This chapter describes the extreme consequences of warming temperatures. None of these dire predictions is inevitable, but all are possible if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise unchecked. Each of these events has a tipping point, although the tipping point for each is different. Each tipping point, if passed, will have dire effects on human civilization, which relies heavily on the status quo for agriculture, development, technology, and other aspects of its existence. With so much at stake, the actions people take now are crucial.



Human Response

Climate scientists say that human activities are responsible for rising greenhouse gas emissions, increasing temperatures, and the climate-related changes Earth is now experiencing. The changes seen are consistent with climate model predictions. Now that the problem has been identified and agreed on, these scientists are increasingly calling for society to take action. The longer people wait to make the necessary changes, the more drastic those changes will need to be.

According to NASA's James Hansen, in a 2006 article in The New York Review of Books, "Our children, grandchildren, and many more generations will bear the consequences of choices that we make in the next few years."

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