A remarkable confluence of reports at the very end of 2013 exposed both that global warming will be far more catastrophic than that famous 97% consensus of climatologists had been fearing, and that the owners of carbon-fuels-producing corporations (such as ExxonMobil, and Koch Industries) have very successfully engineered both the mass-deception of the public and the buying-off of politicians, which have together caused mankind to go beyond the point-of-no-return, into what is, unfortunately (but now virtually inevitably), a rapid downward spiral for this planet's biosphere -- a spiral that has only recently become clear.
What follows is a postmortem on our biosphere, written by an informed scientifically committed journalist, at the first moment in history -- right now -- when the handwriting, for mankind, and for the rest of Earth's biosphere, is not only on the wall, but beneath our feet, in the very earth of the planet Earth that gave us (and previous generations) life.
On 31 December 2013 and 1 January 2014 was published an article, in the world-leading science journal Nature, which, more precisely than had ever been done before, analyzed the sensitivity of our planet's climate to changes in the carbon-dioxide content (the major global-warming gas) in our atmosphere. This research-team found that there is "a climate sensitivity of more than 3 degrees for a doubling of carbon dioxide. This is significantly higher than the currently accepted lower bound of 1.5 degrees, thereby constraining model projections towards relatively severe future warming."
A website that's devoted to supplying journalists with summaries of all scientific papers concerning climate (including studies that deny global warming), "Reporting Climate Science," headlined "New Paper Claims to Answer Cloud Feedback Question," and summarized:
Global average temperatures will rise at least 4 degrees C [7 F] by 2100 and potentially more than 8 C [14 F] by 2200 if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced according to new research published in Nature. Scientists found global climate is more sensitive to carbon dioxide than most previous estimates.
The research also appears to solve one of the great unknowns of climate sensitivity, the role of cloud formation and whether this will have a positive or negative effect on global warming.
"Our research has shown climate models indicating a low temperature response to a doubling of carbon dioxide from preindustrial times are not reproducing the correct processes that lead to cloud formation," said lead author. ... "The mistakes are being made by those models which predict less warming, not those that predict more."
Britain's Guardian headlined, "Planet likely to warm by 4C by 2100, scientists warn: New climate model taking greater account of cloud changes indicates heating will be at higher end of expectations."
Huffington Post bannered, "Climate Change Worse Than We Thought, Likely To Be 'Catastrophic Rather Than Simply Dangerous'." That stunning last phrase came directly from this statement in the Guardian : "'4C would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous,' [the lead researcher, Steven] Sherwood told the Guardian . 'For example, it would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much of the tropics, and would guarantee the eventual melting of the Greenland ice sheet and some of the Antarctic ice sheet," thus causing the sea to rise many yards.
Britain's Daily Mail, owned by the Rothermere family, long supporters of right-wing causes, headlined contemptuously, "Global warming scientists forced to admit defeat... because of too much ice: Stranded Antarctic ship's crew will be rescued by helicopter. Chris Turney, a climate scientist and leader of the expedition, was going to document 'environmental changes' at the pole." Their snidely written story said, "They went in search of evidence of the world's melting ice caps, but instead a team of climate scientists have been forced to abandon their mission ... because the Antarctic ice is thicker than usual at this time of year." In other words: this "news report" conflated the current Antarctic weather with the entire planet Earth's climate, which is a standard trick of oil-company propagandists such as the Daily Mail , and the American Enterprise Institute.
However, this wasn't the only scientific research late in 2013 that indicated that the 97%+ climatological consensus had likely been underestimating the gravity of this problem. A summary of a superb summary from Dahr Jamail, of Information Clearing House, was published at opednews on 26 December 2013, titled "Global Warming Is Rapidly Accelerating," and it provided a timeline of 8 revisions in the climatological consensus, all successively more dire, beginning from one in 2007 "the planet will see a one degree Celsius temperature increase due to climate change by 2100," all the way up to "November 2013: The International Energy Agency predicts a 3.5C increase by 2035." And, then, came along this new report in Nature, five days later, predicting a rise of 4 C by 2100 (which was close in line with the 3.5 C by 2035 prediction, but slightly more certain).
As that summary made clear, the Dahr Jamail article focused especially upon important new research concerning the following:
"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."
That Arctic ice-melt hypothesis is not yet a theory, because at least a few more years of observations of the percentage of the Arctic that is covered with sea ice in July will be needed in order for that hypothesis -- of an Arctically-driven escalation of global warming -- qualifies to become the reigning scientific model of predicting the speed of future global warming.
This same summary, which I wrote, added context to the scientific findings that Jamail had summarized; I added the following context: