Op-ed: Climate Change Is the Most Urgent Existential Risk


by Phil Torres

Climate change and biodiversity loss may pose the most immediate and important threat to human survival given their indirect effects on other risk scenarios.

Humanity faces a number of formidable challenges this century. Threats to our collective survival stem from asteroids and comets, supervolcanoes, global pandemics, climate change, biodiversity loss, nuclear weapons, biotechnology, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and artificial superintelligence.

NWith such threats in mind, an informal survey conducted by the Future of Humanity Institute placed the probability of human extinction this century at 19%. To put this in perspective, it means that the average American is more than a thousand times more likely to die in a human extinction event than a plane crash.*

So, given limited resources, which risks should we prioritize? Many intellectual leaders, including Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates, have suggested that artificial superintelligence constitutes one of the most significant risks to humanity. And this may be correct in the long-term. But I would argue that two other risks, namely climate change and biodiveristy loss, should take priority right now over every other known threat.

Why? Because these ongoing catastrophes in slow-motion will frame our existential predicament on Earth not just for the rest of this century, but for literally thousands of years to come. As such, they have the capacity to raise or lower the probability of other risks scenarios unfolding.

Read the rest of the article
https://futureoflife.org/2016/07/22/climate-change-is-the-most-urgent-existential-risk/

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What’s the difference between global warming and climate change?


Global warming is just one symptom of the much larger problem of climate change. NOAA Climate.gov cartoon by Emily Greenhalgh.

Another distinction between global warming and climate change is that when scientists or public leaders talk about global warming these days, they almost always mean human-caused warming—warming due to the rapid increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from people burning coal, oil, and gas.

Climate change, on the other hand, can mean human-caused changes or natural ones, such as ice ages. Besides burning fossil fuels, humans can cause climate changes by emitting aerosol pollution

The tiny particles that reflect sunlight and cool the climate— into the atmosphere, or by transforming the Earth’s landscape, for instance, from carbon-storing forests to farmland.
Read the whole article

https://remarkeet.com/blog/blog/2017/02/21/whats-difference-global-warming-climate-change/

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