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The Ugly Math Behind Global Warming

Posted by Palindrome Advisors on November 16, 2012

Superstorm Sandy devastated the Northeast last week and many people living on the East Coast are still without power and unable to live in their homes. Natural disasters like Sandy seem to be occurring with more regularity and Palindrome Advisors believes it is time to combat climate change and extreme weather by raising awareness of the global catastrophe that could occur if we don’t act now.

Research shows that we only have 16 years until we reach a “tipping point” on temperature increase. With the current political system, rapid change is challenging, but we need to take action now and at scale. Climate change may be the single biggest moral issue of our time, and if we start now, we can make sure we do not reach this “tipping point” in 16 years. 

Pressing facts, explained by Bill McKibben, a climate change expert, that highlight that if we don’t start to change the world will become a very different place. Below are excerpts from his article in Rolling Stone (Rolling Stone Article).
  • We've raised the average temperature of the planet just under 0.8 degrees Celsius, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. If we allow the temperature to reach 2 degrees Celsius we will be in major trouble.
  • A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere over the oceans is a shocking five percent wetter, loading the dice for devastating floods.
  • Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees. However, computer models calculate that even if we stopped increasing CO2 now, the temperature would likely still rise another 0.8 degrees, as previously released carbon continues to overheat the atmosphere.
  • We are currently planning on burning 2,795 Gigatons of fossil fuel, which is 5 times higher than the 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide we can emit to hope to stay below 2 degrees Celsius.
The facts are alarming, but we still have time to divert the path we are on. We must raise awareness and share these daunting numbers because if we don’t soon it might be too late.

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