There has been quite the line up of highly respected climate scientists to broach the "tipping point" scenario recently. James Lovelock, developer of the Gaia hypothesis, claims in his new book The Revenge of Gaia that global warming is now irreversible. Sir Crispin Tickell, the man who convinced Margaret Thatcher that global warming was real, predicts that the human population will drop from 6 billion in 2006 to 2.3 billion people in 2206. James E. Hansen, longtime director of the NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and leading authority on the earth's climate system has been trying to say his piece but is being methodically silenced by the Bush Administration who are intent on controlling the message the US public gets to hear.
The debate has been intensifying because Earth is warming much faster than some researchers had predicted. James E. Hansen, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, last week confirmed that 2005 was the warmest year on record, surpassing 1998. Earth's average temperature has risen nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 30 years, he noted, and another increase of about 4 degrees over the next century would "imply changes that constitute practically a different planet."So what should we expect to happen in the forseeable future, if we waste the next ten years and assuming it is not already too late to do something?
"It's not something you can adapt to," Hansen said in an interview. "We can't let it go on another 10 years like this. We've got to do something."
There are three specific events that these scientists describe as especially worrisome and potentially imminent, although the time frames are a matter of dispute: widespread coral bleaching that could damage the world's fisheries within three decades; dramatic sea level rise by the end of the century that would take tens of thousands of years to reverse; and, within 200 years, a shutdown of the ocean current that moderates temperatures in northern Europe.Tags: Global+Warming, Climate+Change, CO2, Energy, Science, News, Politics, Bush, Sustainability, Tipping+Point