the disintegration of Amazon rainforest is 50%. Meltdown of Antarctic ice sheet would result in rise of 6 meters of sea level rise, which has a probability of between 35-85%. There is a need to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees in order to lower risk of climate consequences.

Source: Climate ‘Tipping Points’ Weighed for Likelihood

Date: 16 March 2009

Tipping point for Greenland’s Ice

Monday, February 15th, 2010

If we pass a certain threshold of total emissions, the ice sheets will melt completely no matter how much CO2 concentration there is and regardless of how quickly it will be reduced. At 3,800 billion tons of carbon, melting would be irreversible; so far, we have emitted 380 billion tons of carbon from fossil fuel combustion.

Source: A Point of No Return for Greenland’s Ice

Date: 25 July 2008

Is Earth near its ‘tipping points’ from global warming?

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Irreversible effects on plants, animals, farming and weather are already visible where warming has already eliminated 70 animal species and affects 59% of wild species.

  • With a temperature rise of 3.6 degrees F, all Indian Ocean coral reefs would be gone and 97% of the rest around the planet would be “bleached.” All Arctic ice would disappear.
  • At 5.4 degrees F increase, half of all nature reserves will not be able to conserve native species and the Amazon rainforest would disappear.
  • At 7.2 F degrees or higher, coastal flooding would be 7 times worse than in 1990, malaria will endanger the lives of 330 million people and hunger will affect 600 million whereas Australia will not be able to cultivate any more food.

Source: Is Earth near its ‘tipping points’ from global warming?

Date: 6 April 2007

Source: Impacts of level of temperature change on Ecosystems – Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change (PDF)

Date: 14 April 2005

5 tipping points and their catastrophic results – Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

Monday, February 15th, 2010

A Study conducted by lead study author Elmar Kriegler, of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research presents following 5 tipping points and their catastrophic results:

  • If global warming destroys more than 50% of the Amazonian rainforest this will lead to dangerous climate change. Climate change leads to less rainfall which therefore causes a loss in biodiversity and the forest’s ability to maintain air quality, fresh water cycle and atmospheric circulation.
  • If the Atlantic “conveyer belt” is disrupted due to high influx of fresh water by melting ice caps, this would have a strong impact on the environment killing sea life and causing intensified hurricanes.
  • If the planet warms by more than 4 degrees, this would cause Greenland to go ice free causing a 20-23 ft (6-7 meters) rise in sea level threatening 300 million people.
  • If El Niño becomes permanent as global warming worsens, it could bring increased drought in Southeast Asia and the Amazon Basin. At the same time, the coastal lands of South America would suffer serious floods and the marine food web would change adversely.
  • If West Antarctic ice sheets completely melt, this could disrupt oceanic ecosystems with a flash rush of fresh water, and could also raise sea levels by 6-7 meters.

Source: PHOTOS: Five Global Warming “Tipping Points”

Date: 16 March 2009

UN Environmental Program’s Year Book 2009 warns tipping points for drastic climate changes within just a few years

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Catastrophic consequences would be major water and food shortages, changes in weather patterns and destabilization of the main ice sheets. The climate changes are happening much faster than predicted in the IPCC’s latest report in 2007. While before, sea level rise estimate was 0.5 meters by end of century, this has already been revised to almost 2 meters. Melting ice sheets and glaciers in the northern and southern hemispheres will not only contribute to sea level rise, but will also leave many regions around the world without basic water resources for human consumption and industrial production.

Source: Climate Tipping Point Near Warn UN, World Bank

Date: 23 February 2009

Source: UNEP Year Book 2009 – New Science and Developments in Our Changing Environment

Date: 16 February 2009

Results 11-20 of overall 23
REPORTS see all

Reversing Meat-Eating Culture to Combat Climate Change


Livestock Production and Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers


Plant-Based Diets - A solution to our public health crisis


Leaders Preserving Our Future - Insights Paper - WPF - November 2010


Maintaining a Climate of Life - Summary Report


Livestock's Climate Impact


Livestock & Sustainable Food


Reducing Shorter-Lived Climate Forcers Through Dietary Change


The global cost of biodiversity loss: 14 trillion Euros? - EU Commission (2008)


Forests, Fisheries, Agriculture: A Vision for Sustainability (2009)



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