"While U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken draws attention to climate change
in the Arctic at meetings with other national officials this week in Iceland,
an even greater threat looms on the other side of the planet.
New research shows it is Antarctica that may force a reckoning between the
choices countries make today about greenhouse gas emissions and the future
survival of their coastlines and coastal cities, from New York to Shanghai.
That reckoning may come much sooner than people realize.
The Arctic is losing ice as global temperatures rise, and that is directly
affecting lives and triggering feedback loops that fuel more warming. But the
big wild card for sea level rise is Antarctica. It holds enough land ice to
raise global sea levels by more than 200 feet (60 meters) – roughly 10 times
the amount in the Greenland ice sheet – and we’re already seeing signs of
Scientists have long known that the Antarctic ice sheet has physical tipping
points, beyond which ice loss can accelerate out of control. The new study,
published in the journal Nature, finds that the Antarctica ice sheet could
reach a critical tipping point in a few decades, when today’s elementary school
kids are raising their families.
The results mean a common argument for not reducing greenhouse gas emissions
now – that future technological advancement can save us later – is likely to
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics