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Looping the loop






Greta, Thunberg joined his holiness the Dalai Lama and leading scientists including Susan Natali, Arctic Program Director at the Woodwell Climate Research Center, and William Moomaw, Professor Emeritus of International Environmental Policy yesterday (9th January 2021) on an online webinar to discuss the Crisis of Climate Feedback loops, as a series of 5 short films featuring 12 climate scientists and narrated by Richard Gere were launched to raise awareness.


Whilst it may be well documented that fossil fuel emissions from human activity are driving up the earth's temperature, less well known is that this warming has set in motion nature's own self-perpetuating warming systems or 'feedback loops' which feed upon themselves to amplify, raising temperatures even higher. During the webcast, hosted by the Mind and Life Institute, Greta said:


"We need to educate ourselves to understand the global processes linked to the climate crisis, to see what's happening to our planet. People must learn as much as they can - there's unlimited amount of information - and spread this information to create a social movement and shift the social norm ... Restoring Nature is not only a solution to the climate crisis, but also to the biodiversity crisis."


The Dalai Lama said that all 7.8 billion humans must act as a single community to battle the climate crisis, and shed their past habits of thinking of themselves as part of a small circle of individuals. "According to today's reality, thinking in terms of 'myself, my family, my nation' has become unrealistic. An individual's future is now linked to the entire humanity and planet, to a happier humanity and a healthier world."


The 5 short films, narrated by Richard Gere start with 1) A general introduction, followed by 2) Forests 3) Permafrost 4) Atmosphere and 5) Albedo and whilst stark, show as what can be done so we are encouraged to share them widely.


The Dalai Lama reflected that when he was young, he saw plenty of snow in the high mountains of Tibet but it had started decreasing gradually, and a similar trend is noticeable around Dharamshala, his present home. Susan Natali, an Arctic scientist, said that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, due to which its permafrost is thawing. The permafrost contains a large amount of carbon, which is twice the carbon currently present in the atmosphere. As the icy expanse melts, the newly-released organic matter in the soil, which had remained frozen for thousands of years, is now being decomposed by microbes, leading to release of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. These heat-trapping gases further warm the atmosphere, which leads to more permafrost thaw and so on, thus creating a positive feedback loop. Natali added that permafrost thaw is not being taken into account by policy-makers while setting global carbon emission targets.


William Moomaw, who has authored several 'Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change' (IPCC) reports said similar self-perpetuating warming processes are being witnessed in the forests across the planet, He said destruction of forests and global warming are accelerating each other, leading to more droughts, pests, diseases and wildfires, such as the massive fires witnessed in Australia and western USA last year.


The scientists warned that these feedback loops may reach a tipping point, following which the carbon sinks such as forests may actually become a source of carbon dioxide as their organic matter gets released into the air, and this may result in irreversible warming of the planet. Fortunately, however they also said that these feedback loops can be reversed, and if emissions are cut, deforestation halted and the earth re-greened, the reversed mechanism may begin to automatically cool the planet.There are solutions, we just need to get on board to discuss and share them.


To see watch the whole online webinar click HERE


You can watch the films below:-