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By 2100, Our Carbon Usage May Be Enough To Trigger A 10,000-Year-Long Ecological Disaster


“Thresholds of Catastrophe”

Daniel Rothman, a professor of geophysics in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, recently published a study in Science Advances that could change how we think about the future of our environment.

For his study, Rothman analyzed changes in the carbon cycle over the past 540 million years, including all five mass extinction events, and used mathematics to demarcate “thresholds of catastrophe” in the carbon cycle. Moving beyond those thresholds can catapult the Earth into an unstable environment, causing a mass extinction event.

Based on his research, Rothman asserts that, if we don’t change course, the world may enter what he calls “unknown territory” by 2100, causing an ecological disaster that would take 10,000 years to fully play out.