Is it already too late ? (Google / Michael DOUGERTHY)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification

Is It Already Too Late?

It is difficult to not go completely “negative” about current climate change data. Tere is no quarrel by any serious scientist about global warming, the question now is this: have we crossed the tipping point, the point of no return. A growing body of scientists are now suggesting that perhaps we have. Maybe the struggle to stem the causes of global warming is past reversal or mitigation. In 2008 the increase in atmospheric concentration of co2 was 3.5%, in contrast to averaging .9% in recent years. This dramatic increase was attributable to the runaway increase in coal burning, particularly in China. We are not without guilt, afterall, the US economy for some time has consumed Chinese goods as though that was part of our constitution. At its base, pollution is about consumption.

The current edition of Radio Ecoshock features a interview with V Ramanathan, a distinguised atmospheric scientist, who asserts we already have 2.4 degrees C warming, and the only barrier between us and this level of heating is ironically our atmospheric aerosols blocking the sunlight. He went on to suggest, that with the current deep crash of the world economy, reduced smog will unleash this stored heat, and there is the very real possibility that a dramatic increase in global heating will occur in a relatively small time.  Put more simply, close a lot of coal-fired power plants due to reduced energy demand, and you get a dramatic increase in global heating measure in a year or two, not decades.

2.4C is roughly 4.oF. Our current global warming, without this increase, is driving world desertification. On our current trajectory world wide famine is a certainty. Many agricultural plants cannot take the projected level of heat increase, let alone the desertification. At an temperature increase of 1.5C world rice crops fail.

We can’t solve this problem by thinking good thoughts and changing a light bulb, we have to make dramatic reductions in our consumption. This most certainly will hasten our economic collapse. Even with all of that, we still may be headed for extinction.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.