Runwaya global warming, or runaway climate change is the concept that climate change will reach a point at which it will in a sense become self-sustaining, regardless of how we change our habits. This is due to “positive feedback loops.” For example, methane gas is a major component of climate change, and there are many tons of methane currently frozen in the arctic tundra. As the planet warms, the tundra will melt, release the gas, and this will accelerate the climate change process.
Essentially, runaway global warming is a phenomenon where we have altered our environment so much through destructive activities such as carbon emissions, that it is inevitable that global warming will continue for at least the next 20-30 years even if we stopped carbon emissions altogether. Many scientists as well as a few economists and politicians concede that we will not be able to meet any of our carbon emission reductions based on current numbers, which do not take runaway global warming into consideration. See the links for more information.
In addition to the information provided by tujior and lola14, the theory of runaway global warming emphasizes the rate at which global warming will occur. It is the belief that besides also being a threshold in the point of no return, it will increase the rate of climate change dramatically.
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