FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Climate Warming Faster than Previously Thought

According to a report from the Pew Center for Global Climate Change, the Earth's average temperature has increased by approximately 1° F over the past 100 years, and may increase by as much as 10 degrees by the end of the century. It doesn't sound like much, but scientists are already noting effects, especially in the Arctic, which is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, and much more rapidly than an earlier U.N. report forecast. Researchers studying the Arctic climate change and resulting thaw could destabilize structures in the region, and cause polar bears to go extinct by 2100.

Perhaps most dangerous of all is the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from thawing Arctic soil, creating a "feedback loop" that could accellerate global warming even further.

The Pew report unequivocally blames human activity for the rise in temperatures, particularly auto exhaust and coal-fired power plants. It is doubtful, however, that the Bush administration will take any further proactive action to cap emissions than it already has.