I’ve written previously about the need to give up subterranean carbon fuel sources; this article projects total use of those resources. The picture is dire, but not immediate.
First, the article doesn’t mention the atmospheric CO2 levels that would result from complete exploitation, and I’d be real curious to see those numbers. I suspect that the warming involved would be of a more immediate concern than the sea level rise, suggesting that the coastal areas might be abandoned long before the article predicts.
Second, I heard the NPR version of this story yesterday, and a scientist interviewed there seemed to think that humans wouldn’t go as far as using up all the fossil fuels. My reaction was “Why not?” What is it that would occur that would cause us to put the breaks on our usage? We know pretty conclusively that using what we use now is already causing problems, but serious efforts to change our energy mix are always met with excuses about why we can’t give up fossil fuels. Too inconvenient, too expensive, too something – there’s always a reason. That changes the question to one of what would it take to finally trigger a real change in our use patterns?