The decisions made in the next couple of decades about reducing greenhouse gas emissions will determine the severity of global warming — including potentially catastrophic sea level rise — for the next 10,000 years, according to a new study.

The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, examines the “deep time” implications of emissions of global warming pollutants such as carbon dioxide.

The study vividly demonstrates how the lag effects that are inherent in the climate system affect policy decisions that today’s leaders must make through the middle of this century.

These lag effects — namely the ability of carbon dioxide to remain in the air for thousands of years, and the high sensitivity and long memory of global ice sheets to this temperature increase — will ensure that today’s policy choices will play out on a stage longer than the history of human civilization. …

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