Earth Potentially headed for Irreversible Climate Change

Global warming is an issue that has been vigorously debated for the past decade. Some scientists believe it is a real threat that can cause irreversible damage to the ecosystem, while others conclude that the severity of global warming has been overblown.

For believers, they certainly have a new study to validate their concerns. Anthony Barnosky, a biologist from the University of California Berkeley, led a study on the impact of the biosphere caused by human activity.

The study concluded that Earth is at its “tipping point,” and catastrophic damage on the environment lies ahead unless action on an international scale is taken. The rise of climate temperatures, rapid population growth and the depletion of irreplaceable energy resources are all contributing factors that are suffocating the ecosystem.

Barnosky believes that if the signs are ignored, the planet could be headed for a major climate shift – the same kind of change that caused mass extinction and created a permanent change in the biosphere during the last ice age. Barnosky estimated that if no modifications are made, this tipping point could occur within a century’s time or perhaps even within the next few decades, perfectly within the lifetime of today’ children.

Barnosky and his colleagues have been studying fossil records for the past two years and will present their findings in the next Earth Summit meeting. Barnosky has made some startling predictions. Among these include a possible population increase to nine billion by the year 2050. He also surmised that within 60 years or so, average temperatures may reach an all-time high – the highest starting from the time the first humans walked the Earth.

It is important to note, however, that not all scientists are in agreement with Barnosky’s analysis. Richard Lindzen, a climate researcher from the Massachusetts Institute, called Barnosky’s claims “highly implausible.”

With such differences in opinion among the experts, it is difficult to form an accurate conclusion. While there is no question that climate change is a serious issue, it is a matter of the degree of severity that mankind faces and in what timeframe if drastic changes are not taken.