Global Warming Is Rapidly Accelerating

12/31/2013 01:31 pm ET | Updated Feb 23, 2014

The many scientific links in this comprehensive article about global warming, by Dahr Jamail, on December 22nd, make clear that climate change is accelerating, and that our planet will probably be unlivable by 2100, if not by 2050.

The global warming that was previously predicted to occur within 2,000 years, is now predicted to occur within the lifetimes of some people who are alive even today.

This article by Jamail includes the following instructive timeline (with links provided there, to each of its scientific sources):

* Late 2007: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announces that the planet will see a one degree Celsius temperature increase due to climate change by 2100.

* Late 2008: The Hadley Centre for Meteorological Research predicts a 2C increase by 2100.

* Mid-2009: The U.N. Environment Programme predicts a 3.5C increase by 2100. Such an increase would remove habitat for human beings on this planet, as nearly all the plankton in the oceans would be destroyed, and associated temperature swings would kill off many land plants. Humans have never lived on a planet at 3.5C above baseline.

* October 2009: The Hadley Centre for Meteorological Research releases an updated prediction, suggesting a 4C temperature increase by 2060.

* November 2009: The Global Carbon Project, which monitors the global carbon cycle, and the Copenhagen Diagnosis, a climate science report, predict 6C and 7C temperature increases, respectively, by 2100.

* December 2010: The U.N. Environment Programme predicts up to a 5C increase by 2050.

* 2012: The conservative International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook report for that year states that we are on track to reach a 2C increase by 2017.

* November 2013: The International Energy Agency predicts a 3.5C increase by 2035.

A briefing provided to the failed U.N. Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen in 2009 provided this summary: "The long-term sea level that corresponds to current CO2 concentration is about 23 meters above today's levels, and the temperatures will be 6 degrees C or more higher. These estimates are based on real long-term climate records, not on models."

Ocean physicist Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University was one of the sources quoted by Jamail, and he says, "The fall-off in ice volume is so fast it is going to bring us to zero very quickly." That's how soon (within less than ten years; he estimates probably less than five years) what had only recently been the 90% reflection of the arctic's sunlight out into space will become instead the 90% absorption of that solar energy.

Oil companies no longer deny what is happening; they are exploring in the arctic, where snow-covered ice, until recently, used to be. As Julian Cox headlined on 2 June 2013, "Exxon Mobil CEO: We're Going In, Can't Pull Up, Brace For Impact." Cox's ultimate sources in that news story were the AP and the Houston Chronicle. Exxon's CEO Rex Tillerson was reported in those two news stories to have told his stockholders, on May 29th, when challenged about global warming:

"What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers? ... We do not see a viable pathway with any known technology today to achieve the 350 [parts per billion atmospheric carbon] outcome that is not devastating to economies, societies and peoples' health and well-being around the world. ... You cannot get there. ... So the real question is: Do you want to keep arguing about that and pursuing something that cannot be achieved at costs that will be detrimental? Or do you want to talk about what's the path we should be on and how do we mitigate and prepare for the consequences as they present themselves?"

In other words: he said that we'd all better just eat, drink, and be merry now, because hell is coming soon, no matter what we do. He is saying: We've held off and delayed for so long, that things are now hopeless, and that the only thing to do is thus party while we can, if we care at all about "peoples' health and well-being around the world." And his stockholders backed him, 3 to 1, in their vote on that. But they are the ones who are actually partying. "Exxon Mobil is coming off its second-biggest profit ever, having earned $44.9 billion in 2012."

The bottom line here is that the heat-buildup in our biosphere is happening too fast for species to adapt in any other way than by soaring extinctions, which are already beginning to happen in record numbers. The complex web of ecological changes that will inevitably result from this rapid heat-buildup in our biosphere will cause agriculture to crash, and starvation to become the norm.

Jamail closes by saying, "I wonder how coming generations will survive." He is an optimist: He doesn't expect the survival of his own generation to be at risk in this. But, looking at the data to which he links, that assumption is starting to become questionable. He says that he is 45 years old. Although he might not end up being killed by this escalated heating, billions of today's people probably will.

As for Rex Tillerson, the AP report said simply that "he repeated his optimism that technology will solve the problem," but it provided no details, and no quotation from Tillerson on that. In fact, the headline of that news story didn't even focus at all on global warming. That headline was instead "Exxon rejects gay-discrimination ban." The other primary news-source on Tillerson's statements at this stockholders' meeting, the Houston Chronicle, headlined about it, "Exxon Mobil 'off' on natural gas price drag." Global warming? Only "liberals" care about that. (And, for anyone who wants the detailed transcript of Tillerson's remarks, that is available here, and it shows that he was alternately acknowledging and dismissing the overwhelming climatological consensus, but that he basically discounted to zero everything except the economic benefits of burning fossil fuels; so, he was pitching to his supporters, since they were already invested in his stock -- he knew that they're true-believers in "the free market.")

Our news media generally ignore what is happening, but not all of them do. For most of them, the party is still going on.