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Sobering news from National Public Radio, which reports that “climate change is essentially irreversible, according to a sobering new scientific study.

“As carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, the world will experience more and more long-term environmental disruption. The damage will persist even when, and if, emissions are brought under control, says study author Susan Solomon, who is among the world's top climate scientists.”

Says Solomon, who is a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "We're used to thinking about pollution problems as things that we can fix. Smog, we just cut back and everything will be better later. Or haze, you know, it'll go away pretty quickly … "People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide that the climate would go back to normal in 100 years or 200 years. What we're showing here is that's not right. It's essentially an irreversible change that will last for more than a thousand years,"

The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says that reducing or turning off carbon dioxide emissions won't stop global warming.

However, Solomon tells NPR that this is not time to declare the problem hopeless and give up: "I guess if it's irreversible, to me it seems all the more reason you might want to do something about it. Because committing to something that you can't back out of seems to me like a step that you'd want to take even more carefully than something you thought you could reverse."

KC's View:
This will only serve to reignite the debate, and I’m sure there will be plenty of people who will say that 1) climate change is natural, not manmade, and 2) climate change is irreversible, and so we should not be making changes that could threaten the current economy that will not have immediate effects.

Which will strike a lot of people as a morally and ethically challenged position.