It’s only early January, and already we’re witnessing what could be the most devastating climate change story of the year. A new study in Nature Geoscience this week shows that even if we go to zero emissions and completely halt our wholesale burning of fossil fuels, climate change will continue for the next 1,000 years.
If only we could take solace in saying, “I told you so” to climate change deniers and the fossil fuel lobby fighting to confuse the public about climate change. Such proclamations seem trite and trivial, however, when we’re faced with the burning reality that our dirty oil addiction is cooking the planet in an irreversible way.
The study, conducted by University of Calgary and Environment Canada’s climate centre at the University of Victoria is the first full climate model simulation to make predictions 1,000 years into the future. Dr. Shawn Marshall and his team explore the question: “What if we completely stopped using fossil fuels and put no more CO2 in the atmosphere? How long would it then take to reverse current climate change trends and will things first become worse?” Using simulations with the Canadian Earth System Model, the research team exploredzero-emissions scenarios if humans completely stop burning fossil fuels in 2010 and 2100.
The article shows, devastatingly, that climate change will continue even if we stop our use of fossil fuels immediately. We’ve had that much of an impact. With this news, Canada’s head-in-sand approach to climate issues just won’t cut it.