Climate Central sweats:
As fracking catapults the United States to the top of the list of the world’s largest crude oil and natural gas producers, climate scientists worry that the nation’s booming fossil fuels production is growing too quickly with too little concern about its impact on climate change, possibly endangering America’s efforts to curb global greenhouse gas emissions…
Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist and researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science and a professor at Stanford University, said the rapid expansion of the U.S. energy industry is helping to inexorably transform the planet into a place more and more challenging for people to live in.
“Expanding our fossil fuel infrastructure is more-or-less saying that we don’t give a damn about future generations,” he said Wednesday, the same day the journal Nature published a study showing that human greenhouse gas emissions are transforming the planet so rapidly that 5 billion people currently live in places where the climate will exceed historical bounds of temperature variability by 2050 if emissions continue unabated.
Caldeira said that if current trends in greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption continue, the climate will change into something that hasn’t existed on Earth since the dinosaurs were alive more than 100 million years ago.
“We can pretend that this is OK to do,” Caldeira said. “But realize that if the founding fathers of our country had been in our position and made the same choices we are making, today the oceans would be acidified, the ice caps would be melting, the seas would be rising, heat in many places would be unbearable, many ecosystems would be gone, and the extractible fossil fuel supply would be exhausted. What would we think of them if they had done that to us?”