Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-7479d7b7d-k7p5g Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-12T20:41:05.289Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

2 - Fossil Fuels and Climate Change

from Part I - Existential Threats: The Four Most Pressing Dangers Facing Humankind

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 October 2022

Michael D. Bess
Affiliation:
Vanderbilt University, Tennessee
Get access

Summary

Tapping the power of fossil fuels over the past century and a half has propelled a massive expansion of human enterprise and prosperity, yet it has also released toxic amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thereby endangering the future viability of human civilization. If global average temperatures rise 4 to 6 degrees above the level of preindustrial times, climate scientists nearly unanimously conclude that severe disruptions of global ecosystems will result. These disruptions include: self-reinforcing spirals of global warming caused by feedback factors like melting permafrost, ice loss, water vapor, and wildfires; acidification of ocean waters and flooding of coastal regions as sea level rises by as much as one foot per decade; growing frequency of severe weather events such as droughts, floods, superstorms, and heat waves; the spread of tropical diseases into temperate regions; and the collapse of agriculture in many parts of the planet, leading to waves of desperate climate refugees.

Type
Chapter
Information
Planet in Peril
Humanity's Four Greatest Challenges and How We Can Overcome Them
, pp. 27 - 35
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×