Monday, May 07, 2007

Doom and gloom on weather change

“We are on the edge of the greatest die-off humanity has ever seen .We will be lucky if 20% of us survive what is coming..." said James Lovelock , the originator of the Gaia hypothesis , that the Earth’s chemistry, climate and life are all closely linked into a kind of self-sustaining system . “...Human outpourings of greenhouse gases have flicked the switch that turns the world from its colder to its warm state – and it is probably too late to stop it,” he said.

In 2050 or soon after, most of the world may be scrub and desert and most of the oceans will be denuded of life . Millions – perhaps hundreds of millions – of people living in equatorial lands will be forced from their homes, with most of them heading northwards. The world will face mass shortages of food and water. That will lead to wars and the effective clearance of vast areas of land as the deserts spread . The grim possibility that billions of people face a miserable life and death as humanity finds a new equilibrium with the Earth.

In Cologne, Germany, 4,000 sharp-suited bankers, lawyers and financial traders at Carbon Expo 2007 were congratulating themselves on the booming new markets in carbon credits that will, they boasted, save the world as well as making them rich. For Lovelock, however, such dreams are dangerous nonsense on a par with a drowning man clutching at straws:-

“It’s all ridiculous,” he sighed. “These new markets do some good in that they generate wealth and keep these people employed, but they and the IPCC are just raising false hopes. We have done too much damage to the world and now it is changing too fast for us to make much difference.”

Pessimistic forecast , indeed , but let's hope that the prognosis for the Earth is not as fatalistic as speculated if the peoples of the world can manage to create a socialist society with a steady-state ecologically-sound economy .

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