Consequences of Greenhouse Gas Buildup

Average Global Temperature at Earth's Surface, 1880-2007

Average global temperature increased by 0.74 degrees Celsius between 1906 and 2005. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts an additional rise of 1.8-4.0 degrees Celsius this century, depending on how much and how soon greenhouse gas emissions are curbed.8

Climate Change Reference Guide and Glossary

The 10 Warmest Years on Record, 1880-2007

Direct temperature readings

Ranking

Year

dating back to the nineteenth

2005

century show that the last 10

1

years had 8 of the 10 warmest

2

1998

years on record.9

3

2002

4

2003

5

2007

6

2006

7

2004

8

2001

9

1997

10

1995

Climate Tipping Elements

Scientists believe that several "climate tipping elements" could destabilize the planet's climate by setting off chain reactions—"positive feedbacks"—that accelerate other climate changes. Once a tipping element is triggered by crossing a threshold or tipping point, there is no turning back even if all greenhouse gas emissions were to end. Some tipping elements, such as the loss of Arctic summer sea ice, may be triggered within the next decade if climate change continues at the same rate. Others—the collapse of the Atlantic ocean current, for instance—are thought to be many decades away.10

Tipping Element

Expected Consequences

Loss of Arctic summer sea ice

Higher average global temperatures and changes to ecosystems

Melting of Greenland ice sheet

Global sea level rise up to 7 meters and higher average global

temperatures

Collapse of West Antarctic ice sheet

Global sea level rise up to 5 meters and higher average global

temperatures

Collapse of the Atlantic ocean current

Disruptions to Gulf Stream and changes to weather patterns

Increase in El Niño events

Changes to weather patterns, including increased droughts,

especially in Southeast Asia

Dieback of boreal forest

Severe changes to boreal forest ecosystems

Dieback of Amazon forest

Massive extinctions and decreased rainfall

Changes to the Indian summer monsoon

Widespread drought and changes to weather patterns

Changes to the Sahara/ Sahel and the

Changes to weather patterns, including potential greening of

West African monsoon

the Sahara/Sahel—one of the few positive tipping elements

Climate Change Reference Guide and Glossary

Expected Impacts of an Unstable Climate

System or Condition

Changes

Fresh Water • Increased droughts

• Increased heavy precipitation events and flooding

• Decreased drinking and freshwater supplies and availability

• Glacier melt decline

• Increased salinization of freshwater sources

Ecosystems 0

Food and Agriculture

Health

Coasts

Massive extinctions Animal and plant migration Increased wildfires, flooding, and drought ' Decreased forest coverage, expanding arid lands, and other similar changes

' Ocean acidification and coral reef bleaching ' Spread of exotic, invasive plants and animals

Reduced crop yields Shifting growing zones Increasing hunger and malnutrition Declining fish yields

Increased deaths due to floods, heat waves, storms, fires, and drought

Changes in the distribution of certain infectious diseases, including malaria Increased cardiorespiratory diseases

Increased disease spread from contaminated and polluted drinking water supplies Increased diarrheal disease Increased malnutrition

' Increased coastal flooding, especially in low-lying islands and heavily populated delta regions ' Increased soil erosion ' Increased intensity and strength of tropical storms

NORTH AMERICA

KV Reduced snowpack and summer flows in West M Greater fire risk and more areas burned Growing risk of deaths from heatwaves

LATIN AMERICA

^^ Glacier melt decline threatens freshwater supplies for drinking, agriculture production, and electricity

M Replacement of tropical forests by savannas and massive extinctions in tropical areas

K9 Lower crop and livestock yields from desertification and salinization as well as declining fish production

LATIN AMERICA

^^ Glacier melt decline threatens freshwater supplies for drinking, agriculture production, and electricity

M Replacement of tropical forests by savannas and massive extinctions in tropical areas

K9 Lower crop and livestock yields from desertification and salinization as well as declining fish production

Climate Change Reference Guide and Glossary

EUROPE

KV Coastal flooding, more frequent inland flash floods, and mountain glacier melt rvi Widespread extinctions and species loss

■51 Declining crop production in the South with potential increases in the North

F m Growing risk of deaths from heat waves, especially in Central, Southern, and Eastern regions

KJ 75-250 million people without access to fresh water by 2020

Kl Severe reductions in crop yields and fisheries production Heavily populated delta regions at risk from flooding

Climate changes are already occurring today and will continue to accelerate as greenhouse gas concentrations rise over time.While climate change is global, the impacts are felt differently from region to region.11

ASIA

KV 1 billion people at risk from decreasing freshwater supplies

SOUTH AND EAST ASIA

Q • Rising mortality from diarrheal disease and potential massive spreading of cholera

Heavily populated regions at risk from flooding

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

HJ Widespread lack of access to fresh water

M Significant loss of biodiversity, including Great Barrier Reef

' JJ Heavily populated coastal regions at risk from flooding and strong storms

Climate Change Reference Guide and Glossary

Avoiding Dangerous Effects of Climate Change

Scientists talk about several potential climate stabilization levels that could help minimize the negative effects of climate change. Policymakers rally around these different stabilization points, using them to develop policies to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. But not everyone agrees on the same stabilization points, and recent studies indicate that the levels may need to be lower than once believed.12

Potential Stabilization Points Details

Global temperature increase According to the IPCC,the risks and threats of climate change increase of 2 degrees Celsius dramatically when global temperature rises more than 2 degrees Celsius

(3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Government leaders and nongovernmental organizations have embraced 2 degrees as the maximum rise allowable if the worst effects of climate change are to be avoided.

Global greenhouse gas Reduction needed to limit global temperature rise to 2-3 degrees reductions of 15-20 percent Celsius,according to the IPCC.This goal suggests that carbon dioxide below baseline levels within concentrations must peak by 2015-20 and then fall. Many policymakers the next 10-20 years use a variation of this number to set guidelines for action.

Atmospheric CO2 at 350 ppm NASA climate scientist James Hansen and his colleagues argue that many global warming tipping points have already been passed. Although current concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere exceed 380 parts per million, these scientists believe that atmospheric concentrations need to drop to 350 ppm or lower as soon as possible.

Atmospheric CO2 at U.K. economist Nicholas Stern advises that the uppermost stabilization

450-550 ppm levels for atmospheric concentrations of CO2 should not exceed

450-550 parts per million in order to avoid global economic collapse. Based on climate models, this stabilization point takes into account predictions about technological developments and the time needed for widespread action.

Climate Change Reference Guide and Glossary

Negotiating Essentials

Negotiating Essentials

Always wanted to get a better deal but didn't have the needed negotiation skills? Here are some of the best negotiation theories. The ability to negotiate is a skill which everyone should have. With the ability to negotiate you can take charge of your life, your finances and your destiny. If you feel that others are simply born with the skill to negotiate, you should know that everyone can learn this wonderful skill.

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