Sunday, August 28, 2016
This is what Earth will look like in 100 years — if we're lucky
AP Photo/Matt York
At this point, you're probably fully aware of how hot it is. But in case you're unaware: It's really, really hot.
In fact, 2016 is likely to be the hottest year on record, increasing 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.3 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial averages.
That brings us dangerously close to the 2.7-degree-Fahrenheit (1.5-degree-Celsius) limit set by international policymakers for global warming.
"There's no stopping global warming," Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist who is the director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, told Business Insider. "Everything that's happened so far is baked into the system."
That means that even if carbon emissions dropped to zero tomorrow, we'd still be watching human-driven climate change play out for centuries. And, as we all know, emissions aren't going to stop tomorrow. So the key thing now, Schmidt said, is slowing climate change down enough to make sure we can adapt to it as painlessly as possible.
This is what the Earth could look like within 100 years if we do, barring huge leaps in renewable energy or carbon-capture technology.