Evidence points to climate change

As well as reports from other scientific study teams, NASA, the European Space Agency, the World Meteorological Organisation, the International Energy Agency, The World Bank, the International Union of Forest Research Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, Price Waterhouse Coopers, the World Economic Forum and two of the top insurance companies, Lloyds of London and Munich Re, have all given a dismal report for our planet for this year.

Some of the happenings:

An acceleration in the melting permafrost in Arctic regions that is starting to give off methane, which will make global warming even worse.

In September Arctic sea ice hit its lowest level ever recorded and the world's glaciers continue to shrink.

Sea level rising is happening 60 per cent faster than forecast.

Earth's forests are dying from a warming world.

Greenland and Antarctica are melting three times faster than they were in 1970, with a yearly net loss of ice in both places.

This year is set to be the ninth warmest on record.

Heat waves affected the Northern hemisphere and about 15,000 daily heat records were broken in the US.

Many areas of Asia, South America and western Africa had exceptional flooding.

More than 40 million Chinese people are at risk from global warming and about the same number in Bangladesh. Northern Africa has had climate refugees and climate wars for more than a decade.

In a small patch of the Southern Ocean, ocean acidification from carbon dioxide has started to dissolve the shells of sea snails. This effect has not happened for millions of years. There are serious implications for all calcium-covered sea creatures. When will the prawns be off the Christmas menu?

While events caused by earthquakes and volcanoes have remained constant since 1980, the number of weather-related events such as floods, droughts and bush fires have increased dramatically.

If these changes aren't bad enough, predictions for our future are frightening. The above effects occurred because of just 0.8 degrees temperature rise. Because of inaction, most scientific groups are predicting a rise of more than three degrees, with a probability of four to six degrees if serious action is not taken immediately.

If we do nothing we can expect at least three times as many extreme climatic events as we are now beginning to experience.

So, it may have been some other community or country that copped it this year. I guess we have to ask ourselves when is it going to be our turn.

Tony Doherty



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