Climate change is a fact. The earth is warming - and the certainty is greater than 90% that human activity is the cause.
The latest United Nations Report published in February 2007 gives us, what are now as close to facts as can be, that human activity is to blame for rising levels of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere. These are just some of the UNFCCC’s latest findings:-
Carbon dioxide has increased from 280ppm in 1750 to 379ppm in 2005.
Methane has increased from a pre-industrial level of 715ppb to l,732ppb in 2005.
Surface temperatures over 11 of the last 12 years have been the hottest since records began in 1850.
Since observations began in 1961, ocean average temperatures to a depth of 3,000 metres have increased, causing seawater expansion.
We have less than 10 years left to make huge changes, or global warming could become completely un-stoppable.
Here at the Climate Change for Better or Worse web site we work on the assumption that climate change is a reality. It has to be accepted that the great majority of researchers into the subject agree that climate change is truly a fact. Our mission is to provoke your thoughts, while also bringing you a summary of some of the most important news, and information on the subject, through our News and Links pages.
Is it all bad?
Is climate change all bad news? Yes, pretty much so We started this web site in 2004 when the situation seemed a lot less dangerous than it does now. A that time we thought that there are bound to be winners and losers. Now, we think there may be some who benefit from warmer conditions, but such benefits would be very short term and soon negated by global disruption of society and economic damage.
Spend a little time to read the articles we shall be adding to this web site over the weeks to come, and then give us your views on the topics which most interest you.
STOP PRESS! GLOBAL WARMING LATEST!
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report issued on 2 February, looked at the following temperature rises and their models predict the following consequences, which they say could take place before 2100:-
+2.4°C CORAL REEFS ALMOST EXTINCT
In North America a new dust-bowl brings deserts to life in the high plains states centred on Nebraska but also wipes out agriculture and cattle ranching as sand dunes appear across five US states from Texas to to Montana in the North.
Sea-level rise accelerates as the Greenland ice sheet tips into irreversible melt, submerging atoll nations and low-lying deltas. In Peru, disappearing Andean glaciers mean 10 million people face water shortages. Warming seas wipe out the Great Barrier Reef and make coral reefs virtually extinct throughout the tropics. Worldwide, a third of all species on the planet face extinction.
+3.4°C RAINFOREST TURNS TO DESERT
The Amazonian rainforest burns in a firestorm of catastrophic intensity covering South America with ash and smoke.
Once the smoke clears, the interior of Brazil has become desert, and huge amounts of extra carbon have entered the atmosphere, further accelerating global warming.
The entire Arctic ice-cap disappears in the summer months, leaving the North Pole free of ice for the first time in 3 million years.
Polar bears, walruses and ringed seals all suffer extinction. Water supplies run short in California as the Sierra Nevada snowpack melts away.
Tens of millions are displaced as the Kalahari Desert expands across Southern Africa.
+4.4°C MELTING ICE CAPS DISPLACE MILLIONS
Rapidly rising temperatures in the Arctic put Siberian permafrost in the melt zone, releasing vast quantities of methane and CO2. Global temperatures keep on rising rapidly in consequence.
Melting ice-caps and sea level rises displace more than 100 million people particularly in Bangladesh the Nile Delta and Shanghai.
Heat wave and drought make much of the sub-tropics uninhabitable.
Large scale migration even takes place within Europe where deserts are growing in Southern Spain, Italy and Greece.
More than half of wild species are wiped out, in the worst mass extinction since since the end of the dinosaurs.
Agriculture collapses in Australia.
+5.4°C SEA LEVELS RISE BY FIVE METRES
The West Antartic ice sheet breaks up, eventually adding another five metres to global sea levels.
If these temperatures are sustained, the entire planet will become ice-free and sea levels will be 70 metres higher than today. South Asian society collapses due to the disappearance of glaciers in the Himalayas drying up the Indus River, while in East India and Bangladesh monsoon floods threaten millions.
Super El-Ninos spark global weather chaos. Most of humanity begins to seek refuge away from higher temperatures and moves closer to the
poles. Tens of millions of refugees force their way into Scandinavia and the British Isles. World food supplies run out.
+6.4°C MOST OF LIFE IS EXTERMINATED
Warming seas lead to the possible release of methane hydrates trapped in sub-oceanic sediments: methane fireballs tear across the sky, causing further warming.
The oceans lose their oxygen and turn stagnant, releasing poisonous hydrogen sulphide gas and destroying the ozone layer.
Deserts expand almost to the Arctic. 'Hypercanes' (hurricanes of unimaginable ferocity) circumnavigate the globe, causing flash floods which strip the land of soil. Humanity reduced to a few survivors eking out a living in polar refuges.
Most of life on earth has been snuffed out, as temperatures rise higher than for hundreds of millions of years._________________________________
The above is by "Independent" journalist Mark Linas, and appeared in the "Independent" Newspaper on 3 February.
These scenarios are all quite appalling - even the +2.40 version. The 6 degree hotter world might be with us by 2100. The period of opportunity can now, with urgent action only reduce, not eliminate, the impact. Things need to change fast. THIS IS VERY DEFINITELY OUR FINAL WARNING.
Also, consider the following:
"Climate change represents disruption on a scale far larger than that of the great wars and the global economic depression of the first half of the 20th century," warns Jonathan Porritt, "We're looking at the death of nature. Deforestation, over fishing, the build up of toxics in the environment, water stress and shortages, loss of biodiversity... All of these are happening already, but climate change will make them all much, much worse."
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change anticipates a most likely range of temperature increase of 1,8°C to 4°C over the next century.
Jonathan Porritt, the UK Sustainable Development Commission Chairman, said recently that, "1.8°C will occur simply as a result of CO2 already in the atmosphere".
"The worst case is 6.4°C. That'll be the end of civilisation as we know it. It'll end everything we've worked towards over the past 2,000 years."
Porritt slams the current targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050. "A 60% reduction in C02 emissions is inadequate - 550ppM is too much", warns Porritt: "A 3°C temperature rise would be as near meltdown as damn it. It could trigger irreversible climate change.
"We need an 80% to 85% reduction by 2050 to achieve 450ppM. I don't want to undersell this: it's the biggest challenge that has ever, ever been undertaken."
What do you think?
The web is all about interaction and sharing ideas. Society needs to harness the tools which the web provides to tackle this topic - possibly the biggest challenge mankind has yet to encounter. Please do use the tools we have provided, to help us improve our understanding of where climate change may be leading us all. We need you!
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James Lovelock: The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years Each nation must find the best use of its resources to sustain civilisation for as long as they can Published: 16 January 2006.