Thursday, September 28, 2006

Heed This Warning -

Heed This Warning -

"BENEATH ITS dry scientific lingo, a new analysis of global climate change by a group of NASA scientists is terrifying. Headed by climate specialist James E. Hansen, the group argues that recent global warming has been quite rapid -- about 0.2 degrees Celsius over each of the past three decades -- and has largely tracked climate models that predict more dramatic warming in the decades to come. If the world continues increasing carbon emissions at its current pace, by about 2 percent a year, the authors argue that the resulting warming will cause the extinction of about 60 percent of species around the world and 'sea level rise of several meters per century with eventual rise of tens of meters, enough to transform global coastlines.'"

I have been reading The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization by Brian M. Fagan. It traces the changes in climate over the past 15,000 years, and their effects. Hundreds of meters of changes in sea level, deserts created where once herds grazed, huge lakes created that overflowed and created huge rivers. The rate of climate change is high now and is increasing. The effects will be much greater than all but a handful of people realize within the next century. We should be working much harder now to bring down greenhouse gas emissions!

Billions of people live a hand to mouth existence. Population growth is continuing, and population is growing faster in poor countries than in rich countries. What do you think is going to happen as the climate changes over the next 100 years? As rainfall patterns change, and cropping patterns are forced to change correspondingly? As more energy goes into the atmosphere and sea surface, will storms get worse or more frequent? What will happen to the densely populated coastal zones of the poor countries in Asia as the sea rises? Who will suffer when the ranges of the insect vectors of tropical diseases change? The poor will suffer, as they always do!

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