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Trump Presidency Could Signal ‘Game Over’ For Earth’s Climate, Scientists Say

Nov 14, 2016 04:25 AM EST

The Earth is moving closer to global warming so fast it would be "game over" before we know it, scientists said. According to a new study, which was published in the journal Science Advances, the Earth's climate could become more sensitive to greenhouse gas emissions, further raising temperatures to more than 7 degrees Celsius within a lifetime.

The United Nations' (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently estimated that the "business as usual" approach to using large amounts of fossil fuels would put the Earth at risk of an average temperature rise of 2.6 degrees Celsius to 4.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100. Study authors said that these current estimates may be vastly underestimated.

The authors of the study - a team of climatologists and scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of Washington, the University of Albany and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany - said that the actual figures could rise by 2100 to 4.78 and 7.36 degrees Celsius, as the Earth's climate has "substantially higher sensitivity" to greenhouse gases during warm phases.

In light of the new research, climatologist Michael Mann of Penn State University said that a Donald Trump presidency - if he pulls the U.S. out of the Paris climate pact - could mean "game over" for the climate.

"By 'game over for the climate,' I mean game over for stabilizing warming below dangerous (i.e. greater than 2C) levels," Mann told The Independent.

"If Trump makes good on his promises, and the US pulls out of the Paris [climate] treaty, it is difficult to see a path forward to keeping warming below those levels."

According to Dr. Tobias Friedrich, one of the authors of the study, the best way to prevent this from happening is to "reduce greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible."

"Currently, our planet is in a warm phase - an interglacial period - and the associated increased climate sensitivity needs to be taken into account for future projections of warming induced by human activities," Friedrich told The Independent.

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