Top UK Scientist in Climate Warning
The UK government's chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, warned today that the earth is likely to experience a temperature increase of 3Â°C because we are all failing to agree on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Professor King warned that even if international governments agreed and acted to restrict CO2 emissions climate change is inevitable.
The UK and the EU are aiming to curb emissions with a target of climate change being at no more than 2°:C but the USA, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is refusing to cut emissions and the fast-developing industrialisation of China & India is compounding the problem.
A recent report from the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction & Research, part of the Met Office and one of the world's top institutions for its work on predicted climate change, has produced a report called "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change" (PDF, 900kb)
The report warns that climate change could damage half the world's wildlife reserves, severely affect major forest systems and lead to stravation for around 400 million of the planet's human population.
The Hadley report's main focus is on stabilising atmospheric CO2 levels at 550 parts per million with Professor King stating this as the figure PM Tony Blair wants world leaders to agree upon.
In an interview with Radio 4, Professor King said that;
"We don't have to succumb to a state of despondency where we say that there is nothing we can do so let's just carry on living as per usual.
"It is very important to understand that we can manage the risks to our population.
"What we are talking about here is something that will play through over decades - we are talking 100 years or so.
"We need to begin that process of investment."
550ppm is almost double the level of CO2 in the atmosphere since before the industrial revolution over 200 years ago, and Professor King admits it is a big risk to allow the levels to get so high.
But he also states that the UK government believes this is the lowest attainable figure considering the increased emissions from devloping countries and the United States' reluctance to cut down on atmospheric pollution.
The "3 degrees inevitability" has been criticised for not being tough enough and that we have the technology to restrict warming to 2Â°C... have a look at the report A Bright Future (PDF 170kb) from Friends of the Earth; it is specific to the electricity sector but identifies ways to largely reduce emissions and help achieve secure energy supplies.