You will have heard of "six degrees of separation". The next six degrees is six degrees of global warming. Read on. It may want to make you do something right now.
It’s taken the world just a few years to wake up to the threat of global warming. But it may be too late. Many of the effects of a warming world are creating positive feedback loops. For example as the surface ice melts in polar regions in the warmer summers, the pools of water absorb the sunlight whereas the ice that existed before reflected it.
Mark Lynas wrote a wonderful book called “High Tide” when he visited and reported on some of the hotspots of global warming, His new book, “Six Degrees”, was written in an Oxford library where he researched the studies that had been done on the impact on the world of a warming climate to summarise the results in a series of scenarios for each further degree of temperature rise, He has tried to be cautious and reasoned rather than apocalyptic, and retains a faith that we can halt the warming process at around 2 degrees. But the facts may show that we have already got beyond the point of no return. The question may be no longer whether it will happen, but how long it will take to happen.
Read “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas. It is a more serious, more factual and more important book than Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” – which is a great book for persuading Americans to accept the argument for global warming, where people have been slower to accept what science is telling us.
This is what is likely to happen with each one degree rise in temperature.
• Deserts invade the high plains of the US causing severe agricultural loss from Ontario to Texas.
• Mount Kilimanjaro loses all its ice.
• The Gulf Stream switches off, plunging Britain and Europe into icy winter cold.
• Coral reefs are wiped out, with the Great Barrier Reef largely destroyed by 2030.
• Island nations submerge under rising seas.
• Greenland tips into irreversible melt, accelerating sea level rise and threatening coastal cities around the world.
• Polar bears, walruses and other ice-dependant marine animals in the Arctic become extinct.
• Drought, fire and searing heat strike the Mediterranean basin.
• Declining snowfields threaten water supplies in California.
• A third of species worldwide face extinction.
• A permanent El Nino grips the Pacific, causing weather chaos around the world and drought inn the Amazon.
• Agriculture shifts to the far North; Norway’s growing season becomes like Southern England today. But with heat and drought in the tropics and sub-tropics, the world tips into net food deficit (people will starve).
• The whole Amazonian ecosystem collapses in as conflagration of fire and destruction.
• Hurricanes in the tropics are half a category stronger than today (remember Katrina).
• The Indus river runs dry, forcing migration and a possible nuclear conflict over water between India and Pakistan.
• Most of the Nile Delta and a third of Bangladesh threatened by rising seas.
• West Antarctic ice sheet potentially collapses; sea levels rise by 5 metres as a result.
• Southern Europe desertifies, and becomes like the Sahara. Migration North becomes a source of conflict.
• All glaciers disappear in the Alps.
• Permafrost melt in Siberia releases billions of tons of CO2 and methane, spiralling global warming upwards.
• The Earth is hotter than at any time for 55 million years.
• Methane hydrate is released from underneath the oceans, sparking tsunamis in coastal regions and pushing global warming into an unstoppable spiral.
• Much of the world is now uninhabitable.
• Mass extinction. The Permian extinction 251 million years ago was associated with this level of temperature and wiped out 90 of the world’s species.
• Huge fireballs sweep the planet as methane hydrate fireballs ignite.
• Seas turn anoxic (without oxygen) and release poisonous hydrogen sulphide.
• Humanity’s very survival is in question.