Congress Dithers as the World Burns 

What we know now with a high level of certainty (the phrases “virtually certain” and “high confidence” are used over 100 times in the IPCC report) is that global warming will play out in one of three scenarios, although each could pop up regionally as well. They are:
1. {up to 1.5 degrees} Weather and sea level rise are disruptive and expensive, but humans figure out ways to adapt and stop burning fossil fuels in time to prevent the worst outcomes. Countries adapt, albeit painfully and with serious disruption, but eventually humanity moves on with new non-fossil fuel energy sources.
2. {1.5 to an unknown, probably around 2-4 degrees} Warming so remodels the planet that large food-producing areas become wastelands leading to widespread famine and billions of climate refugees. Cities buckle under the lack of food and influx of people desperate for food and shelter causing civilization itself to collapse. Local and even worldwide wars over resources like fresh water and food-growing-land kill much of the world’s population and push the survivors back to a stone-age or tribal existence.
3. {Over 5 degrees} Warming hits a runaway phase, releasing so much carbon from the arctic tundra and shallow seacoast methane clathrates that the planet warms over 7 degrees Celsius and a Permian Mass Extinction-like events hits us. After tens of millions of years the planet reboots itself and another species rises to take our place at the top of the food chain, the way mammals replaced the dinosaurs after the last great extinction 66 million years ago.

Source: Opinion | Congress Dithers as the World Burns | Thom Hartmann

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