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 best explanation of the process that's occurring is in this link within one of those scientific links: "The collapse of Arctic sea ice will change the reflective properties of the Arctic from 90% reflection of the sun's rays to a 90% absorber of the sun's energy. A vicious cycle of Arctic warming started between twenty and thirty years ago, when currents from the Atlantic and Pacific, warmed by greenhouse gases, carried their extra heat into the Arctic to initiate an accelerating decline in sea ice and increase in Arctic temperatures."
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?"