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Global Warming's Terrifying New Math

The short of it: We’re screwed.

A slightly longer version: We’re very screwed. We should be very afraid because whatever we do now may not work at all. But we have to start.

This article has been in my read-later list for some time now, and I finally got down to it today. It’s a piece that terrifies and infuriates in equal parts.

But it is so important. By focusing on three key numbers, Bill McKibben paints a shocking picture of global warming. The really scary part? Much of this is not hyperbole. This is true and it’s happening. We’re running ourselves off a cliff, but we remain in denial.

The key points:

  1. The global temperature increase should be below 2 degrees. (We’re already about halfway there, and that limit really should be lower - which is why we’re screwed)
  2. We can only release a small, finite amount of CO2 into the atmosphere before we breach that limit but
  3. We have enough coal and oil to release five times that amount, and we’re still looking for more.

If economics and politics continue to triumph over common sense and the imperative to save our planet, we’re on a course to disaster.

Anyone who still continues to dispute the veracity of global warming should go eat a bag of something. That is definitely not the type of backward destructive discussion we should be having at this point.