The science section of the Times of India has a rather alarming article on global warming. According to Australian scientist Tim Flannery, we may have already emitted greenhouse gases to a threshold value that may cause "irreversible climate change". Flannery remarks that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report due in November will show that greenhouse gas level by mid 2005 have reached around 455 parts per million, a level not expected until a decade later. The Times of India calls Flannery a "world recognized climate change scientist". I looked up his credentials and found that he is a palaeontologist, an expert on mammals who over the course of his research I am sure has acquired a good knowledge of climate change. But he is not a climate scientist. Don't Indian science reporters ever do any background checks? He may well be right about greenhouse gases already passing some threshold, but with or without immediate thresholds, isn't climate change irreversible on the time scale of the next few hundred years anyway? Owing to the long residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere there is always going to be a lag between our reducing emissions and its effects to be felt in terms of stabilizing the temperature.
This press release reminded me of a cartoon I saw some time back.
Cartoon Creator: Mike Adams; Source: www.NewsTarget.com
Flannery's fears may be well founded. We should be doing better than this.