Many damaging effects of climate change are already basically irreversible, researchers declared Monday, warning that even if carbon emissions can somehow be halted temperatures around the globe will remain high until at least the year 3000.
"People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 years; that's not true," climate researcher Susan Solomon said in a teleconference.
Solomon, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., is lead author of an international team's paper reporting irreversible damage from climate change, being published in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
She defines "irreversible" as change that would remain for 1,000 years even if humans stopped adding carbon to the atmosphere immediately.
The findings were announced as President Barack Obama ordered reviews that could lead to greater fuel efficiency and cleaner air, saying the Earth's future depends on cutting air pollution.
Said Solomon, "Climate change is slow, but it is unstoppable" — all the more reason to act quickly, so the long-term situation doesn't get even worse.
Also a PNAS paper, but I can't see it still.