If you raise your haid above the conservative think tanks easy digestible nonsense like "CO2 is good for green plants" and "Suprise! New facts shows that it is the SUN that is heating up the world, not the humans" and really wants to know what it is that troubles the climate scientists you should check that you first understand these three terms:
* exponential change
* self reinforcing feedback loops
* perm - trias massextinction
If we combine these three and conclude that they are on their way it means the end of humanity, and this is not a boast nor an opinion, it is bone hard medical facts as Johnny Depp stated about his characters permanent erection in the Libertine prologue.
So then let's see that we all understand those concepts properly before putting our pension funds into the Hawaiian real estate market.
Exponential change is a bitch. Unchallanged it inevitably leads to collapse. An entire mathematical branch called catastrophy theory deals with the matter of collapsing exponential system. Exponential change is what happens when you drop a bacteria into a Petri dish. One bacteria becomes 2. Two bacterias becomes 4. 4 bacterias become eight. And so on. In the beginning the change is slow and calm, it look like a linear change thet goes off wit the speed 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ..... But when the petri dish is filled to 50 % with bacterias something happen. Suddently it is not 50 % but 100 % To fill the last half of the dish takes equally long time as going from one tiny bacteria to the hundereds of millions filling up the first half. And then, when the dish is entirely eaten by bacterias the system crashes and they all die.
Linear change can be handled. It can be calmed down with a break. You press the gas. The engine runs faster. You press the breaks. The car stops. Nice and easy does it. Exponential change is like throwing you lighter into the petrol tank. If you do anything , you run. If you have somewhere to run to.
If climate change is linear, then we would expect that the second degree of heating up the atmosphere would take as long time as heating up the first. What we now see is that the last decade has heated the atmosphere something like 0,3 degrees when the 200 years before has heated it 0,7 (my approximate figures). CO2 levels went from 280 to 400 in 150 years. It went from 400 to 410 in just three. This is exponential change. This is the lighter in the fuel tank
Where are you going to run? Is Hawaii far enough to avoid the explosion?
To aggrevate the process we have the self reinforcing feedback loops. A feeback loop is what happens when you put a microphone next to a loud speaker and connects them through an amplifier deck. A small input becomes a large output. the large output becomes a large input and pop goes your eardrum.
If exponential change is a bitch, the self reinforcing feed back loop is the Great Chtulhu himself. Don't be a worshipper. Don't wake up the monster. Don't hope that the stars will be right unless you want to be eaten first of all. Scientists may believe that the present climate change is man driven, opposed by the milder sceptics that at least confirms that it is getting hotter, but that it is a "natural thing" since climate has been ging on changing long before man started to burn fossil fuel or even walk on two feet.
Well , here is good news. Science totally agrees with you concerning the feed back loops. They are totally natural. Once started, man has no power over them. We can go amish all of us, the fuse has been lit and the feed back loops will go on heating the planet by them selves.
The feed back loops consists primarely of carbon dioxide and methane stored in the ground and below sea level that will be released into the atmosphere with increasing temperature. If you look at the earlier heating periods, that were NOT man driven, you will see that the carbon dioxide levels rise AFTER the heat has started to go up. Sceptics has taken this as a proof for that the climate change causes CO2 rises instead of the opposite. Well - it goes both ways. That is the meaning of the term feedback loop. An increase of heat gives more carbon dioxide gives more heat gives more... and on it goes. In previous times the heat started by more heat from the sun reaching earth. This time we are kick starting the process by emitting the first injection of CO2, that then starts up the heating - exponentially - wich emits more CO2 that makes it even hotter until we reaches the giant deposits of frosen methane below the sea and when that little treasure starts to boil by it self , which it already has, it is time to start to learn about the third term
The Perm - Trias mass extinction.
When nothing greater than a hamster survives you know you are in great trouble. A copy of this event might occur around 6 degrees of heating from pre industial temperature levels, according to journalist and author Mark Lynas. Geological data suggest this temperature range from present pleasent holocen temperatures to full scale armageddon. When the methane from the sea floor starts to boil, the amount of green house gases in the atmosphere becomes enough to push down heat into the oceans to completely deprive them from oxygen. When all oxygen breathing life in the ocean dies the great party begins for the anaerobic bacterias that will carnage on the carcasses and create huge amount of sulphuric gases. Think of rotten eggs. When these gases starts to emit themselves ocean wide, the atmosphere will become graduately toxic. A little burst of vulcanic sulphur from the nearby Solfatara is good for the lungs says the locals here in Campi Flegrei, maybe because it kills unpleasant things that shall not be in there, but huge scirocco bursts of corrosive sulphur is not what you want to have in your lungs for a health cure.
So when the atmosphere becomes toxic and we all start to die the question arises - what should we have done on the way to this situation. The conservative dumb ass position about the environment activists is that they want to "Save the Earth", save the whales, save humanity. And then they laugh at the stupid green suckers and press the gas pedal in the bottom to demonstrate their liberty.
Well, my response to that is - why do you think that we want to save the humanity? Do you resemble a bunch very much worth saving? And if the feed back loops already have kicked in, which they probably has, the question of "doing something" becomes hypothetical. Doing what? Praying to the Aliens to come and resque us? Build an Arch to nice and cosy Mars or dig a big bunker in the ground hoping to survive there until all evil goes away.
So if we are all patients in the waiting room of the cancer clinic and just have got the message that our entirebody is depleted with evil metastases, what then to do? Pray to God? Look each other into the eyes and weep and whimper? Guy McPhersons suggestion is that we shall start to do that we should have done in the first place - Love each other and develope our interests , the time that is left. So stop react against the green activist and accusations on him to want to create climate agony. Agony means that you still are in the situation of being able to "do something". What I am suggesting is not agony, but mortal terror, and the only mature response to this is dignity. Be like Socrates. Lift the cup of poison calmly, gather your friends around you , keep your awareness and describe for all what is happening. Enlighten each others. I am starting to feel dizzy. The legs are getting paralysed. I have lost touch of my fingers. The tongue is getting numb.
What rest is - is silence.