In Scientific American this week - An academic debate ponders
whether Earth's climate could change precipitously, and how unmitigated regional stressors could irrevocably alter the planet
Is there a chance that human intervention
—rising temperatures, massive land-use changes, biodiversity loss and so on—could “tip”
the entire world into a new climatic state? And if so, does that change what we should do about it?
“You’re pushing an egg toward the end of the table,”
says Tony Barnosky
, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. At first, he says, “not much happens. Then it goes off the edge and it breaks. That egg is now in a fundamentally different state, you can’t get it back to what it was.”