What’s the big deal about global warming?

I recently read Six Degrees: Our Future On A Hotter Planet published in 2008.  The author, the highly acclaimed Mark Lynas, uses straightforward terms to describe the effect of global warming. The sources for his book are peer-reviewed, scientific articles published by relevant experts.

If you need motivation to act in the fight against global warming, then this is the book for you. The book is available at amazon.ca.  If you’d rather watch the movie than read the book then you’re in luck; watch National Geographic’s “Six Degrees Could Change the World”.  

Here is my ultra-short summary of the book. As you read it, keep in mind that implementing the Paris agreement will only limit us to 3.5C of global warming, not the necessary goal of less than 2C. We could see up to 4C of warming by 2050.  


0.8C of warming.

Today.  Longer droughts, more destructive storms, more intense heat waves and some ocean rise.


1C of warming.

More severe storms, more drought, more heat waves and some more ocean rise.


2C of warming

Even more of above. Over 1/3 of all species committed to extinction by 2050.  Complete loss of summer north pole ice cap which increases warming because ice reflects solar heat & water absorbs it.


3C of warming.

Even more of above. Start of a new type of storm: category 6 super-hurricanes. Tens of millions of climate refugees move north to find food due to extreme drought and heat. Mid-west USA returns to dust-bowl of 1930’s but this time it’s permanent.  Drought causes loss of Amazon rain forest (which produces 20% of world’s oxygen). Overheated soil bacteria go into overdrive and release huge amounts of carbon dioxide which is likely to push us to four degrees of warming.


4C of warming.

North Pole almost ice-free. Collapse of Greenland ice sheet. Antarctic ice sheets start to collapse. Melt water pushes sea levels up by as much as one meter every 20 years.  Major coastal cities flood, including New York. Half of world’s food baskets turn to deserts. Sub-arctic land warms up enough to grow crops but most is highly unsuitable for crops. Mass starvation is a danger for most the world’s population.  Back-to-nature survivalists find there is no nature to retreat to as millions leave cities. Thawing of huge permafrost bogs in Siberia may push us to five degrees of warming.


5C of warming.

At this level of warming scientists have few studies and evidence to draw upon. The last time the world was this hot, the ocean could not sustain oxygen-based life and massive pockets of methane hydrate explosively released from the ocean floor.  The methane hydrate raises the global temperature even further. Major military powers such as China and USA are likely to invade northward to find escape from severe drought and heat. The release of methane hydrate will push us to six degrees of warming.


6C of warming.

Mass extinction of most life. Humanity’s survival in doubt.


This book was written in 2008.  Since then global warming has already had more impact than expected. Additionally, new projections from improved climate models describe faster warming than previously predicted.


Write your MP.  Write your MLA.  Paper, email, facebook, or twitter. Let them know you’re concerned. Urge them to act promptly and decisively.  Support carbon pricing, support hydro, solar, wind, and geothermal power, support electrification of transport and support energy conservation measures.


We can still save our planet but we need to act!


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