In the previous 20,000 years natural events have determined the ebbs and flows of climate change. We have entered a new period in which human behavior will determine what happens to our planet. What we do in the next 100 years will last for 10,000 years. The carbon that we emit will last that long in our atmosphere. It is irreversible!! We have a few decades to reduce carbon emissions so that the next 10,000 years will not alter our planet in ways that are difficult to imagine. The survival of our species and our way of life is at issue. What we do today will have a powerful impact on the next 100 generations that follow our generation. That is why US presidential election will have an effect on our planet that will last for 10,000 years.
The US took a leadership role in the recent Paris conference that convinced China and other developing countries to commit to a reduction in carbon emissions. The Supreme Court has cast a doubt on the ability of the EPA to carry out the plan to which we had agreed in Paris. If we elect a Republican president another conservative justice will replace Scalia. A Republican Party that controls all three branches of our government will back away from any effort to cut carbon emissions; the rest of the world will be forced to follow its lead. We will have wasted the opportunity that we have in the next few decades to reduce the long term impact of climate change on our planet.
The IPPC which has focused our attention of the next 100 years is involved in relatively short term predictions about the effects of climate change. Economists are in the habit of discounting the future 100 years from now under the assumption that benefits that we get from mitigation are less valuable than benefits we give up today. The short term predictions about the effects of climate change over the next 100 years are less accurate than the long term impact of climate change over the next 10,000 years. We can be fairly certain about the catastrophic effects from climate change over that period. Some of those changes are described in this article.