Global warming is edging perilously close to out-of-control, according to a growing number of scientific reports from round the planet, a leading science writer has warned.
“Time is running out if we want to preserve our world in a stable, healthy and productive state, capable of feeding and supporting us all,” says Julian Cribb, author of Surviving the 21st Century, a book on the ten greatest challenges facing humanity and what we can do about them.
“The great concern is the rapid rise, over the last three years, in methane levels in the atmosphere. Methane is a gas with 28 times the planet-heating power of carbon dioxide. Scientists estimate there may be as much as 5 trillion tonnes of it locked in permafrost and seabed deposits.
“There is mounting evidence that, as the planet warms due to human activity, these vast reserves of greenhouse gas are now starting to melt and vent naturally. The Earth’s past history shows this could unleash runaway global warming, driving up planetary temperatures by as much as 9 or 10 degrees Celsius.