Study: Earth approaching climate ‘tipping points’


FILE – Fish swim near some bleached coral at Kisite Mpunguti Marine park, Kenya, June 11, 2022. Even if the world somehow manages to limit future warming to the strictest international temperature goal, four Earth-changing climate “tipping points” are still likely to be triggered like the immediate loss of tropical coral reefs around the globe with a lot more looming as the planet heats more after that, a new study said. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga, File)

(NewsNation) — Even if mankind succeeds in meeting the current carbon-reduction goals to limit climate change, the Earth might still get warm enough to trigger abrupt and irreversible dangers, a new study found.

An international team of scientists looked at 16 climate tipping points, or the point when warming becomes irreversible, self-perpetuating and major, and calculated rough temperature thresholds at which they are triggered.

None of the effects are considered likely at current temperatures, but some are possible. With just more than tenths of a degree of warming from now — 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming since pre-industrial times — four tipping points move into the “likely” range, according to a study in Thursday’s journal Science.

The study said the tipping points triggered at 1.5 degrees Celsius include a slow but irreversible collapse of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, more immediate loss of tropical coral reefs around the globe and thawing of high northern permafrost that would release massive amounts of greenhouse gases trapped in now-frozen land.

Researchers determined that even the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius doesn’t eliminate the risk of reaching these tipping points, according to the study.

Current policies and actions put Earth on a trajectory for about 2.7 degrees Celsius (4.9 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming since pre-industrial times, according to some projections.

There’s a chance that you haven’t heard about this story. Most of the news outlets — 58% — who reported on the topic were aligned with the center of the political spectrum, according to NewsNation partner Ground News’ Blindspot report. Thirty-four percent were left-leaning, and the remaining 8% were right-leaning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This story is part of NewsNation’s new “Blindspot” initiative in partnership with Ground News to provide readers with contextual, unbiased news they may not find covered by every media outlet.

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