Climate Sensitivity

NWF   |   April 20, 2006

A recent Duke study published in the which assumes a doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations, concludes with greater confidence than ever that climate change will almost certainly fall within the range of 3 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit.

Right now we are now witnessing what happens to the world with just a one-degree average increase in temperature. Arctic ice has been reduced by 250 million acres, 98-percent of the world’s glaciers are retreating, sea level has risen by 4-8 inches globally, and 20 million acres of forests have been wiped out by pest outbreaks driven by warm winter weather.  Villages in the Arctic are falling into the sea because permafrost is softening and eroding the ground. Island communities in the Pacific are being forced to relocate because the sea is rising around them. In the lower 48 states we face the consequences of increased hurricane intensity; a message brought home to hundreds of thousands of displaced residents of New Orleans and surrounding communities by stronger hurricanes such as Katrina.

The Duke study underscores that now is the time to do everything we can to cut global warming pollution and develop new energy solutions. One degree of temperature increase has been bad enough. Another 3 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit increase is truly frightening, and not a legacy we should be leaving for our children and grandchildren. We must curb our global warming pollution now.

Published: April 20, 2006