‘At the Precipice of Excitation’ for Extinction

July 9, 2019

Off this frightening news:

MIT geophysics professor Daniel Rothman released new data on Monday showing that carbon levels today could be fast approaching a tipping point threshold that could trigger extreme ocean acidification similar to the kind that contributed to the Permian–Triassic mass extinction that occurred about 250 million years ago. 

But the most significant occurances took place around the time of four out of the five mass extinction events — and today’s oceans are absorbing carbon far more quickly than they did before the Permian–Triassic extinction, in which 90 percent of life on Earth died out.
The planet may now be “at the precipice of excitation,” Rothman told MIT News.

And some more shitty-scary news — via the Guardian this morning:

Antarctica faces a tipping point where glacial melting will accelerate and become irreversible even if global heating eases, research suggests.
A Nasa-funded study found instability in the Thwaites glacier meant there would probably come a point when it was impossible to stop it flowing into the sea and triggering a 50cm sea level rise.
Other Antarctic glaciers were likely to be similarly unstable.

A separate study last week in the same journal found the expanse of sea ice around Antarctica had suffered a “precipitous” fall since 2014.
Satellite data showed Antarctica lost as much sea ice in four years as the Arctic lost in 34 years.
Unlike the melting of ice sheets on land, sea ice melting does not raise sea levels but the loss of the reflective white ice leads to more of the sun’s heat being absorbed in the ocean, increasing the pace of heating.

Maybe that last bit of information the real way-worse scenario — bad shit gets way-shitty quicker.
Climate change is a double trouble: Actual, physical heating of the planet with all its consequences expedited by the madness of the T-Rump.
Yesterday afternoon speaking from the White House, the knotty-faced T-Rump cleared his conscience once again by lying his fat ass-off, displaying another example of why the planet is way-most-likely totally fucked, living-habitat-wise. And with the science on the issue pleading for a near-immediate shift in our way of life, everybody and everything battling for survival, there’s no better time to have some nasty-moron create obstacles.to getting even a precarious handle on climate change.
From yesterday’s New York Times:

Flanked by several cabinet members and senior environmental officials — one a former lobbyist for the coal industry and the other a former oil lobbyist — Mr. Trump rattled off a grab bag of his administration’s accomplishments, which he said included “being good stewards of our public land,” reducing carbon emissions and promoting the “cleanest air” and “crystal clean” water.
“These are incredible goals that everyone in this country should be able to rally behind,” Mr. Trump said.
“I really think that’s something that is bipartisan,” he said, adding that he had disproved critics who said his pro-business policies would harm the environment.
Experts watching the speech said many of the president’s claims were not based in fact.
Those achievements that were real, they said, were the result of actions taken by his predecessors.
And they noted the one conspicuous omission from the whole discussion: any mention of climate change, the overarching environmental threat that Mr. Trump has mocked in the past.
David G. Victor, the director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego, said the speech was the starkest example to date of the disconnect between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and reality.
“This speech is a true ‘1984’ moment,” he said.

And on we go…

(Illustration by Handoko Tjung, found here.

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