A new model of the Earth’s climate suggests that human-made carbon dioxide emissions may prevent the onset of the next ice age.
Based on geological history, the Earth would be expected to enter a new ice age in 10,000 to 100,000 years.
Researchers say even small changes in carbon dioxide levels right now could prevent this from happening.
So should we reduce emissions for the sake of our children’s children, or do we keep pumping out the GHGs for the sake of future civilizations or even some humanoid species that hasn’t yet had the chance to evolve?
The professor behind the study is keen to stress that the research doesn’t mean that global warming is suddenly a really good idea:
Professor Crowley warns against seeing increases in carbon dioxide levels as a good thing
And he’s right of course. Because no climate projections can tell us how much CO2 we should or shouldn’t be emitting. But it’s funny that scientists only seem to express such caution when there’s the sniff of a possibility that the research might disincline the masses to tread lightly on the Earth.
Anyway, judging by the lively discussion of the our-models-are-better-than-your-models variety the paper has generated, it seems it’s touched a few nerves. Carl Wunsch is among those not mincing their words:
Surely this isn’t science in any conventional sense. Taking a toy model and using it to make a “prediction” about something nearly a million years in the future, is a form of science fiction—maybe interesting in the same way a novel is, but it isn’t science.