Sunday, February 15, 2009

US Climate Expert Says Global Warming Could Get “Out of Control” by End of this Century

The predictions on climate change by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over the years keep getting gloomier and gloomier, but a leading climate scientist from Stanford University, Chris Field, thinks the IPCC's latest predictions are not gloomy enough. A report by Agence France-Presse posted on Yahoo News says that Field, a senior member of the IPCC, believes that a greater-than-predicted increase in greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 to 2007, mainly attributable to coal burning to generate more electricity in developing countries, has increased the potential for disastrous effects of global warming. He warns specifically about higher temperatures increasing the possibility of tropical forests burning as a result of drying out and Arctic tundra thawing, each of which could potentially release huge amounts of greenhouse gases. This would set up a positive feedback mechanism which Field says “could spiral out of control by the end of the century.” Field says that “We don’t want to cross a critical threshold where this massive release of carbon starts to run on autopilot.”

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