27/12/2019 by socialistfight
By Dov Winter
The collapse of civilization is almost inevitable at this point, unless capitalism is overthrown. Now scientists say that we crossed the tipping point after which the Earth’s climate is spiraling out of control. Scientists now say that “a cascade of climate tipping points is possible”; that means that the planet is crossing a number of tipping points, all reinforcing each other, as each one contributes to a run away climate change.
Here are some of these tipping points:
- 1. Greenland, the arctic, the West Antarctic ice sheet, and the ice in Wilkes Basin, and the ice in East Antarctica: are all melting faster. This means meters of rising seas that could kill many millions of people and cause a massive destruction of nature.
- 2. Permafrost Thawing. This means that even the oldest forms of ice is melting. Together with escalating ice melting in the Arctic and Antarctica, melting can cause massive rise of seas levels that could overtake many coastal cities and cause mass migration never seen in human history before. The massive melting of ice could propel sea rise on the scales of meters, not millimeters or centimeters.
- 3. Amazon rainforest death, and Boreal forest death. The Amazon is experiencing another draught due to climate change, as humans massively set fires in the Amazon for crop and cattle. The drying Amazon and its exposed ground are becoming a CO2 emitter, as the absorption of greenhouse gases by the forests is diminished. This cause further warming. Because of the critical importance of a healthy Amazon for the stability of the world’s climate, this process alone can cause a climate change of catastrophic proportions. The boreal forests throughout the world are dying, because of pests and fires.The warmer climate bring more pests that kill trees, and it creates a spiral loop of warming. A similar process is taking place in California and other mediterranean climate zones throughout the world.
- 4. Atlantic circulation slowdown since 1950s. Together with others circulatory currents, the Atlantic circulation is slowing and becoming erratic. The change of massive sea currents circulations throughout the world is guaranteed to speed up climate change in unpredictable ways.
- 5. The die-out of coral reefs throughout the world. Together with the acidification of the oceans, fish and other life in the oceans are beginning to disappear. In past extinctions, and in particular in the great die-out of 90 percent of life in the Permian extinction, 250 million years ago, the warming of lifeless oceans were key for the mass die-out in lands as well.
- 6. The speed of climate change. Never in the entire history of Earth, climate change was so rapid as it is today. In the past climate change (excluding the die-out of life when a meteor crushed into Earth) was measured in thousands of years. Under capitalism, rapid Climate change is measured in years, not even decades. That means that species have no time to adapt to the rapid warming and the changing environment, and they die.
These are only some of the causes for climate change. They all connected to each other, as they spiral out of control. For example, a warming climate brings a growing number of pests kill forests. Dead forests emit massive amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This causes additional warming of the planet. Warmer planet invites more pests to destroy forests. This process creates loopback cycles that bring more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, as the loopback cycles contribute to the runaway out of control climate warming.
The only positive thing about Climate Change, is the creation of a mass movement against climate change with massive demonstrations and strikes, primarily by young people who are going the bear the worst effects from climate change. But time is running out fast.The only hopes is the entry of working class into the struggle against climate change. But the workers cannot just go on sporadic one day strikes. There have to be coordinated working class actions that should culminate in a world revolution that overthrows capitalism, that is the main culprit for out of control climate change. It have to happen fast or life will disappear within years, or at most, few decades.
[Climate emergency: world ‘may have crossed tipping points’](https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fenvironment%2F2019%2Fnov%2F27%2Fclimate-emergency-world-may-have-crossed-tipping-points%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0Fp49CzbP-O0R4ScnxPfEXnLGBisjNdlOkV7jAA9GGzaBSoYpOEMuHpFY&h=AT1JSQWQjSRXOUFlzcdJWD2C7ESEF2veqI_ljQ2z1xO5gU9z_MeGKMTWuCS71oJzSBBJ4igpSqGlODxAcMoAsxfSN-SoOhMGU_YEcn3zOc1X5KhX541LFMFOaizcDzBgkdF7usPFHj0SVfse6HEWIz_A)
Warning of ‘existential threat to civilisation’ as impacts lead to cascade of unstoppable events
Quick Facts on Ice Sheets
What is an ice sheet?
Together, the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets contain more than 99 percent of the freshwater ice on Earth. Credit: NSIDC
An ice sheet is a mass of glacial land ice extending more than 50,000 square kilometers (20,000 square miles). The two ice sheets on Earth today cover most of Greenland and Antarctica. During the last ice age, ice sheets also covered much of North America and Scandinavia.
Together, the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets contain more than 99 percent of the freshwater ice on Earth. The Antarctic Ice Sheet extends almost 14 million square kilometers (5.4 million square miles), roughly the area of the contiguous United States and Mexico combined. The Antarctic Ice Sheet contains 30 million cubic kilometers (7.2 million cubic miles) of ice. The Greenland Ice Sheet extends about 1.7 million square kilometers (656,000 square miles), covering most of the island of Greenland, three times the size of Texas.
How do ice sheets form?
Ice sheets form in areas where snow that falls in winter does not melt entirely over the summer. Over thousands of years, the layers of snow pile up into thick masses of ice, growing thicker and denser as the weight of new snow and ice layers compresses the older layers.
Ice sheets are constantly in motion, slowly flowing downhill under their own weight. Near the coast, most of the ice moves through relatively fast-moving outlets called ice streams, glaciers, and ice shelves. As long as an ice sheet accumulates the same mass of snow as it loses to the sea, it remains stable.
The Antarctic Ice Sheet covers an area larger than the U.S. and Mexico combined. This photo shows Mt. Erebus rising above the ice-covered continent. Credit: Ted Scambos & Rob Bauer, NSIDC
Why are ice sheets important?
Ice sheets contain enormous quantities of frozen water. If the Greenland Ice Sheet melted, scientists estimate that sea level would rise about 6 meters (20 feet). If the Antarctic Ice Sheet melted, sea level would rise by about 60 meters (200 feet).
The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets also influence weather and climate. Large high-altitude plateaus on the ice caps alter storm tracks and create cold downslope winds close to the ice surface.
In addition, the layers of ice blanketing Greenland and Antarctica contain a unique record of Earth’s climate history.
Has climate change started to affect Earth’s ice sheets?
The mass of ice in the Greenland Ice Sheet has begun to decline. From 1979 to 2006, summer melt on the ice sheet increased by 30 percent, reaching a new record in 2007. At higher elevations, an increase in winter snow accumulation has partially offset the melt. However, the decline continues to outpace accumulation because warmer temperatures have led to increased melt and faster glacier movement at the island’s edges. To learn more about research on the Greenland Ice Sheet, visit former CIRES Director Konrad Steffen’s research Web page (http://cires1.colorado.edu/science/groups/steffen/).
Most of Antarctica has yet to see dramatic warming. However, the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts out into warmer waters north of Antarctica, has warmed 2.5 degrees Celsius (4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1950. A large area of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is also losing mass, probably because of warmer water deep in the ocean near the Antarctic coast. In East Antarctica, no clear trend has emerged, although some stations appear to be cooling slightly. Overall, scientists believe that Antarctica is starting to lose ice, but so far the process has not become as quick or as widespread as in Greenland.
To learn more about how changes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet could affect sea level, see State of the Cryosphere: Ice Sheets and State of the Cryosphere: Sea Level. To read about an NSIDC research project on the Antarctic Ice Sheet, see Antarctic Megadunes.
A researcher works with an ice core drill during the 2003 Antarctic Megadunes expedition. Credit: Ted Scambos & Rob Bauer, NSIDC
What can ice sheets tell us about Earth’s climate history?
Scientists extract ice cores from ice sheets and ice caps, studying them to learn about past changes in Earth’s climate. Ice sheets are made up of layers of snow and ice that collected over millions of years. Those layers contain trapped gases, dust, and water molecules that scientists can use to study past climates.