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Rearrange the deckchairs

With a decision at Copenhagen now pushed back into 2010 at the earliest, and the chances of pegging global warming to an average of two degrees, and climate scientists increasingly convinced that our current path will take us to four degrees or beyond, I thought it would be worth referring back to the predictions that Mark Lynas made a couple of years back in his award-winning book Six Degrees. Here's a summary from Mark's website


Glacier and snow-melt in the world’s mountain chains depletes freshwater flows to downstream cities and agricultural land. Most affected are California, Peru, Pakistan and China. Global food production is under threat as key breadbaskets in Europe, Asia and the United States suffer drought, and heatwaves outstrip the tolerance of crops.

The Gulf Stream current declines significantly. Cooling in Europe is unlikely due to global warming, but oceanic changes alter weather patterns and lead to higher than average sea level rise in the eastern US and UK.


Another tipping point sees massive amounts of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – released by melting Siberian permafrost, further boosting global warming. Much human habitation in southern Europe, north Africa, the Middle East and other sub-tropical areas is rendered unviable due to excessive heat and drought. The focus of civilisation moves towards the poles, where temperatures remain cool enough for crops, and rainfall – albeit with severe floods – persists. All sea ice is gone from both poles; mountain glaciers are gone from the Andes, Alps and Rockies.

It's time to stop faffing around and ensure that our politicians, civic leaders, business owners and policy makers understand what the 3-4 degree and 4-5 degree forecasts do to their busines models. Or maybe they'd prefer to rearrange the deckchairs, which will be floating on the tide anyway

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