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Global Warming Close to Becoming Irreversible

The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.

Scientific estimates differ but the world’s temperature looks set to rise by six degrees Celsius by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to rise uncontrollably.  As emissions grow, scientists say the world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests.

 ”This is the critical decade. If we don’t get the curves turned around this decade we will cross those lines,” said Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University’s climate change institute, speaking at a conference in London.  Despite this sense of urgency, a new global climate treaty forcing the world’s biggest polluters, such as the United States and China, to curb emissions will only be agreed on by 2015 - to enter into force in 2020.

 ”We are on the cusp of some big changes,” said Steffen. “We can … cap temperature rise at two degrees, or cross the threshold beyond which the system shifts to a much hotter state.”

Rush Limbaugh: Climate Change Misinformer of the Year

Limbaugh, whose radio show reportedly reaches roughly 14 million people per week, remains the most prominent and cocksure denier of human-induced climate change in the news industry. His unyielding belief that the world’s earth scientists are perpetrating a “hoax” has led him to some interesting places this year, from declaring that the heat index is “manufactured by the government,” to accusing NASA of sabotaging its own research satellite, to announcing that the National Academy of Sciences has “lost all credibility.” Given his large following, Limbaugh’s extreme and misguided position may well have influenced the Republican presidential primary by discouraging candidates from speaking about the threats posed by global warming. Indeed, Limbaugh made this litmus test explicit, saying “bye, bye, nomination” after Mitt Romney acknowledged the human contribution to climate change. For all this, on top of his typically bombastic distortions and obfuscations of climate science, Limbaugh wins the distinction of 2011 Climate Change Misinformer of the Year.


Biggest jump ever seen in global warming gases

WASHINGTON (AP) — The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S.Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world’s efforts are at slowing man-made global warming.

The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.

"The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing," said John Reilly, co-director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

The world pumped about 564 million more tons (512 million metric tons) of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009. That’s an increase of 6 percent. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries — China, the United States and India, the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases.