From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/environment/ticking-time-bomb-could-cause-such-rapid-global-warming-wed-be-unable-prevent-extinction
Our planet has experienced five major extinctions over the past billion or so years — do we really want to launch an irreversible 6th?
By Thom Hartmann
November 26, 2013
If, 250 million years ago, you were standing thousands of miles away from what is now Siberia in the first years of the Permian Mass Extension, probably the most you would notice is an odd change in the weather and a reddish hue in the northern sky. What you wouldn’t know, and probably your children wouldn’t even realize –although their grandchildren probably would – is that a tipping point had already been passed, and an extinction – an unstoppable one – was already underway.
What could get America’s leading experts on climate change to agree on something that the average American has probably never even heard of?
Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and there are trillions of tons of it embedded in a sort of ice slurry called methane hydrate or methane clathrate crystals in the Arctic and in the seas around continental shelves from North America to Antarctica.
If enough of this methane is released quickly enough, it won’t just produce “Global warming.” It could produce an extinction of species on a wide scale – an extinction that could even include the human race.
If there is a “ticking time bomb” in our biosphere that could lead to a global warming so rapid and sudden that we would have no way of dealing with it, it’s methane.
Our planet has experienced five major extinctions over the past billion or so years, times when more than half of all life has died in a geologically brief period of time, and the common denominator of each one has been a sudden pulse of global warming. Increasingly, it appears that a rapid release of methane played a primary role in each one.
Continue reading at: http://www.alternet.org/environment/ticking-time-bomb-could-cause-such-rapid-global-warming-wed-be-unable-prevent-extinction