A cluster of new, eye-opening studies released late last week bring into sharp focus the fact that society's current path threatens to bring us into a head-on collision with planetary boundaries, leading to unnecessarily unpleasant results.
First came the disturbing joint announcement from NASA and NOAA that 2014 has smashed the record for hottest year in the instrument record. The results mean 14 of the hottest 15 years on record have all occurred since the turn of the century.
That's quite a trend. One could hold out hope that this undeniable --- and undesirable --- trend of rising global temperatures would bring an end to the ludicrous propaganda of the climate change denial industry and their claims of a "global warming pause," "hiatus" and "global cooling" --- all in service of perpetuating the supremacy and profits of the fossil fuel industry. But that hope, as we detailed on Friday, is most likely in vain.
Turns out the laws of physics aren't actually negotiable. Humanity's frenzy to dig up and burn carbon, safely stored underground through natural processes over millions of years, has undoubtedly brought societal progress for many, but it has also brought consequences. And those consequences are cumulative.
If you keep doing the things that raise global temperatures, you shouldn't be surprised when temperatures keep going up. Sec. of State John Kerry summed it up succinctly: "What’s surprising is that anyone is surprised that 2014 was the hottest year on record. The science has been screaming at us for a long, long time."
Except humanity is doing a lot more than just cooking the planet by raising the temperature. Consider this less-than-cheerful news from the UK's Guardian [emphasis added]...