“It will take at least a century to decarbonize our economy.”

Climate adaptation

#Environment

Thu, May 10th, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Fascinating lecture on climate change featuring Daniel Schrag, director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, who explains the difficulties in weaning ourselves off fossil fuels and that, even if we do, the ramifications of the damage that has been done will linger for thousands of years.

Humans and our institutions are ill prepared for the multiple timescales of climate change. More than half of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels will remain there for a thousand years, and roughly 20% will be there for tens of thousands of years. Even if carbon dioxide emissions ceased today, the climate would continue to warm for hundreds to thousands of years as oceans slowly warm and ice melts. And it will take at least a century to decarbonize our economy, even with ideal political and economic conditions given the scale of infrastructure required. Taking these timescales into account, attention to what has been called “climate adaptation” is essential. This adaptation will also drive profound changes in ecosystems and in social systems.

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