What is going to happen over the next few hundred years?

Video Shot in: 2009

Dr. Matt Huber, interviewed by Arcticstories’ Dr. Paul Shepson, discusses his views on the future climate and the potential impacts of global warming. Dr. Huber expresses a pessimistic outlook–he believes the next couple hundred years will not be favorable for most people. While the ice sheets in AntArctica and Greenland are expected to remain, the rest of the world will experience significant warming. This scenario deviates from the paleoclimate record, where warm periods were followed by the formation of ice sheets. Dr. Huber explains that the future will be characterized by anomalous conditions, including warm temperatures over ice sheets and the retreat of sea ice and land ice. Winter as we know it may disappear, and there will likely be a delay of 50 to 150 years before these changes fully manifest. Dr. Huber emphasizes that unless fossil fuel consumption is curbed, substantial warming is inevitable. He argues that climate sensitivity is likely higher than previously estimated, making it crucial to reduce emissions as early as possible. He acknowledges, however, that we are already committed to significant warming due to past emissions. Dr. Shepson adds that the future will bring more extreme weather events, such as extremely hot and humid days and nights, which have lethal consequences for vulnerable populations. He emphasizes the difficulties in preparing for such events, particularly in regions where people have little experience with extreme heat. Both scientists agreed that drastic and immediate action, such as transitioning to extremely low or zero emissions, is necessary to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. However, they also highlight the challenges of implementing such measures on a global scale with such a limited time available to make a substantial difference. Without significant changes, they conclude that we are already committed to a future with severe climate impacts.