This is Earth. It’s a crisp fall day. So why would you believe Earth is in a dire situation?
Let’s look a little deeper. The brown area below represents all the fossil fuels — oil, coal, and natural gas — that humans have identified as recoverable with current technology. The black spot is what we’re currently harvesting with mines and wells.
So what if, tomorrow, all the world leaders got together and decided to stop building new mines and wells?
And then we used all the fuel in existing mines and wells.
What would that do to Earth?
It would release about 1.1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Scientists have figured out that this scenario would almost certainly drive up the Earth’s average temperature by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), relative to preindustrial levels. That’s not a big deal, right?
Actually, it would be a massive catastrophe. The human suffering would be unthinkable.
When most of us think about Earth warming by 2 degrees, we think about it being, well, 2 degrees warmer.
But that’s not quite right. First of all, it means Earth would get an average of 2 degrees warmer. This means some regions, especially on land, will get much hotter — far more than 2 degrees.
The Arctic, which houses much of the world’s ice, would warm by almost 11 degrees Fahrenheit.
The US Southwest, already suffering from increased drought, could warm by almost 10 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to create near-permanent “superdroughts.”
The other problem is that Earth’s ecosystems would behave differently. For humans, it would mean rising sea levels, freshwater shortages, reduced agricultural productivity, food stress, Read More Here