Saturday, April 6th 2013, 5:23 PM EDT
Climate change scientists acknowledge that the decline in rapid temperature increases is a positive sign
All right, I accept that this Arctic April may seem an incongruous time to address global warming. But there are important, and possibly hopeful, developments in the complex, contentious world of climate science that might finally give us all a sense of spring. For some recent research suggests that climate change might not be as catastrophic as the gloomiest predictions suggest.
The research, moreover, comes at a time when many experts are beginning to despair that warming can be prevented from running out of control. Six weeks ago, for example, Prof Sir Robert Watson – the deeply respected former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – said he believed the world had now missed its chance to keep the average rise in global temperature to less than 2C – the level at which dangerous effects are thought inevitable. But if the new research is right, it might be held below this ominous threshold after all, if determined worldwide action is taken.
Prediction, as they say, is tough, especially when it’s about the future – and that’s especially true when it comes to the climate, whose complexity we only partially understand. It is, as we all know, naturally immensely variable. And the effect of human intervention is subject to long timelags: it will be decades, even centuries, before the full consequences of today’s emissions of carbon dioxide become clear.
Click source to read FULL change of heart from Geoffrey Lean