The scientific consensus is clear: human-induced climate change is well underway, changing the very nature of our planet. The impacts on human communities as well as on wildlife could be devastating - here in the Strait of Georgia as well as around the world.
The Fourth Assessment Report (2007) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that global warming will be faster and more devastating than previously thought. Sea levels are rising from thermal expansion of the oceans and the accelerating melt of glaciers and the polar caps.
The last time the earth was 2 degrees warmer than now (130,000 years ago), sea levels were 6 metres higher; at 3 degrees warmer (3 million years ago), they were 25 metres higher.
Some scientists are predicting we may hit 3 degrees warming this century if we don't undertake radical changes quickly. In the past, dramatic climate changes have taken place in only a few decades.
A 2006 report by British economist Sir Nicholas Stern warns that we have the choice between acting now, at the cost of only 1% of the world's gross domestic product, or suffering major disruption to economic and social activity by mid-century, costing up to 20% of our global wealth.
Is global warming a serious threat? Absolutely.
Is the situation hopeless? No! Follow the links in this section to learn more:
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