If you are Sceptical and have been
Confused by the press .....
It is sad that certain major industries are spending billions to convince the public that global warming is a furphy. Yet when we read reputable scientific journals there is virtually nothing against the accepted understanding that human activity is creating a serious change in the earth's climate. Over the past six months we have been struck by the tone of anxiety in these reports.
Al Gore has brought his magnificent and informative film to Australia at exactly the right moment. Sadly, our Prime Minister was not interested in viewing the ideas of the past Vice President of our major ally. This reflects nothing on the important message that An Inconvenient Truth is bringing to the world.
We have just finished reading the proceedings of the international conference hosted in the UK by Tony Blair, called Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change. With some 400 pages and highly technical articles by over 60 of the world's leading scientists, it makes very sober reading.
To put it very shortly, the major conclusion is that dangerous levels of warming are now inevitable. No one will say when, but one third of the articles suggest that if we do not act immediately, then within the next ten years it may be too late.
Thoughtful people have to ask, can we take the risk that our children's lives may be shortened through our ignorance and inaction?
To understand the real risk there are eight dragons lurking on the earth, called tipping points. A slight rise in average global temperature could trigger them to become unstoppable sources of CO2 and methane. One is the methane contained in the Siberian permafrost that is already melting; another in the mineral clathrates in the depths of the oceans. As temperature rises the great ice sheets begin to crumble. This process has begun and quickens every year. We may not know when collapse will happen, but it now looks inevitable, and with it the three major glacial masses will raise sea levels almost 20 meters.
Then there will be no trade as all the harbour facilities will be under water. City sewage, underground transport and basements will be flooded. Food production in the most fertile regions would be savaged. Close on one billion people around the world will have to find new homes, which is unlikely to be a peaceful process.
Are we prepared to risk this happening? Can we live with the possibility – even if it were only one-in-ten – that our civilisation and our culture may be under such an intolerable threat? Read Jane Jacobs' Dark Age Ahead and James Lovelock's The Revenge of Gaia to get a taste of what that risk implies.
We urge you all to see Al Gore's film and grant it the respect it deserves.