Spendthrifts! Gluttons! Profligates! That’s what we humans are when it comes to our global carbon budget of 2,900 gigatons of carbon dioxide—the amount of greenhouse gases we can emit before causing temperatures to rise a dangerous 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). As Weather Underground’s Jeff Masters explains, we’ve already spent spent two-thirds of that budget, and we're set to go into the red in about 17 years.
Declaring carbon bankruptcy won't save us here. If we want to protect ourselves from the food shortages, species extinctions, floods, and droughts that come along with global warming, we have to act fast, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its latest report released yesterday. Because if we keep sprewing greenhouse gases into the air at current rates, temps around the world will increase 4 degrees Celsius by 2100. The good news is, we can still take steps to avoid some of that disaster. So let's stop the excuses and start saving for our retirement years.
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