1 Aug 2013. Climate Change Occurring Ten Times Faster Than at Any Time in Past 65 Million Years. N. S. Diffenbaugh, C. B. Field. Changes in Ecologically Critical Terrestrial Climate Conditions. Science, 2013; 341 (6145): 486 DOI: 10.1126/science.1237123
The likely rate of climate change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.
In the past, temperature changes took thousands or even millions of years, but temperatures could rise 5 degrees Celsius within the next 100 years — or less.
We know where we’re headed: 55 million years ago, carbon dioxide was similar to today. The Arctic Ocean did not have ice in the summer, and nearby land was warm enough to support alligators and palm trees.
Worse yet, 7 billion people plus over 200,000 new ones every day have depleted, poisoned, or degraded every ecosystem on the planet — we use almost half of all the land for agriculture – so where will the plants and animals migrate to? We’ve poisoned the land, air, and water with chemicals, depleted much of the topsoil used to produce food, destroyed most of the world’s fisheries, (rain)forests, and have crossed or will cross many other planetary limits.
Although I’m hoping the peak of oil production in 2005 will prevent the worst possible outcomes, China has doubled coal consumption the past 10 years (to make up for this lack of oil). Coal is much worse than oil or natural gas. The world’s fate depends on how soon China stops being able to burn so much coal, whether from WW III, lack of coal, . If China (also India, the USA, etc.,) continue to burn coal at current rates, annual temperatures over North America, Europe and East Asia will increase 2-4 degrees C by 2046-2065.