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April 16, 2006 10:57PM
http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article357783.ece

3 degrees: Chief scientist warns bigger rise in world's temperature will put 400 million at risk

The world's temperature is on course to rise by more than three degrees Centigrade despite efforts to combat global warming, Britain's chief scientist has warned.

Sir David King issued a stark wake-up call that climate change could cause devastating consequences such as famine and drought for hundreds of millions of people unless the world's politicians take more urgent action.

Britain and the rest of the European Union have signed up to a goal of limiting the temperature rise to two degrees. In his strongest warning yet on the issue, Sir David suggested the EU limit will be exceeded........

SEAS RISE

2100, and the world's temperature has risen by 3C. The ice cap covering Greenland is in retreat, eventually adding 7 metres to sea levels, and the west Antarctic ice sheet starts melting. Arctic summer sea ice disappears, killing the polar bear. You can sail to the North Pole. Coastal urban populations in Africa and Asia are at risk.

RAINFOREST RETREATS

The Amazon breaks down as rainfall decreases, causing the forest to collapse into savannah. It deals a devastating blow to global biodiversity - the basin is home to millions of species of wildlife - and the earth's ability to recycle carbon emissions. The ocean and the soil become net carbon contributors, further speeding global warming.

WEATHER WORSENS

Climate increasingly volatile as warming adds energy to weather systems. Events of the past decade foreshadow floods (Bangladesh, India), drought (east Africa), hurricanes and cyclones (Mozambique, Nicaragua and Honduras), forest fires (the Mediterranean, Alaska and Russia) and insect plagues (Canada) that wrack the globe.

DROUGHT SPREADS

Africa's Great Lakes shrivel; Malawi's wetlands dry up and acute water shortages threaten fishing and farming livelihoods (40 per cent of its GDP). Worldwide, 3bn people face severe "water stress", with possible water wars in Central Asia and Africa. Mass migration out of North Africa. By 2100, Peru faces drought as its glaciers melt.

ECOSYSTEMS COLLAPSE

A fifth of the world's surface has changed significantly, from melting Arctic tundra to vanishing cloud forest in Queensland, Australia (exterminating the native Golden Bowerbird, above). A 3.7C rise would kill or critically endanger 40 per cent of Africa's mammals. Up to 38 per cent of Europe's birds and 20 per cent of its plants are extinct or at risk.

FAMINE GROWS

Snow melts earlier in the year so water sources dry before crops finish growing in areas such as the Sierra Nevada and northern India, left. Up to 400 million people at risk of hunger as 400 million tons of cereal crops are lost, with Africa hit worst. Crop yields fall for the first time since the agricultural revolution in Europe, Russia and America.

55 Percentage of the world's population would be exposed to dengue fever - up from 30 per cent in 1990. Insect-borne diseases like dengue and malaria, which already claim 1.3m lives a year, would spread away from the equator towards the poles.

3bn Population at risk of water shortages as rising temperatures dry surface water and reduce rainfall.

54 Percentage of mammals that will die in South Africa (worst-case scenario). Up to 40 per cent of the country's birds, 70 per cent of butterflies and 45 per cent of reptiles will also be extinct or critically endangered.

1/2 Nature reserves that will no longer be able to fulfil their conservation objectives, due to dying species or habitats.

-10c British temperature drop during wintertime, once global warming reaches the point where it disrupts Atlantic Ocean currents and switches off the Gulf Stream, which currently warms our island. The North Atlantic marine ecosystem could also collapse when half the plankton die. It is not known exactly what the "tipping point" temperature for this is, but 3C would be close.

......Jaque Cousteau tried to wake humanity up to the peril facing the worlds oceans, due to man's damaging and destructive ways. The seas are now quickly collapsing as an ecosystem. Too many heads in the sand, too much resitstance to change to save them. Great people, with insightful vision, are now warning of a coming global climate disaster, due to our activities as a species across this planet. Probabilities, and patterns, suggest a repeat performance of too little, too late, when it comes to humanities abilities to adjust itself to the new realities, and the change on a massive scale, that will be required, to avert the dire events, that are now looming.
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Wizard 986April 06, 2006 09:18PM

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