There are and will be extinctions


Last updated 9/13/2019 at 8:13pm

There will not be a sudden 2030 human extinction. This is alarmist speculation. Except for continental scale tectonic or chemical events, extinctions are not singular events and occur after a protracted process.

There have been multiple major extinctions and many lesser ones over the last 550 million years, including at least one in the tertiary not so many million years ago. Some extinctions wiped out everything, others focused on one or more branches of the biologic tree or focused primarily on a particular geography.

The urgency for immediate and massive climate action lies in the long residence time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a slow natural process. Adding more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere now extends the time involved for its restoration to some objective level or at least arresting its further concentration.

Right now the world is probably looking at 2070 at best to possibly restore the concentration to a 1990s level. Putting carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons into the atmosphere now further delays rehabilitation disproportionally.

Meanwhile, extinction processes will continue all around us in the plant and animal kingdoms with relentless effects in the world’s food supply and changes in our waters and atmosphere. Everyone breathes from the same atmosphere and are dependent on the seas as a heat engine and for food.

What is the cost for climate action? Generations now alive can help the next generations thrive. The time is now for big, bold and comprehensive action.

John Watson


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