According to some people, there is "growing evidence" that global warming may have disastrous consequences much more quickly than has been suggested--that a catastrophic change cold occur in the space of a decade, once the climate reaches a "tipping point" that could be upon us within a few years.
Although the change would be triggered by warming, say these people, the effect in much of the US and Europe could be drastic cooling, coupled with violent storms and severe drought. By 2010, global warming could cause the circular currents that ferry warm tropical surface water to the Northern Atlantic and return deeper, colder water to the tropics to shut down. Within a decade afterward, according to one scenario, vast stretches of the Southern US turn to dust bowls and burned-out forests. The Netherlands are inundated. Northern Europe goes into a deep freeze, and Southern Europe is overwhelmed by refugees from Africa. Widespread famine and a deepening energy crisis lead to global unrest, and eventually to all-out wars over food, energy, and other scarce and dwindling resources.
And this is based on a "midrange case" of abrupt climate change. Things might not go so badly--and then again, the reality could be much worse.
Who are the tree-huggers preaching this gloom-and-doom scenario? They include Pentagon planner Andrew Marshall and futurist Peter Schwartz, former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, according to FORTUNE Magazine.
Their scenario, detailed in an unclassified DOD report summarized in FORTUNE's January 26 edition, is far from certain, and may well be unlikely. But its consequences are so dire, says FORTUNE, that "it should be elevated beyond a scientific debate."
The FORTUNE article calls for "action now" to prevent the catastrophe, if possible, and to plan for ways to lessen its effects--climatoligically, economically, and politically.
It's becoming more and more apparent that the Bush League's abandonment of the Kyoto Treaty was a huge mistake. The issue of global warming cannot take a back seat to corporate profits or even national security--indeed, it could prove to be the biggest threat to both.