Sunday, March 22, 2009

Global warming - update

Two recent news items of particular concern to us in Guyana had me thinking more than usual about this issue.
Firstly there was a BBC report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that the sea level rise by the end of the century was now expected to be around 1m, about twice their prevous projection. So presumably we can expect a rise of around 10cm within 10 years. A very serious issue here at sea level...
Secondly there was a report on the effect of global warming on the Amazon rainforest to the effect that the rainforest will start dying off as the temperature rises:
"It had previously been thought that the trees and other vegetation, and the vast range of animals living among them, would be safe if temperatures rose no more than 2C. Researchers have now found that even 2C will destroy large tracts of the forest but that the die-back is slow and will take up to a century to have its full effect."
A rise of 2C is likely by 2050 and die-back will likely be felt first at the edge of the Amazon basin in countries such as Guyana.
While the die off of the rainforest will be slow, giving some time for us to control global warming, it would seem to be very difficult to mitigate. For sea level rise there is at least the (expensive) option of reinforcing sea walls and drainage systems.
One expert commented that "that at least a fifth of the Amazonian rainforest was almost certainly doomed."
So what do we do? Some thoughts on this in the next post.

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