Monday, 25 June 2007

Just how bleak is our future?

Well, if you read the report by six leading scientists from the USA you may very well come to the conclusion that our future on earth is incredibly bleak. The scientists behind the 29-page paper (Climate Change and Trace Gases) are among the world’s leading climate change experts. Led by James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the team included three of Hansen’s colleagues, Makiko Sato, Pushker Kharecha and Gary Russell, David Lea of the University of California and Mark Siddall of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.

Fundamentally, the message from the paper is that the Earth is approaching a point of no return with climate change. Forget George Bush’s ‘war on terror’ what we need right now is a ‘war on CO2 emissions’.

They argue that unless effective measures are put in place to control CO2 emissions over the next ten years, the rise in the Earth’s temperature could trigger uncontrollable climate change. The mechanism for this they argue is the ‘albedo flip’ as ice melts the sunlight normally reflected by the ice is absorbed by the sea, causing rising temperatures, which causes more ice to melt, which causes rising temperatures. The phrase from the paper that I find most worrying is “If we have not already passed the dangerous level, the energy infrastructure in place ensures that we will pass it within several decades” so we are either already too late or we will be in the near future. Does the political will exist to take the necessary steps to save the planet? From what is being said and done at the moment, I would have to say no. Maybe one day our political leaders will find the strength and integrity to act on our behalf to save our planet, but I really think this will only happen after it is too late.

[Via The Independent]

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