Monday, September 28, 2009

Cassandras of Climate - Paul Krugman

These days, dire warnings aren't the delusional raving of cranks. They're what come out of the most widely respected climate models, devised by the leading researchers. The prognosis for the planet has gotten much, much worse in just the last few years.

What's driving this new pessimism? Partly it's the fact that some predicted changes, like a decline in Arctic Sea ice, are happening much faster than expected. Partly it's growing evidence that feedback loops amplifying the effects of man-made greenhouse gas emissions are stronger than previously realized. For example, it has long been understood that global warming will cause the tundra to thaw, releasing carbon dioxide, which will cause even more warming, but new research shows far more carbon dioxide locked in the permafrost than previously thought, which means a much bigger feedback effect.
As Krugman notes, we must rely on government, not big business to lead on climate change. It's all well and good that individuals are taking action to reduce their carbon footprints. However, that is a small part of the solution.

Methane gas is being released into atmosphere faster than thought, compounding the problem


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