Professors are angry

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The Guardian ran a piece yesterday on the Copenhagen climate change summit that reports climate scientists are getting a bit grumpy. A conservative bunch by natural inclination, it is pretty clear from some of the comments that they have lost patience. One of the keynotes speakers was Nicholas Stern, who was commissioned to analyse the impact of climate change by the British government in late 2006. He now believes that his review “underestimated the risks and underestimated the damage from inaction”.

Among other things, the scientists are now saying that ‘carbon emissions have risen more in recent years than anyone thought possible, and the world’s natural carbon stores could be losing the ability to soak up human pollution’. They predict that:

  • A 4C rise could turn swaths of southern Europe to desert.
  • Sea levels will rise twice as fast as official estimates predict.
  • Modest warming could unleash a carbon “time bomb” from Arctic soils.
  • A failure to cut emissions could render half of the world uninhabitable.
  • Rising temperatures could kill off 85% of the Amazon rainforest.
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