Sea levels are predicted to rise twice as fast as was forecast by the United Nations only two years ago, threatening hundreds of millions of people with catastrophe, scientists said yesterday in a dramatic new warning about climate change. Rapidly melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are likely to push up sea levels by a metre or more by 2100, swamping coastal cities and obliterating the living space of 600 million people who live in deltas, low-lying areas and small island states....
Yesterday's urgent wake-up call to governments about global warming – telling them the data on which they are basing their official advice is flawed – came from four scientists from the US, Australia, France and Germany, who gave a press conference at a scientific meeting on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Professor Konrad Steffen, from the University of Colorado, Dr John Church, of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research in Tasmania, Dr Eric Rignot, of Nasa's jet propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, and Professor Stefan Rahmsdorf, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, are all experts in sea-level rise. Their views represent the mainstream opinion of researchers in the field, taking account of the most recent data.
Only two years ago, the UN's Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its Fourth Assessment Report, or AR4, that the worst-case prediction for global sea-level rise was 59cm by 2100. But the scientists in Copenhagen suggested that the 2007 report was a drastic underestimation of the problem, and that oceans were likely to rise twice as fast.
Denmark is celebrating the birth of a polar bear cub at one of its zoos. It is strange there is such joy when you think about what may be in store for the Arctic predator. The melting ice sheets of Greenland and the Arctic will remove the ice it needs to hunt seals. I recently saw the brilliant BBC series "Planet Earth"; there is a scene where a desperately hungry male attacks a Walrus colony. It never stood a chance as Walrus are just too big and strong, their hides too thick. The bear was stabbed by tusks as well. David Attenborough relates how that was caused by melting ice and the fate of that bear will grow more common in future.
Urgent action must be taken. I wouldn't count on capitalism solving the problem, though.