Climate threat to ecosystems a real concern

Back in 1992, 1,700 scientists from around the world issued a dire warning to humanity. They said humans had pushed the world’s ecosystem to a breaking point that would bring about colossal climate change.
The warning noted that air and water pollution, the collapse of world fisheries, and the loss of productive soil would befall human life.
This year, on the 25th anniversary of that warning, more than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries have followed up assessing the latest response to environmental issues.
They noted that since 1992, global temperatures have risen by half-a-degree Celsius while carbon dioxide emissions have climbed by 62 percent. As well, access to fresh water has decreased.
The report is not optimistic about our future.
Canada is working to eliminate coal-fired electricity generating plants. So is Britain. This week at the Bonn climate summit, a clear difference will be seen between U.S. strategies on climate control and the rest of the world.
Canada and Britain will launch an initiative to phase out coal-fired plants across the world. By comparison, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry will be on hand to propose an alliance to encourage developing countries to invest in efficient coal plants.
The United States remains the only country in the world that has not signed the Paris agreement to reduce greenhouse gases.
The differences in evaluating the damage by greenhouse generating systems could not be clearer.
A study published in April by the California Science Trust has proposed major issues with cities on oceans. According to the study, the seas already are rising at one-two mm per year and if the west Antarctic ice were to melt, the sea would rise by 1.25 feet in California by 2040.
One scenario has the oceans rising as much as 20 metres by 2100 while more optimistic models had them only rising two metres.
The difference lies in the amount of global warming we expect. If we can cap global warming to two degrees C, the oceans will rise only two metres. If global warming reaches three degrees C, then the oceans could rise 20 metres.
Huge storms generated by the change in sea temperatures would cause massive flooding in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and all major U.S. coastal cities.
As Canadians, we might smugly look at the rising seas not affecting us but we can’t disregard the science. Vancouver is near the top of the list of Canadian cities threatened by rising sea levels.
In the last 100 years, the sea level in Vancouver has risen by 20 cm. A study has noted that even with the steps that have been taken to protect Vancouver property, more than $25 billion worth of real estate would be at risk.
As well, more than 250,000 people live within one metre of the current sea level in Vancouver. Throughout the world, 275 million people live in areas that eventually will be flooded.
In developing countries, coastal flooding could cost the world economy more than $1 trillion annually.
This may sound alarmist but the actual recorded measurements of ocean heights, increased ocean temperatures, and increased average world temperatures show that the 15,000 scientists are not incorrect in their worry about the earth’s ecosystems.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail