Humans Overwhelm Climate Equilibrium
A new study indicates the degree to which humanity has overwhelmed the atmosphere's ancient carbon cycle [ark]. Human activities are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere 14,000 times as fast as historic natural processes. Global change [search] at this rate and scale is utterly unprecedented and devastating. Feedbacks such as mountain weathering [search] that historically removed carbon dioxide are being inundated and are unable to continue maintaining relatively constant atmospheric balances and thus climatic patterns.
As humans have become a force of nature, the Earth system's atmosphere is now entirely out of equilibrium. All this energy must go somewhere. In addition to global warming — increases in average global temperature — more troublingly we are set to experience spiraling chaotic climate changes. The Earth is already, and will continue, experiencing a complete break down in seasonality, extreme weather events and generally unreliable climatic patterns and oscillations. This is why “climate change” is the more accurate, powerful term to describe the forces that have been released and will impact the Earth for the rest of human history.
Deadly climate change is here, yet its magnitude and whether it can be survived is yet to be determined. Everything long predicted is playing out including energy shortages, extreme weather, reduced agricultural production and a breakdown in societal security. For far too long dominant economic and spiritual belief systems have thought humans above and separate from nature. This is the root of our conundrum. Any meaningful, sufficient response will require individuals and social systems to reintegrate with the biosphere and the web of life.
The speed with which economic and political systems begin to use all their resources to end greenhouse gas emissions — including taking hard decisions like ending the use of coal and old-growth forests — will determine whether humanity and her sister species survive. Given acceleration of emissions and no clear trend emerging regarding their urgent reduction, it is quite possible humanity will go extinct, but not before making the Earth uninhabitable for complex life.