Thursday, December 03, 2009

In the last 8 years, CO2 emissions increased by a third. Experts say the threat of a 4°C warming over pre-industrial times is all too plausible.

The good news, virtually all of these experts said, is that there is still time to halt the slide if greenhouse-gas emissions peak soon enough and fall thereafter.

But the window of opportunity is narrowing rapidly.

SHOOT: This ought to be our greatest concern at a time when our concerns are already numerous,and increasing.
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"A 4°C increase in global mean temperatures has the potential to threaten human security and quality of life in a manner unprecedented in recent history," says Arizona State University professor Pamela McElwee.

Science fiction? If only.

On November 16, an international team of scientists, the Global Carbon Project, said carbon emissions had surged by 29% from 2000 to 2008.

This places Earth on track with the worst-case warming scenario put forward by the UN's Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it said.

Under its so-called "business-as-usual" forecast, voracious use of coal and other fossil fuels would see planetary warming of 4°C to 6.4°C by 2100 compared with 2000.

To that, add another 0.74°C of warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution.

This would spell disaster for Earth's population, 6.7 billion today, on course for nine billion in 2050.

"The carrying capacity of the planet could fall to one billion people or less," said John Schellnhuber,
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