Saturday, August 16, 2014

From ‘10 Billion’ by Stephen Emmott

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUON) – the world’s leading authority on biodiversity – estimates that, as of 2012, 41 per cent of all amphibians, 33 per cent of all reef-building corals,25 per cent of all mammals and 13 per cent of all birds are at imminent risk of extinction.

We are now almost certainly losing species at a rate up to one thousand times faster than we would expect from ordinary ‘background’ (natural) processes.
This means that human activity is almost certainly now set to cause the greatest mass extinction of life on Earth since the event that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Since 1900, the percentage of the world’s oceans either fully exploited (no fish left) or over exploited (fully exploited without significant action) has risen from less than ten per cent, to 87 per cent. We are harvesting ocean ecosystems at a rate which is completely unsustainable.

Right now, over one billion people are living in conditions of extreme water shortage.

….demand for land for food is going to double – at least – by 2050, and triple – at least – by the end of this century.
This means that pressure to clear many of the world’s remaining tropical forests – rain forests – for human use is going to intensify every decade. Because this is predominantly the only available land that is left for expanding agriculture at scale. Unless Siberia thaws out before we finish deforestation….If Siberia does thaw out … would result in a vast amount of new land being available for agriculture, as well as opening up a very rich source of minerals, metals, oil and gas. In the process this would almost certainly completely change global geopolitics. Siberia thawing would turn Russia into a remarkable economic and political force this century…..

It is now very likely that we are looking at a future global average rise of 4 degrees – and we can’t rule out a rise of 6 degrees….will be absolutely catastrophic. It will lead to runaway climate change, capable of tipping the planet into an entirely different state, rapidly. Earth would become a hell hole…..
But even if we’re lucky enough to fall short of anything like a 4- to 6-degree rise in global temperature, there almost certainly won’t be a country called Bangladesh by the end of this century – it will be under water.
Large parts of Africa will become permanent disaster areas. The Amazon could be turned into savannah or even desert.

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