Global climatic and environmental crisis and its solution

Part one - the problem1


Summary

A combination of climatic and environmental disturbances have been mutually reinforcing each other causing a deterioration of the world ecology. Ongoing global warming, mass extinction of species and overpopulation are key problems.

Experts predict that if this continues, it will have serious consequences for mankind.

To prevent this, immediate and effectively coordinated international cooperation between all countries is necessary.

We are therefore happy to inform that a scientifically confirmed method is now being implemented that is able to rapidly create the cooperation necessary for to turn the global development in a positive direction.


First published at January 24, 2004.


Contents


Rapid global heating - US National Academy of Science warning

US National Academy of Science (NAS) warns that global heating may occur much faster than believed so far. This has occurred repeatedly in world history when the heating surpasses a certain speed. This critical threshold has now been surpassed. Under such conditions a very rapid climatic change has occurred. This can have dramatic ecological consequences. Quote from a review of the NAS document:

"What is really unnerving is that it may take only a slight deviation in boundary conditions or a small random fluctuation somewhere in the system "to excite large changes ... when the system is close to a threshold", says the NAS committee. An abrupt change in climate, …could prove catastrophic for ecosystems and species around the world… The committee lays out a potentially nightmarish scenario in which random triggering events take the climate across the threshold into a new regime, causing widespread havoc and destruction.

Ecosystems could collapse suddenly with forests decimated in vast fires and grasslands drying out and turning into dust bowls. Wildlife could disappear and waterborne diseases such as cholera and vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and yellow fever, could spread uncontrollably beyond host ranges, threatening human health around the world."

Source: "Goodbye Cruel World."A Report by Top US Scientists on Climate Change Suggests That Catastrophe Could Be Imminent. By Jermy Rifkin at http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0301-02.htm Reference: "Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises"; US National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council Committee on Abrupt Climate Change, National Academy Press, 2002.

The warning of NAS is based on the present rate of warming. As you will find below, there are a number of factors that may act synergistically to increase the rate and extent of warming importantly. This would further aggravate the ecological consequences.

 

Considerable increase in greenhouse gas emissions

The cause of global warming is generally considered to be gases that prevent heat to radiate out into space, so called greenhouse gasses. The most important greenhouse gas, is carbon dioxide. The major source of carbon dioxide is burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas, also called "hydrocarbon fuels"). This "heat trapper" has increased considerably, see diagram below.

Increase of the major greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide

The diagram covers a time period of 1200 years. It shows how carbon dioxide long was constant, but has increased by about 30 percent since the beginning of the industrial era in about 1750.

Source of diagram: "How Do We Know that the Atmospheric Build-up of Greenhouse Gases Is Due to Human Activity?". United Nations IPCC. http://gcrio.ciesin.org/ipcc/qa/05.html

There are two major systems that can trap and eliminate carbon in the atmosphere. The largest one is phytoplankton in the oceans. The second largest is forests. The very extensive deforestation is considered to have contributed importantly to the increase of carbon dioxide (for more see e.g. http://oregonstate.edu/instruction/bi301/fortrends.htm).

Most of the world's net deforestation in the 1990s was tropical forest loss, which averaged 12.6 million hectares a year (averaged over the first half of the 1990's). Despite public attention to the issue of tropical deforestation, damage has continued unabated since the 1980's when the average rate of loss was 12.8 mill hectares per year. During the first half of the 1990's, 4% of the world's tropical forests were lost. If losses continued at this rate, tropical forests would be gone within a few decades.

Source: http://oregonstate.edu/instruction/bi301/fortrends.htm

The most important carbon trap, the oceanic phytoplankton is harmed by increased Ultraviolet Radiation caused by the ongoing ozone loss in the stratosphere.

 

Ozone loss aggravated by global warming

The Ozone problem will get aggravated due to global warming, because, paradoxically, it leads to increased stratospheric cooling, which increases ozone loss.

"Scientists used to believe that as chlorine levels decline in the upper atmosphere, the ozone layer should slowly start to recover. However, greenhouse gas emissions, which provide warming at the Earth's surface, lead to cooling in the upper atmosphere. This cooling promotes formation of the kind of polar stratospheric clouds that contribute to ozone loss."

Source: "Polar clouds cause more ozone loss in Arctic" at http://www.climateark.org/articles/2000/2nd/polarcl1.htm .

 

Ozone loss likely to aggravate global warming

The increased ultraviolet radiation due to ozone depletion has been shown to damage the world's largest carbon dioxide reduction mechanism, the marine phytoplankton system.

"The largest biological system on the planet is that of marine phytoplankton; it produces more biomass-104 billion tons of carbon per year- than all terrestrial ecosystems combined, which generate 100 billion tons of carbon annually.

Any reduction of photosynthetic activities in the phytoplankton could amplify global warming in two ways. First, it would suppress the photosynthetic sink that absorbs carbon dioxide, and second, it might provide less dimethyl sulfide, a gas which generates condensation nuclei for the formation of clouds.

We now know that marine phytoplankton in the northern hemisphere will be exposed to intense ultraviolet-B radiation in the spring, just when they are at their most productive. The depletion of the protective ozone layer above the Arctic as a result of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) production is the culprit.

A recent U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) report warns that since most phytoplankton organisms do not have ultraviolet radiation receptors, they cannot avoid deleterious radiation that "penetrates deeper into the water column than has been previously measured."

Source: "global warming, the worst case" http://www.thebulletin.org/issues/1992/j92/j92.leggett.html

Criminal trade in banned ozone-depleting chemicals is increasing, which perpetuaties the ozone problem, see for example: http://www.salvonet.com/eia/cgi/news/news.cgi?a=170&t=template.htm. In addition, metyl bromide, a very potent ozone destroyer has been widely used in agriculture. The implementation of the international agreement to stop its usage is being delayed in a way that it may further aggravate the ozone problem, see Peter Saunders, "Methyl Bromide Ban", ISIS press release Jan 21, 2004, http://www.psrast.org/methylbromideisis.htm

 

Warming of the oceans leads to increased green house gasses

In addition, warming of the oceans seems also to contribute to disappearance of oceanic phytoplanktons. Whatever the cause, considerable decreases have already been observed.

"Plant life [phytoplanktons]covering the surface of the world's oceans, a vital resource that helps absorb the worst of the "greenhouse gases" involved in global warming, is disappearing at a dangerous rate, scientists have discovered. Satellites and seagoing ships have confirmed the diminishing productivity of the microscopic plants.…

The significant decline in plankton productivity has a direct effect on the world's carbon cycle, said Watson W. Gregg, a NASA biologist at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Normally, he noted, the ocean plants take up about half of all the carbon dioxide in the world's environment because they use the carbon, along with sunlight, for growth, and release oxygen into the atmosphere in a process known as photosynthesis."

Source: "Decline in oceans' phytoplankton alarms scientists. Experts pondering whether reduction of marine plant life is linked to warming of the seas". David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor Monday, October 6, 2003. http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/10/06/MN31432.DTL

 

Permafrost thawing will aggravate global warming

Huge amounts of greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide and methane) are bound in the immense permafrost regions in Alaska and Northern Europe and Asia, (see map at http://earthtrends.wri.org/text/CLI/maps/226_lg.htm). This gas now begins to be released.

"About 14% of the carbon stored in the world's soils is estimated to be in the Arctic. This probably amounts to several hundred Gigatonnes, and the release of the entire Arctic carbon store, if it happened, would add prodigiously to climate change (emissions of all greenhouse gases produced by human activities are about six Gt annually)."

Dr Svein Tveitdal, managing director of a UNEP information and monitoring centre in Norway, Grid Arendal.

Source: "Arctic now adding to global warming" BBC News February. 7, 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1158269.stm

There are numerous observations of ongoing thawing in the Arctic, for example:

Thawing permafrost in the Arctic has damaged houses, roads, airports and pipelines, and caused landscape erosion, slope instability, and landslides. Local coastal losses to erosion of up to 100 feet per year have been observed in some locations in the Siberian, Alaskan and Canadian Arctic.

Source: "Climate Change and Arctic Impacts" http://www.ciel.org/Climate/Climate_Arctic.html

 

 

Addition at 8 March 2004

 

Thawing subarctic permafrost increases greenhouse gas

 

A considerable increase of the release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas was recently reported in the Swedish permafrost. Methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. The scientists warn that methane release from the large subpolar permafrost areas could accelerate global warming. Excerpt:

 

"At a particular mire, Stordalen, we have been able to estimate an increase in methane emissions of at least 20 percent, but maybe as much as 60 percent, from 1970 to 2000," says the lead researcher, Torben R. Christensen of Lund University's GeoBiosphere Science Centre.

 

Despite methane being an important greenhouse gas, it is often forgotten in discussions of the greenhouse effect, the scientists say. Methane is released from rice agriculture and meat production, but the largest single source of methane is the natural wetlands. If what is seen in subarctic Sweden is representative of the circumpolar North, this could mean an acceleration in the rate of predicted climate warming, they say.

 

Source:  “Thawing subarctic permafrost increases  greenhouse gas emissions”

American Geophysical Union, Lund University, joint press release.

24 Febr 2004

http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl0410.html

 

 

 

Addition at 28 May 2004

 

Rapid arctic thaw portends warming

"There is dramatic climate change happening in the Arctic right now ... about 2 to 3 times the pace of the whole globe," said Robert Corell, chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, an 1,800-page report to be handed to ministers in Iceland in November.

[This]  may be a portent of wider, catastrophic changes Corell said.

The melting is destabilizing buildings on permafrost and threatening an oil pipeline laid across Alaska.

"I think (climate change) can be stopped but we will need an aggressive response," Corell said. Global climate change may bring everything from disastrous floods or droughts to a rise in global sea levels that could swamp low-lying Pacific islands.

 

"The (ACIA) report underlines how critical it is that we take action as soon as possible, first under Kyoto, to reduce emissions and invest in renewable energy," said Samantha Smith, director of the Arctic Program at the World Wide Fund for Nature.

 

Source: CNN Science&Space, 26 May 2004, http://edition.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science/05/25/global.heat.reut/index.html

 

Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) website: http://www.acia.uaf.edu/

 

 

Oceanic changes observed that may aggravate the situation

In addition, different observations indicate that the so called "Thermohaline Circulation" in the oceans is slowing down. This circulation has an important stabilizing effect on world climate and it decreases the temperature difference between polar and tropical regions. It is transporting warm water out of the tropical zone, thereby warming the temperate regions. Other parts of it bring cooler water to the tropics. Reduced thermohaline circulation leads to hotter equotarial zones which leads to an important increase of water evaporation. Water wapor is an efficient greenhouse gas. So this would further increase equatiorial heating. At the same time the polar and subpolar zones would be colder, perhaps much colder, including central and northern Europe. Quote from a review:

"Most, but not all models show a reduction in the strength of the THC with increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, and if warming is strong enough and sustained long enough, a complete collapse cannot be excluded.

[In that case] …As the result of general cooling in the Northern Hemisphere, there is a widespread reduction in both surface evaporation and precipitation there, with increases elsewhere. The combined temperature and water-cycle changes would be expected to have a significant impact on vegetation and agriculture.

It is estimated that agricultural productivity will be reduced by 12% in the northern hemisphere as a whole, with larger regional changes: reduction of 16% in Europe, 36% in the Indian subcontinent and 109% in Central America."

"Source: "Abrupt Climate Change Happening global warming & then the Big Freeze" http://www.i-sis.org.uk/LOG3.php and "Abrupt Climate Change Happening" http://www.i-sis.org.uk/LOG2.php

In Dec 2003, a report was released from the largest oceanographic institute in the US, confirming that an important reduction of the oceanic circulation is indeed occurring:

"Tropical ocean waters have become dramatically saltier over the past 40 years, while oceans closer to Earth's poles have become fresher, scientists reported today in the journal Nature."[Decreased salinity of the Polar ocean waters slows down the mechanism that drives the thermohaline circulation and can bring it to a stop]"

It would exacerbate global warming by rapidly adding more water vapor--itself a potent, heat-trapping greenhouse gas--to the atmosphere. It could also continue to freshen northern North Atlantic Ocean waters -- to a point that could disrupt ocean circulation and trigger further climate changes."

Source: "New Study Reports Large-scale Salinity Changes in the Oceans". Press release Dec 17, 2003 from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution http://www.whoi.edu/institutes/occi/currenttopics/abruptclimate_rcurry_pr.html

 

A vicious circle

The ongoing accumulation of greenhouse gasses causes increasing global warming. This causes a more extensive destruction of ozone in the polar regions because of accentuated stratospheric cooling. An increase of ozone destruction increases the UV-radiation that, combined with higher ocean temperature, causes a reduction of the gigantic carbon dioxide trapping mechanism of the oceanic phytoplankton biomass. This accentuates the warming process. When the warming has reached a certain level, it will release huge amounts of greenhouse gasses trapped in the permafrost. This will enhance the global warming, and the polar destruction of ozone, and so on. The observed decrease of the thermohaline circulation further aggravates the situation.

This is a global self-reinforcing vicious circle accelerating the global warming:

Click on the picture to expand

Vicious circle at http://www.psrast.org/GWicc2.jpg

Already the present rate of warming can destabilize the world climate and may precipitate drastic climatic changes any time, according to US National Academy of Science. Their warning is based on historical data on warming rates from former warming periods. The described vicious circle is likely to accelerate this rate, perhaps considerably, and will thereby increase the risk for an abrupt climatic change even more.

You may have found sites questioning that global warming is man-made, yes even some argue that it does not exist. They are mainly an expression of the powerful hydrocarbon producer propaganda with the purpose to prevent a reduced use of such energy sources. For more, see "Look out for junk science" at http://www.psrast.org/glecjunksci.htm

Addition 2004-02-15

Pentagon issues severe warning about abrupt climate change

A recent message from Pentagon, published in Fortune Magazine a couple of weeks after this article was published, likewise warns that global climate can deteriorate rapidly and threaten the security of USA. It calls for immediate radical countermeasures from the US administration. Excerpt:

Growing evidence suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in less than a decade — like a canoe that's gradually tilted until suddenly it flips over. Scientists don't know how close the system is to a critical threshold. But abrupt climate change may well occur in the not-too-distant future. If it does, the need to rapidly adapt may overwhelm many societies—thereby upsetting the geopolitical balance of power.

Source: "CLIMATE COLLAPSE The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare" FORTUNE magazine, Feb. 9, 2004 at http://www.fortune.com/fortune/technology/articles/0,15114,582584-1,00.html. For a good comment, see http://www.tompaine.com/feature2.cfm/ID/9882.

 

Global warming is definitely here now and it is a major cause of the mass extinction of species discussed below.

 

Massive extinction of species aggravates the environmental crisis

The world environmental situation is likely to be further aggravated by the increasingly rapid, large scale global extinction of species. It occurred in the 20th century at a rate that was a thousand times higher than the average rate during the preceding 65 million years. This is likely to destabilize various ecosystems including agricultural systems.

"By the second half of the 21st century, between one-third and two-thirds of all plant and animal species, most in the tropics, will be lost. "In each of the prior mass extinctions, somewhere between one-fourth and one-half of all species died out over the course of a few million years - half a heartbeat in geologic times.

Two points make this mass extinction episode different from prior episodes. First, this extinction event is happening in hundreds, not hundreds of thousands or millions of years [as before]. Second, though the cause of the prior extinctions is up for debate, all were the result of natural phenomena.

This is the first time that one species - homo sapiens - is the direct cause of the extinctions. The population explosion and its consequences are held as the culprits. Human activities, including the clearing of forests, the spread of agriculture, the introduction of animals into new environments, and the pollution of air, water, and soil, account for almost all of the extinctions...

Scientists have calculated what they call a background [average] extinction rate - the rate at which species have been becoming extinct for the past 65 million years, since the last major extinction. The current extinction rate is now approaching 1,000 times the background rate and may climb to 10,000 times the background rate during the next century".

Source: "Scientists warn of mass extinction", Environmental News Network, Aug 3, 1999 http://www.enn.com/news/enn-stories/1999/08/080399/extinction_4759.asp

In a slow extinction, various balancing mechanisms can develop. Nobody knows what will be the result of this extremely rapid extinction rate as it is unprecedented in the history of this planet. What is known, for sure, is that the world ecological system has been kept in balance through a very complex and multi-facetted interaction between a huge number of species. This rapid extinction is therefore likely to precitate collapses of ecolosystems at a global scale. This is predcited to create large-scale agricultural problems, threatening food supplies to hundreds of millions of people. This ecological prediction does not take into consideration the effects of global warming which will further aggravate the situation.

"There is virtual unanimity among scientists that we have entered a period of mass extinction not seen since the age of the dinosaurs, an emerging global crisis that could have disastrous effects on our future food supplies, our search for new medicines, and on the water we drink and the air we breathe."

Source: "Scientists agree world faces mass extinction" CNN, August 23, 2002. http://edition.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/08/23/green.century.mass.extinction/index.html

Industrialized fishing has contributed importantly to mass extinction due to repeatedly failed attempts at limiting the fishing.

A new global study concludes that 90 percent of all large fishes have disappeared from the world's oceans in the past half century, the devastating result of industrial fishing. The study, which took 10 years to complete and was published in the international journal Nature, paints a grim picture of the Earth's current populations of such species as sharks, swordfish, tuna and marlin.

"The changes that will occur due to the decline of these species are hard to predict and difficult to understand. However, they will occur on a global scale, and I think this is the real reason for concern."

Boris Worm, a marine ecologist with the Institute for Marine Science in Kiel, Germany.

Source: "Study: Only 10 percent of big ocean fish remain" http://edition.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/05/14/coolsc.disappearingfish/

The loss of predatory fishes is likely to cause multiple complex imbalances in marine ecology.

Another cause for extensive fish extinction is the destruction of coral reefs. This is caused by a combination of causes, including warming of oceans, damage from fishing tools and a harmful infection of coral organisms promoted by ocean pollution. It will take hundreds of thousands of years to restore what is now being destroyed in a few decades.

"More than a quarter of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed by pollution and global warming, experts said today, warning that unless urgent measures are taken, most of the remaining reefs could be dead in 20 years."

"…at the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium on the island of Bali, researchers warned that governments must urgently reverse global warming trends, cut pollution and crack down on overfishing."

"…Clive Wilkinson, a leading Australian scientist said the loss of the reefs would not only be a major blow to the environment, but would also threaten the livelihood of a half billion people around the world who rely on them for food and income."

Source: "Coral reefs will be gone in 20 years, scientists say", Associated Press, oct 2000. http://www.enn.com/news/wire-stories/2000/10/10232000/ap_coral_39494.asp

British scientists have issued a clarion warning call, finding the mass extinction situation alarming:

"The living world is disappearing before our eyes".

"Around one in 10 of all the world's bird species and a quarter of its mammals are officially listed as threatened with extinction, while up to two-thirds of other animal species are also endangered. These losses have accelerated over the last 200 years as a direct and indirect consequence of the growth in human populations, wasteful use of natural resources and associated changes to the environment."


Professor Peter Crane, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Source: "Wake-up call on extinction wave" BBC News Online Monday, 19 May, 2003 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3039803.stm

 

According to the most comprehensive study done so far in this field, over a million species will be lost in the coming 50 years. The most important cause was found to be climate change. Excerpt:

"Dismayed by their results, the researchers called for "rapid implementation of technologies" to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and warned that the scale of extinctions could climb much higher because of mutually reinforcing interactions between climate change and habitat destruction caused by agriculture, invasive species and other factors."

Source: Washington Post, Jan 08, 2004. http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A63153-2004Jan7?language=printer. The study was published in "Nature"Jan 08, 2004.

This study used the predictions of UN that world average temperatures will slowly rise 2.5 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. However, as pointed out by the US National Academy of Science, a much more rapid temperature change may occur. This would yield a considerably worse outcome than the predicted one million species loss (24 % of all species). In addition, as explained above, synergistic mechanisms may enhance the temperature level, which would aggravate the situation.

NOTE: The above presentation encompasses only the most important and burning global environmental problems. There are several additional ones, especially in the field of chemical pollution that contribute to harm the environment or upset the ecological balance. The industry has persistently and most irresponsibly resisted attempts at controlling or limiting the release of new chemicals into environment without proper testing of their environmental consequences.

 

Sudden collapse but very slow recovery

The French Mathematician René Thom has developed a mathematic theorem that describes how sudden destabilization can occur in complex systems of many interdependent parts, like biological and ecological systems. It formulates, in mathematical terms, the age-old experience that such self-stabilizing systems can uphold balance even under considerable strain. But when the strain reaches a critical level, they rapidly collapse and then it takes very long time to restore them. This was also pointed out in a recent paper in Nature:

"Models have predicted this, but only in recent years has enough evidence accumulated to tell us that resilience of many important ecosystems has become undermined to the point that even the slightest disturbance can make them collapse."

Source: "Gradual change can push ecosystems into collapse", http://www.enn.com/news/enn-stories/2001/10/10122001/s_45241.asp

 

All biological systems function in this way. Their mutually interdependent parts support and reinforce the balance of the whole. Biological systems are able to uphold balance even under considerable strain, but when the tolerance limit is reached they disintegrate dramatically. The human body is such a system. You may have experienced how you can go on for quite long time, even years with exertion or mismanagement of health until suddenly, when you have gone too far, there is a collapse of the "ecological balance" in the body, manifesting as a disease, sometimes within hours. Full recovery is always much slower, taking weeks or months. For the global ecology, it may take hundreds or thousands of years to recover.

"A gradual awareness is building in the scientific community that stressed ecosystems, given the right nudge, are capable of slipping rapidly from a seemingly steady state to something entirely different, said coauthor Stephen Carpenter, a limnologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and immediate past president of the Ecological Society of America."

"We realize that there is a common pattern we're seeing in ecosystems around the world," said Carpenter, an authority on lakes.

"Gradual changes in vulnerability accumulate and eventually you get a shock to the system, a flood or a drought, and boom, you're over into another regime. It becomes a self-sustaining collapse."

Source: "Gradual change can push ecosystems into collapse" Environmental News Network October 12, 2001. http://www.well.com/user/davidu/collapse.html

 

Effective measures can decrease global warming and other problems

The analysis by UNEP and other expert shows that globally coordinated strict measures could slow down the global warming - species extinction - ecosystem destabilization process. The World Watch Institute writes:

"Most encouraging, the world is sitting on the cusp of … successes that could usher in a sustainable human civilization. The use of clean, renewable energy technologies, like wind turbines and photovoltaics for example, is growing at over 25 percent per year, and they are increasingly competitive with fossil fuels. Organic farming is the fastest-growing sector of the world agricultural economy, with the potential to rejuvenate rural communities from the Philippines to Sweden. And a quickening of religious interest in humanity's place in the natural environment could awaken a powerful new constituency to the cause of sustainability."

Source: State of the World 2003 from World Watch Institute. http://www.worldwatch.org/pubs/sow/2003/

But this requires immediate, very effective cooperation. If the system goes out of balances in a catastrophic manner, no feasible measures will be sufficient to restore the balance rapidly. It will take hundreds or, more likely. thousands of years according to scientific experts. The chief scientist of the British Government, Sir David King, recently called for immediate action:

"In my view, climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism."

"Delaying action for decades, or even just years, is not a serious option. I am firmly convinced that if we do not begin now, more substantial, more disruptive, and more expensive change will be needed later on."

Source: "Global warming 'biggest threat'", BBC News January 9, 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3381425.stm

 

 

Addition 17 June 2004

 

Shell boss 'fears for the planet'

 

The head of one of the world's biggest oil giants has said unless carbon dioxide emissions are dealt with he sees "very little hope for the world".

 

In a frank interview, Ron Oxburgh told the Guardian newspaper that climate change makes him "very worried for the planet".

 

Source: “Shell boss 'fears for the planet'”. BBC News 17 June 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3814607.stm

 

 

The world community has repeatedly failed to establish cooperation

For example, one hundred eighty-two nations are now parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity with the purpose of preventing the accelerating mass extinction. But there is wide agreement that the treaty has had virtually no impact on continuing mass extinction. It is more like a political statement than a plan of action. Many developing countries in tropical areas, where the most species of plant and animal can be found, wanted nothing in the treaty that could limit their freedom to exploit natural resources.

Similar tragic failures to unite in effective and responsible actions have repeatedly occurred in spite of very serious warnings from the United Nations, saying for example "Our present course is unsustainable - postponing action is no longer an option" 2 and the UN Population Report 2001 likewise warning for a catastrophic global crisis, the world being "at the edge of a precipe" 3.

In spite of these very stern warnings, UN World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Sept 2002 in Johannesburg failed completely to establish effective measures. Yet UN had taken measures of unprecedented scope to make sure that governments were well informed about the serious consequences of inaction at this stage.

Commentators found that narrow-minded national self-interest, greed and cynical disregard of the already ongoing severe suffering of hundreds of millions of people contributed to the failure of this conference 4 5  6.

 

Conclusion

Because of lacking interdisciplinary cooperation, most scientists have long had a fragmented understanding of the world environmental situation, ignoring synergy effects of the kind mentioned above. Some have been long denying the obvious. Only few have had the scope of insight to realize that a sudden climatic and ecological collapse may occur. Only lately have increasing numbers of scientists begun to realize the acute seriousness of the situation. Only recently has the possibility of sudden drastic changes been recognized. Leading scientists are now emphasizing that it is dangerous to wait.

Nothing of the above is speculation. We have been careful to include only observations and conclusions by established experts and institutions.

 

A new approach is required to solve the situation

Through close cooperation between all nations, including immediate very strict and firm restrictions of all known aggravating factors it is possible prevent serious deterioration. The failure of world leaders to cooperate effectively in spite of stern warnings, based on abundant evidence, demonstrates beyond any doubt that a solution cannot be achieved by conventional means. Yet it is obvious that we an effective way has to be applied very rapidly.

"If we are going to reverse biodiversity loss, dampen the effects of global warming, and eliminate the scourge of persistent poverty, we need to reinvent ourselves -as individuals, as societies, as corporations, and as governments."

Source: State of the World 2003 from World Watch Institute. http://www.worldwatch.org/pubs/sow/2003/

We are happy to inform that a scientifically confirmed and effective solution for "reinventing" mankind exists and is becoming implemented during 2006, see http://www.psrast.org/globecolcrsol.htm

Jaan Suurküla, M.D.,
Chairman of Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST),
http://www.psrast.org/

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Footnotes

1. To facilitate for the layman,We are referring only to easy-read, brief non-technical sources. This is because we think it is most important for everybody to understand the seriousness of this impending catastrophe.

2. Global Environment Outlook 2000 (GEO-2000) of United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) - the most authoritative assessment ever of the environmental crisis facing humanity. URL (next page): http://www.unep.org/geo2000/pressrel/index.htm

3. Jeremy Lovell. "Earth on edge of a precipice - UN report". Reuters News Service. November 6, 2001. http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/13190/story.htm

4. Akwe Amosu. WSSD in Johannesburg Ends on Uncertain Note
September 4, 2002, http://allafrica.com/sustainable/stories/200209040458.html
Quote: "UN special envoy to the summit, Jan Pronk, told the BBC that the meeting had come "close to collapse" and implied that delegates had only managed to maintain the status quo, rather than advancing the summit's real objectives."

5. BBC News, "Pressure groups condemn summit" September 3, 2002. "A triumph for greed and self-interest, a tragedy for poor people and the environment" (Oxfam). http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2233969.stm

6. World Development Movement comment on WSSD: "The lack of action is especially cynical when coupled with grandiose statements about the crisis faced by the world and the need for urgency and political will." http://www.wdm.org.uk/cambriefs/wssd_wrap_up.pdf


Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology (PSRAST)